I recently applied to do some adjunct teaching. I like teaching. I’ve done a lot of it, and have reason to believe I’m fairly capable, too. Alas, I was DENIED. Turned down flat. Computer said no. Three times in a row. Why?

No Master’s. No PhD. A lack of advanced degree.

Not enough academic credentials.

Now, this feels essential in situations like leading a course in advanced dentistry. You do not want Howard Gray doing your root canal.

But adjunct work in a tech & media driven field that’s evolving incredibly quickly? I’m not really sure why advanced degrees are valued more highly than being a practitioner. Or rather, that practitioners’ real-world experiences are valued less than their (lack of) degrees.

Using this logic, many successful founders, athletes, designers, actors, etc. would get completely screened out of teaching.

More importantly, it got me thinking - does this posture really provide students with the greatest chance of success?

It’s hard to avoid the feeling there are some perverse incentives at play. As Scott Galloway has suggested, large segments of higher education now have the vibe of a cartel. Because where do advanced degrees come from…?

Maybe anthropologist Grant McCracken put it best: “The university that cannot fix itself is disqualified from educating our young.”

What do you reckon?

Should a Master’s degree be a pre-requisite for adjunct teaching? Or are practitioners being shunned unnecessarily?

Teaching. Denied.

There's something wrong. Great! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.