Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Adjunct Solidarity

OK so you've probably already seen this but just in case, here's Scott Jaschik's report, Adjunct Solidarity, for IHE on the Weber U letter writing campaign.
"Given that Weber State isn't known for its activist professors, administrators there were surprised recently when letters and e-mail messages started to arrive -- not from adjuncts or their tenure-track colleagues at the university, but from New York, California and elsewhere -- as far away as Japan.....And the Weber State plan struck many adjunct activists at other campuses as salt in the wounds -- enough so that they needed to let the university know that someone was watching. The Coalition for Contingent Academic Labor organized the letter writing to the university's senior officials, and distributed a sample that said, of adjuncts at Weber State:...the letter-writing campaign is part of an effort to let colleges know that people are watching the decisions they make about adjuncts."
Steve Street commented on the adjunct listserv adj-l:
A clap on the back to John [Hess, COCAL-CA] for starting this campaign and to all who emailed, as well as to IHE for breaking the story and keeping on top of it.

That & New Faculty Majority Day are not the only campaign stops for the Visibility Express...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Press Release: New Faculty Majority: the National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Faculty

From the Organizing Committee for New Faculty Majority: the National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity, March 18, 2009:


In their third conference call since their establishment as an organizing committee in early February, faculty activists from across the country agreed on the name New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity for the organization, which will represent the interests of and advocate for non-tenure-track faculty at colleges and universities nationwide. During the two-hour call on Sunday, March 15, the committee also referred a draft of their mission statement back to subcommittee for refinement, reviewed a rough outline of the proposed organizational structure, voted to approve the establishment of a temporary web site until a permanent web site is constructed, and approved the formation of new subcommittees on research and fundraising. The committee also decided to seek 501(c)3 status after incorporating later this year.

The committee selected their name in a unanimous vote, noting that “New Faculty Majority” has been used to refer to fixed-term faculty since its appearance in Spring 2000 as the title of an article by Judith Gappa, professor of educational administration at Purdue University. At the time of Gappa’s article, non-tenure-track faculty constituted approximately 60 percent of the teaching faculty nationwide; today they account for 70 percent. “The New Faculty Majority” is also the title of a new blog by adjunct activist Steve Street. The group’s subtitle, “The National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity,” reflects the fact that the organization will target both semester-to-semester contract adjunct faculty and multiple year/limited contract contingent faculty as its constituents, but will also welcome any interested individuals and groups to participate in the group’s advocacy and public education efforts.

“We feel that we’ve made significant progress in a very short period of time, which reflects the commitment and hard work of this committee,” said Co-Chair Deb Louis, observing that the committee has added three new members since its last teleconference and has agreed to add more as talented individuals continue to come forward. “We are pleased that the composition of the committee increasingly reflects the composition of the adjunct and contingent population nationwide, and we look forward to welcoming more people who share our dedication to equity and excellence in higher education,” added Co-Chair Maria Maisto.

The committee will meet again by teleconference on April 5, at which time it expects to approve its web site, finalize its mission statement, vote on its organizational structure, and begin planning its summer activities. The committee expects that New Faculty Majority will be a functioning membership organization by the beginning of the next academic year.

Note: watch for notice of our soon to published web site. An updated list of committee members will be posted separately.

Previously reported in CHE @

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Resources: Judith Gappa, Change Magazine

July-August 2008 Resource Review: Today’s Majority—Faculty Outside the Tenure System

--by Judith M. Gappa

The work of colleges and universities—teaching, research, creative endeavors, professional service, and community involvement—is carried out each day by committed, talented faculty members. The faculty’s intellectual capital, taken collectively, is every institution’s principal asset. Today, as higher-education institutions are faced with new challenges that only seem to grow more difficult—maintaining technological infrastructures, dealing with budgetary constraints, recruiting and retaining diverse students, finding new sources of revenue, and responding to new accountability requirements, for example—the importance of all faculty members in achieving institutional goals is obvious. Thus, concern for the well-being and productivity of the faculty, collectively and individually, is a permanent and central issue for higher education institutions and governing bodies.

Fortunately, two recently published books about faculty include non-tenure-track appointments in their comprehensive discussions of American faculty characteristics, employment, working conditions, and careers: The American Faculty: The Restructuring of Academic Work and Careers by Jack Schuster and Martin Finkelstein (2006) and Rethinking Faculty Work: Higher Education’s Strategic Imperative by Judith Gappa, Ann Austin, and Andrea Trice (2007). The latter emphasizes successful recruitment and retention across all types of academic appointments.

Today, the new majority of faculty members are those not appointed to tenure-track positions. In contrast to 1975, when 58 percent of all faculty members were in tenure-bearing positions, by 2000 only 27 percent of all new faculty appointments and 56 percent of all new full-time faculty appointments were in tenure-track positions. In total, 60 percent of today’s 1,138,734 faculty members are in full- and part-time appointments outside the tenure system (Gappa, Austin and Trice, 2007, Schuster and Finkelstein, 2006), and full-time, non-tenure-eligible faculty are now one-third of the full-time faculty in all types of institutions, from two-year colleges to research universities. The percentages range from 20 percent of the full-time faculty in engineering to 50 percent in the health sciences. Roger Baldwin and Jay Chronister describe the types of appointments and working conditions of full-time non-tenure-track faculty in their 2001 book, Teaching Without Tenure: Policies and Practices for a New Era.

This trend away from traditional full-time, tenure-bearing appointments is due in part to the changing demographics of faculty members. The summary report “Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities” (Hoffer et al., 2005) shows that the proportion of doctorates received by women has grown steadily across all disciplines and has reached more than half of all doctorates awarded. The last 15 years have also seen an increase in faculty of color. In 2004, 20 percent of doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens went to people of color (Hoffer et al., 2005).

Judith M. Gappa is professor emerita of higher education administration at Purdue University, where she served previously as vice president for human relations. Before that, she was associate provost for faculty at San Francisco State University.The full text of this article is available by subscription only.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Reading Room: A Proposal to American Labor

Remember the reading tradition in US union history? Workers Reading Rooms in hiring halls. Samuel Gompers' cigar rollers voting to have a member on the clock read to them as they worked.

Why not an online reading room right here? Hence, another topic area signaled by Reading Room in the post title. I've been reading on four articles and was going to post links on all of them in this post but changed my mind. Instead, they will come one at a time, substantially excerpted, although I hope you will take the time click through and read each in its entirety. Now for the ellipsis exercise....

A Proposal to American Labor, by Richard B. Freeman and Joel Rogers, appearing in The Nation, June 24, 2002. discusses Open Source Unionism, its history, structure and current application. "Solidarity Unionism" described in this article is making a comeback, and the article is still linked as a resource on IWW website

Friday, March 6, 2009

KUDOS: Scott Jaschik, EWA Award, Education Reporting

IHE editor and co-founder Scott Jaschik is among Education Writers of America's 2008 National Awards Contest Winners (in Education Reporting) for his series on adjuncts in academia, which earned a first place for beat reporting in the small media

Scott Jaschik won this award for a set of 2008 articles in Inside Higher Education (IHE) on the rising use of adjunct professors. His articles focus on issus such issues as how colleges treat their workers, the impact on students of being taught by professors without tenure, and the effectiveness of unions and other groups that say they protect faculty interests. Links to the articles can be found here.

His winning entry included the following articles:
If you have not read them, now would be a good time. If you already have, there's always rereading...

Image credit ©Wilson Center 2011. Post edited July 18, 2014 to add labels and replace image gone AWOL.
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