Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year from New Faculty Majority!

2012 was an important transitional year for us, and 2013 promises even more progress. (Watch your email inbox for the launch of our new e-newsletter, and stay connected daily through our blog and extensive social media.)

Our January 2012 Summit firmly established NFM on the national stage, identifying us as the leading organization working to secure academic excellence through faculty equity and launching new national leaders and projects, like Josh Boldt and The Adjunct Project. Our work this year has concentrated on educating the public and policymakers within and outside of higher education on the state of faculty working conditions in higher education and the need for reform.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Right Leaders of Wrong & other ed-revs

…as told in tweets by @Jessifer (Hybrid Pedagogy) on Storify. Jesse Stommel (IRL) writes...
A short conversation on Twitter about the oncoming revolution in Higher Education. 
It started innocently enough with a few sentences I threw out to the Twitterverse in the weekly hours on a Thursday. Had been thinking about friends and colleagues that are brilliant teachers and wondering why they keep getting pushed out of academia. And why some of them have come to the conclusion that academia is not hospitable to them. It's a weird contradiction -- that in many institutions of higher learning, the folks most passionate about teaching and learning often get overlooked or even aggressively pushed out. 
Read the rest at Right Leaders of Wrong (with tweets) by Jessifer on StorifyWant more, related?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A College Christmas Carol

…at Remaking the University, Chris Newfield compares "A Christmas Carol" to current stories of struggling, indebted students. 

Elsewhere, Stephen Downes comments on the NYT article that Newfield references below, "T[he students] need a broader array of social supports, and most of all, a society determined to help them out of poverty, rather than blame them for being in it. But I see no sign higher education as a sector has any real interest in that."  

Here Newfield calls for that to change and tasks senior college officials with working to restore the bankruptcy option...lest Marley's fate await them... 

As Scrooge leaves his counting-house on Christmas Eve, he encounters his cheerful nephew, who tells his Uncle Scrooge that Christmas is one of those "many things from which I might have derived good, [but] by which I have not profited, I dare say."   The good, the nephew continues, is to have the one moment in the year in which "men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."

Scrooge dismisses this feeling and, with a final dig at his long-suffering clerk, leaves his office, only to be confronted by two amiable gentlemen who are soliciting "some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time."

Scrooge asks them, "are there no prisons?" 

Friday, December 28, 2012

universities are vast copy machines

…linkalicious Omivore is back on the #highered beat in time for year end reflections, plus an informal tutorial by example on elegant link annotation. This O covers more than higher ed: its beat is global and eclectic: politics, science, culture. social sciences, economy, geopolitics, arts, law, ethics, and more

From Boston Review, pomp and exceptional circumstance: Malcolm Harris on how students are forced to prop up the education bubble. What's your preferred way of finding a paper in your field? Scott McLemee looks at a report on the available options. Siva Vaidhyanathan on how universities are vast copy machines — and that’s a good thing. 

Scholars say higher ed leftist bias helped Obama win. Are the liberal arts useful? Samuel Goldman wonders. Blaine Greteman reviews Speaking of Race and Class: The Student Experience at an Elite College by Elizabeth Aries with Richard Berman. Will state colleges become federal universities? Richard Vedder investigates. Students aren’t the only ones cheating — some professors are, too; Uri Simonsohn is out to bust them. 

Robert Dingwall on why open access is good news for neo-Nazis. Questioning Clay Shirky: It's time to start challenging the popular critique of higher education — and the way the views of many academics have been belittled or ignored, writes Aaron Bady. From PhD Comics, Jorge Cham on the fingerprint of stars. A look at 5 mind-blowing academic theories as taught by classic movies.
universities are vast copy machines - / omnivore

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Best CFP You’ll Ever Get: Help Make a Quittas Book/Site

…group blog mama nervosa in the feed reader's "leaving academia" folder is making an offer no post_ac (or would that be xAc? also aka 'quitta') can or should refuse. Leaving has become an increasing more openly faced and realistically discussed option. "Quitting" no longer carries the same, if any stigma, whether alt_ac, lateral or a 180° ... just another option. Leaving academia stories belong in the corpus of adjunct narratives just as much as any other stories we have to tell and share. 

