New Adjunct Resources

Welcome to Green River College. This area of the site was created by Callae Frazier, Kirsten Higgins, and Richard Potsubay. They received a Faculty Excellence Grant in 2012 to create this page. They have been adjuncts in Green River’s English Division for several years.

What links will I need the most as an adjunct instructor?

(Note: if you are asked to log-in from one of these links, use grcc_ad\username and the password you use to sign into your office computer.)

How do I learn more about the college? How can I keep up with recent changes

You might start with our division’s list of Campus-Wide Resources which offers links to the main offices and services that will help you run your class. Whether you need to read the Adjunct Handbook or set up exams in the Testing Center, this is the place to go.

What's unique about Green River College's student population?

  • We serve underrepresented and traditionally underserved populations. According to the 2011 Report to the Community, approximately 92% of our students tested into at least one developmental reading, writing, or mathematics course. About 6% of our students are Worker Retraining students, 10% are in Running Start, and about 13% are International students. Last year, about 44% of our students were transfer students and about 30% of our students were in professional/technical programs. Read the IPEDS Data to see how Green River compares with similar institutions.
  • It’s impossible to say what any class will look like. Depending on time of day and other factors, you may get a class composed of upwards of 50% International students or 50% Running Start students or upwards of 50% returning students—or you may get almost any imaginable combination of students with different goals and interests. That’s Green River College!

How can I better serve our unique population?

Remember these tips:

How do I know what textbook to use? Where can I get a copy to use in the classroom or to put on course reserve?

  • Because the state requires the college to make textbook information (including ISBNs) available to students as early as possible and because students often buy their books from a variety of sources, a last minute textbook change can have unpleasant consequences for students, instructors, division, and bookstore staff. Please be mindful of this.
  • We choose our textbooks as a division by convening a committee made up of part-time and full-time instructors and presenting selected books for a division vote. Adjuncts generally cannot choose different textbooks for their courses, nor can we instruct our students to return the standard textbooks to the bookstore.
  • Abby or Jaeney can tell you which textbook is used for your course. Abby can help you get a copy of your textbook. Please ask her ahead of time if possible.
  • Some of our courses have additional online components. Students in English 100 buy access to Pearson’s as a standard part of the textbook package, and one of our English 101 books is paired with Pearson’s These items are sold as part of a package in the bookstore (students will have a little orange or yellow packet in their books with the required access codes); students can also buy them online at or separately in our bookstore. Simone Rico, our Pearson representative, offers presentations and specialized help for faculty about these programs. She may even be able to come to your class to help your students get logged into the program. Email her at and watch for emails forwarded by Abby about the opportunity to attend one of Simone’s presentations for faculty.

What should I do if my student buys the wrong books?

  • Students sometimes use the bookstore's online ordering system to check for availability, ISBN, or pricing. Sometimes they enter the wrong section number & end up with the wrong books. Make sure you include your required texts on your syllabus, and review this information on the first day of class. Remind students they can return books to the bookstore by the end of the first week for a full refund if they’ve kept their receipts
  • Students sometimes buy old editions of our books, particularly of The Writer’s Reference. You can decide whether older editions are suitable for use in your class. You might warn students with older editions that they’ll have to find ways to make up for missing or substantially changed sections.
  • Students are sometimes short of funds. Many of them will not have books until the third day (or later). You might check with the library regarding course reserves. Many times textbooks for our most popular courses are available on reserve. Students usually need to have “on reserve” explained to them. We recommend giving students a day or two’s worth of materials and setting a firm date by which students must acquire their course materials.
  • Students are responsible for buying appropriate materials for your class but some buy the instructor’s editions of our books, especially English 100 books. Sometimes students don’t even know they’re buying the instructor’s edition and they find the books can’t be returned. You might make alternate activities for graded work instead of relying on the exercises in the textbooks. In addition, you might have a policy in your syllabus that explicitly describes using an instructor’s edition as cheating. You might watch for students whose answers exactly match instructor’s edition answers.

When will I get my classes assigned?

