Professional Development: Wanna Give Yourself a Raise?
by Anthony Halderman

Do you deserve a raise? Are you adjunct faculty at a California community college? Have you ever heard of a course work approval form? If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re on the right track. If not, read on!

Like many of your esteemed colleagues, if not all of them, you deserve a slight bump on the payscale. Although you’ve already finished your higher education, taking additional classes at the very same community college which employs you provides a great opportunity for salary advancement.

As employed faculty, your community college has a “course work approval form” (titles may change pending your college, so check with human resources) which allows you to take classes at your community college. One must first submit this form to the vice president of instruction for approval. On this form, you state your case and articulate why the class you propose to take will contribute to the development of your classroom instruction and/or discipline. After approval from your VP, just register for the class and complete it. Be sure to keep the signed approval form in your records for future reference. Your human resource office will probably request official transcripts. Pending your college’s pay schedule, every column requires approximately 15 units before advancing to the next column. Completing enough units to move over a column can take a few semesters.

In my case, I’ve taken over 40 units at the very community college I was teaching. The majority of these classes focus on computers and software. Although I’m an English instructor, I focused on a variety of computer classes because we live in the age of information and technology. This approach seems to appeal to VPs.

To date, I’ve had four different VPs at two different community colleges approve all of my requests. These courses included PhotoShop, Dreamweaver, JavaScript, online basics, computer hardware, fundamentals of CSS, and a few others. The progress and development of online instruction/distant education continues to advance. Regardless of one’s discipline, advancing our computer literacy will only better serve our students and our college. And of course, I have also very much enjoyed the additional perk of moving up the payscale.

My most recent approved proposal allows me to register for a video editing course. (I have still yet to take the class.) With online instruction growing in popularity, the need for instructors to create their own educational videos has only grown greater. These videos can supplement either a face-to-face class, a hybrid course, or a 100% online class. Proposing courses related to computers, software, and video editing should help get you a modest pay raise. Good luck, and happy payscale advancing!

Anthony Halderman is a college and university English instructor on the central coast of California. His essay "Weighing Student Evaluations: Rubrics, Anyone?" appeared in the "Best Practices" column of the Spring 2014 edition of inside english.

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