Flexible work hours and good training for online teaching makes for happy instructors at Arizona’s Rio Salado College, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. Primarily an online college, Rio Salado employs 22 full-time instructors and 1,300 adjuncts. Pay is low. There are no benefits. Yet the college received high marks for job satisfaction in the Chronicle‘s Great Colleges to Work For survey.
Rebecca Chase, who has a master’s degree from Texas A&M, teaches communications online, while raising two young children.
“The expectations of me were very clear,” Ms. Chase says. “I don’t recall ever feeling stressed or overwhelmed or unsure. And now I can work in between naps, during play dates, and after the kids go to bed.”
. . . Ms. Chase received a two-hour orientation session when she was hired last fall. Then she was required to take “Introduction to Human Communication”—the very course she is now teaching—to get a feel for how students experience the course. Once a course has been created, all instructors teach the same material, students work at their own pace, and new students can start every Monday.
“You need to be prepared at any time to grade a Lesson 5 or a Lesson 10,” she says.
The faculty gathers for on-campus meetings only a few times a year.
Nearly all the comments come from angry adjuncts, who think flexibility isn’t all that great if the pay is peanuts. Rio Salado adjuncts earn $1,200 to $2,000 per course, the full-time equivalent of $16,000 a year, notes Hanzimanolis in comments.
Also on the Chronicle‘s list of great two-year colleges to work for are: Howard Community College (Maryland), Lake Area Technical Institute (South Dakota), Lord Fairfax Community College (Virginia), Miami Dade College (Florida), Mitchell Technical Institute (South Dakota, Morgan Community College (Colorado), Panola College (Texas), Sandhills Community College (North Carolina), Santa Rosa Junior College (California), Somerset Community College (Kentucky) and Southside Virginia Community College.