Monday, December 28, 2009
There's a lot to catch up with too: more budget crisis stories ~ spreading to more states; year-end updates; NFM plans for next year; ad-con and jobs panels at the MLA ~ and more.
In the meantime, I've been more diligent about tweeting updates: @NewFacMajority. Hey, even the MLA and its parodists are getting on board with social media.
I'll take that incomplete and be back with you soon...
Sunday, December 20, 2009
... and each tree in its own way so appropriate to either our cause or our profession ...
The Upside Down Tree
The upside of this upside-down 7-foot pre-lit Christmas tree is that you'll have more room for presents underneath! This strange tree from Hammacher Schlemmer was originally designed for specialty stores to display ornaments while using as little floor space as possible.
Upside down as appropriate to our cause because isn't it totally upside and wrong side out for the teaching majority to be in the state it's in?
The Shelf Tree
Don't want to bother with shedding pine needles or the hassle of putting together an artificial Christmas tree? You can make one out of books and magazines like this Shelf Tree by Frank Visser of IJM [Flash] instead. A perfect choice for the adjunct rich in books and education but little else.
More at Neatorama's world's most unusual Christmas trees...
Friday, December 18, 2009
Were relieved that the end of term was at hand.
Teachers used whiteboards to screen seasonal flicks
While heads CRB-checked all passing St Nicks.
Headteachers were furious they soon would be getting
A "disproportionate" system for barring and vetting.
To their wondering ears, someone heeded their calls:
A u-turn, of sorts, was announced by Ed Balls.
Checks on once-a-month visitors will now be retracted. Balls claimed it was schools that had "overreacted".
So how many parents will face vetting vexations?
Up to nine million, from the Mail's calculations.
The academies' scores were dismissed as big fables For they used BTECs and DiDAs to climb the league tables.
The think-tank that found this stressed they weren't snobs,
But didn't think the courses would help kids get jobs.
An MPs' committee backed the home educators (Which may stop their moans that "Everyone hates us").
Their numbers are "growing" - but can that be true?
As they refuse to be registered we haven't a clue.
New nativity plays made traditionalists weep, As Jesus "has been replaced by an angel or sheep".
So said a vicar from Cheltenham, who seemed not to know
That, in The Grumpy Sheep, Jesus still stars in the show.
A Coventry primary showed even more mettle Producing a hooliganised version of Hansel and Gretel.
A yobbish Gretel tells Hansel, in a scene of great tension:
"I'll break your neck if you tell her that I pinched her pension".
The play's bleak humour helped it do plenty of business,
But one parent moaned that it "killed the spirit of Christmas".
"Which spirit was that?" tired teachers might think.
Merry Christmas to all - you may need a stiff drink.
By Michael Shaw. Published in TES, Cymru edition18 December, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Organizing should be our top priority. Why? It is our most achievable major goal and fundamental to labor’s entire mission.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Bob Samuel's blog Changing Universities is one of many but still a standout among the websites, mainstream and local news pieces, columns, op-eds and members only listserv ruminations covering the University of California budget crisis and protests. I have been saying, blogging and tweeting so ~ as anyone checking in here regularly can't help having noticed.
As president of the University Council-AFT, which represents lecturers and librarians at the University of California, Bob knows the UC system and academic labor in California. He is also on the New Faculty Majority board of directors
Today, Bob's column about the UC crisis appears in Inside Higher Ed, which is covering the story better than CHE but, so far, still behind the blogosphere / twitterverse.
Titled "Lost Trust," Bob's column analyzes two contrasting narratives to explain the crisis:
"There are two main narratives battling to define the current crisis at the University of California . While the California situation is an extreme example of what is happening to public higher education these days nationally, these dueling narratives can be found in many other states as well."
Go here for the entire article: http://www.insidehighered.com/ views/2009/ 12/07/samuels
Searching Google News for "University of California budget crisis" yields a flood of stories, 391 and links to hundreds more, from Time Magazine and New York Times to academic and activist blogs and Workers World, from local to international and all the virtual newspaces in between.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
UCOP's budget request for 2010-11 was good (see the summary). It goes looking for a big bounce - from down over $800 million this year, to in principle up over $900 million next year. It's a restoration budget, and is an improvement in tactics after years of being limited to 3% increases by UCOP's timid interpretation of the Compact such that it failed to use the mid-decade boom to get out of the hole dug by the previous bust of 2002-05.
