Tuesday, January 31, 2012

@DeanDad: Where is He?

I am very tired, in a good way, after our wonderful NFM-AAUC conference in DC. Read more about it here and here. Then I stumbled across a recent reference to our noble organization on Friday Follow-ups, to which I take exception. Following are my remarks, to Dean Dad ~ some of you may know him, even his name. Anyway, this is just for the elite, the cognoscento, as it were. Gosh, I really am tired. Anyway, I chunked this in here because I can't seem to get it out on the great webish highway any other way:

Dear Dean Dad

Your comments, as always, are most provocative. You must be enjoying yourself. As a board member of New Faculty Majority though, I have to take exception to your comment about New Faculty Majority’s advocacy of the “Vancouver model” for paying adjuncts making you worry about your hair because you “pull out what little” you have left whenever you read NFM on such subjects. Please. Whatever your notions about Canada being where it is, and not being in the United States, the published NFM position is that we advocate equity in compensation, job security, academic freedom, faculty governance, professional advancement, benefits, and access to unemployment insurance. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Trends in College Spending

#NewFac12 Summit participants agreed on the importance of transparency, knowing where the money comes from and where it goes. We already know where it doesn't go. Data, data... who's got the data? Who crunches it? IPEDS has data. Now Delta and American Institutes for Research (AIR) do for analyzing according to primary metrics. Next question: who gets access to the results?

According to a recent press release, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) will maintain the Delta Cost Project's database as part of its Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) that conducts annual surveys gathering information from every college, university, and technical and vocational institution that participates in the federal student financial aid programs. For more information about the Delta Cost Project at AIR, contact Rita Kirshstein at rkirshstein@air.org.

Accessing Delta Cost Project measures of spending, revenues, productivity, and enrollment in higher education institutions, Trends in College Spending (TCS) Online is an interactive web-based data system gives higher education stakeholders easy access to information on finance, performance, and enrollments for individual institutions, groups of institutions, or the nation as a whole.

Recent patterns in higher education finance are presented using six primary "metrics" compiled by the Delta Cost Project (follow the "Overview" link below). These metrics mirror those in the Delta Cost Project’s Trends in College Spending reports, where national-level patterns and trends are presented. The TCS system allows institutional-level comparisons with those national data.

The six metrics are revenue, expenditures, cost/price/subsidy, outcomes and spending, spending comparisons and enrollment.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

#newfac12, now to sum it up

So far rave reviews, Not that much out yet from those in actual attendance. Organizers are probably still collapsed in a heap somewhere recovering.

I'm stilling gathering materials, waiting for organizers to report to board and definitely not up for a long post but could not resist the word play. Besides, I should address the subject, throw a figurative mortarboard in the air, hail farewell in passing and sum up however briefly before moving on. Undoubtedly there will still be much to report on and materials to put before you.

Team Digital Footprint held its own Social Media Smackdown  ~ Bigfeet every one of them too. And there you thought this was convo not a sporting event.

click to view larger version

Brian Croxall logged the most tweets, followed by Karen Kelsky (The Professor is In). Brian overcame early twit-throttling by improvising a GoogleDocs alternative worthy of haystacker or mooc rat

Lee Bessette liveblogged, tweeted and set up an archive for #newfac12 tweets that includes graphic analyses.

New contenders, John A Casey Jr and Josh Boldt (NFM member and chapter organizer), held their own, with Josh earning the distinction of blogging both the first Summit and the first post-summit posts, also cross posted to The-Compost and Facebook

Check out the #newfac12 stream on Twitter and Topsy ... and wait for the next installment...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Summit Up #NewFac12!

Summit Program - Final.doc Download this file


Yes, today is the day. Can't be there? Got it covered: Twitter, Facebook, live blogging, social media team at the ready and other attendees armed with mobiles. Follow #newfac12 on Twitter. Lee Bessette will be liveblogging the Summit at College Ready Writing. Check out her pre-Summit post with resource links and listing the team so I don't have to again here. 

Check @NewFacMajority and NFM's Facebook wall for introductions and links. We'll add others as they come up. I'll be here and there, dropping in on Twitter and Facebook, checking mail and rss feeds. All from New Mexico...

Alas, no livestreaming video. Who knows, maybe there will be mobiles with web cams in the crowd. Never discount serendipity. Audio will be available after the event.    

