Monday, July 30, 2012


Maria Maisto writes...
Our colleagues at Baltimore City Community College report that there has been a mass firing of adjuncts at Baltimore City Community College with just a few weeks to go before classes start. We are still trying to get information about how extensive the firings were and the reasons behind them, but it appears that the official explanations are "credential checks" and reduced student enrollment by as much as 45%.  It also appears that the targeted adjuncts are those who signed cards in support of unionizing with SEIU Local 500.  
The Associate Dean of the English, Humanities, Visual and Performing Arts department, who authorized these firings and reassignments, has resigned effective August 1.  
Adjuncts' classes are being reassigned to full-timers, none of whom are on tenurable contracts (there is no tenure at BCCC).  It looks like the full-timers will be teaching as many as double the number of courses they usually teach -- and some of them don't even know it yet.
We are still trying to find out more and to provide more information as we get it.  Please contact us if you have any information, and help us support our BCCC colleagues.
Maria Maisto's Signature

Maria Maisto
President, New Faculty Majority
Executive Director, NFM Foundation
Ph: (216) 262-4375
NFM Web:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Petition Junction... supersized

Check & click petitions listed belowDo you have an adjunct or highered petition? Send us the link to add to our list, plus adjunct heroes for a hat tip here too ~ 

Reinstate Fired Adjunct Professor Sissy Bradford is next on featured "pin to the top of the page" list: New Faculty Majority petitions Texas A&M University at San Antonio, presented by Matt Williams.

Adjunct Pay Petition, presented by Ana Maria Tamayo Fores, whose monumental persistence inspired me to start this project, current "pinned to the top" on our Facebook timeline. Currently at 1,867 signatures

Another equal pay for equal work  petition to Obama for part time college teachers. Petitioner Carol Jordan of California Part-Time Faculty Assoc. (CPFA, in CA CCs) writes, 
"Part time community college instructors earn, on average, 50 cents on the dollar compared to full timers. Moreover, we receive no benefits, no tenure, and no pension. We need pay equity NOW! That's why I signed a petition to President Barack Obama asking him to: Stop balancing college budgets on the backs of part time faculty. Will you sign the petition too? Click here to add your name.
Support forgiveness of student loans, presented by Robert Applebaum. There are also a number of other student loan petitions. Campaigns for student loan debt reform recommend signing all of them or as many as you can ~ separate posts on this issue to follow.

Tell Vice President Biden: Don't Blame Faculty for the High Cost of College; Most Are "Working Poor!" (a New Faculty Majority petition, yes it's still up)
The CREDO Current Actions list includes a student loan forgiveness (scroll to the bottom), probably not the one (I hope) you already signed. The list also includes a number of petitions worth your attention. Spend some of it CREDO is also on Facebook

Hat Tips to (adjunct) Heroes... 

  • Judy Olson for bridge building and tireless work on cooperative NFM/NEA project to pass NEA Action at 2012 RA formally requesting clarification of pesky "reasonable assurance"), now joined by AFT to for an official group letter to DoL signed by all three (NFN, NEA, AFT)
  • Jack Longmate for ongoing resistance to bullying by tenured bargaining unit colleagues at Olympic College and refusal to knuckle under to pressure
  • Robin Sowards, adjunct faculty, linguistics, at Duquesne University, for actions organizing adjuncts, patiently navigating resistance, shepherding the process through multiple NLRB review. We're waiting for board member and blog contributor Alan Trevithick's definitive article. In the meantime, follow Alan's coverage here.
  • Ross Borden, board member, for unsung (because allergic to social media) work on NFM research projects, the Unemployment Compensation Initiative, Student Loan Debt issues (which he and I hope will become a full fledged initiative) and many other projects.  You may not be able to find his footprint online (unless someone else makes it on his behalf), but he's there and making a difference.
Past hat tipped heroes (still heroic) include Josh Boldt, Sissy Bradford, Lee Bessette (whom we are rooting for to leave our ranks), among other usual suspects. Could this become another, separate feature with a subcategory for non/adjunct heroes? I'm thinking of supporters like Peter Brown, Pablo Eisenberg, Jonathon Rees, Karen Kelsky, Seth Kahn, Kate Bowles and others. Separate profiles would be neat but, until such time as I clone myself, not realistic. Until then, this would help fill the gap and express our appreciation. 

