Wednesday, April 30, 2014

universities in particular

…follow up to "what bureaucracies stand for:" this round is about universities, academic culture and markets. It is not specifically about contingent academic labor, elephant subtext in the room even so. Read through that lens.

From UN Chronicle, a special issue on higher education. Clifford Tan Kuan Lu, Nottingham:  Do University Rankings Matter for Growth? Alexandre Afonso (King's College): How Academia Resembles a Drug Gang.

Class Warfare: #Adjunct Profs address inequities of pay/work conditions

…pick of the day, an authentic voice…for sure the best, freshest piece on this topic I've read in a long time—and, like Prufrock, I've seen them all. 
The army of part-time professors teaching at the region’s colleges are merely working stiffs at the bottom of an enormous and lucrative enterprise.
Read all of Class Warfare: How Adjunct Professors Are Investigating Pay Conditions and then read it again. PS looks I'm getting the hang of short posts but may have gone too far the other direction.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

what bureaucracies stand for

…surely #adjunct-relevant…applicable to universities—administration and departments, non-profit organizations—professional, discipline specific and advocacy, unions as well as the ubiquitous government agencies and legislative bodies with so much say in higher education policies yet so unwilling to pick up the tab. For agencies, think 'roided up committees and take it from there. However we feel about bureaucracy, it's part of higher ed. The better we understand how it works, the better equipped we will be to deal with it, whether at federal policy making level, navigating state systems or just trying to get through to the Nassau Community College Board of Trustee.

Gary E. Hollibaugh Jr. (Georgia) and Gabriel Horton and David E. Lewis (Vanderbilt): Presidents and Patronage. Gary E. Hollibaugh Jr. (Georgia): Naive Cronyism and Neutral Competence: Patronage, Performance, and Policy Agreement in Executive Appointments....William E. Kovacic (George Washington): Why Who Does What Matters: Governmental Design, Agency Performance, the CFPB and PPACA. Gabriel Balayan (American): A Theory of Existence of the Fourth Control Branch of the Government: A Comparative Analysis. Kimberly N. Brown (Baltimore): “We the People”, Constitutional Accountability, and Outsourcing Government....Anne Joseph O'Connell (UC-Berkeley): Bureaucracy at the Boundary....Arild Waeraas (UMB): Beauty from Within: What Bureaucracies Stand For.... and more

Read the rest of "what bureaucracies stand for" at BookForum's Omnivore

Sunday, April 27, 2014

#PrecariousFaculty Network Links (weekly)

Report of the Independent Inquiry Into Insecure Work In Australia.  Grant Hobson, a Melbourne based photographer and artist, was asked to produce a series of portraits of people in insecure work for this report:

"Making these images was an exercise in self reflection. These people are, in fact, me. Crippling housing and living costs are compounding the difficulty for artists and creative people to remain independent and productive in our society. Work is a fundamental expression of who people are. If employment in Australia is increasingly insecure, impermanent and dealt to us from the bottom of a deck then the implications are that we are all in for a rough time ahead. I wish to extend my gratitude to all those who graciously volunteered to be photographed as part of this project.Tags: pdf #PFR precarious workers

Friday, April 25, 2014

BYOP & because it's the weekend: introducing @hewjrtaken

…H.E. Whitney Jr., whose Adjunct World video short shorts and comics on Facebook and Tumblr  create a comic odyssey detailing the fortunes of the Disposable Adjunct and Apartmentless Larry in higher education…plus digital art at Graphimetrix,

0:34, line of fire, adjunct life, leaf blower

0:42, An Assistant Dean's Demise

Chicago @LaborNotes Conference

@MMStrikesBack reflects on the #ContingentFaculty Session

Late at night on April 3rd, I found out through a conversation with a friend that the 2014 Labor Notes Conference was starting the following day, April 4-6 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, near Chicago O’Hare. Joe Berry would be leading a session for contingent faculty and labor organizers from 2:00-5:00 pm. My friend said we could go for free as long as we emailed Mr. Berry. As I had just finished reading his book Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education, I felt it was fate itself that had given me the opportunity to hear him speak, and I emailed him to ask if I could attend. Berry wrote back right away and said that he would be expecting me tomorrow at the session.

I arrived late because I was parked in a lot that was very far from the hotel, and another late arriver and I could not figure out how to get over to the actual meeting.

It was quite funny, really, both of us trying to climb over a wall of sorts, with a steep incline, but he was very friendly and cheered me up.

At one point, the man said, “Well, you're a very pessimistic type of person, aren't you?”

And I said, “Well, I'm an adjunct. I've been through a lot recently.”

