March 17, 2017

Happy Friday!

Thank goodness, it is Friday! My incredible week has come to an end, and I am finally feeling like the “decompression” process is in full-swing. Next week is spring break, and praise be to God, I am so excited about that fact. My plan for the week, outside of teaching in my online sections, is to rest, rest, and rest! Yes, I plan to rest well and enjoy time with my family.

I am almost finished with my dissertation. My final copy has been sent to the proofer, and praise God, she said she will have it back to me in a couple days. I am so blessed. I have also sent a copy to my outside reader, and so for all intents and purposes, I am 9/10 of the way through the final stages required before I can walk in graduation. I need to submit my document to ProQuest by 4/1, and with that completed, there is nothing left to do but enjoy the month until I visit Regent for the last time (sigh!) The good news is, of course, that as faculty, I will always be tied to this school. I plan to teach at Regent for the rest of my career, Lord willing. So my heart will always be with Regent University. I will always be a part of the faculty and the campus (thank you, thank you, thank you — Jesus!)

Letting the Stress Go!

My body seems to be settling into the fact that I am finished with school. It is funny, but I remember how I felt when I finished my Master’s program at Mercy College. It was like this big rush to finish, to submit everything on time, and to graduate so I could “potentially” become a teacher. Now, I am on the other side of that dream. I am a professor, and I am teaching at several schools. I am content with my jobs, but I am feeling the push (or really shove) to move from adjunct to full-time. Weird, really. I mean, I was content to be adjunct for the rest of my life. I was content to remain just as I am, as an adjunct instructor for several schools, and then BAM! I graduate with my PhD, and all of a sudden, I feel this shove to leave the comfort of part-time work for the grind of full-time work. I don’t know why this is so, but I think it has something to do with what my professor said to me on Monday. He and I were chatting in his office after my defense, and he said to me, “Now, Carol, we need to get you a full-time job.” I said that I was okay with working part-time, that I was blessed to teach at all of these schools, but he said to me, “Well, you have your PhD now.” The more I thought about what he was saying to me, the more I realized that you don’t get your PhD to work part-time. You get your PhD to work full-time, as a scholar. My mind is thinking, “Really? Is this true?” I know that answer, and yes, I need a full-time faculty position so I can pursue scholarship.

This morning as I was laying in bed, the Lord spoke to my heart and mind and said much the same thing. It was like He said to me, “Now that we are finished with this degree, we need to move into a job that will prepare you for my work.” I know that all along, I have wondered if I will ever teach Communications — I mean — after all, my degree is in communication. But, here I am teaching English, and well, it does cause me some concern. Will I ever teach Communication, Lord? I am okay, content I mean, to teach English as long as the Lord provides. But, there is part of me that thinks perhaps I need to transition to teaching Communication soon. Sigh!

The Lord has this all worked out for me, and I don’t want to think that I need to find this job. In fact, the Lord hasn’t said that I am to be looking for it at all. Instead, He has simply said to me, “Rest, Carol. I have you covered.” Yes, Lord, I will rest. I will wait for you to provide the “best” full-time job that will fit me well. I guess I am feeling this push, and with this push, I want to make sure I am doing exactly what the Lord wants. It is difficult to navigate these unknown waters right now. I want to do what will bring me solid income, but I don’t want to overcommit myself to one or more schools.

For example, I am content with my course load at Regent and at ASU. Combined, I teach 3 classes in each sub-semester (or 6 for 16 weeks of instruction). This load is very doable for me. I am not overloaded, and the pay more than compensates for my time. But, when you factor in my ground contracts at GCU, I typically end up teaching 3 classes face-to-face. So in all I am teaching 6 through 16 weeks of the semester. According to my professor, full-time faculty would teach 4 classes in a semester. I am teaching more than this now, and the combination does provide an adequate living for me (between $55-60K). However, there is no assurance with any of these jobs. They are “at will,” which simply means that if the school cuts back, drops courses, or hires someone full-time, I could lose the job at the end of the contract. Thus, in a perfect world, I would like to be hired full-time, teach 3-4 classes, and then keep these “extra” online jobs to build my nest egg for retirement.

Today, as I was praying over my options, I noticed several “full-time” jobs in Communication in AZ. None are in my area of town. They are either in Tucson or Prescott, and while the commute makes it impossible to drive there regularly, I could consider moving if the job were offered. I would prefer Prescott, which is only 90 minutes from Phoenix. However, it is very expensive to live in Prescott, and outside of the town center, there is really nothing to do there (it is a small, but quaint community). Tucson is home to University of Arizona, and while that sounds impressive, it is a college town, and outside of the university square, again, there is not much to do. Then, there is an opening at my current school, GCU. At first blush, I thought, “WOW! This could really be it!” However, I am so gun-shy on applying at GCU. I mean, I have been faithfully teaching there for four years. They like me (so they tell me), and I do a very good job for them. I have very high marks in my classes, good retention, etc. Yet, when it comes to being offered full-time employment, I am constantly overlooked. It hurts, and as such, I am really not thinking this would be the Lord’s will for me. However, should the department offer me the position, I would have to consider it. I mean, I am already teaching 3 classes for them — big seminar size classes — so it would not be any different than what I do now each and every semester. Still, I don’t know if this would be His will or not.

Part of me thinks this would be the easy solution. I mean, I could stay where I am at, work full-time, get benefits, etc. It would be easy. But it would mean working full-time on campus versus, part-time, as I do now. More so, I am not sure if this is what the Lord intends to provide to me. I googled salary for GCU faculty, and Assistant Professors earn about $78K per year. This would be a very good starting salary. Associate and full Professors earn closer to $100-120K, so there would be definite benefits to working there long term. But, there is this stigma in my mind, and I need to work through it, deal with it, and accept the fact that I have been overlooked before. However, now I have my PhD, which as my Professor at Regent said, will cause schools to look twice. I love this man — he is so encouraging to me and even when I am like “it is so bleak, there is no hope, I don’t see how” — he is always looking on the bright side of things. He always reminds me that God has a good plan for my life. Yes, God be praised, God be praised for giving me a circle of influencers and for the WORD of knowledge and encouragement they share with me. God is good to me, He is so very good to me.

So as I read some student essays to give pre-final draft feedback, I think to myself, “Lord, whatever you decide for my next steps, I will be content in them.” I will do as you lead, guide and provide, Lord. I will go where you send me, and I will do the work you have prepared and equipped me to do.

In Closing

As I close out this post today, I am giving the Lord a sacrifice of praise. I am choosing to lift up the Lord, to honor Him with my mind, my heart, and my soul, this good, good day. I have what I have today because He has made it possible for me. I am where I am today because He has opened doors for me. I am content to be where I am this good day because the Lord has said to me, “I will provide. I have you well-covered.” Today, therefore, I rest in His complete and utter sufficiency. I say, “Yes, Lord” as I accept the provision He has graciously provided to me.

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