Yes, blog readers and "A new faculty majority" followers, there is a story behind the popular Facebook page's sudden disappearance—and I will blog it. Until then, I invite you to visit and like the new Facebook page, Precarious Faculty. Finally, neither our overall social media reach nor individual Twitter streams, blogs, G+ and other destinations in the PFR network have been adversely affected by the change. Many experienced more growth than usual.

Adjunct Justice's dramatic increase in traffic is the silver lining to the recent FB disruption. Visitor numbers keep climbing. Next visit, remember to click LIKE and jump those numbers to match too. Make @AnaMFores' AJ the #1 adjunct page on Facebook. PS: don't forget to sign her better pay for adjuncts petition too.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

#adjunct Links & Commentary from #KeithHoeller (weekly)

…Issue #1 blogging materials and words from and on behalf of legendary (but social media averse) adjunct activist, Keith Hoeller. This project is still in Beta, so expect changes. I edited the the auto-blogged bookmarks to tidy up format, added the vintage image of a 1907 classroom, and rearranged the order to lead with the NY Times OpEd, related links and commentary, including a copy of Keith's unpublished letter to the editor, plus a link to the published response letters—all above the fold. And there is still plenty to read after it, maybe too much. Have patience while I work out the kinks. I'm getting my blogging mojo back. With that comes more and better content posted more often. I'll work on the shorter posts thing too. Promise...

  • from The New York Times Editorial Board. It would be great if folks would write letters to the editor. Many people are sure to write in favor of the editorial's point of view. The email for letters is letters@nytimes.com. You need to include your snail mail address and phone number (though they won't print them of course). Here is the letter I just sent: While I am delighted that the NewYork Times has at long last noticed that higher education has been making use of three-quarters of a million part-time faculty, I am chagrined at the position you have taken, claiming that "the community colleges have to do a better job of screening the part-time instructors they hire, and developing their skills, which means providing mentors...." You relied on a study conducted by the Center for the Study of Community College Engagement and funded by an insurance company (Metlife). The Center's Advisory Board is dominated by community college administrators, including at least six presidents. No adjuncts appear to have been involved in the design of the study. Not surprisingly, the Center has deflected blame on to state legislators and the adjuncts themselves. But college presidents and trustees have not been lobbying their states for more money for adjunct faculty, just the opposite. In Colorado presidents recently led the charge to defeat a bill that would have provided equal pay for all of the part-timers in the community colleges. The study was not scientific. Indeed, it relied on self-report surveys and drew from "from 32 focus groups conducted with part-time faculty, full-time faculty, administrators, and staff at community colleges across the country." While the study produced some correlations, it did not control for all of the variables and the center was left to speculate as to the causes. In other words, the results of the study were more likely simply the perceptions the various players had about part-time faculty. Many of us have long argued that contingent faculty form a lower "caste" in higher ed. So these negative perceptions are not surprising. Moreover, you ignored a large study conducted by Northwestern University that dealt with full-time faculty. Researchers studied actual outcomes at ten colleges and universities and found that non-tenure-track faculty were actually better teachers than their tenure-track counterparts. At the very least, this shows what contingent faculty can do when provided with proper support. There is no reason to believe that part-time faculty, given the same support as the full-time, tenure-track faculty, wouldn't also excel. I highlighted this study in your "Sunday Dialogue: Academia's Two Tracks," published in the Times on November 16 last year. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/opinion/sunday/sunday-dialogue-academias-two-tracks.html. Sincerely, Keith Hoeller, Ph.D. Editor, Equality for Contingent Faculty: Overcoming the Two-Tier System (Vanderbilt University Press). Tags:  nytimes

#PrecariousFaculty Network Links (weekly)

  • The powerful compassion emanating from Shahn’s mural could serve equally to define the SU experience in the aftermath of the unusual September 1998 strike. In the belief that current labor unrest and the erosion of the humanities at universities spring from a common cause, I visited SU for five days in September in order to research the strike and its origins. During the summer prior to the strike, 750 unionized dining service workers, groundskeepers, janitors, and library employees at SU had found themselves without a contract. Negotiations between the SU administration and the union, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 200A, had foundered over the abuse of temporary workers, pay equity for library workers, the use of unskilled labor, and above all, subcontracting. Claiming that “modern institutions need flexibility,” the administration had demanded the right to subcontract any department with less than twenty-five employees .... Ultimately, the strike was about the search for identity, which made the fight over outsourcing particularly bitter. Outsourcing deprives employees of institutional identity, making them transients in the workplace. As universities deprive their employees of identity, they strive to create an illusion of identity for students and alumni. At Syracuse, pride in the football and basketball teams goes well beyond the university. In a 1988 interview, then chancellor Eggers called SU’s sports program “a vitality- generating activity, vitality-sharing activity” that “does provide a unifying theme, certainly more than anything I’ve seen in the community.” .... Even so, faculty, employees and students speak of a new feeling in the air, of exchanged looks of complicity in hallways, dining halls, and parking lots. “They [the administration] thought the strike would fracture this campus, but it has actually brought everyone together,” said union representative Coert Bonthius.26 The union victory surpasses the guarantees in the new contract. The strike ended the invisibility of those who clean the floors, prepare the food, mow the lawns, and fix the heaters. It revived a sense of identity and community, bringing Shahn’s powerful compassion to our remembrance, and his mural to life.

tools…using them—not being one

…this might not be a post either: call it an extended meta blogging update…planning out loud. Feel free to contribute your 2¢ worth. Let the musing begin:


I've been exploring Diigo blogging and sharing tools. Using is the best (only) way to learn a new tool. These turn annotated bookmarks into blog posts. If truly useful and making blogging/online information sharing quicker, easier — more efficient, then they will become part of the repertoire. If not, then not — and will fade from regular use. Until then, expect more Diggo blogging and auto-blogging. 

Special Projects

Keith Hoeller's links and commentary, a weekly annotated links post will include links to articles by and about Keith. I'm not the only one who has long thought he should have his own page or blog. Hardly believing he didn't, I started saving links on Delicious in 2008. The project starts with bookmarking and then blogging entries from Keith Hoeller's PT Faculty Links & Commentary on Diigo. Eventually, we'll find them a cyberspace home on the range of their own so they don't have to crash in random locations like a homeless adjunct. The Washington PartTime Faculty Association had a web page...but on a now defunct platform that disappeared from cyberspace taking all the WPFA pages with it...and there you thought nothing disappeared from cyberspace.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Education International Newsletter—Staying united

@eduint (EI) brings together 401 education #unions in 171 countries
Untitled Document

Bill Lipkin reports on the AFT HigherEd Conference in Baltimore

The weekend of April 11, 2014 saw one of the best AFT Higher Ed Conferences I have ever been to. The theme was 'Reclaiming the Promise of Higher Education' and there was a strong focus on contingent and adjunct faculty issues and solutions.

President Randi Weingarten opened the Conference with one of her rousing speeches. I had to compliment her after the speech for the concentration she put on contingent and adjunct faculty and our situation in the United States. She even took the time to explain the differences between adjunct and contingent positions and the various problems connected with each.

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