  • The time frame for being offered classes can range from as much as a month to as little as a day before the new quarter begins. If you are a new hire or a recent hire, it’s likely you won’t know about class assignments until a couple of weeks or even less before the quarter begins. The delay occurs in part because of the complexity of assigning courses to a large number of adjuncts. In addition, Jaeney has to offer classes in the order dictated by the file system (see “What is the File System”). So if you are new, it will take her a while to get to you. This can be a frustrating wait, so it’s helpful to be patient, flexible, and nimble as an instructor here.
  • While the division chair works hard to get everyone classes, there are quarters when she may not be able to offer you anything. This is more likely to happen in the winter and spring quarters when the demand by students for English classes drops off considerably. Please email Jaeney or the acting division chair if you have questions.

What is the file system?

  • Commonly referred to around the office as “the file”, the officially named Adjunct Faculty Employment File system helps the division chair offer class assignments in a fair and unbiased manner. You can read more details about this contractual system beginning on page 29 of the 2011-2014 Faculty Contract (Login is required to view this page. Use the log-in name and password used for your office computer). Once instructors have been placed in the file for a particular class, they are on the priority list for that course in future quarters. Keep in mind, however, the description in the contract about the file system is broad in scope. Individual divisions may use different aspects of the information in the file when determining class assignments. The English division considers it important to honor place in the file when assigning classes to adjuncts while also recognizing the need to consider other factors that can vary depending on the situation. (See, “Why does Green River College use a file system?” and “How do I get into the file?” for more).

How do I get into the file?

An instructor’s placement in the file for a particular course will be determined by the following:

  1. 1. Successfully teaching a particular course in a minimum of two different quarters. For example, if you teach three sections of Engl101 in your first quarter, you will not yet be eligible for placement in the file for that class. However, after you teach Engl101 again in another quarter, you may be eligible (a review can extend to three quarters).
  2. 2. A review of the observation notes submitted by full-time faculty and a dean from each of the first two quarters the class has been taught. See, “Why am I being observed?” You’ll have a chance to review notes from the observations and discuss the report before signing it and returning it.
  3. 3. Student evaluations from each of the two quarters the class has been taught. You will receive a copy of the information from these evaluations after they have been compiled by the English Office

Keep in mind, even after a new adjunct instructor has successfully taught a particular course in two different quarters, he or she will not be added to the adjunct faculty employment file until the end of the following quarter. This allows the file review panel time to look over the instructor’s materials and vote them into the file.

Here is a scenario to illustrate this process. If you successfully teach Engl&101 classes in the fall and winter quarters, you will be eligible to be included in the file system by the end of spring quarter. If you teach Engl&101 in the fall, but not again until the spring quarter, the earliest you may be added to the file is by the end of summer quarter.

Why does Green River College use a file system to place adjunct instructors?

  • There are several reasons for maintaining an adjunct file system. One argument is that, with the combination of peer and student evaluations, the system works to ensure new hires are performing up to Green River College’s teaching standards. Secondly, use of a file system better facilitates fair and even-handed distribution of quarterly classes. This can eliminate the kind of favoritism that sometimes occurs at other community colleges. Finally, making class assignments based on the file dramatically lessens the possibility that adjunct instructors will be bumped from their classes at the last minute and lose valuable income.

Tell me about observations. (Why am I getting observed? How is it used and how does it help me?)

  • It is requirement of the Faculty Contract that new adjuncts will be observed as function of admission to the adjunct faculty employment file (“What is the file
    system?”). These observations also provide a valuable tool to give you feedback on what you are doing in the classroom. Getting constructive comments from a colleague provides you with a unique opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness of the strategies and methods you use in the classroom.
  • Observations take place during the quarters in which you teach a course for the first and second time. Two members of the faculty, a full-time English faculty and a Dean, will each sit in on your class the first quarter in which you teach it. They don’t come on the same day, and they will be in touch with you beforehand to arrange their visit, so it won’t be a surprise. The second time you teach the same course, you will be observed by another faculty member. The dean only observes a second time if requested by the division chair.
  • You will receive a copy of the observation evaluation form before and after it has been completed. You will be encouraged to ask questions, or arrange to meet with your observer if you have concerns. Once you have approved the observation, a copy is submitted to the English division chair and the English division dean for addition to your Adjunct Faculty Employment File. (Learn more on pages 29-31 of the 2011-2014 Faculty Contract)

What is Canvas? What is a "shell"? Will I get one?

