Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Speak Out & Write Out

Hat tip to KU Xchange and my trusty Google Reader armed and loaded with more feeds than I can usually get through in a day. Checking KU Xchange is always a good bet. Speak Out & Write Out proves that isn't the only good bet by a long shot. I was trying to decide between an open resistance post or cool strategy (playing the game) when I spotted this. It's neither but hopefully will combine a bit of both. Short on swords at the moment anyway, pens (and keyboards) will have to do.

Here's an opportunity  to write and publish on the relationships between quality education and the underfunded,  casualized labor system in higher education.

The journal Open Words: Access & English Studies has put out a Call for Papers for a special issue on contingent labor and educational access. (Full disclosure: I am one of the three guest editors of this issue.) This call is especially timely given the recent attacks on higher education funding.  As tuition increases, our students' access decreases. As budgets are slashed, full-time teachers become an endangered species. Open Words is especially interested in connections with Composition, Rhetoric, Writing, Literature  or Literacy studies.

From the CFP:

We work and live at a time when the American cultural and economic politics are pushing against labor equity and quality education; when colleges and universities operate according to corporate logics that consistently work to dehumanize faculty and students. While these forces come to bear on contingent faculty, open-admissions campuses, and non-mainstream students in unique ways, we also believe that careful analysis of such conditions presents significant possibilities for positive changes across levels and types of institutions. At the risk of sounding cliché, even managerial, difficult situations really do sometimes present unique opportunities.

With that frame in mind, we invite contributions for our Spring 2012 issue addressing relations of contingent labor, open access, and non-mainstream students; manuscripts (generally 15-25 pp., although we will review longer submissions) might consider these questions, or use them as provocations to ask and answer others:

  • How does the increasing reliance on adjunct faculty on open-admissions campuses (and/or campuses serving largely non-mainstream student populations) impact students' learning conditions? Faculty's working conditions? Academic freedom? Curricular control? And how are these situations complicated at institutions employing graduate teaching assistants?
  • Why is the casualization of academic labor happening more quickly, or to greater degree, on open-admissions campuses and campuses serving non-mainstream students? What strategies do faculty, both contingent and permanent, and students have at our disposal to respond to the inequitable conditions facing us?
  • How do the interests of open-admission, community, vocational/technical, and branch university campus faculty coincide/overlap with the interests of students and administrators? How do these interests differ?
  • How is the trend toward hiring non-tenure track faculty affecting the teaching of writing? As PhDs in literature, for example, are pushed out of tenure lines into these non-tenure lines, how do their (probable) lack of familiarity with composition scholarship and theory, and differing professional commitments to teaching writing, impact students, programs, and other faculty on our campuses? And, how is this trend affecting literature programs and the degrees to which they can address the interests and concerns of their 'non-mainstream' students?
  • To what extent are contingent faculty involved in curricular and/or professional development, and to what extent can/should they be? How might departments/units balance the desire to involve contingent faculty in curriculum development, or placement (for example), with the minimal (if any) compensation most units offer for the work? How does this problem become more complex on campuses serving large populations of non-mainstream students with large numbers of contingent faculty?


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Defend Public Education Actions: Mar 31, April 4 & 5

From Defend Public Educuation, group: upcoming actions: March 31st, Day of Walkouts and Strikes; April 4th, nationally coordinated We Are One actions; April 5th, national and nationwide teach-ins. 

Adjuncts may feel more vulnerable to the effects of administrative displeasure. I'm already hearing accounts, even from the normally bold: intimidation; threats too veiled to act on even if the option were available, repressive policies blocking free expression. Students can't be de facto fired by not-rehiring. 

Still, please find a way to show your support, come up with a workaround: wear red; sport a jaunty We Are One button on your lapel, hat or tote; meet outside class; add a discreet signature line to your email; post a badge to your blog; use it for your Facebook profile picture April 4. 

Think lit too. UPR students and faculty staged a 100 Years of Solitude marathon: how cool is that! 

March 31st - Day of Walkouts and Strikes

March 31st is a national day of walkouts and strikes against the attacks on public education. For years, education has been on the back burner while the federal government has been spending millions on bailouts and wars. State governments have accepted the budget shortfalls and subsequent cuts as necessary. These shortfalls were created by years of massive tax breaks to the rich on the state and federal level and exacerbated by the current economic crisis. These cuts and spending on wars and bailouts created the budget shortfalls that are being exploited to attack public education. On March 31st, students will walk out of class to raise their collective voice and fight back against the massive budget cuts. Facebook

April 4th - We Are One Actions: Nationally Coordinated Local Actions

Unions are organizing series of local actions in solidarity with people in the Midwest who have been facing intense attacks on public workers and their democratic rights. The fight to democratize and defend public education and the fights of workers is the same fight. We call for students and activists to support and initiate a wide and creative variety of actions on April 4th.

