Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ominvore visits the academic workplace

A collection of annotated (best kind) links to book reviews, essays, online articles, blog posts... all in one place for your reading convenience.

From Workplace, a review of The University Against Itself: The NYU Strike and the Future of the Academic Workplace by Monika Krause, Mary Nolan, Michael Palm, and Andrew Ross. Clive Bloom sheds few tears for Middlesex's strangely underpopulated philosophy department — or any other corners of an academy short on recruits and long overdue for the axe. Breaking out of the academy may seem daunting, but scholars' skills transfer to many other jobs. Teachers without technology strike back: Many professors don't find that the latest technology helps their students learn. In the conversation about ebooks and academe, the distance from cup to lip is great and involves many challenges. Geoffrey Nunberg on why Google's Book Search is a disaster for scholars. Open peer review in humanities journals: Is an experiment by Shakespeare Quarterly the shape of things to come? The Internet is calling into question one of academia’s sacred rites — the peer-reviewed journal article (and more). If it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist; as time has gone on, it’s proved to be a truism, perhaps the paradigmatic truism of our times. Finishing School: Christopher Beam on the case for getting rid of tenure. Never mix, never worry: Here is a brief (and incomplete) history of the academic couple. Hot at their own risk: Professors seen as very good-looking can be cast by colleagues and their students as lightweights, known less for their productivity than for their pulchritude.
The academic workplace, reposted from the Bookforum's aptly named blog, Omnivore

EWU News

from Curtis Keyes, August 24, 2010, Chicago IL 



The National Labor Relations Board has decided to uphold our Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claim that East-West University violated our federally-protected rights to organize an adjunct faculty union. This decision is a major and SIGNIFICANT victory for all of us who have given so much to the institution!! It will be felt for many years to come! The Labor Board has given EWU about one week to settle the ULP under the following terms:

  • Erma Faire-Doeing, Ken Peterson and I will be fully compensated for summer classes that we were scheduled to teach but were taken away from us by the administration. 
  • EWU will go back to the hiring procedures that it used during the 2010 Spring Quarter. 
  • This means that the firings related to our union organizing will be rescinded. 
  • While the pay raises announced by the administration for the 2010 Fall Quarter will remain intact, the University will not promise any "future benefits" to the part-time faculty as part of an effort to undermine support for the union. 
The fact that the employer took this action of giving raises in response to the "threat" of bringing in a union is a big victory for all of us since we have not had a raise since 2004. This is just the beginning. Even with the raises, we are still the lowest paid adjunct faculty in the Chicagoland area; once we have a union, we can continue to negotiate for greater improvements than what we are currently receiving.

If EWU does not accept the terms of this settlement, the Labor Board will issue a formal complaint and prosecute EWU for violating the law. The ULP trial will not only be very expensive for the University, but it will also generate a good deal of negative publicity that EWU can ill afford.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Program for Change

OK everybody... this is important. WE NEED FEEDBACK. Get a move on and haul it on over to the Program for Change site. Read the letter about the plan, read plan or as much of it as you can manage at one sitting ~ then post comments to let us know what you think of the plan. Tell us what you'd like to see added, taken off, changed, clarified, made more or less tougher, and so on.

"Program for Change: 2010-2030" | A Discussion Covened by NFM

PS I mean NOW, not next week or after you finish grading your first set of fall semester papers

Monday, August 16, 2010

COCAL & Program

So far e-published COCAL updates include a brief report (in French) from a French Canadian news outlet and Jennifer Epstein's IHE article, "Visions of Adjunct Tenure," which has already garnered a number of comments with no doubt more comments, blog posts and articles to come.
Québec - La COCAL s'inquiète de la hausse des frais de scolarité
Puma Freytag, Marie Blais, Mary Ellen Goddwin, Maria Treresa Lechuga. 

© Agence QMI

Jack Longmate reports on the our Program for Change session... 
The Saturday NFM session at COCAL IX went well and was well attended -- estimating around 30 people, a significant number considering that the was competing with 5 other concurrent workshop sessions. Peter Brown and Ross Borden were in the audience, with Peter taking pictures at a few points. NFM advisory board members present included Joe Berry and Rich Moser. Others attending included David Rives, president of AFT Oregon; Mary Ellen Goodwin, one of the leading COCAL organizers over the last decade; Jonathan Karpf; Holly Clarke and Shirley Rausher from the CUNY system (who volunteered input and comments); Don Eron from Colorado; Betsy Smith of Cape Cod CC; and others. 
Input on the Program for Change was positive and in one case, inspired the sale of 5 NFM bumper stickers. Frank Cosco's presentation was especially clear, as were his responses to points brought up during the discussion. Ross made an especially eloquent statement of support. 
The UI session went well also.  Helena Wortham asked if my slides could be posted somewhere, and Joe Berry suggested on the NFM website.

