Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Morning Adjunct/iverse

…welcome to a new blog feature modeled (somewhat) on one I just initiated on my main community blog, a still undefined variant on speed blogging (mostly links). To avoid confusion, the hashtag should not be #GMA...suggestions welcomed. 

Purposes (tentative): quick catch up; news; brief announcements; some links; calls for information... and above all hitting cyberspace before noon (MT). So far, I've been cutting that last part close but hope to push compose and send time back to morning for ET readers too.  

The #fakeadvice game is rolling along with comments coming in here and on Con Job. Add yours and tweet/RT/share threads and comments.  

I'm looking for amusing foolery for April 1. "What you want to hear" would fit right into "How can an adjunct tell when an offer is really an April Fool's Day prank?"

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Come play the game of #fakeadvice for #adjuncts

…that makes us want to say #thenhireme.  Joe Fruscione initiated this thread at Con Job: Stories of Adjunct and Contingent Faculty, a Facebook adjunct group. 

Entertaining, irresistible and a send-viral must share, it would make a good drinking game too. Just thinking about the lines is enough to drive most of us to drink. Joe opens, 

I'm not sure if this is productive or even appropriate, but I'd like to start a thread about phrases long-time adjuncts are sick of hearing. For me:
"You're a perfect example of what's wrong with the market. You've done so much but still can't get a full-time job. Someone should hire you." 
"With 13 years of teaching, a book, and active research, you should be able to teach anywhere. 
"It's their loss."
Others joined in added theirs

Robert Craig Baum "It's just a question of supply and demand. Americans demand cheap labor." <--- as though the market isn't always undermined and manipulted by crony capitalists and the government Kafka-inspired bureaucrats

Robert Craig Baum: "Why would I hire someone who does not respect himself enough to demand a better salary or benefits?" <--- here's the catch-22 perfectly expressed

Joe Fruscione Also: "Just hang in there. Things will turn around."

Melissa Bruninga-Matteau: Mine is 'well, if you wanted a full time gig, you should have majored in STEM'.

Priya J. Shah: "Just make sure to keep up with your (unsupported) research!"

Margaret Yeoman Hanzimanolis Have you thought about teaching high school?

Vanessa Vaile: "at least you've got a job"

Priya J. Shah: "At least you're doing what you love."

Robert Craig Baum: "It was your decision to not drive [60 miles in a blizzard] to work."

Priya J. Shah: "Well, if only you had been willing to move across the country..."

Priya J. Shah: Clearly I'm pissed. That's not a quotation, that's just me.

Robert Craig Baum: "We're cancelling your three classes because they are underenrolled"   [19 students, not 20] NOT JOKING!

Joe Fruscione: Great so far. How can we get this to more people? Twitter? Etc.? (This is me, not a canned line I hate.)

Now it's your turn: help us get this to more people. Share the #fakeadvice lines you are most fed up with hearing. How? Any and every which way. Add them wherever you see this: here, on our FB page, on the original Con Job thread, as a reply when you see it on Twitter. Reblog, RT and share to closed groups too, 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Joe Fruscione with a PBS adjuncts update

Image result for joe fruscione facebook…posted this morning to @NewFacMajority's FB timeline… let's follow this, track it's progress, coordinate an even broader response. You can still leave your 2¢ at the News Hour/Making Sen$e and "how long will you work?" pages. Let them know we're watching <*y*> ... Joe writes,

"Some potential good news from PBS NewsHour:
'We've heard from a number of contingents willing to be interviewed for our upcoming story. Thanks for reposting our query. We're working on a few other stories for our older workers series right now but we plan to turn our attention to this one after that. It may not be until the end of April or so, but I will be in touch with you (and the respondents to our online query) when we're able to focus on the story.'
I'll keep everyone in the loop about what I hear." 

Rob Baum, dba MI @rcbatp and sundry noms de guerre, notes, 
They are slowly emerging our story from within their series. It's a great strategy -- frustrating but very very intelligent. Besides, isn't May when Lee and others are planning the May Day events? By the end of May I hope to have gathered the minions for the ADJUNCT VERSUS first look reading.
(Ed Note: links and further details on the above activities to be posted as they come our way. Do you have or know of a May adjunct event / action to add? Let's coordinate...)

Friday, March 22, 2013

the defense of political science

most (but not all) adjuncts on our roster teach in the humanities, composition in particular. Humanities are not the only discipline area taking it in the funding neck. Consider the defunding of political science and other social sciences. 

Aleisha Karjala (USAO): Political Science's Contribution to General Education at Liberal Arts Colleges. Carol Geary Schneider on Eric Cantor’s attack on social science research. When someone attacks physics, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is there to defend it — but who comes to the defense of political science? Budget hawks' plans to cut funding for political and social science aren't just short-sighted and simple-minded — they'll actually hurt national security. The American Political Science Association releases a statement on how the Senate delivered a devastating blow to the integrity of the scientific process (and more at the Chronicle of Higher Education and more at Inside Higher Ed). Daniel W. Drezner on why political science can drive political scientists to drink: “We could have the best arguments in the world and still recognize that political science is good and truly fked”.