Join us in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states. Local Actions / Facebook

April 5th - National Teach-In: National Webinar Teach-In on the budget cuts

TUESDAY, APRIL 5TH, 2011, 2:00 – 3:30 PM (EST), National Teach-in Live Streamed from New York City, coordinated with 3:30 – 5:00 PM (EST), Local Teach-ins and Strategy Discussions on participating campuses. "National Teach-in on Debt, Austerity and How People Are Fighting Back" will be held at the Judson Memorial Church in New York City, beginning at 2:00 PM EST. Admission is free. 

Speakers from schools and communities around the country will be hosted by moderators FRANCES FOX PIVEN and CORNEL WEST in New York City through a live web cast that you can join by organizing a teach-in on your own campus.

Website / Facebook


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Live from Indiana: Regional #CommunityCollegeSummit

markeysav on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

The "off line" screen probably means the summit is into breakout sessions. Catch videos for morning sessions and lunchtime presentation on the Ivy Tech live stream page at http://www.livestream.com/markeysav. Check agenda for speaker names and speaking order

Procastr morning sessions:

Lunchtime presentation

On Twitter, @NewFacMajority. Search #communitycollegesummit or "community college summit"

Monday, March 21, 2011

Action Alert: Make Your Voice Heard

Follow our "adjunct voice" at the Regional Community College Summit in Indiana at Ivy Tech. Do you have questions you'd like asked? Speak out. Email maria.maisto@newfacultymajority.info your questions, post them here as comments, post them on the New Faculty Majority Facebook page, tweet them to @NewFacMajority

Adjunct and Contingent Faculty: Speak Out and Speak Up
Dear Colleagues


This Wednesday, March 23, I will attend the U.S. Department of Education Community College Summit in Indianapolis with NFM Board member Tracy Donhardt. As you may know, these regional summits are a follow-up to the White House Community College Summit held last October 5, 2010. That Summit was notable for its exclusion of adjunct faculty. The omission was so glaring it made front page news at the Chronicle of Higher Education. In response, many of you participated in our "Virtual March" to the White House Summit by making your voice heard and submitting ideas and suggestions at the Summit web site.

We have noted that the regional summits, one of which took place in Philadelphia on Feb. 29 and one in Houston on March 9, now have a much more transparent invitation process; it is now possible to contact the organizers to express interest in attending. (If you are in the San Diego area, please consider requesting an invitation to attend the April 15 summit, which will focus on supporting veterans and military families. See below for information on how to contact the organizers.)

Tracy and I plan to remind the summit participants of the essential role of adjunct and contingent faculty at community colleges and to highlight the need for reform of the contingent hiring model in higher education generally and in community colleges in particular. We would also like to communicate your specific concerns and questions, especially if you live and work in the Midwest and can make an effective connection to the summit theme of "Community College Partnerships with Business and Industry" and/or the topics in the agenda posted below.

We will also keep you informed via blog, Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to hearing from you - and to reporting on our experience at the summit later this week!

Send your suggestions and comments to me at maria.maisto@newfacultymajority.info.


Best wishes,

Maria Maisto's Signature
Maria Maisto, President 

Community College Summit Agenda

U.S. Department of Education Community College Summit: Challenges, Solutions, Commitments
Ivy Tech Community College - North Meridian Center, Indianapolis, Indiana

March 23, 2011

Theme: Exemplary Practices in Community College Partnerships with Business & Industry

7:30 - 8:45 Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 - 9:15 Opening

Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

9:15 - 9:30 Welcome

Thomas Snyder, President, Ivy Tech Community College

Community College Video with Welcome from Dr. Jill Biden

9:30 - 9:40 Governor Mitch Daniels
9:40 - 9:50 Remarks & Introduction of Keynote Speaker

Michael Rice, Student, Ivy Tech Community College

9:50 - 10:10 Keynote Address

Terri McClure, Senior Vice President of Legal, Compliance, & Public Affairs, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, United Parcel Service

10:10 Introduction of the Completion Partners Panels
10:10 - 10:55 Foundations & Philanthropy Panel

Ron Williams, Vice President, The College Board, Moderator; Tom Dawson, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Holly Zanville, The Lumina Foundation, Bill Moses; Kresge Foundation (invited)

10:55- 11:05 BREAK

11:05 - 11:45 Business & Industry Panel

Karen Elzey, Director, Skills for America's Future, The Aspen Institute, Moderator; Kris Emaus, Manager of Training, Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), a NiSource subsidiary; Robert Klemen, Corporate Training Manager, Northstar Aerospace, Inc ; Tom Volta, Vice President of UPS Air Group Human Resources

