Psychology Department Adjunct Information
1. Joining the adjunct pool.
A. Send a cover letter and your vita to Psych Secretary Jane Lehman (email@example.com). Jane will add you to our database and start a file for you. In your letter, delineate your teaching interests, academic experiences, teaching philosophy, and career goals.
B. Send Jane any and all unofficial transcripts (with the idea that you may be asked to send official transcripts at a later point upon hire)
C. Have three letters of rec sent to Jane.
2. What to do upon being hired.
A. Work with Jane to fill out relevant paperwork.
B. Note that the pay is just about 3K per course (plus, possibly, a modest mileage allowance for individuals traveling far; contact Jane for information if you think this might apply to you).
C. Google textbooks related to your course (via both google and amazon) and contact publishers of academic books (examples; McGraw Hill, Prentice Hall, etc.) for “free desk copies.” When you have chosen a book, contact the bookstore on campus to order.
Note that an instructor may also note that students can order the book via amazon.com (or other similar venues) and the instructor may choose to provide a copy of the book to the library to hold on reserve. In such a case, it’s up to the instructor (a) to be in possession of an expendable copy of the book for this purpose and (b) to bring the book to the library front desk to address the logistics of having the book be put on reserve.
Note that these logistics associated with textbook ordering (and the ordering of examination copies) are the responsibility of the instructor (not the department secretary or chair).
D. Prepare a syllabus that includes course objectives, readings, assignments, policies, and a calendar – here’s an example of mine, if this helps:
E. Submit a syllabus for your course before the semester starts (to Jane). And ask Jane if you’d like examples of syllabi for the course you’ll teach from past offerings. In addition to including contact information, assignments, and course calendar, syllabus should include clear student learning outcomes, a statement on dealing with students with disabilities, a statement on academic dishonesty, and a statement on attendance.
Here is a sample syllabus from one of my classes to potentially help guide the process:
F. Note that adjunct faculty should hold one scheduled hour for office hours per week for each 3-credit class he or she is teaching.
G. Jane will also help set you up regarding access to office space, classroom assignment, keys, parking, computer network, Email access, ID Card, etc. And ask Jane or our work study students for orientation regarding the photocopier and our supplies (e.g., whiteboard markers).
3. IMPORTANT TEACHING TIPS
While academic freedom is foundational in how we operate, it may be useful for relatively new instructors to have the following guidance on features of some of our best teachers:
- make your own exams – while publishers will include sample test items, etc., teachers who make the time to create their own exams based on the material they have addressed in the class tend to best cultivate learning in their students.
- don’t over-rely on PowerPoint – one of the primary complaints that students will express about a course is that there is an over-reliance on PowerPoint Materials – especially those that are created by the Publisher of the textbook and not by the instructor him or herself – the more the teacher puts his or her signature on all the course materials, the better the students will be able to connect with the material and the course itself.
- be wicked-careful about attendance policies – while it’s not a bad idea to have an attendance policy, making grades partly based on attendance requires exceptional attention to the details – if the attendance counts, for instance, for 10% of the course grade, how exactly is that 10% calculated? Based on how many times a student speaks during the semester? How many times he or she says something “meaningful?” etc. Note that an attendance policy simply stating that students are encouraged to attend is acceptable (and sometimes optimal) – if an attendance grade is calculated, make sure that the way it is operationally defined is clear beyond clear.
4. Rosters/Grading/Student-Evaluations-of-Instruction and use of technology in the classroom.
- my.newpaltz.edu: Rosters, information on submitting “mid-term evaluations” (this is done for selected students, such as new transfer students), and SEIs (student evaluations of instruction) are all accessible via my.newpaltz.edu (you’ll use your standard NP Computer User ID and Password to get in). Once in my.newpaltz.edu, to find all these teaching-relevant links, click on “faculty services” and you’ll see the links for rosters, submitting grades, etc.
- BlackBoard: To email students in your class (individually or as a group) or to post announcements, content (such as syllabus or .pdf files of articles), or to host online discussions, you should use BlackBoard (https://bbnewpaltz.sln.suny.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp). Note that using BlackBoard for a “seated” (non-online) class is not required – but it can be very helpful.
Information on how to use BlackBoard at New Paltz – and who to contact for help, etc., is found here: http://acs.newpaltz.edu/help/
- NP faculty email (zimbra): Reminders and notifications for many processes (e.g., when to submit mid-term grades, when to let your students to know that “student evaluation of instruction” is open, etc.) are typically sent via email to your NP email address (that you’ll receive upon hire). So make sure to check that email frequently while teaching (once a day at least is strongly recommended).
- Instructional Media Services: Regarding the use of technology in the classroom, note that you’ll use the same NP Computer User ID and password that you use for my.newpaltz.edu and BlackBoard (and zimbra mail (faculty email at New Paltz)). Most classrooms are “smart rooms” that include a computer and projector. With the userid and password, setting things up so you can project a PowerPoint, website, etc., onto the “big screen” in the class is usually easy to do. And the office of Instructional Media Services (IMS) is always available to help (and the provide contact information in case you’re in a pinch at the work stations for smart classrooms. The phone numbers for IMS are as follows:
5. Adding students.
Two basic rules:
A. Adding students is at the discretion of the instructor (you’re allowed to add someone if you want)
B. The “real limit” for our sections is the “fire code” of the classroom (if the room is legally allowed, for instance, 47 students, you cannot add beyond that number). If you’re not sure about the fire code, please ask Jane for this information (noting that usually this limit is not an issue as our course caps are typically sufficiently below the fire codes for most classrooms).
There are some exceptions or points to consider – adding of Research Methods and Statistics is usually done via the chair (as there are critical enrollment issues that related to these courses in our curriculum). Also, instructors should at least note the pre-requisites for the course in making a decision to add a student.
To add a student, an instructor should email our department secretary, Jane Lehman (firstname.lastname@example.org) indicating (a) the student’s name and Banner ID, (b) the course number and section #, and (c) a simple statement indicating “please add this student” – Jane takes care of adds via our “banner” system.
6. Who we are.
The Psychology Department at New Paltz is, by many counts, the most active department on campus in the domain of student/faculty scholarship. We take undergraduate education very seriously and we pride ourselves on providing an education that is among the strongest in the behavioral sciences found in colleges and universities across the nation. As such, we hold very high standards for our adjunct faculty. We require that our adjunct faculty have their courses formally evaluated and we expect all our faculty to have a teaching philosophy that clearly facilitates pedagogical development.
Note that under some conditions if our needs are compelling, I’ll put out multiple prompts to see if there is interest in teaching a course – sometimes opportunities disappear quickly based on response (and I apologize for conditions in which this becomes disappointing).
Don’t ever hesitate to contact me with any questions about the process – I’m here to help. And thanks for your service to our students.
Glenn Geher, Chair, Psychology; email@example.com