Thursday, February 25, 2010

R U UCubed?

UCubed Catching Hold and Gaining Momentum, by Kiley Hernandez, Feb 25, 2010

"Ur Union of Unemployed" or UCubed, generated record-breaking numbers over the last 24 hours, with membership jumping from almost 480 job activists yesterday to well over 800 today. Ninety-six new cubes were created within the same time period, adding to the 84 cubes already created (six people within the same zip code make one cube). UCubed is now up-and-running in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

The UCubed website is creating an outlet for the 30 million-plus unemployed, and out-of-work America is beginning to speak loud and clear about the jobs crisis.

Since its launch in January 2010, UCubed’s steady increase in media presence and social networking is building a movement, and people are noticing. “This thing could hit critical mass pretty quick. Fire it up!” said one post on Common Dreams.

UCubed is committed to providing resources to the unemployed and providing a way to build strength in numbers via a unique web-based, grass-roots platform. In addition, UCubed allows members within their area to connect with other individuals who are unemployed and provide service and support for each other while spearheading legislative notices on critical jobs issues.

Learn more by visiting UCubed at

for academic venting & more

Today ~ not an adjunct blog but a wiki, surely kin: Academic Jobs Wiki. It's a useful job resource, regularly and copiously updated.

Since I don't work on Maggie's Farm no more. my favorite section of is the Venting Page ~ and there you thought "just for academic venting" referred to the comments section at the end of Inside Higher Ed articles. Deal breakers and Universities to fear are pretty good to.

Wiki editors hail from that large pool of candidates desperate not to become adjuncts. Odds are most will join our number. In the meantime, let's hail their efforts and thank them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

online reading for wayward perma-temps

No, I haven't forgotten about the blogroll... still collecting, tagging, sorting, etc. A March 4 post from new adjunct blog, The Adjunct Voice. described as "a virtual meeting place for part-time/adjunct university faculty members from across the U.S. to have a voice... share... ideas, experiences and concerns" opens today's online reading list for wayward perma-temps. Each post "My name is Raye, and I am an adjunct"

Day of Action for Education event heating up for March 4. Do you know of a March 4th activity in your area? Please add it to her list.

CalFac list of March 4 actions

The Case Against College Education ... but for certification. If TIME is in favor of it, can group think be far behind?

1st the bubble, then the real estate bubble: now comes the student loan bubble, Bob Samuels in HuffPo

Share Your Story @ HuffPo - Majoring In Debt

Scientific American: Academic Labor Market Gone Seriously Awry

Central Michigan University Nontenure-Track Faculty Form Union

Mount Pleasant, MI – A majority of the nontenure-track faculty at Central Michigan University filed for a union representation election with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC). The Union of Teaching Faculty (UTF) will negotiate job security, salary increases, health insurance, and professional development issues with the university administration. The representation petition and membership cards were filed with MERC on Tuesday, February 23, 2010. UTF is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a group that represents more than 6,500 higher education faculty across the state.

"We are one of the few groups on campus without collective bargaining rights,” said Mary Ann Freling, an English instructor at the university. "As a union, we'll have the right to meet on a more equal footing with the administration and discuss the issues that affect us, our students, and the university as a whole."

Full- and part-time nontenure-track faculty teach close to half of undergraduate credit hours at the university, mostly in introductory courses. These positions are filled by skilled teachers with many years of experience, with degrees from masters to the doctoral, who teach at a fraction of the pay level of their tenure-track colleagues. Moreover, they receive reduced benefits, have little job security, and often don’t have input on important departmental decisions.

"Job security is a major issue for nontenure-track instructors," said Tom Stewart, instructor in the Political Science Department. I have taught at CMU for 17 years now, and I’m still uncertain if I’ll have a position next semester. We commit ourselves 100% to our students, but the university won't commit to us beyond a semester or year at a time."

“We are looking for fair compensation and simple respect,” says Jim Eikrem, instructor in the Communications and Dramatic Arts Department. “Whether full- or part-time, all CMU faculty deserve a fair wage, job security, and the respect that comes with being treated fairly. The university and its students benefit by having more teachers committed to CMU and its educational mission, rather than the rapid turnover that accompanies temporary contracts.”

CMU undergraduate Jerad Taber, son of nontenure-track faculty member Cassie Taber, was shocked to find that many instructors were making less than high school teachers: salaries for public school teachers in Michigan start at $35,000 and average approximately $50,000.

“This is an issue of fairness and equality,” said Taber. “‘Temporary’ instructors are being taken advantage of, and deserve to have a voice. We as students receive the same quality education whether our instructor is tenured or not. Some of these instructors have been here for decades – calling them ‘temporary’ faculty is an oxymoron.”

