Sunday, April 29, 2012

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates, 29April12

.. More this time because it's a twofer plus, e.g. two updates in one plus extra petitions for new Petitions Feature. Are you shopping an adjunct or higher ed petition? Email petition link to to add to petitions in Updates. To subscribe to regular Updates, email  More about Joe Berry.  Updates are also archived at FollowCOCAL International on Facebook 

Updates in brief and links



Reminder: Labor Notes 2012 Conference, May 4-6

The Labor Notes 2012 Conference kicks off at 1 p.m. on Friday May 4, with the opening main session at 7:30 p.m. Some pre-conference meetings begin earlier. Closing session ends at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6.

Friday May 4, 3-6pm, Pre-conference Meeting for Contingent Faculty Union Activists

Download a full list of workshop descriptions. (files in pdf format)

Read the rest at Labor Notes 2012 Conference Agenda & 2012 Conference at the Labor Notes website

Adjuncts Strike Back

No empire just adjuncts, but there are a lot of us. This particular iteration of adjunct discontent may seem old news, displaced by another. Yes, perhaps so, but not the underlying conditions. Watch for Return of the Adjuncts ... perhaps coming soon to a campus near you.

Reactions to The Bidens’ tax returns stir adjunct discussion. The discontent ~ psychic pain might be more accurate ~ expressed here is more complex than it might appear at first.  It operates on multiple levels, not diffuse but directed at more than one specific target. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Disposable Teachers

 = adjuncts and other precarious academic knowledge workers, also Dissident Voice article, "Cutting to the Bone on College Campuses through Reducing, Reusing, Repurposing" by Paul Haeder / April 28th, 2012

It’s the equal pay for equal work thing, stupid. Union strong and proud. (Bumper sticker on 1972 VW Rabbit, Vancouver, Canada).
Sure, that might be the mantra for the "new faculty majority"  [increasingly organizing into faculty unions. Actually New Faculty Majority's is "Faculty working conditions are student learning  conditions" but close enough], but in a large sense, the fight to normalize the work, pay and benefits of part-time/ contingent/ temporary/migratory/ irregular/ at-will/ auxiliary faculty, AKA “freeway fliers,” is one centered on dismantling the two-tiered system of inequitable pay and punitive treatment between tenure track faculty and non-tenure track faculty.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Keeping up with California, #futureof HE

... in many senses of the word and, over the years, in different ways, from the California Master Plan to its meltdown. Michael Meranze's Links for April 18, 2012 from Reclaiming the University (even if does seem sometimes like a link farm around here)
Chris Newfield has a new piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education: "How Unequal State Support Diminishes Degree Attainment" 
CSU faculty, librarians, and counselors begin voting on rolling strike
UC Davis Police Chief Spicuzza retires effective Thursday.

UC admitted over 40% more out of state and international students in next year's entering class
CSU may eliminate cash grants that help support up to half of its grad students. 
David Crane's students think that the state should make UC go private. 
Is UC Berkeley going to have to cover millions of dollars of losses on the new football stadium? 
Berkeley joins with venture capitalists, University of Michigan, and ivy league institution in new online start-up.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Teach-in & Workshop, Green River CC, WA

Tomorrow, April 20. It's not national and on too short notice for outside the area. That's not the point. Instead of yearning for major conferences we cannot afford to attend, information silos for preaching to the choir and any silverbacks there by accident, why not begin at home? Hold more local workshops and teach-ins to educate the public and build contingent faculty networks. Share workshop ideas, fliers, plans, materials. Here's one tomorrow that you probably can't make but can take ideas from. Planning your own? Send us the information to post and share.

WHAT: Teach-in and Workshops – Adjunct Faculty In a System of Apartheid. 

WHY:  More than 75 percent of all college faculty members are adjunct/ temporary/at-will. Students and parents are unaware of the sweatshop conditions of their professors.

WHEN: April 20, 2012 – 1-2 p.m. & 2:30-3:30

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates 16April12

Email, to subscribe to regular updates in brief and links by email.  More about Joe Berry.  Updates are also archived at Follow COCAL International on Facebook 

Updates in brief and with links: emailed Apr16; reformatted, edited for web Apr19

AAUP Election Results Reflect Backlash Against Recent Leadership Decisions 1
AAUP Election Results Reflect Backlash Against Recent Leadership Decisions: Election results (including released late Wednesday showed that all seven members of a slate calling itself "AAUP Organizing for Change" easily won races for the association's top posts, by Peter Schmidt, Chronicle. Incoming AAUP President, Rudy H. Fichtenbaum, Chronicle photo by Leonardo Carrizo  

Taking Action...

