Preparing Yourself to Teach English at a Two-Year College

Will your scholarship still matter at a teaching-intensive university? Absolutely, says Howard Tinberg of Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts. On-going scholarship is as important as student-centered pedagogy as the following documents from the Two-Year College English Association suggest:

  1. Research and Scholarship at the Two-Year College: Community college faculty need to be both exemplary teachers and knowledgeable scholars. This report provides guidance as to how to achieve the balance between teaching and research in English at a teaching-intensive institution.
  2. Characteristics of the Highly Effective Two-Year College English Instructor: This document offers guidelines for individual faculty, faculty groups, administrators, boards of trustees, accrediting agencies or anyone who may screen, hire, assess, or evaluate two-year college English faculty. Anyone considering teaching at two-year colleges will find the document’s description of  the unique strengths of  highly effective two-year college English instructors to be useful as well.
  3. Guidelines for the Academic Preparation of English Faculty at Two-Year Colleges: What coursework might help you land a position in English at a two-year college? Think courses in writing instruction and diversity for starters. Graduate students who want some direction in deciding appropriate courses to prepare them for two-year schools will find helpful advice here. So will administrators who hire teachers and university faculty engaged in training future teachers.
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Learning about community colleges

When it comes to educating yourself about community colleges, the constituencies they serve, their role(s) in the US system of higher education, and the policy issues that affect them, your go-to site is InsideHigherEd.com’s  Confessions of a Community College Administrator, by @deandad — Matthew Reed, of Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts.

This column, from May 18, is a great place to start.  Then have a look through the rest of our blog to see what we’ve pulled up for you.

In their sometimes-unglamorous ways, [community colleges] enact a democratic faith that it’s possible to respect, and empower, everybody.

Chronicle forums

A good place to ask questions about the job hunt and about teaching at different kinds of institutions is the. Forums site run by the Chronicle of Higher Education.  One recent exchange was about applying for jobs at community colleges.

Show the search committee why you want to be at a community college in general, and their community college in particular.