The Best CFP You’ll Ever Get: Help Us Make a Book/Site for Other Quittas

Me and a couple other post-ac bloggers are going to make a website and e-book for people leaving academia. Because career advice isn’t enough. Because the demand for real stories and practical help is so high. The domain is purchased and outlines are drafted:  now we need your help.

Me, JC @ From Grad School to Happiness, Jet from Ruminations, and Currer from Project Reinvention are pulling together:
  • a website with practical, peer-to-peer advice for leaving academia on every topic from emotional issues to getting food stamps to revamping your resume
  • an e-book of essays exploring personal stories of leaving academia (a “bath tub book,” as one commenter put it)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Year in Ed-Tech

…via @AudreyWatters, Hack Education Weekly Newsletter, No. 30The Year in Ed-Tech. This is just the opening salvo for "the year in education" posts, and, like it or not, most will be about ed tech, elearning, platforms, innovations (disruptive and otherwise). Do try to get up to speed, at least minimally. 

Don't be like the jock in your class who does not do the reading because he hates lit. Picking  up 2nd hand opinions from higher ed media or a single recommended blog doesn't count either. That's doing it Cliff Notes style. Yes, read them but read more too. The alternative reminds me of those conservative "better dead than red" high school debaters in the 50s who argued so zealously against recognizing Red China. They either grew up or became neocons. Which are are you?

Following the Hack Education blog, newsletter or twitter stream is a  good start. Audrey writes, 

’Tis the season for the flurries of blog posts listing “The Best,” “The Top,” "The Most Important," and “Our Favorite” stories (and apps and photos and movies and songs and so on) of 2012. '

I’ve done my part (for which I do apologize, as I really hate list posts), finally wrapping up this week my annual review of the year's major trends in education technology.

My Top 10: (business, MOOCs, platforms, politics, flipping, learning to code, learning analytics, open education resources, and more)

Read it at Hack Education Weekly Newsletter, No. 30

Monday, December 24, 2012

another view on the “future” of higher education

Year's end is, traditionally, a time of reflection, taking stock and then thinking ahead, making predictions, resolutions. Needless to say, these are stock themes in blogging the Janus season, higher ed not excepted. So unless someone throws me a must blog bomb, re-blogging selected posts and, in the case of overflow, ad hoc link collections from the feed reader's bounty will be my holiday break. Time, energy and especially inclination permitting, I'll probably fit in my own reflections and 2013 wish list somewhere along the way here or elsewhere. This view is from orgtheory 

Average folks and higher education researchers have conflicting views of academia. Average folks believe that most college teachers are tenured professors and that most students are residential students who play ultimate Frisbee on the quad. Higher education researchers have a different view. We know that most teachers are actually part time adjuncts and graduate students. Residential college is for the top of the pool. Most students are part time commuters or community college students. The mistake that people make is that the most visible forms of higher education (e.g., elite research universities and liberal arts schools) are the most common.

This split between folk wisdom and what the experts know is evident in David Purcell’s comment:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

a global artistic collaboration

…file under ideas for #adjunct action…public art with cause applications…do we have causes? You betcha…where to start? #FAIR_PAY! #dueprocess #ACA fallout, #RTW & organizing, UI & "reasonable assurance," mutual support networks (expect to hear more from the Homeless Adjunct and #newfac social on this one)...more. What are your actions, ideas, suggestions? Please share

old tv 1 Inside Out: a global artistic collaborationThe vintage Photo-Automat Booth has transcended into a social networking artistry of global proportions. Upload your portrait and state your personal story or social cause, if you’re caring and inclined towards humanity.

Receive your photo as a black and white poster. Paste it anywhere for the world to see. It is then documented throughout their website, Facebook, and your own community to see. INSIDE OUT is turning into a global artistic phenomena, which has already covered seven continents.

