Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Being Interviewed as a Road Scholar

…reflections from +Joseph Fruscione (GWU Writing Program). More media ~ higher ed, mainstream, national, local, print, radio, television ~ are interviewing not just the usual "leadership" or spokespersons but Payless running shoes on the ground adjunct and contingent faculty. The genre ("Interview with an adjunct"), its terrain and conventions, are new. Some but not all experiences have been positive. Let's learn or write them ourselves: own the genre and speak with our own voices. Be ready: you could be next. Joe Fruscione writes about his experience, offers good suggestions:

Sometimes, ditching MLA sessions and walking the book exhibit can lead to good things. In 2009, talking with an editor led to a book contract. In 2013, a conversation with Maria Maisto—whom I’d never met landed me in the middle of a news story about contingent university faculty, “road scholars” as the producer called us before my on-camera interview for PBS NewsHour.

Checking email after teaching my second class on the first day of spring semester classes, I saw “Interview for PBS?” on a subject line and, intrigued, jumped at the chance. After a few threads between Maria, the producer, and me, a phone interview was scheduled for the next day. Although never hesitant to accept the invitation,

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Contingent faculty, tenure and academic freedom

Don & Suzanne at signing of
landmark CO legislation
…by Don Eron, originally posted to COCAL's contingent faculty email list, popularly known as adj-l, and republished here with Don's permission. His elegant and thoughtful examination of tenure and contingency in current higher education was part of a larger discussion on the COCAL listserv email that included Jack Longmate and Seth Kahn, among others. To access the complete thread, titled, "Contingent faculty, undocumented workers (and tenure)," subscribe online or by sending a blank email with "Subscribe" in the subject line.

Dear Colleagues,

Jack [Longmate] suggests that offering tenure as a remedy to the problems that stem from contingency--in other words, to the problems that occur when faculty do not have tenure--is a "hard sell." As somebody who has long advocated that all faculty, at every rank and job description, should be granted tenure after the successful completion of a probationary period, I can agree with Jack that selling tenure as a solution is a "hard sell," not only to tenured faculty but perhaps to Jack and others on this list, although it shouldn't be so.

news from the campus

…today a more conservative selection than usual, but varied opinions and perspectives, not preaching to the choir, is not a bad thing. Think Rogerian while you are reading too. Good training for both negotiation and  persuasion. 

From Anthropologies, a special issue on the neo-liberalized, debt-plagued, low wage, corporatized university. Derek Thompson on why smart poor students don't apply to selective colleges (and how to fix it). Ronald C. Den Otter reviews Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor Jr. 
Jenny Choi on why Wall Street beats public service and how to change that. Daniel B. Klein on the tribes that hire the PhDs. From Imprimis, Nathan Harden on Man, Sex, God, and Yale. From National Review, are frat brothers natural conservatives? For many, the Greek system may offer a respite from liberal academia. For conservatives, bad news from the campus. Jon F. Wilkins writes in defense of the independent academic lifestyle. From OUP, maybe academics aren’t so stupid after all.
If you liked news from the campus - / omnivore,visit book forum for more. Subscribe to Ominvore for regular servings of selected links, themed and briefly annotated. Coming up on the #newfac blog: more for the March/April calendar, a piece by Don Eron.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mar & Apr Conferences

…adjunct conferences & sessions not like this…promise!
…of interest to #adjunct & #ContingentFaculty. This post is list and reminder of upcoming, March and April, contingent faculty relevant conferences / meetings. Hopefully (and with your cooperation), we'll have a fresh list before May.

Our March-April list so far is CCCC/NCTE 2013 (Las Vegas),  AFA/USW's Countering Contingency (Pittsburgh), Ohio PTFA with AURCO (), NEA National (Portland), AFT Higher Education Issues (San Diego), NCSCBHEP (the impossible acronym, NYC). Are there others? I don't mean for MLA to get all the conference coverage but can't post w/o information.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Teach your parents

…Kids are going to have to start teaching their parents because, if they don’t, there won’t be an educational system left for them.

Not if Republicans get their way. . .

Not in FloridaNorth Carolina or Texas, where the Republican Party rejects “critical thinking, so what is left if it keeps spreading?

If we can’t teach our children well, then they’re going to have to help themselves with their youth and start teaching their parents.

Read all of Teach your parents and then while you're there on occasional links & commentary, take a look around. Not every econ blog is an art and graphics site too. The bridging effect of political cartoons may be the secret. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

On naming ourselves…Transitional Faculty

…or "transitional scholar" (or pedagogue, teacher, etc), who is sometimes also a "Transitional Traveler" or homeless as in the OpEd News article cited below. 