Nominations please... submit names with brief description, plus link/s if available.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Future of Higher Education

 PEW report on the Future of the Internet by Janna Anderson, Jan Lauren Boyles, Lee RainieJul 27, 2012, surveys some stakeholder expectations for the future of higher education. 


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Don't rob poor to educate rich

…#UCB Chancellor Birgenau tells Times Higher Education, UK... and there I was thinking I'd have to pass on posting today, tired early and not guest contributor on the horizon to give me a break.... then this in my feed reader, irresistible blog manna from cyberspace. Ever so many thanks Elizabeth Gibney for this treasure, more confirmation than surprise.

Don't rob poor to educate richVox populi: US now sees the academy as a private good. Higher education should not be free even if the funds permit it, according to the chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. Tuition fees for in-state students at the public university have almost doubled in three years. But Robert Birgeneau, who steps down at the end of the year, told Times Higher Education that he does not mind tuition going up for the wealthy...."If you do any economic analysis, if education is free it simply represents a transfer of income from poor to rich...I think that's a social injustice," he added.

Read the rest at Times Higher Education - Don't rob poor to educate rich. There is also a comment section should you feel so inclined. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

NFM UCI State Coordinator Application

New Faculty Majority is currently seeking State Coordinators for the NFM National Unemployment Compensation Initiative These are currently UNPAID VOLUNTEER positions. We understand, as keenly as anyone can, that adjunct & contingent faculty already have their hands full with other responsibilities. We hope that, through the efforts of the organization's many volunteers, New Faculty Majority might affect change in the academy which will benefit future generations of scholars and students.
We are getting quite a few inquiries from folks who would like to serve as volunteer state coordinators. Be assured that we will find a role for anyone who is willing and able to help. Please take just a few minutes to complete the application and tell us a little about yourself and why you want to become involved in advocating for adjunct & contingent faculty rights.

Joe Berry's July 19 COCAL Updates & links about #ContingentFaculty, #academiclabor & #organizing in #highered. To subscribe to regular Updates, email  More about Joe Berry.  Updates are also archived at Follow COCAL International on Facebook 

Getting organized...
Demonstrators Protest The NATO Summit In ChicagoAccording to UK political activist Richard Seymour writing in The Guardian, Chicago teachers could strike a blow for organised labor globally. Although risky, a successful, a fight to halt school budget cuts in Democratic heartland would be a huge boost for unions.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

US recession's other victim: public universities

Buildings are seen on the campus of Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Thayer…according to Reuters, but didn't we already know it? So where's the beef? The real news in this story? It's not even news that Reuters overlooked adjuncts.  The source signals that the story is global, no longer higher education's dirty little house secret, covered up with short term measures like more adjuncts and higher tuition to cover the short fall without addressing structural and even deep foundation problems. The jig's up! Globally at that (and we're not alone either).

For generations, most college-bound Americans paid reasonable fees to attend publicly financed state universities. But the bedrock of that system is fracturing as cash-strapped states slash funding to these schools just as attendance has soared. Places like Ohio State, Penn State and the University of Michigan now receive less than 7 percent of their budgets from state appropriations.

As a result, public universities -- which historically have graduated the majority of U.S. college students -- are eliminating programs, raising tuition and accepting more out-of-state students, who typically pay significantly higher rates.

Continue reading U.S. recession's other victim: public universities | Reuters

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Reading Room: The college identity crisis

Preserve, change or adapt, we are working for a voice in the university now and to come. So then, what is our idea of the idea of the university, contemporary, ideal, historical? What shaped the university and higher education as we have experienced it and know it now? What challenges does it face?

Peter Kemp (Aarhus): The Idea of University in a Cosmopolitan Perspective. Davide Cantoni and Noam Yuchtman on how universities helped transform the medieval world. From H-Net, a review of Twentieth-Century Higher Education: Elite to Mass to Universal. A review of The Constitution Goes to College: Five Constitutional Ideas That Have Shaped the American Universityby Rodney A. Smolla. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Quick Reference Guide For Parents on the College Search

Cross-posted at the Adjunct Project.

Many of us have been suggesting for awhile now that, in order for adjuncts to continue gaining momentum, we need to get the issue out into the public eye. We need to get parents and students on our side, or at least make them aware of the situation. Obviously, the mainstream media attention we have begun to garner is helping in that endeavor. The more we dispel the myth that all college professors are overpaid and underworked (ha!), the better off we will be when it comes to gaining public support for our mission.
Which is why I was particularly heartened by an email I received this week from the parent of a high school senior. In the email, this parent astutely asserts that she is affected by colleges' exploitative practices because she is a "future consumer."

