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Employing Graduate Students At Two Year Colleges: A Missed Opportunity?

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.254.1 - 5.254.5

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Donald D. Carpenter

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2686

Employing Graduate Students at Two-year Colleges: A Missed Opportunity?

Donald D. Carpenter

University of Michigan/Jackson Community College


A good opportunity that is rarely exploited exists for both graduate students and two- year colleges. Supplemental faculty play an important role at many two-year colleges, yet for a variety of reasons, schools often have trouble finding enough people to meet their needs. This author feels that engineering graduate students can play a fundamental role in filling the void.

Many graduate students have a strong desire to teach and therefore, are working towards their Ph.D. in pursuit of a career in academia. While many universities give graduate students the opportunities to be teaching assistants, many graduate students never have their own class. By teaching at a two-year school, they are gaining valuable classroom experience while still being “students” themselves. It also shows them another side of academia they are probably unfamiliar with since many graduate students have only experienced large universities. Also, teaching at a two-year school is a good way for graduate students to supplement their income. Some graduate students find that they need to have a part-time job while in graduate school. Working at a two- year college allows them to teach both at night and during the summer thereby providing additional income while doing something that is relevant to their future career choice. Teaching at a two-year college is a great opportunity for graduate students, yet most are unaware this opportunity exists.

Many two-year colleges hire a significant number of supplemental faculty members. By actively searching for graduate student employees, two-year colleges would be filling an increasing void. Graduate students interested in academia have a strong desire to teach and despite their limited time in front of the classroom, most learn quickly. In addition, due to their flexible schedules, graduate students are willing to work a variety of hours. This allows the college to schedule classes that might otherwise be hard to find instructors for, such as at night and during the summer. Finally, graduate students are qualified to teach a variety of subjects since their background is frequently diverse. Overall, graduate students can be a positive addition to many two-year college departments.

Graduate Student Perspective

While in graduate school, many students are given the opportunity to be teaching assistants, but as a teaching assistant, they are frequently relegated to holding office hours and grading homework. Only if they are fortunate will they get to participate in course development or be in

Carpenter, D. D. (2000, June), Employing Graduate Students At Two Year Colleges: A Missed Opportunity? Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri.

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