11:45 - 12:00 Celeste Carter, Program Director, National Science Foundation

Josh Wyner Executive Director, The Aspen College Excellence Program: The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

12:00 - 1:30 LUNCH: 

Panel presentation - Brenda Dann-Messier, Moderator

Annette Parker, Executive Director, National Science Foundation Center for Excellence, Advanced Automotive Manufacturing, Bryan Albrecht, President, Gateway Technical College; Marie Trzupek-Lynch, Chicago Career Tech

1:30 - 1:45 BREAK
1:45 - 3:00 pm Breakout Sessions

  • Transitions to and through Postsecondary Education: Developmental Education (Innovation and Student Success): Cecilia Cervantes, President, Hennepin Technical College;
  • Business Partnerships (Graduation and Employment): Susan Muha, Executive Vice President for Workforce & Economic Development, Cuyahoga Community College and Scott Jenkins, Mott Community College, Co- Facilitators
  • College Affordability: Brenda Wensil, Chief Customer Experience Officer, FSA and Community College System, Facilitator
  • Completion Goals: Stan Jones, Director, Complete College America; Kirsten White, Policy Director, Office of Dr. Jill Biden

3:00 - 3:15 BREAK
3:15 - 3:45 Report Out: Challenges, Solutions & Commitments: Frank Chong, Facilitator
3:45 - 4:00 Closing Remarks: 

Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to President Obama for Education, White House Domestic Policy Council

4:00 - 6:00 Networking Reception

Monday, March 14, 2011

ICLR: an NGO that fights for labor

Hat tip to NFM Secretary Anne Wiegard for sharing 

this link... something to run with and build on.  so much more encouraging than the collective bargaining link and updates on spreading anti-union, anti-public service sector and especially teachers links I've been - pardon the the verb - collecting. I'll get back to them but for now, couldn't we all use a pick. We can use some heroes. Three cheers for the ICLR... cheer on as you read.

Assault on Collective Bargaining Illegal, Says International Labor Rights Group

The International Commission for Labor Rightsa New York-based nongovernmental organization that coordinates a pro bono network of labor lawyers and experts throughout the world. It investigates labor rights violations and issues reports and amicus briefs on issues of labor law is protesting Wisconsin's legislation.

Super heroes and crusaders with or without cape indeed. In their own write, they are, "Lawyers Around the World Fighting for Workers' Rights" ~ sure sounds like the Justice League to me.

The International Commission for Labor Rights, ICLR, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that is based in New York, and coordinates the pro bono work of a global network of lawyers committed to advancing workers' rights through legal research, advocacy, cross-border collaboration, and the cutting-edge use of international and domestic legal mechanisms. On occasion, ICLR's legal network also responds to urgent appeals for independent reporting on gross labor rights violations.

The network was founded in 2001 at the request of more than 50 national trade unions and global federations, and the coordinating secretariat in New York was set up in 2005. The network aspires to be a resource for trade unions and workers around the world. If you are seeking assistance, please do consult the links and resources on this website before contacting us, to verify whether existing information available here might address your questions and concerns.

Here's the link to an
 article about their actionSounds like an organization we want to hear more from... more about them from the Centre for Globalization Research (Canada):  

The International Commission for Labor Rights (ICLR) sent a notice to the Wisconsin Legislature, explaining that its attempt to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers is illegal....The ICLR statement summarizes the development of this law from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, through the International Labor Organization's Conventions on Freedom of Association (that is, the right to form and join unions) and on Collective Bargaining. It cites court cases from the United States and around the world. All embrace freedom of association as a fundamental right and the right to collective bargaining as an essential element of freedom of association.  

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ohio SB-5

Ohio is not the only place with action on these mean streets running between public Ἀγορά and groves of academe, but with both NFM president Maria Maisto and VP Matt Williams in Ohio and involved, we can't help following closely.

Want your state featured? Write me at vanessa.vaile@newfacultymajority.info. Send me something to post, with byline or anonymously. Your choice. Adopt-a-state options also available...

