Shaunda Shaw & Shineil Taylor
Brianna Ebony Simpson
Robin “Rob” Jenkins, associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College since 2000, is on a mission. He wants people across the country to know that two-year colleges are great places to work and that graduate students everywhere should consider them as a possible career alternative to four-year research universities.
Jenkins started writing about his passion for community colleges in the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2003. Much of his material comes from his GPC experiences. He began his “Two-Year Track” column after chairing several faculty search committees here. “I noticed that so many applicants seem to have no idea what two-year colleges are, what we do, how to apply or even what to say in an interview,” says Jenkins.
Jenkins became the Chronicle’s monthly community college columnist in 2006 and now writes about other important community college issues as well. Last spring he started “The Two-Year Track” weekly blog. He gets many emails and phone calls from people across the United States and other countries about applying to or interviewing at community colleges.
His 2011 book, "Building a Career in America's Community College," is based on the “Two-Year Track” columns. He wrote the book for people who are considering careers at community colleges, as well as those who are already working at two-year schools. Jenkins wants readers to understand the good work that community colleges do and give them enough information to help them decide whether or not it’s a career for them. He also wants readers to understand how to succeed and thrive as a faculty member and an administrator in a two-year college setting.
The columns and book led to a national lecture tour. Jenkins speaks primarily at four-year schools including Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Idaho State University, Emory University, Brandeis University, Fordham University, Cornell University and the University of Tennessee. He also speaks at several two-year colleges.
“I'm always gratified, when I speak to graduate students, to learn how many of them started out at two-year colleges,” says Jenkins. “In many cases, they're attending my lecture because teaching at a community college is exactly what they want to do because of the great experience they had at a two-year school.”
Jenkins advises GPC students who are thinking about a teaching career in higher education to remember their incredible educational experience at GPC and consider teaching at a community college one day. “You can help a lot of deserving students to achieve their dreams—just like your professors are helping you right now,” he says.