Saturday, October 29, 2011

we're feisty

NFM and contingent academic labor issues cited in Australian academic blog, Music for Deckchairs. Love the blog title and being called feisty:

Miserably, the concession we make to flexibility is by casualising academic labour, so that we can manage fluctuations in demand with last minute hiring practices that pass on to the most precariously employed our own lack of ability to make plans in this churning market. The harm this is doing to the education profession is rightly the stuff of despair (see for example the excellent short documentary Degrees of Shamebeing promoted by the feisty New Faculty Majority as part of Campus Equity Week this week.) ... from Trust Wipeout 

Read the read of the post too. It goes to budget, ed tech, ed biz incursions, governance, Campaign for the Future of Higher Education issues and more... a thoughtful "WhitherU" post that addresses a question, Can someone in universities please start thinking about cultures of trust and what creates them??, posed in yet another blog. 

Other NFM mission relevant points include the lack resources for professional development and increased weight placed on student evaluations

First, in an era of contracting budgets there’s an acute lack of resourcing for teacher development, experimentation or change management, particularly in relation to emerging technologies. Secondly, the rise and rise of student evaluation as a proxy for professional peer review means that we’re constantly beta testing in front of hostile judges. It’s not so much MasterChef as Dancing with the Stars, blindfold and on stilts.  In fact, it’s Wipeoutand about as much fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Campus Equity Week in New Jersey, #CEW2011

Great day today at Union County College in Cranford New Jersey. Our AFT Local's Executive Board hosted a 5 hour marathon for Campus Equity Week in the main hallway of the main building.

Within the first 2 hours we gave away over 100 AFT "I Make a Difference Every Day" T-shirts while the Board wore our Scarlet Letter 'A' is for \Adjunct t-shirts. By the end of the day we went through several large urns of coffee, about 300 cookies and pastries, and a lot of explanation to students about how the adjuncts add to the success of the students.

Yours truly, Bill Lipkin, far left

We harvested over 500 signatures on our petition for proportional compensation for adjunct faculty. The President of the College and several of the VPs actually joined us for a short time and shared cups of coffee. The chapter Executive Board of AAUP (our full time faculty) actually sat at our tables for most of the day to show support for us.

If nothing else, with all of our signs and posters, we did make a statement, and hopefully we can build off of the start we made today for equity for adjuncts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hands Up for Fair Employment

FPSE (Federation of Post-Secondary Education) President's Statement for Fair Employment Week #FEW (Canadian version of #CEW2011)

Hands Up for Fair Employment

This week in post-secondary institutions across Canada faculty and staff are highlighting the problems that non-regular faculty face in their demand for fair employment. It is a struggle that every local in our Federation takes on at the bargaining table and throughout the term of their collective agreements: the struggle to achieve fair and secure employment for every member.

Monday, October 24, 2011

#TrueAdjunctTales: "20 years as an adjunct?"

Rediscovering @AdjunctMatters.... after a quiet spell, it's back and we're so glad. Add this to you CEW video playlist along with other Xtranormal highered faves

#TrueAdjunctTales presents "20 years as an adjunct? I think I just threw up in my mouth."

True Adjunct Tales

BYOP: Degrees of Shame

Welcome to #CEW2011. Past midnight, Campus Equity Week is now officially underway. What could be more appropriate than to start the week with the film that is probably a CEW signature event. If your group is hosting an information table, set up a laptop to screen Degrees of Shame and other videos. A large HD monitor, if you can finagle one would be a plus. 

And if there is no table or special campus activity, don't let that stop you. Why not do something on your own or with a few colleagues? CEW originated as a grassroots, local initiative event. Share the video (and others ~ we'll be posting a playlist), blog it, host an informal movie night, ask your local Occupation to show it, email the link to the press with a cover letter (to the editor) and / or to legislators ~ and elsewhere.

In 1960 Edward R. Murrow made Harvest of Shame a television documentary about the plight of migrant farm workers. To Barbara Wolf the economic situation and working conditions of adjunct professors suggested an information economy parallel to migrant farm workers. 

Following the logic of Harvest of Shame, Wolf interviews a variety of adjunct faculty to make visible the working lives of these least respected but absolutely vital faculty members who now do more than 40% of the teaching in America's institutions of higher education. Interviews with university administration officials, union leaders, legislators, and other observers document both the problem and possible solutions.

Murrow concluded Harvest of Shame by asking his viewers to cultivate “an enlightened,aroused and perhaps angered public opinion” and to demand a change. Wolf sees her documentary as both informational and, in Murrow’s tradition, as a tool for change.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reading Room: An unsettled moment in #highered

Found the Omnivore piece below languishing in drafts, hopefully not too late. Scott McLemee's Occupy piece may seem a tad outdated and even superseded by now. However, with the International Student Movement's November 7-20 Global Weeks of Action just around the corner, the piece is still timely, a reminder of the global. 