We've analyzed the budget on this blog quite a bit: a July 11 headnote provides some background and links, and references a post that estimates the funding crash under a scenario called Extreme Arnold. That post summarizes six scenarios for the UC budget and offers an overview of what's happened to our state funding.
The chart there was an update of those of the Futures Report (2007) (or see the slides) and the Cuts Report (2008). Now my Futures Report co-author Henning Bohn, an economics professor at UCSB, has also updated the budget data. It's a draft, he reminds me, but it is nicely convergent with the updates noted above. Henning also updates the calculation of state personal income, so that "benchmark" line is better.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Below: our 1st Tweet Cloud (there will be more). Comments welcome ~ there or here.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I thought the people on the list would like to hear about the historic actions in the UC system. Contingent faculty issues were front and center... First, I want to congratulate all the unions, workers, and students pulling off a great protest under difficult conditions. We had over 2,000 protesters at UCLA, and there were some great actions. Here are a few highlights:
Hundreds of people stopped traffic at one of the main intersections in L.A. and then marched up through the campus. Over a thousand people participated in a boisterous rally outside the regents meeting (the rally got international coverage). Even though the police tasered and hit several students and workers, we kept coming back for more.
A very surreal moment happened during the public comments period.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I just finished watching a YouTube video of Regents Bonnie Reiss and Eddie Island make a quick get-a-way to their vehicle at UCLA - just after they voted to increase student fees by an unprecedented 32%. They were surrounded and followed by students chanting, "Shame on you!" Reiss represents the banking and finance industry; and Island, a retiree of McDonnell-Douglas, represents the defense industry. So, given that these two industries, with their ballooned subsidies and profits, have done nothing more than take this country down over the last several years, I'm thinking a lot about legitimacy. Not legitimacy related to governance. Rather, legitimacy in terms of representation and intent.
Let me go back in time. Between 1952 and 2007, UC had a vibrant relationship with its patron, the weapons industry. Over the years, some found this relationship egregious, as the public was concerned about nuclear proliferation and Cold War military conflicts throughout the world. Culminating in the 1970s, student protests against UC-managed Labs indexed these global events. Yet despite all this, the one thing that the weapons industry, and indeed the US military, had in common with a stellar, highly endowed, multi-campus, public university was the priority of research. Whether it was about NSEP language grants, private sector-federal government partnerships, or DOD and NSF funding that blurred the lines between foreign policy and military interests, a strong interdisciplinary research institution, writ large, was good for this industry.
But now we have a new relationship that constitutes a mix of patronage and competition. It's been built with the finance industry, commercial real estate – Big Business generally – all of which the Regents represent.
Friday, November 20, 2009
California Students and Faculty Protest Fee Increase As California Students and Faculty Protest University Regents Approve 32 Percent Student Fee Increase
Photos: http://tinyurl.com/yj4hdly & http://tinyurl.com/y8o6afc
Audio: Statement from demonstrators: http://tinyurl.com/yc267pn, http://tinyurl.com/y88kynf
Audio: Charles Alexande, UCLA Vice Provost for Student Diversity and Director of Academic Advancement Program: http://tinyurl.com/yfwopml
(1) UC Regents Approve 32 Percent Student Fee Increase By Michael R. Blood, Associated Press Writer, San Francisco Chronicle, November 19, 2009
(2) Hundreds rally at UCLA to protest expected 32% increase in student fees, Los Angeles Times, November 19, 2009
(3) Associated Press November 19, 2009, By Michael R. Blood, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - Officers armed with beanbag guns stood by as hundreds of protesters chanted, marched and even took over a building Thursday on the UCLA campus, where University of California regents were scheduled to vote on a 32 percent student fee increase.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Update: Southwestern College Faculty Suspensions blogged via Google Alerts from Student Activism by Angus Johnston, 11/2/09
Inside Higher Ed has a new piece up this morning on the Southwestern College fiasco, bringing the story pretty much up to date. Go check it out.