Related Links (chosen by humans, no bots involved)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

COCAL IX, August 13-15, 2010, Université Laval

COCAL IX, the BIG EVENT for adjunct and contingent faculty, kicks off this coming Friday as participants - presenters and attendees, activists and organizers - converge on Quebec City from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. A short history of COCAL (Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor). 
Université Laval in Quebec City 

New Faculty Majority, an adjunct advocacy group, will talk about its new 20-year plan to reverse the trend that has made professors working off the tenure track the largest swath of the professoriate. The plan, whose details have been tightly held, will be unveiled at the conference.

If I hadn't been participating in ongoing discussion about the program (not a "20-year plan" ~ not even 4 consecutive 5-year plans either), I wouldn't know what to think and might very well take away a misleading impression. That's my personal opinion. I've been sitting on the story (which I probably know more about than the Grey Lady of our academic press) because we all understood that what we (and most especially Frank Cosco and Jack Longmate) have been working on a) wasn't ready for prime time, and b) dealt with matters too important to be slipshod about

A press release will be forthcoming and the program/plan for change will be published on the NFM website by the time the COCAL opens. It will be equally available, with comment form for input, to those unable to attend COCAL as it will to those attending. 

For somewhat more detail, less loaded language, go to the COCAL Programme 

The New Faculty Majority (NFM) is the only incorporated associated dedicated to advocacy for non-tenured faculty in the United States, with 800 members and growing. After an overview of NFM activities and projects, includig its National Unemployment Compensation Initiative, the New Faculty Majority will unveil an in-process "Program for Chanege: 201-2030: that includes goals and milestones which, as achieved over time, will lead to the correction of the current dysfunctional system with its discriminatory structure and restore normalcy to the faculty [academic] workplace.

The Saturday afternoon session Moderators are NFM VP Matt Williams (University of Akron, OH) and NFM Secretary Anne Wiegard (SUNY Cortland, NY). Matt and Anne will present an overview of NFM history, structure and goals before describing projects such as the Unemployment Compensation Initiative, Health Care Initiative and Chapter Toolkits. Then panelists Frank Cosco (NFM Advisory Board, Vancouver Community College Faculty Association) and Jack Longmate (NFM BoD, Olympic Colleg, Bremerton WA) will present the in-process and not yet finalized "Program for Change." 

NFM board members are also appearing on other panels: Bob Samuels (Work Stabilization in post-secondary education, Communicating to the public and mobilization), Rich Moser (Access to Tenure), and perhaps a few I missed. NFM Panelist Jack Longmate (Access to Unemployment) and Anne Wiegard (Building alliances on campus and state level) appear on additional COCAL panels. Hopefully, many members will be there as well. If you're an NFM member and headed for COCAL, be sure to look them up. For sure, don't miss the "unveiling" session, which will include a a Q & A period.

Whatever your initial reaction, kindly hold conclusions until you've had a chance to hear it all from us or read the draft in full. We welcome your input then. That's still my opinion, but I'd bet the farm on it being shared. 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Defining 'Adjunct'

The OAH, Organization of American Historians, Committee on Part-Time and Adjunct Employment is currently attempting to revise its 2003 standards by which adjunct faculty should be treated. 

This attempt will try to bring the guidelines into closer agreement with the February 2010 CAW guidelines. To that end it is important to define the term 'adjunct'. There is no agreement on what conditions constitute adjunct employment.  Non-tenure track, P/T, F/T, contingent, affiliate, instructor, lecturer, even, apparently, graduate teaching assistants: all these terms apply but often assume differing meanings.

What term is used where you teach and what type faculty does it cover? I would appreciate as many contributions and descriptions as possible. I will also be happy -- in this case -- to post your response anonymously, if you desire.

Thanks, Howard Smead, Editor, H-Adjunct

reposted from H-Adjunct on the Humanities Net

H-Adjunct is an open, inter-disciplinary forum for issues involving adjunct, part-time and temporary faculty at universities, colleges and community colleges.
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