Monday, December 28, 2009

Holiday break notice

I hadn't planned to take a holiday break, but looking at my Blogger dashboard, I see that I have. I kept up better with my other blogs, almost as though observing semester break but catching up with non-academic chores.

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

Unusual Christmas Trees ...

... 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

Press Release: EMU Part-Time Faculty File to Join Union


Ypsilanti, MI -- Part-time lecturers at Eastern Michigan University have filed for a representation election with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). A majority of these lecturers have joined the Eastern Michigan University Federation of Teachers (EMUFT), which already represents full-time lecturers at EMU. Part-time lecturers, who call themselves the Adjunct Lecturers’ Organizing Committee (ALOC), filed an accretion petition and membership cards with MERC on Wednesday, December 9, 2009.

"For me, one of the central goals for bringing part-time lecturers into the EMUFT is to secure the fundamental right of all teachers to have a determining voice in the conditions under which we work," says Mark Wenzel, a part-time lecturer in the History and Philosophy department. “The adjuncts, who comprise 36% of EMU teachers and teach 1/3 of its contact hours, do not have job security,” he adds. “If we think highly of our students, we'll cherish their teachers."

Full-time lecturers, which number about 98 and are represented by EMUFT, are eager to have their part-time colleagues as fellow union members. ALOC estimates EMU employs approximately 450 part-timers every semester.

'Twas the Week before Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas, and schools through the land

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

Examining "Reassigned Time: Tenure and the Adjunctification of Higher Ed"

Taking a turn around the blogosphere ~ revisiting that ole tenure thang, which must, I suppose, start with revisiting the much reviewed, forwarded, blogged and tweeted AAUP Report on Tenure Conversion. Skipping over those, although a link list would be informative (what is this academic compulsion to bibliographicate?), this is the one I stumbled over today via Gabriell Montell's post,"Saying No to a World Without Tenure," in the Chronicle's On Hiring blog.... following a trail that starting out from a humble Google alert set for "new faculty majority."

In Reassigned Time: Tenure and the Adjunctification of Higher Ed at Reassigned Time, Dr Crazy (blog handle not diagnosis) opens by stating that she hadn't been going to enter the Berubé vs Dean Dad (@ IHE) fray but needed to get it out of her system:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Organizing: the Arts and Sciences, Rich Moser

 Cross posted from New Unionism, which is about unions setting agendas, rather than just reacting to them. This network unites supporters of four key principles: organizing, workplace democracy, internationalism and creativityFAQ»  Join»   

Organizing, yes, but for what? Richard Moser presents an intriguing summary of the current state of work and unionism in the U.S.. He argues that unions have tended towards an organizational culture which is resistant to change and unaccustomed to democracy. He traces the evolution of this process, mapping it against changes in work and society. Unions must develop a culture of organizing if they are to renew their influence and reconnect with their members. He then presents some recommendations on organizing, exploring the contradictory but creative tensions that animate union activity. These are the challenges faced by those who want to put the movement back into labor.


Organizing and the Fate of the US Labor Movement
It’s all about organizing and that’s good news.  Good news because it’s in our hands.  Good news because if we attend to the core mission of organizing we can become the authors of a new labor history—and it is a far, far better thing to be the author of your own world than a critic of the existing one. There are good reasons to believe that we can develop the capacity for renewal if we tap sources now nearly forgotten or largely unknown: the traditions of organizing and the transformative potential organizing still holds for the labor movement. Opportunity knocks, but, even the best of opportunities must be taken.

Organizing should be our top priority.  Why?  It is our most achievable major goal and fundamental to labor’s entire mission.


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Monday, December 7, 2009

Lost Trust ~ UC Crisis, Bob Samuels in IHE

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: 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

Pushing a New Measure of UC Budgets in Sacramento

Pushing a New Measure of UC Budgets in Sacramento via Remaking the University by Chris Newfield on 11/25/09

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.

SAFRA ~ Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act

Briefly, HR 3221 amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 that authorizes most highered federal spending. Skimming brief overview ~ student loans, Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, college affordability issues, community colleges, retention/ completion stats, online education.

Contingent faculty issues? As ever conspicuous by their absence ~ the point of mounting a campaign. Ever the cynic, I somehow doubt solons will be keen to consider college affordability and ad-con issues on the same plate. Debra Leigh Scott has been pushing this too. It will take more than a few organizations and a handful of individuals to do this ~ coordinated mobilization of a mass letter writing and social media campaign.

Fact Sheet summary ~ The full bill should be online, no telling how long … Google on.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

NewFacMajority tweet cloud

In case you didn't know, we tweet too @NewFacMajority. Follow and retweet please ~ spread the word... I'll get around to adding a twitter widget, but I want to the notion introduce to Steve gently and in stages.

Also recommended: @AFTFACE, @DebraLeighScott,@timeshighered (UK), @SEIU500CAL (Coalition for Academic Labor)

Below: our 1st Tweet Cloud (there will be more). Comments welcome ~ there or here.

NewFacMajority cloud

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