Very true, and well-said. Business practices affect the consumer, whether he or she is willing to recognize it or not. This parent is clearly one who seeks to explore these practices before she patronizes the school. She is exactly the kind of parent to whom we should appeal.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

News from Chicago: #NLRB rules for @P_fac

Part-time Faculty Association of Columbia College
Part-time Faculty Association of Columbia College Announcement

Federal Government Rules in Favor of P-fac
CHICAGO -- The National Labor Relations Board issued a ruling Tuesday, July 17th, against Columbia College Chicago as a result of unfair labor practice charges brought against the college by the faculty union, Part-time Faculty Association at Columbia College ("P-fac").  

NTT Fac confer in Pitt, on Member Forum

Call for Participation NTTF Conference

We blogged the Pittsburgh NTTF Conference mid June on Joe's COCAL Updates, asked around, heard zip ~ frustrating because we really like to hear more than zip when blogging and sooner too ~ that is, until finding this from Esther Merves in the morning mbx. She writes, 
 A few have asked, "Who are these folks?" I had a long talk this morning with one of the organizers, NFM member Ms. Robin Clarkewho teaches English at the University of Pittsburgh. Her spouse teaches at Duquesne.  She and a group of NTT faculty at Pitt, Duquesne, and Carnegie Mellon are trying to raise consciousness through this conference, and have received funding from the Pitt chapter of AAUP and US Steelworkers for the conference. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

City College students & teachers brainstorm ways to save school

…follow up on recent coverage in Joe Berry's COCAL Updates, July 11&13. He notes that CCSF may be the most adjunct friendly community college in the state.

CCSF rallyCity College of San Francisco has just eight months to come up with a new plan to save money and restructure its leadership, or the school could be forced to close, leaving 90,000 students behind.

On Monday night, students held the first major rally in a campaign to save City College, a gathering that was part pep rally and part call to action...."One in three San Franciscans have been to City College; either taken a class or transferred to a four-year, so City College does play a big role in many people's lives," argued student Tiffany Louie.

They must have an action plan in place by October 15th.

Read the rest of City College students and teachers brainstorm ways to save school | Watch video here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

College campuses' climate lessons for companies

…Remember our #NewFac12 Summit hosts, Association of American College and Universities? This is their project. We're planning a 2013 Summit…keep'ya posted on updates as they come my way. Members: look for a Summit or related Forum at the NFM Members Forum section on the "new" New (new²…new³…etc?) Faculty Majority website...or email and ask Esther to start one for you. 
For the past five years, a quiet efficiency revolution has been taking place on more than 600 college campuses. It offers potential lessons for companies on how a sector can simultaneously compete and collaborate to achieve ever higher levels of environmental success. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

EduAmerica: infographics, Stafford & more

…a topic that includes but is not limited to contingent faculty, debt or even just higher education. We're all connected in many ways, threatened too and need to build more bridges. Recent NEA support for updating DoL language on UI eligibility to clarify "reasonable assurance" at the federal level is just one example. 

Another might be the flip side or ongoing cognitive dissonance between K-12 and higher ed members in education unions. Better communication there should mean more voice for contingent faculty. Issues affecting K-12 affect higher education. Trends taking root in one will move to the other. Then there is the obvious one.... teaching, plus primarily contingent staffed areas like ESL, ABE, GED, tutoring, tech school, etc. that fall between and often through the cracks.

Last week, the education world was abuzz when changes to the federal student loan program went into effect, many with lasting implications for students and graduates grappling with college debt. Learn more about the issue with this series of education-related infographics, which tackle topics from debt, to digital media, to the disastrous effects of playing hooky

Sunday, July 15, 2012

New admin in the college workplace: just not getting it


At my community college we have a relatively new upper administration. The President is just finishing her 2nd year and the Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA) just finished her first year here. Neither one has strong academic background and the VPAA has not yet learned the 'culture' of the College. For example in the Spring semester, she cancelled classes with 9 and 10 students in them (some were required for the students to graduate) and then complained that enrollment was down! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

CollegeHumor nails #StudentLoanDebt

Not just for the undergrads we teach…it's a #contingentfaculty…#academicprecariat problem too, especially for younger faculty arriving in graduate school in the era of higher tuition and less departmental support or in a program that did not adequately fund grad students. There are (limited) options, but for some, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), adjunct working conditions of part time status and multiple employers create barriers to eligibility. We want to help do something about the meantime, here's a petition to support H.R. 4170, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012

Dark, bitter and totally on-target. “Always use protection when screwing yourself.”

