Teacher deficits are being felt across the board, but in the rural areas, the problem is confounded by the very fact that they are rural. In times past, for example, it would not be surprising to receive 150 applicants at a rural college for one open English position, today the number is more like 30 and few of them are qualified for the position.
There are many issues rural community colleges face when it comes to recruitment, and at the top of the list is simply getting applicants on campus. Those who are unfamiliar with the area are more reticent to even check out the school let alone consider making application for a position.
Here are a few reasons why:
- Lack of outside social options- rural areas are notorious for “nothing” to do. Nightlife, shopping and other social activities are extremely limited in scope.
- Secondary Opportunities- Married professors will look to areas that can offer employment for both spouses, which is difficult to do in a rural area.
- Minorities- It can be difficult to get minorities interested in a position at a rural community college due to a lack of cultural diversity in the school and surrounding areas.
- Teaching Challenges- many feel rural colleges have a larger number of under educated students. This means a teacher may face students at very different ends of the spectrum, making the teaching process more difficult.
Rural schools will need to consider a few different options in recruiting if they hope to stem the tide of teacher deficits. A few ways they can make improvements include but are not limited to:
- Look at Home- Talk to current staff and instructors to find potential candidates.
- Look far Afield- Make contact with larger universities and present the case, not only for the school but the surrounding area. (Lakes, rivers, streams, hiking etc…)
- Employ the Spouse- If they are qualified look at offering both professors a position, or offer staff positions.
Keeping Professors Around for the Long Haul
You have done the work of tempting and hiring teachers, now the real work begins (you have to keep them!) The first order of business is to fully understand why instructors are prone to leaving in the first place, particularly from rural colleges. Heavy work loads, lack of interaction with others in their field, poor compensation and lack of job security are all at the top of the list of preventable reasons. One really quick way to address the rural issues is by having a comprehensive orientation that outlines common problems and give options for dealing with work and life in a rural area.
Article provided by, Advocate Search Group – a recruiting firm focused exclusively on filling academic nursing program positions throughout the USA
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