What a fall calendar: Campus Equity Week 2011 next week (and still resources and exhortations to post!); then Campaign for the Future of Higher Education the 1st weekend in November with ISM actions starting the very next week and peaking November 17 on International Students Day... all against the backdrop of ongoing Occupations. Is it just me or could movements use "action planners" to coordinate schedules? What about cooperative actions?

And the rest? Hate, humanities, culture wars, information overload, protests... all relevant. Mind the ellipses: you know the drill. Here four means at least one link. Catch the missing ones online

So, Another President doesn't know how many adjuncts?

Do see this wonderful post of Jonathon Rees at his More or Less Bunk site.
"Three or four presidents of my university ago (they come and go so fast these days that I’ve lost count), I asked the man what percentage of courses on campus are taught by adjuncts. He said he didn’t know."

I told you there were more-anybody have any more such stories? It's truth time, don't you think? Get up, stand up-preferably in scary ghost costume.

For Campus Equity Week. Cheers, Alan Trevithick

Thursday, October 20, 2011

still writing & occupying but why

I'm working my way through blogs, FB pages and Twittiverse and have the outlines of a Why I Write blog post in hopper ~ unless I burn out before getting to it. Today, after all, is National Day on Writing and composition adjuncts are legion in the academy. Ethan has been addressing numbers in his series but not yet by discipline. Just getting counted is the first step. In the meantime, there is still OWS. This ~ Occupy Mordor, below ~ caught my fancy. There are clever posters but not enough much humor, the price of earnestness.

occupy mordor

Where are All the Faculty? Ask Somebody: Including USED

If you are just tuning in, look at some previous posts on the matter of misreporting, here, and here

Ok, we’ve done Peterson’s and Collegeview, now let’s look at some Federal numbers. Again, this is just for one of the places where I work—Westchester Community College—but you should ask questions about your institution(s) as well. Maybe everybody but WCC is reporting more thoroughly?

Remember from previous posts that I think there are more than 1000 faculty at WCC, and that 85% or more are adjuncts-or “Part-time” in the reporting. So, look at WCC:

That’s from the National Center for Education Statistics, US Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.

Therein, for 2009, we find that part-time faculty are listed at 311.  Full-timers are said to be 167. That’s 478, no? Check my math. Now off you go to the WCC Facts and Figures-Faculty for 2009? 170. All full-time. No part-timers at all. Where are the missing faculty?

Shouldn’t they all come out, like ghosts, for Campus Equity Week?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Peterson's, and Collegeview: Where do they get their information?

NOTE: Thanks to commenter below-I should have pointed out, there are more than 1100 faculty at WCC, and therefore the info given to Collegeview must refer only to full-timers. So, why?  Who left out the majority of the faculty? More later.

Ok here's another, and my query:

I am an adjunct prof at Westchester Community College (WCC) and elsewhere. Your faculty numbers for WCC are not correct. There are more than 1100 faculty at WCC, but your numbers indicate a total of only 174. Where did you get your numbers from? This is a serious difficulty. I am sure that the WCC Office of Institutional Research and Planning can help you correct this. 

I hope other people are looking at their colleges. On these types of sites and, by the way, at the Bureau of Labor Statistics—don't get me started, I have to grade a zillion exams!—there are strong hints of very dicey reporting practices, for many colleges and institutions, not just WCC

Do you know what your institutions are telling the public, and state and federal government?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

#CEW Cookbook: Spice up #TeachIns

Not part of #CEW2011, but organized by UNM's Peace Studies Program to support #OWS and supplement 'burque's iteration, activities planned for this event certainly could be adapted for Campus Equity Week. Teach-ins and poetry. Lectures to livestreamed. Video night. I wouldn't be surprised to hear live about live music being added, especially with slam and hip-hop already on the bill. The overall structure is familiar: added performance elements spice it up, and livestreaming delivers it to a larger audience.

Adjuncts and contingent faculty scheduling non-violence training might give admin pause though. OK scratch that one. Teach-in topics as listed do not directly address higher ed issues, let alone confront contingency. Although no faculty speakers are specifically identified as adjuncts, some could be. Members of G.E.T., the UNM graduate student employees organization will be filling some slots. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Professors' #OWS Petition Taking Off

"Professors support Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Movements Everywhere" and more petitions... don't sign just one! If you know of others, send us the links.