Anyway, when we got there I couldn't find the workshop, and the people who ran it were not happy I hadn't registered, but one woman in a maroon sweater showed me where the room was. Because I didn't have a program, though, I didn't even know the title of the session. But I knew I was looking for Joe Berry who had changed my life with his book. I told her about it, and that was enough information for her to help me find the room.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

April 24 Update: #Adjunct Notes in Brief

meandering overview reviewing news, viewsaka to-do list & notes on significant emerging topics before the day's digital information fire hose washes me away. I started to add "morning" to the description but stopped myself in time and a good thing too as it is not only past noon but into the evening. Morning is a good goal but I have to start earlier, ignore distractions.

The very first email I saw this morning was Keith Hoeller's adj-l listserv commentary on "Breaking News: NLRB Rules in Favor of All Contingent Faculty Unit Election at Seattle University" (via the Chronicle). The thread includes additional comments and links—with more to come in next post in Adjunct Links & Commentary from Keith Hoeller series

Notable posts

Monday, April 21, 2014

A user's tour of the #PFRNetwork's flagship

…blog—that would be right here & an exercise in the promised short post. I hope the tour will help you navigate this rather crowded, feature packed page

Next comes the guest post by MMStrikesBack on the recent Labor Notes Conference, an original meld of report and reflection. It's longer too but well worth the read...and now...

Welcome to the Tour

Sunday, April 20, 2014

#adjunct Links & Commentary from #KeithHoeller (weekly)

…Issue #1 blogging materials and words from and on behalf of legendary (but social media averse) adjunct activist, Keith Hoeller. This project is still in Beta, so expect changes. I edited the the auto-blogged bookmarks to tidy up format, added the vintage image of a 1907 classroom, and rearranged the order to lead with the NY Times OpEd, related links and commentary, including a copy of Keith's unpublished letter to the editor, plus a link to the published response letters—all above the fold. And there is still plenty to read after it, maybe too much. Have patience while I work out the kinks. I'm getting my blogging mojo back. With that comes more and better content posted more often. I'll work on the shorter posts thing too. Promise...

#PrecariousFaculty Network Links (weekly)

…labor history (1998 Syracuse U strike, pictured: Ben Shahn mural at SU), strikes, adjunct unions, organizing, censorship, social media, academic freedom, adjunct blog posts, Labor Notes Conference, unpaid academic labor, retirement, higher inequalities, two-tier system, adjunct response to NYT Op-Ed

tools…using them—not being one

…this might not be a post either: call it an extended meta blogging update…planning out loud. Feel free to contribute your 2¢ worth. Let the musing begin:


I've been exploring Diigo blogging and sharing tools. Using is the best (only) way to learn a new tool. These turn annotated bookmarks into blog posts. If truly useful and making blogging/online information sharing quicker, easier — more efficient, then they will become part of the repertoire. If not, then not — and will fade from regular use. Until then, expect more Diggo blogging and auto-blogging. 

Special Projects

Keith Hoeller's links and commentary, a weekly annotated links post will include links to articles by and about Keith. I'm not the only one who has long thought he should have his own page or blog. Hardly believing he didn't, I started saving links on Delicious in 2008. The project starts with bookmarking and then blogging entries from Keith Hoeller's PT Faculty Links & Commentary on Diigo. Eventually, we'll find them a cyberspace home on the range of their own so they don't have to crash in random locations like a homeless adjunct. The Washington PartTime Faculty Association had a web page...but on a now defunct platform that disappeared from cyberspace taking all the WPFA pages with it...and there you thought nothing disappeared from cyberspace.  

Monday, April 14, 2014

Education International Newsletter—Staying united

@eduint (EI) brings together 401 education #unions in 171 countries
Untitled Document

Bill Lipkin reports on the AFT HigherEd Conference in Baltimore

The weekend of April 11, 2014 saw one of the best AFT Higher Ed Conferences I have ever been to. The theme was 'Reclaiming the Promise of Higher Education' and there was a strong focus on contingent and adjunct faculty issues and solutions.

President Randi Weingarten opened the Conference with one of her rousing speeches. I had to compliment her after the speech for the concentration she put on contingent and adjunct faculty and our situation in the United States. She even took the time to explain the differences between adjunct and contingent positions and the various problems connected with each.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

#PrecariousFaculty Network Links (weekly)

…from Union Book, ZCommunications, the New Left Project, ETFO Voice, Association of Governing Boards, MRSC, CounterPunch, Facebook, NYU, Google Docs, Iinternational Student Movement, Jacobin Magazine, Haymarket Books,

Friday, April 11, 2014

a list of conferences, symposia & so forth

…for #adjuncts &aladios Chicagoviva Baltimore & St Louis

April 11- 13AFT National Higher Education Issues Conference: Reclaiming the Promise of HigherEd, Baltimore (agenda)

l-r: NFM Board Member Bill Lipkin, his UAF-NJ colleagues and board members 
Dave McClure and Lynne Cummins, with Randi Weingarten
Plus April 12! St. Louis Adjunct Symposium (SEIU). Livestream archived here.