Canvas is a web-based Learning Management System (LMS) adopted by Green River College in the fall of 2012. It functions as a platform for online instruction, allowing instructors an internet presence for their courses. Canvas's services and functions are numerous but among its most significant are cloud-based storage for distribution and collection of assignments, quiz and test administration and proctoring, grade recording and tracking, discussion boards, email, and announcements boards. In the fall of 2013, it completely replaced Green River’s previous default LMS, Angel—a switchover that was long overdue. Although it has a few issues of its own, most faculty and students have responded positively to Canvas and have found it to be much more reliable and in step with current technological trends than its predecessor.

  • The assignment of Canvas shells and general Canvas network maintenance at Green River College are overseen by Jerry Marshall in cooperation with the eLearning and Instructional Technology departments.
  • Instructors DO NOT need departmental approval or special permission to use Canvas for their classes. In fact, ALL Green River College classes, whether fully online, hybrid, or face-to-face, are by default given their own individual class websites, or "shells". However, if an instructor is teaching two sections of the same class (ex. two daily English 101’s), both sections by default are merged into one shell. (If this is not the preferred configuration, a request should be sent to Jerry Marshall to split the sections into two separate shells.) Combined and integrated classes (ex. the 10 credit section of English 099/Reading 104) usually have their own shells for each section, though instructors are able to merge them and often do.
  • Again, Canvas is seen as a huge improvement over its predecessor, Angel. One aspect of it that students like is its compatibility with many mobile interfaces such as IOS and Android. Though its functions are limited on these platforms, upgrades are occurring constantly, and there is a general sense that this feature improves access and connectivity for everyone. Canvas’s mobile apps (including Speedgrader, which you will need if you want to grade assignments on a mobile device) can be downloaded for free from both the IOS and Android app stores.
  • Canvas’s user interface takes its cues from current web design trends and tries to be intuitive as possible. Most of the time it succeeds, but some students—especially those who are new to technology and have not used the Internet much—can encounter a sharp learning curve. It is advised that instructors—especially those in DevEd classes--provide plenty of scaffolding and hands-on instruction when introducing students to Canvas so they are comfortable with it and are able to use it competently. TLC and elearning will often provide workshops to offer pointers on how to do this. Keep your eye on your email inbox for notifications.
  • So far, the company that owns and runs Canvas, Instructure, seems to have done a good job maintaining and updating Canvas, making it a fairly reliable platform. However, there have been occasional slowdowns and, on rare occasions, brief outages. Both Instructure and eLearning have been very responsive when these issues have occurred, but it is always a good idea to report any problems you encounter to Jerry Marshall. Canvas does seem to have issues running on older browsers. It is therefore highly recommended that you use the latest version of Google Chrome when using Canvas. For a more detailed overview of Canvas troubleshooting and workarounds, visit this link:

What are my responsibilities beyond teaching here?

  • Really, not much else. The contract states that adjunct instructors are required to make themselves available for consultation with students outside of class, but how and when this consultation takes place is at the discretion of the instructor. In the age of internet, a specific definition for "office hours" is difficult. Does exchanging emails or phone calls with a student count? Technically, yes. But in general, it is a good idea to schedule at least one hour per week, per class, when you will be on site to meet with students outside of the classroom. At the beginning of each quarter, notify the secretaries or office staff of your office hours and location, especially if you on using the allotted adjunct shared workspace, which is sometimes limited.
  • Adjuncts are generally not required to be on campus during in-service days or advising days. Other functions such as division or department meetings, committee work, and professional development seminars and workshops are also not required, though adjuncts are welcome--often encouraged--to attend. Many professional development workshops and seminars offer a stipend for adjuncts who wish to participate or contribute, but space for these can be limited, so you will need to apply for the specific event and complete the necessary paperwork. Your dean's office is usually the best place to find the information that you'll need to get this started. Pay attention to emails that offer professional development opportunities like these.
  • As a general rule of thumb, if it is not listed as a requirement in your contract, then you are not required to do it. However, it is always a good idea to read your contract closely at the beginning of each quarter.

What is FERPA and why should I care?

  • FERPA stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. It dictates that a students' performance and other academic-related information be kept private and confidential unless the student authorizes the instructor to release the information to specific parties. FERPA is particularly relevant in regards to our work with students in the Running Start Program. Though many of these students are minors, under FERPA they "have the same rights and responsibilities as any other college student". This means you cannot share a student's information with anyone, even parents or guardians, without the student's prior authorization. For more on Green River College's policies regarding Running Start Students, visit this link. Also, The Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) at Green River College has plenty of information on this topic, and it often offers workshops that cover this and other related topics.