Talking Pointsplus a great late add from Gary Rhoades, visibility

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekly #EdTech News Roundup

Audrey Watters, technology journalist, freelance writer, ed-tech advocate, recovering academic, rabble-rouser, and single mom, reports on ed tech at Hack Education and Inside HigherEd. Her stories have appeared on NPR/KQED's education technology blog MindShift, in the data section of O’Reilly Radar, and in the Edutopia's blog (among other places).

No matter what position taken on ed-tech and its future in / influence on higher education teaching, working conditions and employment, no one can afford to let ignorance be zir lodestar. Keep abreast in a single step and one stop by following Audrey's column. This week's round-up includes politics (SOPA, SCOTUS), launches (Wolfram Alpha), updates/upgrades (e-textbooks), retroactivity (restrictions and other unfortunate news), research and data, funding, contests and awards.


Weekly Ed-Tech News Roundup: The Digital Textbook Scramble and more...

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


My favorite "stop sopa" page is Zachary Johnson's shadowbox with the moving light (just move your cursor) on Zachstronaut. Adding this one to my feed reader... tomorrow. Today ..... 


 Oops.... the New Faculty Majority web pages missed  blacking out. My apologies on their behalf but not my bad. I do just the blog and social media. Otherwise, sites are striking in all different ways, but they are united by this: do the biggest thing you possibly can and drive contacts to Congress. *Put the source code for this page your site* ~ it's my main page at Mountainair Online (the web page). I have no control over blog policies. I'm not really up to tinker with source code to show a black out page on my blogs. So I am settling for posting information and exhortations (like this one). Except for following #sopastrike on Twitter and @fightfortheftr) and Reddit, I'm staying off public pages today. No Facebook or 

Personal blackouts seem to be running either 24 hours (midnight to midnight) or 8AM EST to 8PM EST. Major supporting sites like Wikipedia, WordPress, Google, Internet Archive (+ Wayback Machine), Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tucows and many, many more are striking for 24 hours. Looked like a major slow down on Facebook when I checked (before 8 am).  

What can you do to support the strike if you don't have a blog or web page, can't blog and RT #sopastrike stories? Make a call; sign the petition; learn more; the action of the hour is to speak out. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, opposing the bills. Contact local news stations and let them know that this is an issue worth covering. And there is still email, what they could be coming after next...

Today's Google search page:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Links: education & labor news

Not all or just about #highered per se but all relevant... even the accompanying illustration but you'll have to read to the end to learn why.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Consider this ~

 Fair Trade in Education matters too: why not certify institutions of higher ed as providers of a Fair Trade Education? Combat exploitation in higher ed degree production. Although relevant in explaining structures and ethics of consumption, the excerpt below from Combating Slavery in Coffee and Chocolate Production is not intended as a direct comparison of adjunct faculty and other precariously employed knowledge workers in higher education with slave and child labor. The moral obligation of ethical production is also a cornerstone of Talmudic Law.

"Morality requires American consumers to purchase fair-trade products whenever possible. Whether one is a egalitarian, believing that people have an obligation to help others, or a libertarian, believing that people are only obligated to not coerce, harm or unjustifiably restrain innocent others, it seems clear that consumers have an obligation to ensure that the people who produce the goods they consume are both not enslaved and basically compensated. Just as a morally decent person understands that it is wrong to purchase cheap goods from a provider who is known to regularly sell stolen goods, so, too, is it wrong to purchase cheap chocolate, coffee, sugar, and other goods that are cultivated through stolen, forced, or exploited labor.

It is also important to point out that buying fair-trade products is not the same as donating to help others. When it comes to the moral uses of money people often think of donating funds to the needy or those who are suffering. While donating to the needy is an important component of a moral life, fewer donations would be necessary if people were justly rewarded for the often very hard work they do. Ideally, no one should purchase fair-trade products with the idea that they are donating to improve the lives of coffee and cocoa growers. Buying fair-trade products is not "donating" to a cause, it is merely doing the decent thing: paying people a reasonable sum for the work that they are doing for you.

.... For the contemporary American consumer our purchasing practices are moral proclamations. To the extent that we refuse to contemplate the people whose labor produces the foods we put in our bodies and the objects we use in our daily lives, we conveniently deny our moral obligation to consider the well being of not only those nearest to us, but also workers living in the shadows of production who also have the basic rights to living a decent life."

