Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Holiday Wish Lists

What are your holiday wishes or New Year's resolutions that you hope the faculty majority - both lower and upper case, will make? What do you see or hope to see in your own future in (or out of) the academic workplace? 


I'm still in that vague holiday / vacation mode, working myself up to Serious Summitry (NFM National Summit, Jan 28, 2012 ~ hashtag #newfac12) in the form of updates, exhortations, and other pre-Summit blogging exercises. There are other items on the "I really should get around to blogging this" list, serious, important, meaningful items ~ really, that I am not yet in the mood to do. Why not? Holidays. Winter. Snowed in. Whatever. Procrastination is the obvious solution. Despite tweeting and sharing on Facebook more to make up, the burden of regular blogging beckons yet. Seasonal themes work for other social media commitments, why not here?

NFM board member Judy Olson's birthday was Monday, day after Christmas also Boxing Day. She asked us...

Merry Humbug, everyone; hope you're keeping warm and sane.

If you could ask Santa to get the NEA to do one thing, what would it be? It has to be something the NEA can actually do, but this could be lobby for legislation, for instance.

Monday's my birthday, so maybe we could make your request to Santa your birthday gift to me, and make that the deadline. I'd like a quick, simple off-the-top-of-your-head response anyway.


We came up with lobbying to legislate revisions in Federal labor law to close the loopholes in state codes that let states deny adjunct / contingent faculty unemployment compensation, getting the DoL to revise job titles and descriptions so we can be eligible for student debt relief waivers for teaching, among other benefits, and, finally, endorsing and moving to implement the Program for Change

Judy's deadline is past but the season extends to January 5, Epiphany and Three Wise Men. What could be more appropriate than that? We might even get an epiphany out of it. Let's reshape the parameters and use this a focus exercise for 2012 and the Summit - an extra few days for resolution making. 


Quick, simple and off-the-top-of-your-head still preferred. Here it is:

If you could ask for precariously employed academic knowledge workers to accomplish just one thing this year, what would it be? That's all of us, including but not limited to New Faculty Majority, unions, higher education action and even Occupy groups. It has to be something within the realm of possibility, but this could be to implement a campaign or lobby for legislation. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Greetings & the Gift of Changing Lives

#newfac12, changing lives ...  another way of describing our mission, what we are about and why the NFM Foundation Summit on Contingent Employment in Higher Ed, January 28. Consider then this season, gifts that change other lives... DIY gift would be another relevant post. Too late for that one though. When life resumes after the holidays, we'll pick back up with summitry: plans, updates, more about speakers and participants, even information on how, even if you can't be there, you can still be a part of it. Until then...

Merry Christmas ¡Feliz Navidad! Nadolig Llawen,Joyeux Noël, Glædelig Jul, Prettige kerstdagen! Bones Navidaes! Froue Weihnåcht'n, Jwaye Nowèl, Ya'at'eeh Keshmish, A Blythe Yule / Nollaig chridheil, Crăciun fericit

Mercy Corps Gifts
You still have time to give the perfect gift that can change lives: Mercy Corps Gifts
What's the hurry?

There's still time to give a gift that changes lives

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Students on the Front Lines of Class War

So what does that have to do with #adjuncts, #academiclabor & #NFM's #highered mission? In my opinion, plenty. Perhaps Juan Cole's Truthdig essay How Students Landed on the Front Lines of Class War will help explain why we should be there with them. If not, then at least include it in discussions about our purpose and where it fits in the current cultural, economic and higher education landscape.

Joe Wolf (CC-BY-ND)

The deliberate pepper-spraying by campus police of nonviolent protesters at UC Davis on Friday has provoked national outrage. But the horrific incident must not cloud the real question: What led comfortable, bright, middle-class students to join the Occupy protest movement against income inequality and big-money politics in the first place?

The University of California system raised tuition by more than 9 percent this year, and the California State University system upped tuition by 12 perceity.

Follow the link to read the rest of How Students Landed on the Front Lines of Class War.

