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I am TT at a CC. My job is great, although the teaching/grading/service expectations make it difficult to make time for research (there are no research expectations for my position.) I do carve out time for reading and writing, I publish (a handful of articles in respectable venues, nothing super fancy), and I work in an underrepresented and recently "hot" area of philosophy.

I apply to a handful of TT jobs at 4 year schools every cycle if they are hiring in my AOS and they are in desirable locations. I've gotten at least one interview every cycle-- a few fancy SLACs, an R2, and an extremely Leiterrific R1. I haven't gotten past the first round at any of these, even though I felt that all but one of my interviews went very well. There's always a lot going on in these decisions, and perhaps anti-CC discrimination comes in at some point (it really is amazing how many otherwise smart people think that working at a CC is a mark of unintelligence or a lousy work ethic), but my experience doesn't really indicate that there's an in principle barrier to making the switch.


@TTCC Wow! I attempted to find CC's with TT lines this year and didn't find a single one! I figured they just didn't exist anymore! Enthused to hear that they are out there...

Marcus Arvan

RR: I could be wrong, but anecdotally, my sense is that there are quite a few such jobs; they are just not always widely advertised (e.g. on PhilJobs, etc.). I'd recommend actually visiting CC websites in particular areas that you would find attractive to live in and teach to see what job ads they list there.


I think it also depends on what kind of non-CC job you're trying to make a lateral move to. If you're aiming for like, a SLAC, that seems like it'd be a decently feasible move -- SLACs care *a lot* about teaching chops, and I can't imagine a better way to demonstrate teaching chops than CC teaching.

Also, I imagine that a lot of universities that are in major cities often view CC teaching positively, since many students will be commuters or be first-gen students, a student demographic you'll also have had experience with teaching at CCs.

I teach at a SLAC in a major city.


@RR: Marcus is correct. They are certainly out there, but not often widely advertised, and you may have to do some digging. Like many other institutions, the department is very reliant on contingent faculty. Yet the tenure lines at my particular institution are quite strong as well. We just made a TT hire last cycle and are advertising for another in a year. Some of my TT colleagues started as adjuncts at the institution, so there is a fair amount of internal hiring/replacement going on. I don't know how common this is at CCs generally however.


Hi all,
Most full time CC jobs are advertised oh Higheredjobs.com. They are definitely out there and a great many are advertised every year. Typically state HR rules require them to be advertised widely somewhere, and since the jobs are advertised by people who don't know anything about philosophy, they usually post to pretty main stream sites like Higheredjobs, the Chronicle, or Insidehighered.


for those unaware, any community college job I have come across is almost always located here:


I myself have a TT offer in hand from a CC only because I expanded my search options and located the posting here.


I don't know whether it's appreciably harder (though I suspect not, even though one's CC doesn't carry much of a halo effect).

But I do know the standard advice given for academics wanting to move up (generally; this isn't specific to philosophy): you need to publish at the same rate as, or better than, your intended target. So for a move to an R1, you'd need to publish at an R1 rate or higher (in the same kinds of venues), etc. Obviously, that's harder to do without the same resources (especially time). It's doable, though. I know at least one person who moved from a CC to an R2 and then to an R1 the next year.

let the truth be told

I think it is near to impossible to move "up", from a CC to a 4 year, or from a 4 year to a Research Uni. I did do the latter, but it was near impossible. You really have to so-outperform others, and do so with far fewer resources. In fact, years ago I read some research on academic mobility. These sociologists found that where you are 10 years after your PhD is basically where almost everyone will be the rest of their careers.

CC Prof

I think "near to impossible" might be overstating it. I currently teach at a community college, and I have for years. I was recently offered a position at a 4 year place (well, master's level in other disciplines, but they only offer a bachelor's in philosophy). If you want to do this, you will likely need to out publish what others at CCs are doing, so it can be very tough. Also, writing this much, while also teaching a ton, can be draining if you are doing it only on the hope of moving up. If you like writing and teaching, though, and aren't bitter about teaching at a CC, you can pull it off without getting too burned out. At least, this is my experience. (Of course, quite a lot depends upon the particulars of your life and the particulars of the job in question.)

Ben Almassi

I moved from a TT position in philosophy at a large CC to a TT position in philosophy at a mid-sized regional public university after 4 years. In the end, I think my CC experience was something of a benefit to me, as it showed my ability to balance teaching and research. For me it was pretty crucial to have summers off from CC teaching to do my most significant writing then.

A minor issue worth noting: unlike my colleagues who had previously taught elsewhere, I wasn't able to skip ahead on the tenure clock at my second institution nor count research I published during my CC stint toward tenure since it wasn't a baccalaureate degree granting institution. Something to consider if/when negotiating your move from CC to 4-year university.

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