Also this morning, a source on campus sent me a copy of the latest memo from the administration.
Inside Higher Ed has a new piece up this morning on the Southwestern College fiasco, bringing the story pretty much up to date. Go check it out.
Also this morning, a source on campus sent me a copy of the latest memo from the administration.
Saturday Nov 7th, 9:00AM to noon, The Cullen Room at Busboys and Poets @ 5th & K, 1025 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001.
The story moved out of academic and college presses and blogs in short order, jumping into non-academic social and mainstream media, even crossing the Atlantic.
Surely that's worth its own story but not just yet. First, let's add our names to the online petition that Matt created.
The petition calls on The University of Akron to rescind the offending provision of University Rule 3359-11-22 that DNA sampling of applicants for employment.
Please repost on any other blogs, lists, or websites. We want to reach 10K signatures by the end of the week.
Rescind University of Akron DNA Sampling Rule
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Bookmark notes: "The Ph.D. Problem," on the professionalization of faculty life, doctoral training, and the academy's self-renewal:
"[T]he modern academic discipline reproduces all the salient features of the professionalized occupation. It is a self-governing and largely closed community of practitioners who have an almost absolute power to determine the standards for entry, promotion, and dismissal in their fields. ....Since it is the system that ratifies the product—ipso facto, no one outside the community of experts is qualified to rate the value of the work produced within it—the most important function of the system is not the production of knowledge. It is the reproduction of the system.... It is the academic's job in a free society to serve the public culture by asking questions the public doesn't want to ask, investigating subjects it cannot or will not investigate..." + pages of comments
Thanks to Kibrolv at Open a Vein for blogging this one (post title, "the octopus") for me to pick up his link on RSS reader, read article, bookmark on NFM bundle and then share here (tweet later too). More bookmarks at http://delicious.com/vcrary/NFM. Blogged via Delicious.com
Thursday, October 29, 2009
"tough, honest, highly entertaining - and also a serious examination of what is happening in one typical US state university with aspirations to a greater role on the international academic stage....This book is based on the American university system, but the patterns of behaviour that it outlines will be all too familiar to administrators and academics in universities all over the world."
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Thanks to Anne McLeer, SEIU Local 500, Director of Research/Strategic Planning, for permission to cross post from adj-l. There’s a lot going on in the “adjunctverse” these days ~ CHE surveys, Southwestern College shenanigans, Akron U imposing DNA sampling, AAUP & AFT “conversion” proposals, California budget woes ~ more than I can keep up with so any help readers can offer is more than welcome.
Part-time faculty at
The SEIU 500 Coalition for Academic Labor will be hosting a “Forum on Part-time Faculty Unions: A National and Local Movement” on Nov 7th in
Sunday, October 25, 2009
On Thursday, October 22, students at Southwestern College in Chula Vista chose to protest against the unilateral actions of the school president and its Board. The protest was civil and held in the fifty yard-by-fifty yard zone that the school calls its "Free Speech Area."
Southwestern College Students Protest Class Cuts (And What the Administration Did Afterward) via The Writer's Washroom by Nickolas on 10/24/09
It should also be noted that the Free Speech Area is hidden away between several buildings and is invisible to any road, parking lot, or driveway that surrounds the campus. To a member of the voting public - such as myself - who showed up to watch the students, it was difficult to find. I, like others, had to park and wander the campus until we found it.
For the last Board meeting, President Chopra refused to move the venue from the tiny room it usually used to the auditorium it regularly uses when it expects a big crowd. He knew that students, professors, members of the public, and the press were coming to express their displeasure at his budget-slashing plans, so more than one hundred people – like me – stood outside and listened to the meeting on little speakers, while police guarded the doors.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
“we have been trying for years to improve pay and working conditions for our part-timers and adjuncts and our union has had some success. Through the efforts of UUP the salary of adjuncts has increased in the past 10 years and we have been able to secure health insurance and other benefits. However, their compensation still lags far behind full-time faculty on campus. The major problems are the continued under funding of SUNY by NY State and a lack of political will on the part of our legislators to fund and support public higher education. UUP will continue to take a public stand to ensure that our citizens are able to receive a quality postsecondary education and that all faculty and staff are compensated fairly for their knowledge, talents, and teaching ability. For campus equity week, UUP will be speaking to faculty, staff, legislators, students and their parents to inform them of the situation that many SUNY instructors and others face every day. Many of our adjunct faculty have served the college with distinction and dedication for many years and are entitled to job security and better compensation.”
