Job candidate has seven years of adjunct teaching experience, no full-time experience. Proposed statement in a cover letter for a tenure-track position requiring teaching experience: "I have seven years of experience teaching XXX to undergraduate and graduate students." Notice that the word "adjunct" doesn't appear in the sentence.
The issue here is wanting to conceal the fact that the candidate has been been searching unsuccessfully for a tenure-track position for seven years, which is a common challenge for most new PhDs in today's job market. The question of research vs teaching isn't at issue here, only how to phrase one's adjunct teaching experience where teaching experience is required.
Which of the following is true, and what evidence is there to support your choice?
(1) Adjuncts should state the number of years of their teaching experience because a significant number of years makes them more competitive. Someone who has taught for seven years is far more valuable to the university than a recent PhD graduate with little teaching experience. The former has a better understanding of pedagogy; a portfolio of teaching activities; skills in classroom management, online and in-person teaching, grading, conflict resolution, mentoring, etc.; and broad cross-disciplinary teaching experience. These experiences are of the same quality as those gained from tenure-track teaching.
(2) Adjuncts should not state the number of years of their teaching experience in the cover letter because adjunct teaching is not highly valued and drawing attention to it and to the number of years spent as an adjunct without finding a tenure-track position will make the candidate less competitive. The candidate should only state, "I have taught XXX to undergraduate and graduate students" without stating the number of years.