Day in the life of
Lecturer – Heather Hayes, MA
Pace University’s Media, Communications, and Visual Arts department houses four majors –Communications (BA), Digital Journalism (BS), Public Relations (BS), and Digital Cinema and Filmmaking (BS) – as well as five minors – Communications, Journalism, Public Relations, Art, Sports Media and Broadcasting, and Integrated Marketing and Communication. Moreover, the department offers a fully online MA in Communications and Digital Media, as well as combined degree programs for all MCVA majors, which can be completed in just five years.
I taught as an Adjunct Lecturer within the MCVA department for three semesters before I was promoted to Lecturer, a full-time, non-tenure track position. The degree requirements and responsibilities of Lecturers vary across institutions, but I can only speak on my personal experience. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s degree in Communications and Digital Media (formally known as Media and Communication Arts), both from Pace University.
As a Lecturer, I am a contracted employee, so my reappointment is up for negotiation every academic year. Additionally, I am not eligible for tenure, and I am not responsible for conducting research. I share basically the same credit load and responsibilities as the Clinical Professors within the department. I am referred to as “Professor”, as are all teaching faculty within the department, regardless of their official title. Although I am eligible for raises, there is little upward salary mobility in my current position.
I teach Public Speaking, Multimedia Storytelling, Event Planning for PR, Casting, Story Idea Development, Producing Corporate Video, and Careers in Television. I am typically present on campus three days a week to teach four, three-hour courses each semester, hold office hours, and attend any faculty meetings or department events. When I am not in the classroom, I am home responding to emails, grading assignments, and preparing lectures.
I try to arrive at campus thirty minutes before any obligation, which gives me a chance to catch up with students, faculty, and staff in our department lounge. If I have a break between courses, or if I am waiting for rush hour to pass, I may grab a bite with a fellow faculty member in town, or stay on campus to answer emails. Since I am a long-distance commuter, I fulfill other faculty responsibilities, such as preparing lectures or grading assignments, at home.
The MCVA department subscribes to the model of experiential learning. For example, when I teach Event Planning for PR, the class is responsible for planning, promoting, and executing the off-campus reception and premiere of a documentary that is created through the department’s award-winning Producing the Documentary course. Although I deliver lectures, I additionally take on the role of a manager while still in the classroom.
I give back to my alma mater by serving as a faculty advisor to our student-run PR agency, Entrance One. The club is responsible for executing most of our department events (art shows, film showcases, award ceremonies, course informationals, workshops, etc.), managing our social media accounts, producing The Pitch, the department newsletter, as well as OffScript, a blog which builds a stronger sense of community outside of the classroom. I love having the opportunity to oversee students who are applying the knowledge that they gained in the classroom as they work for a real client – the MCVA department.
One of the biggest pros of teaching is that I work thirty weeks out of the year, yet I am compensated as if I work a traditional 9-5 job. Although I have some responsibilities to fulfill during intersessions, I have the opportunity to travel, work on passion projects, or even pursue other forms of employment to earn additional income.
Another pro of teaching is that the work is incredibly rewarding. I am providing students with the knowledge and skills to succeed in their own careers. There is no better feeling than when a student asks me to write them a recommendation letter or serve as a job reference.
One con of teaching is that you are not directly managed, like in the corporate world. I do not need to meet regular deadlines; my syllabus is “due” on the first day of class each semester. It can be very easy to procrastinate and put off course preparation, especially during the summertime.
teach courses in communications, such as organizational communications, public relations, radio/television broadcasting, and journalism. Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.