CollegeHumor nails Student Loan Debt | EduBubble. See also: The $1 Trillion Student Loan Rip-Off: How an Entire Generation Was Tricked into Taking on Crushing Debt That Just Enriches Banks and Student Loan Debt Suicides

Friday, July 13, 2012

Joe Berry's COCAL Updates, July 11 & 13 & links about #ContingentFaculty, #academiclabor & #organizing in #highered. To subscribe to regular Updates, email  More about Joe Berry.  Updates are also archived at Follow COCAL International on Facebook 

around the adjunctiverse
Judy Olson's first hand account and detailed analysis of contingent faculty success at NEA Assembly on unemployment support item, also covered by CHE and briefly in IHE   

New blog post by NFM veep Matt Williams, Wet Tinder or the contingent faculty movement catching fire?  

NFM blogger and board member, Bill Lipkin blogs for info about adjunct mentoring programs 

On adjuncting in Catholic higher ed and the threat of it (casualization) spreading into Catholic K12; Nashville K-12 schools going the adjunct route too  

Union made

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Reblog: Punching the Adjunct Time Card [+ a Call to Data!]

…by Irreveranting Professor (gr8 nic on so many levels!) who writes at the Adjunct Project
I’ve been inspired by Moneyball! At the time I saw the movie, which was last fall, I was a contingent teaching graduate statistics to counseling students. Right after I saw the movie, I was inspired to use it to help my students see the application of statistics in the “real world,” and even with counseling students using this movie worked!  They learned and were excited! Obviously, I wasn’t paid to take work to the movies or to take the movies to work, but the connections worked for the students. 
With [Josh's] recent blog tying Moneyball to the world of the contingent faculty member, I saw a whole new spin on the movie. 
Irreveranting wants to collect contingent/adjunct professor records, code and process them (anonymity guaranteed) to quantify all our teaching hours. Not only would this confirm shared narratives, informal anecdotes and suspicions but provide real data for advocacy, the kind that can't be blow off as "not counting." Interested in participating? Already have existing logs of your time and tasks? Email:

Read the rest of Punching the Adjunct Time Card.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

UnCritical Masses

A commentary on the National Gathering in Philly but strikes other chords / echoes other plangent refrains as well, recently about the New Faculty Majority in particular but surely others as well ~ an unexpected but welcome universality.

We're evolving too. 
“Man, what we really need is critical mass…” 

“It’s stupid economists, people”

It’s mainstream economists, not economists in general. And they’re not really stupid, just dogmatic in their insistence on a particular theory of economics. But Ross Gittins [ht: tm] does put his figure on a real problem.
Why mess around with a good thing by adding more of my own superfluous copy? Read the rest of “It’s stupid economists, people” at occasional links & commentary, David F. Ruccio

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Message from the NEA Contingent Faculty Caucus

by Judy Olson, reposted from the Contingent Academics Mailing List and detailing the process by which the Contingent Faculty Caucus (CFC) brought a concrete action to help contingent faculty across the country gain access to unemployment benefits more easily and that representatives across the entire education spectrum approved by unanimous voice vote. Usually I wish for pictures; this time it would be an audio of the voice vote. Now read the whole thing. It's worth it.  Judy explains,

Thursday was the last day of the National Education Association's Representative Assembly (RA). It was a successful RA for the Contingent Faculty Caucus; we are building power and visibility and have achieved an important victory for contingent faculty.

The NEA is the largest education union in the country, with almost 3 million members, the vast majority in K-12. On one hand, NEA is big and powerful; on the other, higher ed is a tiny minority trying to be heard amid all the noise, and contingent faculty are a weak minority within that minority. Our challenge is that we must constantly educate our K-12 colleagues about our issues; they have no idea what our working conditions are or that we constitute a significant majority of higher ed's teaching workforce.

A Message from the NJ State AFL-CIO

…via colleagues Robin Brownfield & New Faculty Majority board member Bill Lipkin 

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO Mourns the Passing of Nick Yovnello

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the tragic loss of Brother Nick Yovnello, who passed away in a car accident Saturday afternoon. Nick served as that President of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals and was a dedicated union leader for over 40 years.