Truthout, January 15, 2012: Combating Slavery in Coffee and Chocolate Production by Jeffery Alan Nall PhD (Scholar, Teacher, Culture Critic ~ and one of us: Instructor, Indian River State College and Florida Atlantic University)

In the Middle: The Best MLA is the One I Didn't Attend: Tweeting the Conference

JJ Cohen writes,

Because I'm on fellowship leave, and because I'm committed to an extraordinary amount of travel in the semester ahead, I didn't attend the MLA conference in Seattle.

I followed the event at a distance through friends on FB and the occasional text message or phone chat. I know a few people who are on the job market, and a delegation of GW English faculty were conducting interviews for our Romanticist position. And maybe that says it: the MLA convention is easy shorthand for the US academic hiring process in literature, since in hotel rooms at that conference most of the interviewing is undertaken.

This year, though, I also experienced the unfolding of the meeting via Twitter.

In the Middle: The Best MLA is the One I Didn't Attend: Tweeting the Conference

Same here and we're not alone. Lee Skallerup tweeted and Storified MLA12 and  AHA2012 without attending either. Brian Croxall tweeted both but attending just MLA12. Haystackers in Seattle and Chicago kept the back channels busy. Later, John A Casey Jr, who presented at AHA, posted thoughts on the current conference system, its frustrations, high costs and possible changes:

Yet another way that non-elite faculty are prevented from full participation in the discipline they help sustain.

Among the many changes that I hope will take place as the discipline of English is forced to evolve or disappear is a reexamination of the annual convention model....changes are all desperately needed.  Maybe regional conferences affiliated with national ones could pick up the slack.  Or perhaps a lot of the work needed could be done online.

In any event, if we want all the members of the profession to have a say in its future, we need something better than the traditional annual convention.  The premium for attendance is too steep.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Supply is Not Going to Decrease (So It’s Time to Think About Curating)

Createquity article about supply, demand and surplus (overproduction ~ sound familiar) in art markets addresses intrinsic motivation conditions similar to those in higher ed ~ used there to rationalize pay imbalance.

"For one thing, conversation about supply and demand breaks down a bit when the suppliers have an intrinsic motivation to be in the marketplace. Classical economic models assume that suppliers don’t have any particular emotional attachment to what they’re supplying; all they really want to do is to make money. As a result, if they’re not making money, they’ll exit the industry, leaving more to go around for everyone else. As we see from Kirk Lynn’s contribution to the discussion, however, many artists (especially artist-entrepreneurs) have far too much passion for their work to consider exiting solely for financial reasons. The result of this lack of exit is a surfeit of fantastic art that few aside from its creators have time to take in."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success

*How does this relate to #highered #academiclabor & #adjunct issues? What lessons and ideas can we as both educators and academic precariat working for equity in the academic workplace take away from this article and the Finnish example? It's definitely something to talk about at the January 28 Summit, "Reclaiming Academic Democracy: Facing the Consequences of Contingent Employment in Higher Education." So is the Program for Change developed by Jack Longmate and Frank Fosco.  What's on your list of questions? Let us know.


What Americans Keep Ignoring About Finland's School Success - Anu Partanen - National - The Atlantic

    • Everyone agrees the United States needs to improve its education system dramatically, but how?
      • Trouble is, when it comes to the lessons that Finnish schools have to offer, most of the discussion seems to be missing the point.
        • Compared with the stereotype of the East Asian model -- long hours of exhaustive cramming and rote memorization -- Finland's success is especially intriguing because Finnish schools assign less homework and engage children in more creative play.
          • one of the most significant things Sahlberg said passed practically unnoticed. "Oh," he mentioned at one point, "and there are no private schools in Finland."
            • There are no private universities, either. This means that practically every person in Finland attends public school, whether for pre-K or a Ph.D.
              • The answers Finland provides seem to run counter to just about everything America's school reformers are trying to do.
                • Finland has no standardized tests
                  • teachers are trained to assess children in classrooms using independent tests they create themselves.
                    • "There's no word for accountability in Finnish,"
                      • "Accountability is something that is left when responsibility has been subtracted."
                        • what matters is that in Finland all teachers and administrators are given prestige, decent pay, and a lot of responsibility. A master's degree is required to enter the profession, and teacher training programs are among the most selective professional schools in the country. I
                          • while Americans love to talk about competition, Sahlberg points out that nothing makes Finns more uncomfortable. In his book Sahlberg quotes a line from Finnish writer named Samuli Puronen: "Real winners do not compete."
                            • There are no lists of best schools or teachers in Finland. The main driver of education policy is not competition between teachers and between schools, but cooperation.
                              • Decades ago, when the Finnish school system was badly in need of reform, the goal of the program that Finland instituted, resulting in so much success today, was never excellence. It was equity.
                                • Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.
                                  • But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland
                                    • was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.
                                      • That this point is almost always ignored or brushed aside in the U.S. seems especially poignant at the moment, after the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement have brought the problems of inequality in America into such sharp focus.
                                        • All countries are different, and as many Americans point out, Finland is a small nation with a much more homogeneous population than the United States. 
                                          • But the number of foreign-born residents in Finland doubled during the decade leading up to 2010, and the country didn't lose its edge in education
                                            • Educational policy, Abrams suggests, is probably more important to the success of a country's school system than the nation's size or ethnic makeup.
                                              • Finland's population of 5.4 million can be compared to many an American state -- after all, most American education is managed at the state level.
                                                • despite their many differences, Finland and the U.S. have an educational goal in common.
                                                  • Finland's experience suggests that to win at that game, a country has to prepare not just some of its population well, but all of its population well,
                                                    • it is possible to achieve excellence by focusing not on competition, but on cooperation, and not on choice, but on equity.
                                                      • The problem facing education in America isn't the ethnic diversity of the population but the economic inequality of society, and this is precisely the problem that Finnish education reform addressed.