Reposted from the defense of political science at bookforum's  blog, omnivore, which published daily themed collections of briefly annotated links on an eclectic range topics that frequently covers higher education.

Less "academic" areas tertiary education (as styled in the UK to cover all post-secondary areas) are not without problems. GED testing has been privatized, giving a major prep materials vendor a corner on that market: testing charges will double next year. Other adult education programs across the country are being cut. As Joe Berry points out, those teaching in these program are non contract instructors, in a word - adjuncts. That makes the instructors our colleagues in both teaching and precarity. These other areas and global post-secondary education on our reading lists. Education is part of our mission. Informing the uninformed trumps arguing with them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Insecure, Insulted, Ignored, Part III

…No Way to Treat a Donor, commentary by Chessie Green

Let’s throw a bone to the university for just a moment and view the adjunct as a willing and generous donor who gives the students and the university a gift. “It’s a privilege” to teach for the university and “the best adjuncts want to give back.” Place a value on it: let’s say a couple of hundred thousand dollars’ worth of expertise, and for the students, a priceless amount of caring and attention.  In return, the university gives them a tip and treats them without respect and as completely dispensable. 

To recap the situation: I, a willing adjunct, someone who is teaching as a sideline, found myself agreeing at the last minute to substitute for a full-time faculty member. I was assigned to an unsecured, empty building at night with no technology in the classroom except for a DVD player in poor working condition.  The white board was filthy; the erasers didn’t work.  On the last night of class, someone had turned off the power.  I received emails from various university departments urging me not to slip on the ice, to beware of tornadoes, and to seek counseling if I had concerns about a shooting at another university in the state. 

And then, I received a personalized letter from the Provost requesting that I make a charitable gift to the university.  “Now is the best time,” he wrote, “because any gift you make will be matched, dollar for dollar.  By giving now, you can double the benefit to our students!”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Watching Myself Being Interviewed as a Road Scholar

…by Joseph Fruscione, Road Scholar, circuit riding GWU and other D.C. area teaching destinations, on the most recent installment (part 1 here) of his News Hour adventure on Paul Salmon's Money Sen$e segment. Joe writes, 

Disappointed is a word that comes to mind. Or, more colloquially, meh.
I found out that Monday March 18 was the air date at about 1:00 in the afternoon, after I came home from teaching. I shared the information with family, friends, and colleagues via social media and text messaging. At first, there was a little confusion about what time PBS NewsHour airs in particular markets and time zones: 6:00? 7:00? What about times outside the east? Luckily, between live broadcast, DVR, live streaming, and YouTube, almost everyone I know has seen the piece. 

Even before it first aired around 6:30 in the east, I knew the story about faculty retirement and contingents was going to miss the mark: the teaser at the beginning of the broadcast featured an older professor, and News Hour's initial framing took the "graying professors clogging the tenure pipeline" approach. I watched it with my wonderfully supportive wife, and we had similarly ambivalent reactions, sort of a You sounded great but they missed a lot of what you said response. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Outsourcing California #HigherEd

today's higher ed news broke outside the higher media silo, immediately mainstream. Proposed California legislation would identify and approve up to 50 online courses for the three public systems, UC, CSU and CCC, to accept as credit for admitted students. 

Bob Samuels' focus, UC, University of California, may be the best known of the state's three systems: a top tier system of R1 universities, all world class and more than a few world famous and in the top 100 international rankingCSU, California State University system is the largest  and most diverse university system in the nation, with 23 campuses, almost 437,000 students, and 44,000 faculty and staff. CCC, California Community Colleges system is the largest system of higher education in the nation, with 2.6 million students attending 112 colleges.These are the interlocking elements of legend, the visionary California Master Plan.

Bob Samuels writes:

Monday, March 11, 2013

Insecure, Insulted and Ignored: No Way to Treat a Donor

…Part II in Commentary series by Chessie Green, 2.18.13, who writes,

Let’s throw a bone to the university for just a moment and view the adjunct as a willing and generous donor who gives the students and the university a gift. “It’s a privilege” to teach for the university and “the best adjuncts want to give back.” Place a value on it: let’s say a couple of hundred thousand dollars worth of expertise, and for the students, a priceless amount of caring and attention.  In return, the university gives them a tip and treats them without respect and as completely dispensable. 

Continuing on my riff of the adjunct as donor, I’d like to tell you what happened when I “donated” my time and years of expertise as a last minute substitute for a full-time, tenure-track faculty member.  I had two weeks to prepare, and at the appointed time, on a dark January evening, I arrived at the designated building. 

The building, on a satellite campus, appeared to be closed. Most of the lights had been turned off.  There was a weak light over what turned out to be the entrance. The building was completely unsecured.

The next day, I contacted the faculty liaison for my department (whose offices are on the main campus). I described the fact that the building was dark and unsecured and asked what I should do in case of emergency.  I received no response.