"Transitional Traveler"
This article is about changing the perception through euphemism. We have changed the wording of "Genocide" to "Ethnic Cleansing." We have changed the wording of "Shell Shock" to "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." And, as much as I do not like this practice, I believe it can and does work on some level. So I wish to try it with "homeless," and change that to "Transitional Traveler." There, I wrote it. way of illustration, change "travelers" to "faculty" (or term of your choice)
Now to managing all these Transitional Travelers [Faculty]: we need to stop the scapegoating; we need to stop the blaming.  Even if it is someone's own fault (which can be debated about what 'fault' means) about how they got on these streets [permanent NTT], who cares?  All the Moral Indignation in the world is not going to help fix or manage them.  It's not going to do anything other than keep Us out here.  Calling Us names will not help.  So if you are going to behave this way, we do not need your help.  And if you're not going to help, get the hell out of the way.  A lot like an American Bureaucrat, you're obstructing.  Also try and remember that lots of these people have been ... abused at as well.  So blaming them is not only punitive but it's, again, immoral. 
We need to have Our basic needs met.  And we are getting some of that, as good church folks are helping out with their time and food.  But as far as the State is concerned, we're on Our own.  As far as the cities [colleges and universities] are concerned, we are on Our own.  As far as housing [next semester's teaching assignment] is concerned... we are on Our own. 
Thanks + HT to James Armstrong II and his OpEdNews - Article: "Transitional Traveler" for the idea...Besides being reminded of just how precarious any we all truly are, another takeaway here needs to mindfulness of the very real problem of our colleagues who are homeless adjuncts or on the brink. Stop looking away. Paul Haeder has sent some excellent ideas, do-able albeit perhaps not likely solutions, to blog separately.

Friday, February 8, 2013

academe on the brink

…a stroll through academic culture & how it looks outside the Ivory Silo™ as well as from the inside…Sunday reading, time enough another day for the difficult, weighty and unpleasantly tangled plus more agreeable relevant professional announcements ~ more on 

  • IRS weighing in on ACA and PTF workload (cadres of the unhappy no matter how it goes), 
  • Green River CC intra-union conflict (oh noes, not again, but yes: uglier, more divisive, increasingly less conducive to civil discourse + gratuitous sideswipes at NFM), 
  • @FutureofHE working papers on funding higher ed, 
  • rounding off with calls for papers and upcoming conferences with contingent faculty sessions, even whole conferences just for us. 
So read on and enjoy. I'll do the same...

Monday, February 4, 2013

Catch the LEO flashmob video

…speaking of not just good but great (now imagine that with a Tony the Tiger roar) ideas, 
video icon
They sing, they dance, they teach!
University of Michigan Lecturers' Employee Organization aka LEO trumps us all yet again. Not even Michigan politics can get this bunch. Let it be a lesson to all. "Lecturers, flashmob, what is she going on on about?" I can imagine the muttering. This showed up on the visitors section of our FB wall this morning...too good to pass on snagging for the blog. They'd love us to share it... we love sharing it. Watch. Enjoy. Start planning your own flashmob happening: sing and dance; stomp and shout. Video and send it to us to post.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

NFM Chicago Chapter Meeting: Sat Feb 16,

Got chapter? Want one? Tell us about it. Calling all Chicago area PTF, contingent faculty, precarious knowledge workers, Curtis Keyes, Jr ( writes...

Hello NFM Chicago Colleagues,

I hope the new year is off to a good start for all of you. Based on the majority response, we will meet on Saturday, Feburary 16 at 6-8 at Rock Bottom Restaurant at 1 West Grand Ave on the corner of State Street and Grand in the Loop. We will pull tables together, order appetizers and meet.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happy Birthday, NFM!

…From: Peter D.G. Brown, 
Who says that TT faculty can't be important allies in the struggle for equity?

Four years ago today, I put out a call on this e-mail list (see copy below), convening activists around the country to forge a new national organization. It soon adopted the name New Faculty Majority and quickly became an important voice for contingent faculty around the country
Congratulations to all who have worked so hard to build what is the only national organization to advocate exclusively for contingent equity! A special word of deep appreciation and admiration goes out to Maria Maisto, who has served in leadership position since our earliest beginnings in 2009.
Best wishes to all as NFM enters its fifth year ~Peter

Ed note: What about a Peter D.G. Brown Award for tenured faculty? His support went well beyond just nudging. A willingness to cross boundaries or herd cats in a good cause should always be recognized. Nominations, anyone?

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