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To Blog or Not to Blog?

Forgive, but I couldn’t resist the title, having just covered for someone teaching Hamlet this semester. Clearly, I’ve joined “The Teaching Circle” blog, and am therefore actively blogging (or starting to, at least). I am, however, completely ambivalent about the project. After I tell you why, please let me know your thoughts.

I love the idea of faculty blogging at QC, but I am not quite clear on why the faculty blogging are “adjuncts.”

There is a wide, wide range of faculty who teach as adjuncts, ranging from first-year graduate fellows to twenty-plus year veterans, and we comprise a broad spectrum of teaching effectiveness which is not necessarily related to length of experience; the same can be said of full-timers. In practice then, you might have a “veteran” adjunct whose classroom management skills and pedagogical effectiveness surpass those of a recent full-time hire. I am also fairly certain we all know of at least one tenured faculty member who rides the complacency train (recycling the same mimeographed syllabi in use for 20+ years)  in contrast with eager and innovative part-timers. Alternatively, some of the best models for teaching excellence are those full-timers who have honed their skills as they served the institution in various administrative and leadership positions in addition to the classroom.

So why is this “teaching circle blog” exclusive to adjuncts?

Is it possible to have a blogging platform wherein both full-time and part-time faculty participate? Certainly adjunct contributors will provide insight as to the “adjunct” perspective, but wouldn’t that be enhanced by bloggers from the “full-time” side?  Is it possible to house dialogue about adjunct experience in the same digital space as tenure-track experience? Aren’t we united by common goals of teaching and scholarship even if working conditions and compensation are (radically) divergent? If in no other space, can’t the virtual provide adjuncts and full-timers the same privileges?

I feel that inviting only adjuncts to participate suggests that this is an activity or a product only for adjuncts. I also feel that it unnecessarily perpetuates the divide which, in so many other ways, QC tries very hard to bridge.

What are your thoughts on the matter fellow bloggers? And if there are any full-time faculty readers out there – please comment!


Finally, as I sit here wondering whether to “Publish” or not, I procrastinate by googling some images, because what’s a blog without an eyeful of delight?

But that lead me on a quest from one blogging how-to site to another, to try and uncover what constitutes fair use of images in blogs. I couldn’t resist including the “To post or not to post” image, and I believe the editorial policy of Cox & Forkum is fine with that (check here ), but it would be great if anyone / someone could provide some fast and dirty tips on free (no $) and copyright free use of images. Vale!



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6 comments to To Blog or Not to Blog?

  • Hey Robin,
    I as well love this idea of blogging. I don’t know whether this is true or not, but as I was told I think this a forum for adjuncts to share and express their ideas and opinions. This I think was put in place because many adjuncts may not feel as they are part of the QC community as many of them may not have offices, or a hub (even though we have a wonderful computer and adjunct lounge). Full time faculty members have meetings within their departments and meet with each other fairly regularly, however many adjuncts may not have that. Some adjunct such as myself, are only on campus once a week and are not in contact with any other fellow adjuncts. This for me is a great way to exchange ideas and to get to know other adjuncts. Given all this, I feel that it may not be a bad idea to also have full time faculty to also share their techniques and teaching practices.

  • Aha! Thank you, Ashu, for articulating the way in which this may benefit adjuncts specifically. Yes, I suppose that this is a great forum for establishing connections, especially if one is on campus infrequently; I hadn’t approached it from that angle, as I am fortunate that my department regularly welcomes English adjuncts to participate in meetings (although we don’t get paid and many of us don’t attend due to an inability to reconcile the demands on our time with our actual time). They also run regular workshops (4 per semester) which many teaching fellows are required to attend – and which some adjuncts and full-timers choose to attend (free lunch) for the interesting topics and potential camaraderie.

    Yet, I still think it would be beneficial to include full-timers in this networking / teaching ideas / collaboration project, because we are all part of the same QC community. I think we might all learn more (in both directions) if we enabled interactions across “the divide.” There’s also a political stance (or two or three) behind my perspective… but I’ll save that for the next comment. I look forward to hearing what other opinions there are on this.

  • Hi Robin et al. –

    To be very colloquial… I was juiced/amped/psyched/motivated to be invited to this Blog as an “adjunct” employee at Queens College. I too thought is was a neat idea to exchange thoughts on some of the issues that are distinct to adjuncts. (I was and I remain curious as to the major differences and experiences… aside from time.) I was even thinking that we, the adjuncts at Queens College, might have it much different than adjuncts at other universities/colleges due to the “CUNY” nature of our world and our predominantly commuter population. I hope to continue to learn about our differences and our similarities through this awesome world of “blogging.”

    I am happy that I was invited to the party, and I welcome the extension of that invitation to the full-timers as well. Maybe there is already a blog for the full-timers, and maybe our blog worlds will soon collide. (**I too want to insert a picture here… I am currently imagining a blog world version of the big-bang in cartoon format…)

    Alas… I have a lot to learn. But this is fun.

  • Of course you are totally on point, Robin. I think we all agree that one’s status as full-time or adjunct or otherwise doesn’t say much, really, about our ability to teach or even the experience we have in the classroom. That said, most adjuncts face a set of challenges that full-time faculty don’t, and have a daily routine different from that of most full-time faculty. Most full-timers don’t, for example, juggle multiple jobs. They also get invited to dept. meetings where they’re asked for input and opinions in things like curricula, course development and structure, etc. We are left out of those discussions. I think this blog serves to provide one thing that’s missing for most of us: a voice and a set of ears to hear it!

  • I agree with you Emily, that this provides us a “voice” – but who is listening? Yes, it is wonderful to hear from other adjuncts, but I think the full timers should hear from us too. I think I am having trouble reconciling the (multiple) purposes of the blog. Is it a space for adjuncts to connect? Is it also a space to discuss teaching and learning? In either case, I still feel that full time faculty should be hearing / partaking. They need to know the challenges that we face… And they should be collaborating with us to share ideas about effective teaching. I tend to think that if we designate this as an adjuncts only space, we are perpetuating our own marginalization.

  • I think that the full-timers are too busy working on academic conference papers or work that will be published in refereed journals to waste time online….. just my two cents.