Currently I'm in a situation where I was originally working with an university to develop a course while being in industry, but I left the industry job. I'm not sure how to approach the conversation with the university. On one hand I would like to develop the course and teach it, but the university is a teaching oriented one (while I'm interested in research). Would it be better to work out a deal with them that I'll be an adjunct on the class and see how I get compensated for also developing a course? Or should I go in as an assistant professor and see how it goes (even though I think I wouldn't stay there for more than 2-3 years, and I would also pursue research with outside academia)?

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    In my experience, tenure track assistant professorships have >200 applicants and are extremely difficult to get. Can you give more details about how you are in a position to be choosing between adjunct and assistant professor? – sessej Jul 11 '18 at 17:55
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    @sessej, I didn't mean to come across as pretentious, apologies if I did. I'm really just trying to inform myself in the case that I do have to decide. I'm in a very small field, and I'm currently in a not that sought after location. I was developing a course for this school while working in industry since there was no one else with my background in the area, and I was going to teach it as well as adjunct. But I left industry and now that project is in the air, so I was just trying to inform myself (a year ago they had mentioned that I should apply as professor, but I was full time in industry – Esteban Jul 11 '18 at 23:43

Adjunct compensation (in the US) is very low. Don't do it for the money unless you are desperate. The comment of sessej about competition can't be ignored, but you aren't locked in to a lifetime if you "try it out".

However, you will, in a regular position, take on responsibilities to the students and your colleagues that you must honor as long as you hold the position. It would be unethical to withdraw or simply not do the job if you find after a few weeks or months that you made a mistake. But once the term of the contract is over, you should be free to choose differently than you did earlier.

In some situations, a department might even prefer a candidate who would only stay for a while. If enrollments are expected to drop in a few years, for example or if they think they can find a better credentialed or experienced candidate. But most would likely prefer someone really committed to the profession. It would be difficult, however, for you to learn that in advance without prejudicing a decision about hiring you.

Note that the overall responsibilities of adjuncts and regular faculty are normally quite different. While you are expected, as an adjunct, to give your own students good advice, you probably won't be asked to be a formal advisor of anyone. Likewise it would be unlikely that you would be chosen as a thesis advisor as an adjunct. The other side of the coin is that you won't have committee meetings to deal with, though that means you have little voice in academic governance.

Your inclusion in research, however, would more likely depend on finding someone to work with and developing a relationship. Likely your existing skills will help with that, depending on the field.

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