The union anticipates meeting with the university administration and a MERC representative in a few weeks to agree on a date for the election. “We hope to have a positive relationship with the administration since our mutual goal is to make CMU a better place for students and faculty alike. Nontenure-track faculty continue to be a valuable resource to the university in providing quality yet cost effective instruction, and hope to be treated with the respect and the professionalism we deserve,” states Freling, adjunct faculty since 1987.

from Jon Curtiss , for immediate release, February 23, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

@NewFacMajority >> Tweet Cloud

What have I been up to and tweet @NewFacMajority? You could take a look for yourself, but here's the short version: look at the tweet cloud for the past month's posts

words (ordered by most used)

  • adjunct
  • education
  • academic
  • faculty
  • blog
  • voice
  • highered
  • time
  • teaching
  • blogs
  • student
  • college
  • universities
  • post
  • students
  • adjuncts
  • university
  • system
  • statement
  • social
  • survey
  • tuition
  • academia
  • times
  • remember
  • workforce
  • future
  • broader
  • weve
  • site
  • call
  • california
  • school
  • acad
  • union
  • adj-fac
  • online
  • contract
  • humanities
  • goes
  • tenure
  • free
  • read
  • brief
  • public
  • hurt
  • huffpo
  • uvenus
  • worker
  • collecting
  • quality
  • ross
  • stage
  • hard
  • stop
  • blogroll
  • parent
  • news
  • professors
  • crisis



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A clear and present danger - to Academic Freedom

from Times Higher Education - A clear and present danger, 11 February 2010

Many scholars on both sides of the Atlantic feel that their freedom to question is in danger of being eroded or even lost. Zoe Corbyn examines the threat in the UK, while Christoph Bode and David Gunkel consider the state of affairs in Europe and America

"Academic freedom has always been under threat," notes Blumsohn, who is now a hospital researcher, campaigner for openness in research conduct and co-chair of the Council for Academic Freedom and Academic Standards (Cafas), an organisation seeking to provide support to individuals whose academic freedom is infringed, which it does largely through letter-writing targeted at vice-chancellors.

Eric Barendt, a professor of media law at University College London and a member of Cafas, thinks freedom is slowly withering. His book titled Academic Freedom and the Law is due out later this year. "In many respects academic freedom hasn't gone, but there is a gradual decline in academic freedom in practice. Although in the traditional older universities it is still in its main substance honoured, the anecdotal evidence from newer universities is that many more academics tread on eggshells to avoid trouble."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Call for Adjunct Blogs

I'm collecting URLs for a new sidebar feature here: a blogroll of adjunct blogs. Quite a few new adjunct blogs have been cropping up lately. Some are primarily about adjunct issues. Others blog individual personal interests. Many mix personal; professional (discipline) and career (adjunct issues). Plus there are a number of new "state of the profession" academic blogs that cover adjunct issues ~ perhaps enough for a separate feature.

Do you have or know of an adjunct blog? Please share by posting annotated links in comments ~ and so I can add them to the blogroll.

Did you see or participate in "My blog fights climate change"? I did. The proliferation of adjunct blogs leads me think about a blog-based "My blog supports equity in academic employment" campaign based on the same concept. Who's up for designing a cool badge?

 Then there are Blog Carnivals.... you'll have to excuse me. I grew up in South Louisiana and have Mardi Gras on the mind this time of the year. Here it's networking, organizing, strength in numbers. Admittedly, who would object to a little Bakhtinian topsy-turvy ~ mocking institutions and upending authority?

Recently updated: 

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Monday, February 8, 2010

CAW Brief, "One Faculty Serving All Students"

Both CHE and IHE have published their reports on and reactions to CAW Brief, "One Faculty Serving All Students": it's too early yet for responses on the COCAL sponsored adj-l list where a link to brief has already been posted. In order to follow reactions, I "starred" (new tool) the IHE story (only one showing up on search so far) for a news alert to aggregate single story media coverage.

Coalition on the Academic Workforce brief, "One Faculty Serving All Students" ~

In "Principles for 'One Faculty'" from Inside Higher Ed: "Coalition of academic groups issues standards for how colleges should treat those off the tenure track. AAUP declines to join statement."

(Personally, I'd be more impressed with the coalition's brief as an "extraordinary accomplishment' if it were more representative of the academic landscape outside the humanities.)

From The Chronicle's "Coalition Seeks Better Conditions for Those Off the Tenure Track": 

The key to securing better workplace conditions for the growing number of full- and part-time faculty members who are not on the tenure track lies in setting standards for how all faculty members should be treated, according to a document released by the Coalition on the Academic Workforce.

The coalition, whose members include disciplinary associations and other faculty groups, calls on colleges in its issue brief to give contingent faculty members better pay. (cited from

Please share your comments and reactions...
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