Bill Barry (shown here with Mother Jones) has come out with a new book, Union Strategies for Hard Times,  to address every situation an organizer, or an organizing program would confront trying to rebuild the union movement. (PS, love the Labor Studies program tees: "Danger! Educated Union Member")

 The book, 130 pages long, is based on the experiences of many organizers and covers in every topic three different areas—private sector unions, public sector unions and building trades—and includes materials that have been developed both for real campaigns and for organizers' training sessions that Barry has run. The book is $17.00 and can be ordered from me (4204 Elsrode Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21214) or from Union Communications, Inc. in Annapolis. Discounts for orders of more than 10 copies.

Chronicle Requests, NFM Forums Update

An e-mail alert from Esther Merves to NFM Members

Dear NFM Member:

The Chronicle of Higher Education is interested in interviewing NFM members who have experienced either or both of the following situations:

  1. Eligibility for (or application for and receipt of) public assistance including Medicaid and food stamps. Reporter Stacey Patton is working on a story on this topic and will be glad to keep identifying information confidential.  Please contact her directly at as soon as possible.
  2. Chronicle editor Jeff Selingo is working on a book on the future of higher education and is interested in further exploring the idea of student as consumer in higher ed and the impact that has had in the classroom. He wants to talk to faculty members who deal with this on a regular basis, in terms of grades, assignments, and in other ways, and talk about the outcome on the classroom dynamics. You may contact him at

If you respond to either request, we hope you will mention the fact that you are an NFM member and also talk about the potential for NFM as a national organization to address both problems in constructive and meaningful ways.

FYI we are almost ready to launch a members-only bulletin board/discussion board feature at which we will post similar inquiries and topics for discussion.  Thanks for your patience as the process has taken longer than expected.

Best wishes,
Maria, Esther and the NFM Board

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

#SpeakOut4HigherEd #WeekofAction

CFHE press release: Organizations of Faculty & Staff on America’s Campuses Speak Out for the Future of Higher Education in our Country


Organizations supporting the national Campaign for the Future of Higher Education will host public events on college campuses during the week of April 16. The news media is invited. Please see listings below for a wide range of events from a protest march in Minnesota to a strike vote in California, a petition drive in New York and forums in many states.

CFHE  injects the faculty voice into the national discussion over our country’s higher education policies—a discussion that has been dominated by executives and consultants, with far too little participation by the people who are in the classrooms with the millions of students whose success will determine the future of America.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Double COCAL Updates? NOW #CFHE #action4highered

What happened here? A hiccup somewhere in cyberspace When the usual Updates post by email,  already delayed too by yesterday's breaking news, did not post, I re-posted directly to blogger. 

Catch current Updates here. Take this opportunity to read the ones you missed. I'll take it to remind you (yes, again) about CFHE's Week of Action (the higher ed kind). No doubt, you've noticed that Joe's Updates mention the action regularly.

We want to hear what you and your area groups are doing to share with readers and on social media. If you think (or hear), "But what I do that will make a difference?" ~ just remember that many actions all over the country, online and in daily life add up to more than a big parade with press conference and marching bands. Sharing them increases the effect: the whole is greater than the parts. For our part, we'll be posting CFHE materials, writing about our involvement in Think Tank research, tagging posts and appropriate links #action4highered or another. I am still auditioning #hashtag candidate. Please send yours over for a reading.

Follow COCAL International on Facebook Email, to subscribe to regular updates in brief and links by email. More about Joe Berry.   Updates are also archived at

Friday, April 13, 2012

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates 10April12

Follow COCAL International on Facebook Email, to subscribe to regular updates in brief and links by email. More about Joe Berry.   Updates are also archived at

Updates in brief and links
Global Labor

Current issue of World Wide Work, Matt Witt's compilation of good labor related literature, music, film etc. Published by the American Labor Center, an independent nonprofit founded in 1979. Subscribe to receive copies by email.

Global Unions adopt principles on temporary agency work and call for good, secure jobs for all

For anyone who has ever taught a subcontracted class, see new global union principles on temp agencies: Global Union Principles on Temporary Work

Campaign for the Future of Higher Ed

Thursday, April 12, 2012

CO Governor signs Contingent Faculty legislation

Just in from Don Eron, news too good & too important not to share immediately with as many #adjuncts/#contingent faculty as possible. Pass it on on tables...

Don writes, 

Colorado HB 12-1144, the Contingent Faculty Bill, was signed into law this afternoon.


The photograph was taken after our post-signing wind-down strategy session. On my right is long-time contingent activist Suzanne Hudson, my partner in all things; on my left is Representative Randy Fischer of Ft. Collins, who wrote the legislation; on Representative Fischer's left is Sue Doe. In my left breast pocket, undetected by the camera, is the Governor's pen, one of several  used in signing this historic legislation. 

