RE: teaching tech writing?

Subject: RE: teaching tech writing?
From: "Sarah Bane" <Sarah -dot- Bane -at- spectrumretail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2001 15:15:49 -0500

Courses that are part of the academic curriculum and "community
education" courses are two different animals.

For community education courses, the approach John Gilger suggests
should work: write a proposal of the course you'd like to teach and
approach them with it.

For courses that are part of the academic curriculum, most community
colleges or extension branches of four-year colleges are usually looking
for part-time instructors. (Surely not because of the working conditions
or the money...) The community college where I teach part-time
advertises every semester, listing the courses for which instructors are
needed. If yours doesn't, find out what department offers technical
writing courses, get in touch with the head of that department, and let
him/her know of your qualifications and interest. If the course is
offered in the English department, as many are, they will probably be
happy to hear of someone who actually *wants* to teach technical
writing. Many English-major types (and I speak as someone whose degrees
are all in English) are afraid of it.

I wouldn't worry too much about the time frame. Although registration
for fall is going on now, about half the classes at my school still list
the instructor as "TBA." Class assignments for instructors, especially
the part-time variety, may not be finalized until the week before school

You don't mention your qualifications, but you should be aware that many
community colleges require at least a master's degree even for part-time
instructors. However, that requirement can be waived if the prospective
instructor has expertise in an area that is particularly needed. Also,
practical experience is given more consideration in hiring decisions
than it might be at senior colleges.

If you know anyone associated with the college you're interested in,
name-drop. Some of these institutions can be a bit on the insular side,
and any connection you have could help. I have the requisite degrees as
well as teaching experience in a senior college, but I'm convinced that
the recommendation from a full-time faculty member was a major reason I
was hired.

Anything else you'd like to ask me, feel free to e-mail me off list.

Sarah Bane, who was happy to emerge from the academic life but keeps a
couple of toes in it
Day job: Technical Writer, SpectrumRetail Corporation
--Home of ProphetLine retail management systems--
sarah -dot- bane -at- spectrumretail -dot- com
Night job: Associate Instructor, Westark College
sbane -at- pipeline -dot- westark -dot- edu


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