Recently posted to Defend Ohio group on Facebook:

It would appear that the leadership of Ohio University has had lobbyists working hard TO SUPPORT SB5-- the Cutler Hall crowd are speaking with our resources about future resources and against our interests

Now that the Ohio state Senate has approved S.B. 5 by a  single vote, thanks significantly to Republicans pulling an opponent of the bill off the relevant committee at the last second, unions are shifting their focus to a statewide referendum that would prevent the law from being implemented:

it will be at least 90 days until the law goes into effect. That period will give the opponents of the bill the chance to gather the 231,147 signatures (based on 6% of the vote total in the 2010 gubernatorial race, as state law requires) they'll need to put a repeal referendum on the ballot. They can start the process with just 1,000 signatures. TPM outlines the entire process.
There are several common threads between the fights in Ohio and Wisconsin. In both states, newly elected, hard-right Republican Governors are coordinating with each other, and the wider conservative movement, to bust unions for the sake of busting unions. In both states, the response was massive protests from unions and progressive allies. In both states, in the face of unresponsive Republican state legislatures, organizing has now begun for special elections.

Perhaps the most important common thread is how opponents of the union-busting legislation in both states are going all-out, using every legal and organizational means at their disposal to fight back. 
Thanks to the eccentricities of Ohio law, passage in the House doesn't mean SB 5 is guaranteed to go into effect. Though they more than likely can't stop it in the legislature, the opposition can potentially block its implementation by promising to take it on at the ballot box. That means the fight over SB 5 could extend for months -- maybe even all the way to November, 2012.

Union leaders and Democrats have already begun shifting their focus to a referendum fight, which would require union supporters to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures in the days following an expected signing of SB 5 by Gov. John Kasich (R).

Once that's done, the law could be placed on hold (meaning it wouldn't go into effect at all) while Ohio waits to see what voters have to say about SB 5. And that's a fight the Democrats say they can win.

The entire process is outlined here in the Ohio State code. More Ohion at Plunderbund, "all politics, all Ohio"

English Department of the Future

The time: some decades hence.
The place: The University of South Jetsonville, a large state university.
The Grand Administrator is speaking to one of his minions about what used to be called the English Department. Although there are four faculty members who still comprise the "English Department," most of the department, and its chair, have been "restructured" and have disappeared in the name of increasing efficiency. Curiously enough, the number of administrators has only increased. We enter in the midst of the conversation.
The Grand Administrator: "What can you tell me about how we're achieving excellence in the English Department?"
Minion: "Well, our single section of English 101 is a success. The accrediting agency is happy that we have moved to weekly Scantron grammar quizzes instead of actual writing, since it's impossible to be accredited without measurable outcomes. There's nothing more measurable than a quiz."
It gets 'better' ~ read the rest at notofgeneralinterest.blogspot.com

From April 2008, so either prescient or just another case of the le plus ça change le plus c'est la même chose. That or, quoting Gen DeGaulle, ça c'est le chit en lit. Inspired by discussion of tenureless university, closer now than it was then. The scenario is equally reminiscent of a certain rural NM branch campus, cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, circa 2003.... and no doubt innumerable others of its ilk

Friday, March 4, 2011

around a university

Swerve and take a brief break from Academe's mean streets. The Grove as whiteboard jungle seems out of character until I remember Athena's less than scholarly weakness for hot-blooded warriors. These shady streets are jumping and jiving with teach-ins, demonstrations, protests, March Actions to Defend Public Education, an epidemic of toxic House Bills, Wisconsin shenanigans, Washington union enforcers, inappropriate teaching overloads, collective bargaining fighting for its life, occasional triumphant negotiations, dangerous memes, academic mobbing, scapegoating, and more of the same, seemingly without end.
From a conference on "The University We Are For", James Clifford on the Greater Humanities. After shootings in Arizona and at Virginia Tech, how can colleges know when, and in what way, to intervene in a troubled student's life? Live like a grad student forever: Oxford academic Toby Ord recommends living on as little as you can and giving away the rest. The rise of clickers is starting to change how college professors run their classrooms. No talking in class: Campus liberals sacrificed free expression on the altar of political correctness. 
Should computer “languages” qualify as foreign languages for Ph.D.s? It is worthwhile to pause and ask why so many educators are committed to the suspension of religious identity in the classroom. Now you see it, now you don't: Why journals need to rethink retractions. Does Harvard's "affirmative action for the affluent" screw the proles? David Leonhardt revisits the value of elite colleges. An interview with Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman, authors of Why Does College Cost So Much
The Useless University: The ancient tradition of pursuing knowledge for its own sake is slowly, quietly making a comeback. A look at how online courses are still lacking that third dimension. The question of what can be taught or what cannot is an intriguing one, especially around a university. A review of Lessons Learned: Reflections of a University President by William G Bowen.
via Omnivore, the Bookforum blog

The expression comes from the akademeia, just outside ancient Athens, where the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning. The sacred space, dedicated to the goddess of wisdom, Athena, had formerly been an olive grove, hence the expression "the groves of Academe"... and all the out of date but still longed for associations that go with it.

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