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                                                        Monday, January 9, 2012

                                                        Not of General Interest: Random Bullets of MLA 2012

                                                        Succinct MLA 2012 overview from another not-mainstream-academic-press perspective, neither long winded blogger nor minimalist tweeter. I would have said for the broke and otherwise motivated to stay at home but now suspect these may also be necessary to fill in inevitable gaps experienced by those present IRL without benefit of T.A.R.D.I.S. Don't complain about the genre being hard to suss out.

                                                        Not of General Interest: Random Bullets of MLA 2012

                                                        CLIP Call for Papers

                                                        Call for Submissions: Special Joint Issue of the ADE Bulletin and the ADFL Bulletin, “Non-Tenure-Track Faculty in the Modern Languages: Issues and Directions”

                                                        The Modern Language Association’s Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession...is sponsoring a joint edition of the ADE Bulletin and the ADFL Bulletin to promote informed, professional discussion of contingent labor in departments in the United States and Canada. To support such discussions, the committee created “Professional Employment Practices for Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Members,” a policy document approved by the MLA Executive Council in 2011.

                                                        [The joint edition Bulletin] seeks contributions showing how departments and individuals are using or might use the document. Essays relating to academic contingent labor are also welcome on topics including but not limited to the following:

                                                        • Analyses, documentation, or description of trends or situations, nationally, regionally, or locally
                                                        • Implications or effects of higher education trends (technology, distance learning, undergraduate education, curriculum issues)
                                                        • Recruitment and hiring practices
                                                        • Implications and issues of online or distance-education models for contingent faculty members
                                                        • Compensation and professional advancement
                                                        • Coalition building within and across institutions
                                                        • Professional rights and responsibilities
                                                        • Professional development and recognition
                                                        • Graduate education and training issues
                                                        • Research by contingent faculty members
                                                        • Integration into the life of the department and institution
                                                        • Best practices and models (case studies) of departments or institutions
                                                        • Issues related to community colleges
                                                        more at CLIP Call for Papers

                                                        'via Blog this'

                                                        Saturday, January 7, 2012

                                                        'tis the season ~ of annual meetings

                                                        How to "attend" them (sort of) on the cheap? One answer is social media, especially Twitter. Although both get blogged and covered by "academic media," e.g. Chronicle and Inside HigherEd, Twitter does it better.  Plus you can follow simultaneous sessions as well as both Seattle and Chicago, impossible IRL ~ even if we could afford it.


                                                        • Search hashtags: #mla12 and #aha2012
                                                        • Narrow focus by adding session hashtags
                                                        • Use a social media search tool such as Topsy 
                                                        • Set a Google alert
                                                        • Identify a blogger or active tweeter who is covering the meeting, especially sessions you are most interested in. Brian Croxall is always a good bet. "Active" would be an understatement.

                                                        Storified by Lee Skallerup:

                                                        Of course, CHE and IHE accounts and post mortems will still be pored over and commented, but they are no longer the whole story for those not in attendance. Add the reflections of academic bloggers. Real time coverage fleshes it out.

                                                        Forget about the "cachet" of "being there ... only matters if you let it. Not being left out of the conversation, invisible and silenced when so many communication tools are at hand counts for more.

                                                        Consider too the cachet of being greener...

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