Friday, October 23, 2009
VIEWPOINT: State system exploits part-time professors | Other voices - The News Tribune | Seattle-Tacoma News, Weather, Sports, Jobs, Homes and Car
"Still, a Ph.D-toting chemistry prof shouldn't have to earn less than a newly minted master's recipient picked up by the local middle school. How do we recruit and keep good faculty in research-intensive fields if the pay is equivalent to what day-care workers and shopping-mall cashiers earn? If we value a college education, then let's figure out a way to pay these educators what their investment in at least six to 10 years of university training should be worth."
College trend: Cut-rate *faculty* Science News on 10/23/09
Adjunct faculty face precarious financial security despite their playing an increasingly pivotal role in many schools ...
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
How Administrators Took Over the University of California via Changing Universities by Bob Samuels on 10/19/09
In the UC system, we have a saying, "When two administrators walk into a room, three always walk out." The question then is how do administrators reproduce and what effect does their reproduction have on the University of California. While I will not describe the mating habits of administrators, I will show how the growing rise of the administrative class means less money for everyone else, higher student fees, and a loss of shared governance.
According to a 2008 UCLA Faculty Association report, "Over the past decade, the numbers of Administrators in the UC almost doubled, while the number of faculty increased by 25%. The sharpest growth took place among Executives and Senior Managers: 114%. Because Administrators command high salaries and benefits, any increase in their number higher than the expected growth rate for the University results in high costs: rough estimates of the costs of carrying extra administrators at UC range around $800 million."
The first thing to stress here is that during the last decade, as the number of students increased in the UC system, there were fewer faculty to teach them, but many more administrators to run the show. In this structure, power shifts to the administrative class, while the faculty are pushed out of shared governance. Moreover, due to their high compensation packages, administrators suck up the funds that could be spent on faculty salaries and wages for the lowest paid workers.
As I pointed out in a previous post, "In 2008, there were 397 administrators in the over 200k club making a total of $109 million, and in 2006, the same group had 214 members for a collective gross pay of $58.8 million. This group and its collective salaries, then, almost doubled in just two years." Not only has the administrative class grown in numbers and the percentage of the budget they consume through their salaries, but during the current period of "fiscal emergency," we have seen several million dollars spent on increased compensation for administrators.
UPTE has documented that during the same regents meeting where a fiscal emergency was declared and the furlough system was approved, hundreds of administrators got compensation increases,
Saturday, October 17, 2009
From Gwendolyn Bradley, PhD, Senior Program Officer, American Association of University Professors, Phone: 202-737-5900, ext. 112, Fax: 202-737-5526, www.aaup.org,
Call for Proposals
The AAUP invites individuals and teams to submit proposals for our annual Conference on the State of
Presenters are invited to propose a wide range of issues related to academic freedom, governance, faculty work life, rights, and responsibilities. Among the questions the conference will explore are:
• The role of faculty in institutional decision making
• Challenges to academic freedom in the
• The exploitation of contingent labor in colleges and universities
• The conflict between institutional rankings and educational priorities
• Strategic approaches to furloughs, cutbacks, and salary freezes
• Funding and defunding public education
• Increasing access to tenure
• Race, gender, and sexual orientation
• Discrimination in hiring, promotion, and tenure
• Online education: the pros and cons
• Assessment and accountability
• The corporatization of teaching and research
• The twenty-first century curriculum
The goal of the conference is to provide a faculty perspective on critical issues in higher education presented in a format accessible to the general public.
The conference will include special AAUP-sponsored workshops on:
• Protecting an Independent Faculty Voice at Public Institutions: the Legal Landscape
• Winning Anti-Discrimination Policies and Domestic Partner Benefits: Case Studies of Campus Successes
• The Ratcheting Up of Expectations for Tenure: Are Faculty Their Own Worst Enemy?
