Teaching Career Fair at Cleveland State Community College shares teaching goals

Teaching Career Fair at Cleveland State Community College shares teaching goals

June 7th, 2012 by Perla Trevizo in News

Dr. Mitchell Rhea, left, dean of math and sciences at Cleveland State Community College, speaks with Sean Odineal on Wednesday at the Teaching Career Fair held in the student center at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn. Odineal is interested in teaching physics at the college and came to the career fair to submit his resume.

Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Times Free Press.


• To be an adjunct instructor at Cleveland State Community College you need at least a master's degree and 18 hours of graduate semester hours in the discipline you are trying to teach.

• For more information, contact Adjunct Faculty Coordinator Cynthia Brooks at (423) 472-7141, ext. 397 or email her at cbrooks@clevelandstatecc.edu.

Since Sean Odineal was 5 years old he has been curious about how things function.

"How does gravity work?" he remembers asking his mother.

Her response of "it just does" wasn't enough for him. That was the beginning of his love for science, for figuring out the whys and the hows.

Odineal, 27, was among a handful of people who stopped by the second annual Teaching Career Fair at Cleveland State Community College on Wednesday.

The school invites the deans of the various departments at the college and usually K-12 school system representatives, although none showed up this year, to provide information to people interested in being an adjunct instructor or a teacher.

Last year, the school had about 60 people go through the fair and a few of them actually ended up teaching at the college, said Cynthia Brooks, adjunct faculty coordinator at Cleveland State.

This year participation was much lower and college officials didn't know why.

But Odineal didn't waste any time or opportunity and sat down to speak with Mitchell Rhea, dean of math and science, who said adjuncts for the sciences are hard to come by.

He said his department has about 19 full-time faculty members and about 10 part-time or adjuncts.

The number of adjunct instructors at the college, who get paid about $1,500 per course they teach, has remained relatively flat over the last five years.

It grew from 111 in 2007 to a peak of 122 in 2010 and back down to 117 last year, data shows.

About 23 percent of the classes are taught by adjunct instructors, according to school officials.

Adjuncts has been a way in which the college has been able to accommodate rapid growth, said Carl Hite, president of Cleveland State.

In the last decade the school has seen an 18 percent increase in enrollment.

Although they are a tremendous help and offer the college great flexibility, "there needs to be a reasonable ration," he said.

Odineal recently graduated with a bachelor's in physics from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and he said although the job market is slow, "you just have to put yourself out there."

His goal is to eventually earn a master's and a doctorate in physics and to teach at the university level.

Rhea said physics instructors are especially hard to find, much more than for chemistry and biology.

"There are just not enough of them," he said.

And adjuncts are essential to a growing campus.

"Sometimes a class wouldn't be offered if it wasn't for adjuncts," he said.