Sunday, July 21, 2013

Holic and Sweeney

Within the last week, my copies of Nathan Holic's American Fraternity Man and Isaac Sweeney's Same Track, Different Track arrived by mail.

Holic's fast-paced novel has an absolutely fantastic cover, and of course, I was excited to see this blurb on the back:

Both writers are full-time teachers now, but both have paid their adjunct dues, and in different ways continue to support the cause of the more tangentially employed among us. For Atticus Review, Nathan has delivered six sets of graphic frames for Fight for Your Long Day, and Isaac continues to write about adjunct issues and more for The Chronicle of Higher Education. More or less, what we have are two early 30-somethings with small children working constantly to survive but also thinking of the less fortunate of higher education, whether they're instructors or students.
I've already skimmed Isaac's book, and although I'd call most of what I read a nonfictional summary and assessment of how he fought his way out of the adjunct's life to land a full-time tenure-track job at a community college, in this telling, there is plenty of implied advice for adjuncts trying to do the same. Two key points from Isaac's experience are 1) apply early and often, many more jobs than you'd think would be necessary (this rings true as I remember a recent PhD comp/rhet grad applied to more than 100 positions to land one tenure-track job at a four-year school), and 2) also play to your strength during the teaching demonstration. For his TT campus visit, Isaac used a lesson he'd taught many times before, and he nailed it.
For many of us, easier said than done, yes, indeed.

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