The AAUP conference receives extensive coverage in the educational press, often including coverage of individual papers at sessions of interest to the press; selected papers from the conference will be published in the AAUP Journal of Academic Freedom, a new online journal distributed to 355,000 faculty
Deadline for submission of proposals: October 31, 2009. Learn more about the conference and see the guidelines for proposals. Please forward this announcement to relevant listservs.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
"Gov. David Paterson dealt a staggering blow to public higher education in New York when he ordered millions of dollars cut from SUNY's budget and proposed to do the same to CUNY.
Higher education leaders reacted with shock and outrage to the governor's executive order for the midyear cuts, which slashes $90 million from SUNY and â pending legislative approval â $53 million from CUNY."
Even more fodder for CEW: time to move beyond the campus.
Shared via AddThis
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The writer then describes a typical conference encounter, "Yes, I’m fully qualified with a good track record of post-doctoral research and publication. But my position within academia since completing my doctorate has been unclear. For a number of years after completing my thesis I did not hold a university position, subsisting on freelance community research projects. In those years, I came to dread receiving an integral part of any conference – the name badge. I had no institution to put underneath my name. When I bumped into people I knew, they would frequently come out with something like: 'so you’re now at... oh', looking embarrassed at my lack of affiliation. I’d have to quickly summarise my complicated employment situation before apologetically explaining that I was still doing some academic writing in my field."
What's on your name badge? Maybe it's time to face up and out ourselves as what and who we are, precariously employed some still desperately seeking permanent academic employment. Imagine the effect of complacent tenured conference goers looking around a room and seeing themselves in the minority, outnumbered like Custer at Little Big Horn...
- College and University Support Network (CUSN): an independent charity supporting all adult, further and higher education staff and their families to improve their wellbeing and effectiveness; established by the Teacher Support Network, in collaboration with the University and College Union, to meet the specific needs of those working in further and higher education.
- University and College Union (UCU): represents more than 120,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK and is the largest post-school union in the world.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
|from NFM VP Matt Williams:|
Maria and I had a great day yesterday as we attended the AAUP Summit on for Ohio held in Columbus. The meeting was attended by about 50 state and local AAUP, AFT, NFT, NEA, OEA, and OFT representatives along with Maria and myself from NFM and several graduate students from .
The meeting took a very favorable change in course toward our issues, specifically Ohio Senate Bill 129 that seeks to overturn Ohio law with respect to the exclusion of graduate assistant and part-time faculty labor from in the state. We received a very supportive hearing, and Maria did a great job getting her message across. The meeting concluded with a consensus that Senate Bill 129 should be the top legislative priority for the three unions during the coming months. There was a sense of collective agreement on the need to reverse this arcane provision of Ohio law.
The meeting was also attended by two members of the as well as by a staffer representing a third. The staffer left the meeting very enthused about the issue and intent on informing his colleagues in other offices throughout the . Maria and I, in consultation with AFT's lobbyist, have determined that she and I should spend time visiting every member of the legislature in our effort to seek their support for the legislation.
SB 129 is not a slam dunk, to be sure, but looks promising in as much as the issue is beginning to receive coverage in the press.
Regards, Matt Williams, VP, New Faculty Majority
Note: spread the word... join NFM and AFT in working toward passage of Ohio HB129. Write, fax or email an Ohio legislator. Sign the petition (coming soon). Wondering how to find a legislator and then how to write a legislator?
Follow New Faculty Majority on Twitter too ~ @NewFacMajority
Friday, October 2, 2009
Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a new program for borrowers who work in certain kinds of jobs. It will forgive remaining debt after 10 years of eligible employment and qualifying loan payments. (During those 10 years, the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan can help keep your loan payments affordable.)
Who can get Public Service Loan Forgiveness? This program is for people with who work in a wide range of "public service" jobs, including jobs in government and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations.
- are employed by any nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization;
- are employed by the federal government, a state government, local government, or tribal government (this includes the military and public schools and colleges); or
- serve in a full-time AmeriCorps or Peace Corps position.