Friday, March 8, 2013

no sanctuary in the ivory tower

Jonathan Olson (FSU): The Quest for Legitimacy: American Pentecostal Scholars and the Quandaries of Academic Pursuit. From Journalist’s Resource, a research roundup on affirmative action in university admissions. Price of a bad review: A university librarian finds himself sued for questioning the quality of an academic press. Blow up Media Studies: Emma Park reviews Blow Up the Humanities by Toby Miller. 
No sanctuary in the ivory tower: Why didn’t MIT defend Aaron Swartz? Chris Lehmann investigates. 
Nicole Allan and Derek Thompson on the myth of the student-loan crisis: Are rising debt levels really a cause for national panic? The Dean of Corruption: Cecilia Chang, the St. John’s fund-raiser who committed suicide after her epic fraud was exposed, tried to keep her superiors happy with gifts of watches, vacations, custom suits, and fine wine — it worked, for a while.
no sanctuary in the ivory tower - / omnivore

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Adjunct as Donors, a series

Intrepid readers, here's a treat for you: a 3-part guest post series on, as noted in the title, "Adjuncts as Donors." No, not organ donors (just couldn't resist the graphic ~ besides, doesn't it seem like the system takes everything and still wants more?). At least there is paying black market in that, something you can't say about all the uncompensated time adjunct donate. We're not even getting a tax break. 

Commentary by Chessie Green,  2.18.13  
Insecure, Insulted and Ignored: No Way to Treat a Donor – Part I  

In just the past few weeks, major gifts by individuals to prominent universities have made headlines.  We have Duke, Columbia, University of California, NYU, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, and more.  That led me to think about donors to universities, and in thinking about donors, I remembered the administrator who said that adjuncts aren’t teaching for the money but because “the best adjuncts want to give back.”

Let’s say, for the moment, that the point is legitimate, and we view the adjunct as a willing and generous donor who gives the students and the university a gift.  Place a value on it: let’s say a couple of hundred thousand dollars’ worth of expertise, time, commitment to educational excellence - and for the students, a priceless amount of caring and attention. 
In return, the university gives them a tip and treats them without respect and as completely dispensable. 
 Here are some examples from my experience.
 If an adjunct spoke out about a late payment, or some help that had been promised but not delivered, the university closed ranks.  The attitude seemed to be to let them sink or swim because “it’s a privilege” to teach for the university and because “the best adjuncts want to give back.”

Sunday, March 3, 2013

ACA, #adjuncts…enter the IRS

…assembling documents for a teleconference on our statement for the IRS hearing on calculating work hours and part time status, I created a Storify to include the document collection on Scribd, additional links and images. To call this is a can of worms would be an understatement…

world university

…around the world & back again, money talks in all languages (the ultimate koine), online courses = global access but what outcomes? 

Abdulla Galadari (MIT): World University: Bringing Higher Education Closer to Humanity. From, ranking of rich alumni triggers debate: The compiler of a controversial list of rich alumni said the ranking helps promote entrepreneurial education at universities. Michele Lamont and Anna Sun on how China's elite universities will have to change. A new Russian technical university has high aspirations. 

On Her Majesty's scholarly service: For centuries Regius chairs were the gift of kings, tools of statecraft and the preserve of ancient universities — but that has changed, most recently with the addition of 12 new professorships, as Richard J. Evans relates. From Roar, Thomas Friedman may praise the emancipatory potential of online university courses, but are they really capable of producing more than docile workers?

world university - / omnivore

Saturday, March 2, 2013

NFM News Feb 2013: Reconnect, Renew, Resolve

…oops, thought I had but forgot to blog the resurrected newslettermy bad. Either no one noticed or considered it worth mentioning. Although non-members are not supposed to get the newsletter until after members, I doubt the gap was intended to be quite this substantial. All I can do is apologize, try to do better next time and ask the editor to notify me when/if NFM News can be released for blog publication. as you will note below, current newsletters are also published on the New Faculty Majority website. Now to 'adjust' the post date back

Volume 3: Issue 8: New Faculty Majority E-Newsletter
February 19, 2013

Do you have news to share with the NFM community? Ideas for a story or interview? If so, please contact Newsletter editor Tracy Donhardt at

Friday, March 1, 2013

ACA, Adjunct Faculty & USW, Pittsburgh

the Adjunct Faculty Association of the United Steelworkers and the Battle of Homestead Foundation invite you to... A Community Conversation on The Affordable Care Act and Adjunct FacultyMarch 6, 2013, 6:00-7:45pm at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh,  Squirrel Hill, Room B

This Community Conversation is Open to the Public

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as “Obamacare,” goes into effect on January 1, 2014, with the goal of expanding healthcare coverage to all Americans.  But Pittsburgh’s colleges and universities are already setting up barriers to prevent their adjunct faculty from taking advantage of its provisions. The Community College of Allegheny County has decreased the number of courses an adjunct faculty member can teach per semester, making it even more difficult for the majority of CCAC’s teachers to earn a living. 
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