How to Find and Secure a Part-Time Teaching Position in Public Relations

Opportunities abound for public relations professionals willing to share their expertise and passion through teaching. Here’s an overview of how to find these part-time teaching jobs at higher education institutions, based on techniques I’ve employed during fourteen years of teaching such classes.

– Check out regional listings under Yahoo by visiting here to identify universities where you’d like to teach. Next, visit a university’s website, identify academic programs that offer relevant classes, then move on to other university departments that may offer degree and non-degree granting programs. You also might search a university’s course listings using key words “public relations” and “marketing” to unearth courses.

– Visit websites that list part-time positions in higher education, such as: 1) The Chronicle of Higher Education; 2) Online Faculty Careers; 3) Inside Higher Ed; 4) HigherEdJobs; 5) The National Higher Education Recruitment Consortium; 6) AdjunctWorld Resources. These encompass opportunities in traditional classroom settings as well as online. I’ve found that using keywords “adjunct” or “part-time” combined with “teaching” or “instruction” (along with a geographic focus, if your goal is to teach in traditional classroom settings) will generate results.  Also explore general job search sites (e.g. Craigslist) as they often post announcements for adjunct teaching positions. On Twitter, follow @onlinefaccareer and search using the keyword “adjunct.”

– Once I identify programs that interest me, I secure the name of the person who screens and/or hires part-time instructors. I’ll then send that person a short e-mail (or leave a brief voicemail message), introducing myself, providing an overview of my experience, and stating an interest in adjunct teaching. I identify a class that’s already listed in the school’s catalog or on its Web site as one I’d like to teach in this initial query. The school might respond affirmatively to this inquiry, as they need someone immediately to take over teaching duties for the class. Alternatively, they may need someone on standby for the time when a faculty member is no longer available to teach. Should you receive a “no” or no response at all, don’t give up. Be persistent, and recognize that the lead-time for decision-making can vary from weeks to years.  I taught several classes at one university because I e-mailed the academic coordinator more than a year after my initial query, highlighting my availability and interest in teaching. The class I’d targeted eventually needed a new instructor, and that quickly evolved into a second class on a different topic (but one related to public relations).  My persistence paid off.

– You also can volunteer to be a guest speaker in an existing class by contacting the instructor. I’ve found highlighting a specialized area of knowledge (e.g., social media) as well as specific industry (e.g. education), sector (e.g. non-profit), and/or setting (e.g. agency, independent consultant) experience as the best approach to fit in to an existing course syllabus. A positive impression as a guest speaker can turn into an opportunity to teach an entire class. In addition to the techniques I’ve outlined above, it’s also important to let everyone know you want to teach part-time—particularly fellow members of professional organizations such as PRSA and IABC as well as friends and colleagues who work at educational institutions. Adjunct openings often are not advertised.

In short, teaching opportunities await public relations practitioners who spend the time to seek them out.  The techniques outlined here should give you a great start on that process.

About the Author
Dr. Mitchell Friedman (@mitchellfriedmn) has taught management communication and related topics to graduate students at the University of San Francisco, the University of California, Davis, and West Virginia University. He also provides professional development and education to public relations agencies. He recently completed doctoral dissertation explored leadership development in public relations. 

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3 comments on “How to Find and Secure a Part-Time Teaching Position in Public Relations

  1. These are wonderful suggestions not only for those interested in teaching PR, but teaching any subject in general–thanks for sharing them! I think teaching is a great way to not only share your expertise on a topic, but it’s also a good way for the instructor to learn from their students and to refine their communications skills. I had a particularly positive experience teaching Spanish to a community adult education class once and have always considered that a great learning experience for me as well.

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