Monday, December 17, 2012

yourself an academic

…it's been a while since we rolled out Omnivore's succulent & succinctly annotated links for a virtual visit to the Reading Room, which I've noticed that it is not the most popular NewFac chez Facebook item, hence dropping the tag from the title. I don't doubt that those who do click through will be pleasantly surprised, even delighted. 

new issue of Academe is out, including Thomas P. Miller on the academy as a public works project; and Marc Bousquet on how we are all Roman porn stars now: Are we fighting the good fight through our service or just creating a spectacle of super-exploitation? The university as welfare state: Paula Marantz Cohen on why you should want kooks teaching your kids. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Modest Proposal for the Reform of Academe

…found searching archives for something else & now reblogging a 2010 repost from The Faster Times, attributing belatedlyapologizing profusely, linking thrice for good measure, bookmarking & adding the college section to reader. The section is not large but choice, especially for those taken with the quirky. Incidentally, "modest proposal" is a popular reform title, especially for higher ed. A series? Not all meet Swiftian standard: this one does. I will definitely do this more often

College section blogger, medievalist ~ fencer Ken Mondschein (PhD Fordham + studies at BU, SUNY Buffalo, Harvard) writes...

QEDMost every commentator on academe has mentioned the sorry state of higher education: A decades-long oversupply of Ph.Ds, an undersupply of jobs, and the use of cheap adjunct labor for everything from teaching intro writing classes to supervising theses to cleaning the president's office. Despite the fact that tenure-track jobs are rarer than hen's teeth, that venerated institution has come under attack, as well. Critics charge that tenure gives professors license to be unproductive layabouts or maniac wingnuts, but there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it unless said tenure-possessor burns down the administration building or runs naked through freshman orientation. 

But I am not here to kvetch: I am here to offer solutions. It seems to me that all of these symptoms of current malaise of higher education could be solved in one sweeping stroke, were we only to reintroduce dueling to the academy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dear Corporation

…timely & relevant poem by Adam Fellnot all poems go to Poets & Writers Picnic, some appear here on occasion. Besides, Adam teaches at Edgewood College, Madison WI, one of us. Poetry, music, art, etc make a  fine break from the ongoing madness of news, calls to action, movement rhetoric. Remember Gregor. If we don't take spiritual nourishment. We could wake up one morning transformed into giant cockroaches, bugs, administrators or other vermin. 

Dear Corporation, 
by Adam Fell

I don't know how to say how I feel politely, or poetically, or without the jugular and collapse of the immediate heart, so tonight, I won't say anything at all. Just stare out the window at our stunned little writhe. Hold back the strongest urge to knock out a few of the capitol's most critical walls, replace its fiber optic cables with lightning bugs, replace the investment bankers all with bunker busters. I lock eyes with the capitol's bright and empty rooms and admit that, sometimes, deep in my affluent, American cells, I miss my body carved to projectile. I miss trebuchet shoulders and knuckles flaked to arrowheads, miss my hands massive and molded from molten to the bolts of ballistas. I miss blackjack and cudgel and quarterstaff and flintlock. I miss pummel and pike and I am not proud of this. I know it's not a healthy feeling. I try to un-arm, to un-cock. I try to practice my breathing. I try The Master Cleanse, The Stationary Bike, The Bikram Sweat, The Contortion Stretch, The Vegan Meatloaf, The Nightly, Scorching Bath, The Leafy Greens and Venom Television, The Self-Mutilation of a Winter's Run, but we can only cleanse our bodies so much before we realize it's not our bodies that need detoxing.

Copyright © 2012 by Adam Fell. Used with permission of the author.

About this poem:
This poem is from Dear Corporation, forthcoming from H_NGM_N Books in 2013. 

Poetry by FellI Am Not a Pioneer
December 12, 2012
Adam Fell is the author of I Am Not a Pioneer (H_NGM_N Books 2011). He lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he teaches at Edgewood College.
Related Poems
by Oliver de la Paz
by Oni Buchanan
by Gail Mazur
Poem-A-Day started as a National Poetry Month program in 2006, delivering daily poems from newly-published poetry titles.
Due to popular demand, Poem-A-Day became a year-round program in 2010, featuring original, never-before-published poems by contemporary poets on weekdays, and classic poems on weekends.
Browse the Poem-A-Day archive for selections since 2010. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