2012 Worst Place to Teach Award Goes To…

The results of Josh's much talked, tweeted, blogged, highered media splashed about crowdsourced spread sheet have arrived. Josh writes...

It’s a landslide! The college with the most entries on the Adjunct Project spreadsheet is the Community College of Vermont with 17 slots.

« school mascot)

The bad news for CCV is every single one of its respondents negatively rated the school. Unlike other colleges on the sheet that have varying descriptions in the Notes column, the Community College of Vermont is all bad. The major critique seems to be directed at the administration on campus, which is frequently described as an “exclusive club.” Judging from the comments, it appears that the administration at CCV is particularly heinous.

...and just where is this booby trap of higher education? You'll have to go to the Adjunct Project to learn which sullied and unspeakable institution is the 2012 Worst Place to Teach Award Goes To…

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lawyers, Guns & Money: This Day in Labor History x 33

Yes, I admit to a weakness for blogs with interesting names, a choice not illogically based on the expectation that they be more interesting to read. So far, it's panning out as expected. Plus, a post about labor history is relevant even if not specifically about academic labor. If we are to be involved in Higher Ed Labor Issues, as appears to be the case, then reading labor history makes mighty sense, no doubt more than reading novels about labor or higher ed, even for the lit majors among us. No shortage of action ~ strikes, rebellions, massacres, murder, uprising, deportation and more...
Erik Loomis, Lawyers, Guns & Money, writes, 
A year ago today, I published my first installment of This Day in Labor History. 33 posts and 1 award later, here we are. I thought there might be interest in having them in digest form.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Reading Room: Links from Remaking the University

…a little something to tide me over until I get to deciding what to post about after taking the day more or less off yesterday. e.g. local post, email and social media exchanges. Does getting into it with a local SoCal transplant, gated community resident, over student loan rates count? 

Back to deciding (which also depends on what shows up in my feed and comes in over the transom). Suggestions invited! So far, I'm thinking: Corporate U; cooperative efforts; interests and alliances outside highered vs academic precariat version of the Ivory Silo™ tendency; touring the adjunct blogosphere; social media matters; adjunct faculty with student loan debt; implication of changes in graduate access. Additionally, we are past due for another round of Petition Junction... new petitions and reminders about old ones that still matter. Or maybe I'll just ramble and see where it takes me...

In the meantime, Michael Meranze collects and regularly posts higher ed relevant links covering California, US and global higher ed. (Can COCAL Updates be far behind?)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wet Tinder: Will the Adjunct Movement Ever Catch Fire?

NFM vice president Matt Williams tells how and this Republican adjunct teaching business and marketing became an adjunct activist and joined the New Faculty Majority. Matt (pictured below "swimming in a sea of non-Republicans" at 2010 NFM Retreat in Akron Ohio. Left to right: Ross Borden, Research Chair, SUNY Cortland; Matt Williams slaving over a hot laptop; NFM President Maria Maisto, U Akron, Anne Wiegard, then Secretary, now President NFM Foundation, SUNY Cortlandt). 

Matt writes....

I have struggled from time-to-time over the past several years that I have been involved in the adjunct & contingent faculty movement, occasionally reflecting on the question of when, if ever, the movement will achieve meaningful change.  The sparks–which have been plentiful–have thus far failed to ignite the tinder and yield a useful flame.  Why is this?  Will it change?  It it the right time?  What am I doing here?  Is all this merely a waste of time and resources?  Are we really just spinning our tires?

My late night ruminations have included the following:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

DOL Doesn’t have a Clue: Handbook Description of Higher Ed Teaching a Work of Fiction

Accordingly, Matt Williams writes,  
I have created a petition addressed to U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis requesting that the DOL revise and update their characterization of the profession. Please take a moment to add your name to the petition.
Setting background for his petition, Matt explains, reposting from his akronadjunct blog,

How can our own government get it so incredibly wrong? The U.S. Department of Labor publishes occupational outlook data in its Occupational Outlook Handbook. This publication (available online at reports median and average salaries for various occupations along with details about types and amount of education typically required to enter professions, typical working conditions, total number of jobs, growth or contraction outlook, etc.

The DOL OOH (pronounced “doooh!”…the L is silent) identifies the median salary for college professors (i.e., postsecondary teachers) to be $62,050. The median wage is the wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...