Target: The 1%

Sponsored by: Marc Blecher, Steve Crowley, Chris Howell, Steve Volk; Oberlin College
We, the undersigned college and university professors, stand in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movements in New York City, around the country, and around the world. We do so in the knowledge that the dramatic increases in poverty, joblessness and economic insecurity in our society are directly related to the extraordinary rise in inequality, particularly the wealth captured by the 1% of our population, which has deeply corrupted our political system. We stand united with the 99% to take back our economy and government from the 1%.

See also

Really, How Many Adjuncts Teach Where you Are?

Full text of email I just sent to Peterson's. Check out your place. Now, where do they get this sort of misleading info?

Hi there Peterson's-I don't really know who to contact here but wanted to tell somebody at Petersons that some of your information on Westchester Community College is very much outdated. To wit:
Westchester Community College - Faculty
Total: 524
Full-time: 32% full-time
Student/faculty ratio: 18:1

That # and that percentage may have been true 20 or so years ago but no longer. FT faculty now comprise less than 15% of total faculty.

You should check with the WCC office of institutional research about this. I will be happy to talk to you more about this if you wish.

Dr. Alan Trevithick
Board Member, New Faculty Majority
and Adjunct
Westchester Community College
Fordham University
Laguardia Community College

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Campus Equity Week at Union County College, #CEW2011

The Union County College Chapter of United Adjunct Faculty of New Jersey is planning a day of action during Campus Equity Week, on October 26. We have approval for some tables in the main hallway which our Chapter Board will man wearing Scarlet Letter Polos- a Red A for Adjunct. We have some posters being made up to demonstrate our exploitation and will have a big change jar with a sign something like –“we need change for adjuncts’…

Welcome to Union

We will also have petitions to be signed and AFT giveaways along with some free goodies (candy and cookies) and possibly some basic food items for ‘starving’ adjuncts. We also plan to have a section of a table with an ‘ASK AN ADJUNCT’ sign for students to ask us about our working conditions.

We are still working on other things to do.

Bill Lipkin
Co-President UCC CHapter UAFNJ
Secretary/Treasurer- United Adjunct Faculty of New Jersey
Treasurer- NFM and NFM Foundation

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Longest Serving CC president tells Rose to Take a Note: New Era of Openness

Just got back from Westchester Community College. State-of-the-college speech by Dr. Joseph Hankin, world's longest-serving community college president! Boy was that fun. Asked him if he could do anything about the "Facts at a Glance" that appear online and in BOTH the full-time and the adjunct handbooks-the part that claims that there are 175 faculty at WCC. I know, it's only maybe a little off, like maybe 7 or 8 times less than the actual number, but that's just because they left out the adjuncts! Silly, really.

President Hankin did seem surprise, and asked "no part-timers?" I said no, no part-timers. (That's their word for people who can't get full-time jobs at their place because their sections are capped - not his fault, I think: that's my union). So, anyway, he said, "Rose," I think that was the name, "take a note on that." So, anyway, I'll let you know when Rose gets around to that. Or not. But I'm psyched. Have to go teach. 

Cheers, Alan T.
BTW-I am not Ethan Valerick, but that's a cool name, isn't it? Am working on a few fixes here.

Longest serving community college president in the nation!

Well, I was going to go down to Occupy Wall Street, to hand around with the young people and brush up on my drumming and chanting skills—seriously, I approve of drumming and chanting, and I am looking forward to that and will make my way down there Friday—but remembered that today is the day that we will hear, at Westchester Community College, from Dr. Joseph Hankin, our president, who has been on the job since 1971.

Hankin is currently the longest serving community college president in the nation. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Moving the furniture and making changes

Did you notice changes on the page? This post is mostly just few words about them and other page notions under consideration. First (this is the easy one), I added a column to the layout, three now instead of two, and trimmed a few items. The Newsreel at the top, the Video bar at the bottom of the page are still there, Twitter reader, links, blogroll, subscription and share options are all still there.

Links may move, expanded or widgetized, to a page of their own, as might the Blogroll, which would expand as well. Other new pages under consideration include Chapters, Foundation, (Contingency) Summit, Unemployment Comp and CFHE. I would like a calendar but not enough to create, embed and maintain one. The page limit is 10 and we already have Newsletter and Program4Change (in need of updating). How does a public bulletin board sound?

Major content changes are republishing the "contributors" list, this time at the top left of the page, where, according to studies, the eye alights first, and doing what it takes to get contributor submissions. Board members all, they used to be on the masthead, but were not contributing. No, I didn't fire them ~ just took the list down but will now try another tack: listing them in the most prominent place on the page where readers just might notice and comment. Please do.