MLA2012 elections: Vote #Adjunct

Use it! Be heard!
Vote MLA Online: Deadline Dec10 for second vice president, Executive Council, Delegate Assembly, and division and discussion group executive committees. Members, check the website

Disclosures: New Faculty Majority president Maria Maisto is standing for the Executive Council (and would be the first adjunct to become a member). For my own part, as Board member, social media coordinator by default and activist by choice, I not only have an obvious interest in Maria's candidacy but am likely to be posting about it. Retired, I am neither a candidate for any position nor even an MLA member. (Occasionally, I do think about re-upping ~ this would have been one)

I don't know who else is standing or for what but would welcome from hearing from adjunct candidates and posting information about them. Come by the New Faculty Majority Coalition page on Facebook and introduce yourself. The same goes for candidates in other professional associations. It's not not campaigning: it's making information public as a public service. To reiterate the appeal of Karen Madison, Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession member, to adj-l, the Contingent Academics Mailing List:
Please encourage folks to Vote Adjunct in the MLA Elections. I did. I went through each candidate and found that there are many who distinguish themselves as having a focus on adjunct issues or as wanting to further adjunct labor rights--as well as candidates who are adjuncts themselves. 
MLA needs adjuncts on the committees desperately if we hope to have a fair representation of the ratio of NTT to TT stream faculty in the ranks.

The following candidates have expressed an interest in issues affecting non-tenure track faculty or are actually non-tenure track faculty. One candidate is recognized as a potentially strong ally.

How to Attack & Destroy #HigherEd Labor Evil: The Secret revealed

…introducing #NewFac BoD member Alan Trevithick via his account of the incredible @SEIU500CAL #academiclabor Forum. Howzzat for multitasking?

Read this post, commit it to memory, and destroy, OK? Top secret!

Cadmo kills his dragon:
we will kill ours too
A trio of strong speakers, in remarks moderated by New Faculty Majority President Maria Maisto, opened up with powerful views about education. Speakers railed against the current intolerable conditions of the majority faculty, preached on the need for alliances between adcons and other communities—both more and less exploited—and robustly defended higher ed's true character as a public right and a public good--the only context in which the rights and working conditions of adjunct and contingent faculty will be genuinely addressed. 

It was wonderful.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Calling on the Main Stream Media to Wake Up

…MI aka migrantintellectual is back & calling out the mainstream media, writing them an open letter that actually got answered.  The adjunctiverse is truly going media mad, not just social & don't need no stinky higher ed media that nobody but pointy heads see. Wait, answered, you say? Yes indeed. OK so not by CNN but still a major network. The TV van and crew will be pulling into a certain NH drive. MI will be performance ready and waiting...stay tuned. By way of backstory, he writes...

To the CNN News Desk and Piers Morgan:
I write with your investigative team in mind as well as hosts like Piers Morgan who can raise awareness of the next bubble that’s going to burst within the next year: higher education.

I left teaching in January 2012 after completing a very successful eight year run at River Valley Community College (Claremont, NH)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More @SEIU500CAL #AcademicLabor Forum

Panel 2 – Professor Staff Organizes – addressing contingent faculty working conditions, student impacts, and education policy.
  • Esther Merves, Research Director, New Faculty Majority: New Faculty Majority Back to School Survey, Results and Uses
  • Dan Maxey, Dean's Fellow in Urban Education Policy,  Pullias Center for Higher Education, University of Southern California: Contingent Faculty Working Conditions and Student Success
  • Michael Best, SEIU, and Thomas Vadakkeveetil, Strayer University: The 
  • For-profit Education Industry – Organizing for Reform

@SEIU500CAL #AcademicLabor Forum, Panel I

…see complete conference schedule here

Caste and Classes – linking our struggle for the rights of contingent faculty to the larger struggle to maintain a middle class, ensure access to quality education for all, and save the dignity of work for everyone from professors to janitors.
  • Gary Rhoades, Professor and Director, Center for the Study of Higher Education College of Education University of Arizona
  • Pablo Eisenberg, Senior Fellow, Georgetown Public Policy Institute
  • Wayne Langley, Director, Higher Education Division, SEIU Local 615

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#SEIU500 Forum on #PTFaculty #Unions this Saturday!