Juan Cole,  a celebrated Mideast scholar and the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan, also blogs at Informed Comment. His Truthdig column appears every other Tuesday.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reading Room: Patterns in Academia

Actions. Protests. Campaigns Occupations. Summits. Conferences. Conventions. You know the boundaries are blurring when cops pepper spray not Berkeley but UC Davis (the 2nd whitest UC campus in the system) students and there is a movement to Occupy MLA, about which most of the conversations take place on Twitter. You doubt? Then search and follow the OccupyMLA or OMLA with or without hashtags. See for yourself. 

Change and transgression are in the air. So why am I posting a collection on annotated links from a book blog? Easy... we need intel from multiple perspectives, not just the usual academic media, a few blogs written by academics and mainstream media. It's also a change of pace. We need that too

Cathrine Hasse and Stine Trentemoller (Academia): Cultural Work Place Patterns in Academia. Rex J. Pjesky (West Texs A&M) and Daniel Sutter (Troy): Does the Lack of a Profit Motive Affect Hiring in Academe? Evidence from the Market for Lawyers....

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Magical Thinking

You should all really have a look at this Inside HigherEd column: "Castes and Higher Ed" by Gloria Nemerowicz. It is just another in an apparently endless line of “reformist” essays featuring a tenderness of feeling for the poor and the downtrodden, conjoined to a faith in the power of higher education that is rendered ridiculous by some inability or unwillingness to look at the caste system in our colleges and universities. Look:
Income and wealth inequality in the United States, which has become even more pronounced since 1967, continues to interfere with the national need for an increasingly sophisticated and skilled workforce and citizenry.”
Yikes! Does this author really not know that at least one very sophisticated and skilled workforce—the one doing all the higher ed teaching—is, well, you get the idea.

Furthermore, In regard to the author’s own institution, while the Pine Manor College website claims, no doubt truthfully that "The College employs nearly 200 individuals, including full- and part-time faculty and staff," the US Department of Education reports via IPEDS that PMC has 53 employees whose primary task is instruction, and almost half of these are part-time.

DO have a look and make polite comments in response.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Occupy Colleges Now: Students as the New Public Intellectuals

Not adjuncts, not lecturers ~ students. That is the group Henry Giroux identifies as the "new intellectuals." How and why did we miss playing a central role? Have we been chasing the wrong brass ring? In my admittedly personal opinion, changing the world trumps "professional dignity" any day.

Police pepper spray students at a UC Davis demonstration on Friday, November 18. (Screengrab: asucd - Click here for video)
Giroux writes,
Finding our way to a more humane future demands a new politics, a new set of values, and a renewed sense of the fragile nature of democracy. In part, this means educating a new generation of intellectuals who not only defend higher education as a democratic public sphere, but also frame their own agency as intellectuals willing to connect their research, teaching, knowledge, and service with broader democratic concerns over equality, justice, and an alternative vision of what the university might be and what society could become. Under the present circumstances, it is time to remind ourselves that academe may be one of the few public spheres available that can provide the educational conditions for students, faculty, administrators, and community members to embrace pedagogy as a space of dialogue and unmitigated questioning, imagine different futures, become border-crossers, and embrace a language of critique and possibility that makes visible the urgency of a politics necessary to address important social issues and contribute to the quality of public life and the common good.
Time for contingent faculty to combine necessary and pragmatic goals of improving our economic and professional lot with crossing a few borders. It's written into our mission statement. Nor are the two mutually exclusive. The famous Hillel quote comes to mind, "If I am not for myself, then who am I for? If I am for myself alone, then what am I?" Not a bad start for our brand and explaining who we are.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

CFP: How Class Works, NEW deadline Dec19

Because of final exam schedules at Stony Brook we will not be able to review proposals for the How Class Works - 2012 conference until Monday December 19, so we are extending the deadline for conference proposals for one week to afford all the extra time.  The deadline for proposals is now December 19, 2011.  See guidelines below. 

The Center for Study of Working Class Life now has a Facebook page

A Conference at SUNY Stony Brook June 7-9, 2012
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