One of the titles I have at work is Program Coordinator for Elementary, Middle, and Secondary Education. This title is long in my mind and since beginning this job this academic year, I have decided the length means more duties can simply be added to what I am to do. One of my responsibilities is to hire and evaluate adjunct instructors teaching our online courses.
Those wishing to teach will submit their vitae, transcripts, recommendations, and any additional information they wish to have evaluated. It is then my task to wade through it to see if they are qualified on paper. It seems odd to me that I don't meet them. When I think about it, I would review all paperwork first prior to an interview for an adjunct professor to teach a face-to-face class. The part I do find odd is that some that apply have no knowledge or skills in the field they wish to teach. For example a veterinarian applied to teach a law and ethics class dealing with schools. I think that when someone applies and doesn't have the experience it is easier to do when they know they will never meet in person that will hire them. A colleague and I have set up basic qualifications that all instructors must have to apply and then have specifics for different courses. Such as the one dealing with law and ethics. We want someone that has experience in the field of law and/or school administration. I am feeling more positive in the direction we are going...now if someone would just screen the applicants before hitting my desk.
Then our online adjunct instructors are evaluated once in five terms of teaching a particular course. Our online courses are eight weeks in length and we have five terms each academic year. I am notified of the instructors to be evaluated and am to review their knowledge of content in the online classroom. There is another person that evaluates the facilitation of the course and she observes the course during two consecutive weeks. I feel this to be an invasion because as a teacher and now as an instructor when I was or am observed there was a planned time for an administrator to do the evaluation. For me the online observations are time consuming and challenging. I feel that our online courses are well developed but the content and format are set. An instructor can't change the course content or format. So I must find ways the instructor expands and adds to the students' learning of the course content.
A new eight week term is beginning and so I have begun once again to ponder how to do this in a fair and meaningful way. And to be honest, this post today is because I need to write some of my thoughts down in hopes to figure this out. This part of my job isn't something I love but I do want to do it in the best way to benefit students and the adjunct instructors. So today I am thinking about this task. Wednesdays aren't teaching days for me and so then I can catch up or think about my program coordinator responsibilities.