…the SEIU Local 500 Coalition of Academic Labor Forum is Free & Open to the Public. REGISTER TODAY ~ RIGHT NOW 

The SEIU Local 500 Coalition of Academic Labor Fourth Annual Forum on
Part-time Faculty Unions
Caste and Classes: Contingent Academic Labor Confronting Inequalities in Higher Education
Saturday, December 1, 2012, 9am to 5pm at SEIU Headquarters, 1800 Mass Ave, Washington DC (Dupont circle metro)

Please RSVP to Anne McLeer by November 28 (THAT'S TODAY), at
This forum is free and open to the public. Breakfast and lunch will be served
Join part-time faculty, union members and activists, contingent faculty advocates, full-time faculty, student groups, administration allies, members of The New Faculty Majority and the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, community allies and other stakeholders in higher education for an action oriented forum on the topic of how academic labor practices are perpetuating the increasing inequalities in our society and what we are doing to fight back.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday morning

…musing or media musings…banal, too much alliteration…TW3 recap + notes toward a do list that probably won't get done is more like it. TW3 = TWTWTW or That Was The Week That Was. This round is mostly about social media media ventures but won't always be. So here's  more about how the New Faculty Majority spends its Web 20 electrons. More about that page and the NFM Foundation another time.

Facebook analytics are by day by day overlapping 7 day chunks. The New Faculty Majority Facebook page shows 2,869 "reached" between 11/18 and 11/24. Although comments and discussion threads are more active, many visitors still choose to remain anonymous. No one really needs an explanation for why, do they?

Ana M. Fores Tamayo of  better pay petition renown has joined NewFac page admin as a content editor. Having such an active contributor is a huge boost for the page and even more help to me. I'm sure it comes as a relief to board members tired of my nagging. Is Ana aware that FB is just the gateway: micro and other blogging sure to follow? In the meantime, we're making plans to coordinates posts and issues to address. Input and suggestions, please. We'd sure like to see your posts and shared links too and plan to highlight those more.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What Is a Gift?

…from a post that is not about adjuncts, precarious knowledge workers, NTT faculty, or whatever we call ourselves this week ~ but very relevant. Compare "gifts" as used here to similar gifts, perks, favors offered adjunct: more pay but not equity and the gap still widening, adjunct appreciation days, awards, being "lucky" to get hired at the last minute, impossible schedules, etc). From Keithpp's Blog:

As the holiday season fast approaches, it has come to our attention that some of our colleagues, managers and co-worker need help understanding the concept of “gift.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Support Walmart Workers on Black Friday

#walmartstrikers share many issues w/ #adjuncts & the academic #precariat…plus setting an example of how to organize mass action…and the courage to do it. I was going to add updates this morning but there are so many ~ better to save them for a separate post or Storify and send you straight on to this basic primer from adjunct comadre Rowan's blog /online journal, which I've been following longer than I've been doing #newfac. It's on our blogroll too. 

by Dan Wasserman, from occasional links & commentary
Uncommon Thought Editor's Note: Walmart is a reflection of capitalistic abuse on every continent where its heel rests. To say that Walmart is a "bad neighbor" would be an understatement. It controls entire markets, including price setting and wages. It ruins small businesses and communities. It abuses its workers in a hundred different ways. Please go to Making Change at WalMart to find out how you can support WalMart workers.

The following is from the Making Change site:
October was a banner month for Walmart workers nationwide.  Each week saw more Walmart workers speaking up and going on strike, to protest Walmart's attempts to silence workers and retaliate against them. The strikes culminated in an announcement at Walmart's Arkansas headquarters that if the retaliation does not cease, workers will make Black Friday a "memorable" day for the company. 
To make Black Friday a success, Walmart workers need the support of community members like you. Our website now features a number of ways to get involved and support Walmart strikers on Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faculty Have a Branding Problem

…as New Faculty Majority VP Matt Williams reminds us on his blog, Akron Adjunct, no words minced in title, posts or here as reposted from Matt's blog (also listed in the blogroll on the left sidebar). There's a lot more than just posts on The New Faculty Majority blog. After this cautionary tale, we're waiting for the higher education faculty version of A Christmas Carol. Consider CCAC course cutting shenanigans as the trailer. Stay tuned for the next installments.