One of two new contributors has already posted. Do show your appreciation by visiting his blog. I remain hopeful (the triumph of faith over reason), but will still remind (trust but verify) as needed. This is important. Not only will you get NFM updates and important notices sooner, but the more more varied the voices here, the more interesting and representative the blog will be. That includes member voices too, not just BoD. Guest post proposals and suggestions invited. Email me at

Monday, October 10, 2011

and now a (very) few words about #fundraising

Support New Faculty Majority *and* Fair Trade in Education by shopping at our online stores at Zazzle, Screend and FTE Coffee ~ coffee and travel mugs for freeway flyers to drink it from, bumper stickers, tees with messages (not just for #CEW2011) and more. 

FTE Mug from Zazzle 

Visit our online stores:

FTE Coffee   

 Skreened FTE Tshirt

CC President is Hardly a Tireless Advocate for Faculty

My title here is in regard to a recent article in a local on-line paper about Dr. Joseph Hankins, President of Westchester Community College, one of my workplaces.  Dr. Hankin is a very nice man, with a terrific sense of humor—let's see how all that works out—who is now being celebrated for his 40-year tenure as chief exec at WCC.  
My strong view is that, whatever his other virtues, he cannot count among them that he's been a tireless advocate for faculty, least of all the adjunct faculty who do most of the teaching at WCC. Indeed, Dr. Hankin has presided, in his decades of leadership at WCC, over a continuous decline in the professional status of the faculty—the core of any college or university. When he arrived, there were roughly as many full-time as part-time faculty teaching at WCC. At this time there are perhaps 15% of the total faculty who enjoy full-time employment status and the professional courtesies and benefits that go along with that fast-disappearing status.
None of this, of course, is any surprise to NFM members and friends: I invite any and all who have suffered from the continuing degradation of the faculty, and especially the exploitation of adjunct/contingent labor, to share in this space or elsewhere their stories. Dr. Hankin is surely not the only community college—or university—president who is being celebrated for his many achievements even while the status of the key contributors—faculty—continues to be undermined.
Some attention to such matters is particularly appropriate as Campus Equity Week (October 24-30) approaches.
Cheers,  Dr. Al (Trevithick)
Westchester Community College, LaGuardia Community College, and Fordham University; New Faculty Majority, and blogger at

Friday, October 7, 2011

December Conference on Human and Labor Rights, D.C.]

Statue of Antonio de Montesinos in Santo Domingo

On December 2-4, 2011, a coalition of universities and other institutions is hosting a conference in Washington, D.C. to assess what has been achieved in 500 years of human rights advocacy.  The conference is scheduled to include Sunday, 4 December, the conventionally identified date in 1511 when Antonio de Montesinos, O.P. delivered a sermon in Santo Domingo calling for reform of Spanish policy toward the indigenous.  

That sermon launched a Spanish debate about protecting the indigenous from enslavement. This advocacy in-turn contributed to the movement toward human rights universality. While concerned with the history, the conference will have as its focus current institutional and legal approaches to refine and enhance protections of labor rights and other human rights.

Please submit paper or panel proposals by OCTOBER 17, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Culture Of Dissent

The question: will #OccupyEverything influence #CEW2011. Will all that is blowing in the wind play out in &/or influence the community (such as it is) of adjunct, contingent faculty and other NT knowledge workers? If so, how? If not, why? Awaiting your comments. 

The Culture Of Dissent is re-posted from Firedog Lake where Billy Glad blogs at Annals Of The Hiests like Occupy Wall Street — fast becoming Occupy Your Street (Any Street) — and October 2011, coming soon to Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. The protestors have rejected politics. They are wide awake. They no longer believe a political solution to America’s problems is possible. They are determined to win or lose in the streets, and they are committed to the notion that culture trumps politics. (Think of the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-war, anti-draft movement that ended the Vietnam War and the Johnson Presidency at the price of undermining The Great Society and opening the door of the Oval Office for Richard Nixon.) The way, we used to say, the cookie crumbles. [cont'd.]

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Five Things That #OccupyWallStreet Has Done Right

What can can adjuncts, contingent faculty and other marginalized academic knowledge workers learn from Occupy Wall Street about organizing and building a movement that we can't from either marketing strategies or by the book union methods?

"#OccupyWallStreet protests are now well into their second week, and they are increasingly capturing the public spotlight. This is because, whatever limitations their occupation has, the protesters have done many things right."

1. They chose the right target.

2. They made a great poster.

3. They gave their action time to build.

4. They created a good scenario for conflict.

5. They are using their momentum to escalate.

"... the fact that #OccupyWallStreet has not relied on established progressive organizations ends up being a strength. Its independent participants are inspired by the increasing attention their critique of Wall Street is getting, and they are willing to make greater sacrifices now that their action has begun to capture the public imagination."

Read more about the Five Things That #OccupyWallStreet Has Done Rightat Talking Union .Rephrase the above statement, making judicious substitutions for "Occupy" and "Wall Street." Start thinking about how we could adapt them, scale them down for CEW.
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