More information and pictures, including of the signing on the Colorado AAUP website

We did it

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reading Room: the mission of academic work

 And if there are not enough #highered links here for you, Joe Berry's next set of COCAL Updates awaits. This is handy for me, overwhelmed by being all round left behind online ~ not in any Apocalyptic sense ~ just the old fashioned 'how will I ever catch up?' one. Recycling Ominvore (complete with nifty graphic) gives me breathing space before tackling AAUP elections, CFHE's Week of Action (eek, next week!) and other longer-than-this posts ~ and time to catch up on other networks and other sections of this one.

From Fast Capitalism, a special section on Academia in the Internet Age. From History of Intellectual Culture, John R. Thelin (Kentucky) and Richard W. Trollinger (Centre): "Forever is a Long Time": Reconsidering Universities’ Perpetual Endowment Policies in the Twenty-First Century. UC-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi is a bona fide 1-percenter — when did executive pay at public universities get so high? .... Humanities and public life: Teresa Mangum explains how a new book series aims to promote a broader sense of the mission of academic work.

Read the rest of the mission of academic work - / omnivore

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

BYOP: Con Job

Megan Fulwiler and Jennifer Marlow at Con Job group on FB write,

 Check out our updated and extended version of Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor. We recently previewed this at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and will be completing the full length version this summer.


Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Labor from Jenn Marlow and Megan Fulwiler on Vimeo.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Reading Room: College in the 21st century

Again Omnivore, the Book Forum blog for the omnivorous reader, presents yet another excellent collection of briefly annotated, (sometimes loosely) themed links, this set on higher education. Recent topics include war, learning from the Great Depression, northeast Asia, math, health care, the nature of messages (very loosely, almost whimsically themed) and endings ~ perhaps even more so. 

Education, especially higher, is a regular theme. Selections cut across scholarly, book reviews, academic and non-academic sources, social media and just social, economics, scholarly and less so topics, the subculture, its future and more. The tone, sources and perspective stand in stark contrast to Joe Berry's COCAL Updates. Taken together, with a Michael Meranze links post from Remaking the University thrown in for good measure: the highered beat as well and more thoroughly covered than by any major higher ed media. 

Jan Steyaert (Fontys): Scholarly Communication and Social Work in the Google Era. Ed note: Don't miss this one » Mark Edmundson (Virginia): Under the Sign of Satan: William Blake in the Corporate University. A review of Confronting Managerialism: How the Business Elite and Their Schools Threw Our Lives Out of Balance by Robert R. Locke and J. C. Spender. 

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates 31March12

COCAL Updates in brief & links 


Note: Call for Papers (also as attached pdf) for COCAL X, August 10-12, Mexico City. Follow COCAL International on Facebook Email, to subscribe to regular updates in brief and links by email. More about Joe Berry.   

Mundo Precario

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Quick Note: new thread, whatever

You are cordially invited to visit & comment on our (NFM's) new blog thread just for comments. Like the proverbial floating crap game, posts move down as new ones are posted, but I'll try to remember to re-stick the post back to the top of the page every now and again while considering other options.  For now though, here it is: just comment under the identity of your choice. Anonymity guaranteed and always an option.

What is it? An experiment, a work in progress, whatever you choose to make of it. Go alone with me here. Humor me. I'm experimenting so want to start out open ended and see where it takes us.  Will it be the (hand or other) writing on the wall, another iteration of  _____ (fill in the blank with preferred designation) narratives or something else altogether? Call it the whatever thread. Should more specific guidelines become necessary, we can set them together.

Suggestions invited, questions answered, friends and strangers alike welcomed,  trolls ejected. 

On the precariat

Among candidates in the "Naming Games" (a periodic event among adjunct/ NTT/ contingent faculty), precariat and variants on it keep come up more as the tanks of globalization roll through our cavalry lines. Back in 2002 when I was doing the Valencia AAUP Chapter newsletter and webpage, I fancied "precarious faculty" for its "call a spade a spade" directness. At that time, Canadian NTT faculty were called that as often as sessional. Every one working without a safety net.

Since then, the global precariat has grown, extended increasingly to "knowledge workers" of all stripes, and become a more widely identifiable term. It's back in the running. In the UK and NL, the Precarious Workers Brigade brings together artists, designers, writers, teachers, "insecure" university lecturers, freelance web workers ~ knowledge workers in education and culture.

Whether or not a variant or some other terms catches on among us remains to be seen. Self naming of a large, diverse group is ultimate crowdsourcing. By definition, no individual, group, organization or even consortium of organizations controls the process. Making it stick later with the Department of Labor is yet another matter.

In the meantime, I'm exploring the precariat here and around the world, primarily but not exclusively, knowledge workers (go Gramsci!) to aggregate and curate sources. I added sites and alerts to the feed reader to bundle and widgetize, started a Storify series (first entry below) and am also developing a "Welcome to the Precariat" newspaper in

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