College faculty in America have a branding problem.  When even the Vice President of the United States disses you publicly, scapegoating you as the reason that college tuition has skyrocketed over the past twenty years…and when the vice president is supposed to be your ally…and when the vice president’s wife is a community college professor (i.e., he should know better)…well…like a Jeff Foxworthy joke…you might have a branding problem.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Storifying CC Allegheny County

…cutting course loads to duck covering adjuncts because it is the most effective tool for comprehensive coverage and to do justice an important story with its many voices and implications for the future of adjunct labor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lost in cyberspace, Nov13: 2

 catching the rest of the way up with a quick Twitter collection, including RTs & recent Facebook shares. From here on, no than one a day, if that many, will be my limit. Look for occasional themed renditions and other experiments. PS the "Ed. note" caveat at the end of part 1 still applies.  Feedback invited. 

Lost in cyberspace, Nov13: 1

…found by Storify on the New Faculty Majority Facebook page & Twitter stream, with pit stops at New Faculty Majority and NFM Foundation Web 1.0 hideouts, YouTube flyby and more. This inaugural issue opens with selected stories and discussions currently unfolding on Facebook: CFP deadlines, conferences and a pay wall. More to come. Join the discussion. 

Ed note: this Storify, created by Vanessa Vaile, collates shared links and visitor comments from NFM's public Facebook page and does not necessarily reflect NFM policy or opinions of other board members.

Monday, November 12, 2012

BYOP: we have a YouTube playlist

…6 hrs, 45 mins of videos, a lot of popcorn. We've been collecting videos about the adjunct life, higher education, academic workplace issues, activism and related topics. Normally, videos get blogged singly with the BYOP (bring your own popcorn) tag. With a total of 41 and four added just today, announcing the NewFacMajority video playlist is long overdue. So here it is.

Videos range from interviews, documentary trailers and news footage to xtranormal blasts. Reality and wry humor. We want to grow longer the list. Send your recommendations. Post the link to comments here, on our Facebook page or tweet them to @NewFacMajority

Saturday, November 10, 2012

#HurricaneSandy & New Jersey #Adjuncts

…an instructive account by New Faculty Majority Board member (& Treasurer) Bill Lipkin. His cautionary tale illustrates how being an adjunct during a natural disaster doubles down on disaster ~ and emphasizes the importance of taking action. Adjuncts everywhere, blow a raspberry for Bill's VPAA.

…Hurricane Sandy has further shown how adjuncts are the bottom of the barrel in the minds of administrators in Community Colleges. I am the co-president of our AFT chapter, representing almost 400 adjuncts in our College. There are 168 full time faculty. The College was closed for over a week due to [...]

Read the rest of Hurricane Sandy and New Jersey Adjuncts on the Adjunct Project

Nov-Dec 2012 issue of The Bullhorn

…the outstanding, award winning & #contingentfaculty aware newsletter of the SUNY New Paltz UUP Chapter, edited by NFM Board member Peter D.G. Brown. View Bullhorn back issues online. While on New Paltz UUP site, check the Contingents section, resources, links, articles, petitions & more. It's a good model for anyone looking to insert more contingent faculty information into their organization pages or just building a resource list. 

Download this fileBULLHORN November-December 2012.pdf.  NFM Foundation president Anne Wiegard reminds us,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Together at last!

Getting together. this?
#Adjuncts are steadily building networks, using technology to improve communications and share information. Is that enough? What are our options? Could Alternative (Academic) Worker Organizations, not unions as we know them, but something else ~ as yet undetermined, be a possible solution for adjuncts nationwide or regionally? Alternatives are especially important in regions where union organizing is, to repurpose a polite euphemism, problematic? "But what about us?" comments to a recent post on NFM's Facebook page about increased adjunct organizing activity reminded me of the too often overlooked plight of adjuncts. After sharing Bill Lipkin's good advice about focusing on local campus action, I recalled a few articles at New Unionism (also on Facebook here and @newunionismand started looking for more.

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