Next on deck: Adjunct Symposium in Philadelphia (United Academics of Philadelphia, AFT), Saturday April 19th. Whether you are an adjunct or just someone who cares, come join us!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Introducing #PrecariousFaculty Network Links (weekly)

… initiates a regular series, this week's links collection opens with a 2009 article that benchmarks where we were then and still holds important observations. Despite significant advances and increased public awareness, not as much has changed as we'd like to think. There's a lot of déja vu all over again to be read in:

Friday, April 4, 2014

Education International Survey

…of #teachingconditions worldwide from @eduint Connect #education4all


Education InternationaI surveys teachers' working conditions

EI is launching a world-wide survey on teaching and learning conditions, with the aim of bridging the gap between policy making and the reality of the classroom. The survey will be accessible online from today until the end of July in more than 10 different languages, and is part of EI's assessment of Education for All. The results will be presented to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, later this year.

EI is making a broad call to teachers and education sector workers across the globe to participate in a survey that will assess teaching and learning conditions. Its objective is to allow education professionals to inform the discussions that are currently taking place at the United Nations and that will set the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The questions focus on topics such as the teachers' working conditions in terms of workload, number of students, or resources available, the qualifications of the educators, their rights as workers, their motivation and the possibility for an active participation within the school system.

In the year 2000, the international community promised that by 2015 there would be "quality basic education for all children, youth and adults". At this point, there is broad consensus and ample evidence that this will not be achieved. The Post-2015 global debate on education should, in view of EI, reflect the reality of the classroom and especially take into account the voice of education professionals. Hence, the survey focuses on the main areas that provide for quality education: quality teachers, quality tools and a quality environment, and asks the respondents to reflect their personal experience.

This goes in line with the statement of Fred van Leeuwen, EI's general secretary, on the importance of highly qualified, self-starting and motivated teachers in the education system:  "It is after all teachers and their collective voice that define a successful education system. Reaching out to teachers directly, we can better shape policy that will improve conditions in the classroom".
To access the survey please click here

Read more about:

UNESCO's new EFA Global Monitoring Report director 
UNESCO has announced that Dr. Aaron Benavot is the new Director of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report (EFA GMR). Dr Benavot brings decades of experience in global education policy and comparative research to the Report team, including four years as a Senior Policy Analyst for the Report. He will take up his new position at UNESCO's headquarters in May 2014. read more

OECD report highlights the importance of creative problem-solving skills
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) argues that in modern societies, all of life is problem-solving. Changes in society, the environment, and in technology mean that the content of applicable knowledge evolves rapidly. Adapting, learning, daring to try out new things and always being ready to learn from mistakes are among the keys to resilience and success in an unpredictable world. Education International (EI) firmly supports the idea that students must acquire these skills, as part of a quality education. read more
New film from the Council of Europe
The Council of Europe has just made an new film explaining its work, promoting and defending human rights, democracy and the rule of law. read more

More information?

Education International is the voice of the teachers and other education employees across the globe. A global federation of about 400 unions in more than 170 countries and territories, it represents 30 million teachers and education employees in education institutions from early childhood to university.
Education International • 5 bd du Roi Albert II • B-1210 Brussels • BL
Tel: +32-2-224-0611 • Fax: +32-2-224-0606 •
Email: • Website:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

.@NewUnionism March Newsletter

…Democratising Economics from the Workplace

March 2014 
Work in Progress
This newsletter is produced by the New Unionism Network to promote workplace democracy, organizing, internationalism and creative thinking in the union movement. You are most welcome to pass it on. Better still, find out about joining us here.

Putting OCCUPATION back into unionism
Industrial unions replaced guilds and friendly societies during the first wave of new unionism - starting towards the end of the 19th century. Perhaps we lost something important along the way? Look at the way people talk about their work: we do jobs; but we are occupations. In our final paper on building global unionism, Guy Standing argues: "what we do and seek to do is more important than who we do it for." In fact, a revived focus on occupation within unionism might help us address some of our most difficult problems:

  • How do we organize and bargain across borders in an age of globalization?
  • How do we organize "the precariat", who come and go from workplaces before we can reach them?
  • How do we rebuilt influence whilst struggling to survive?
What's more, an occupational layer might not require any major change to the underlying structure of industrial unions. This is an idea you need to think about!  More
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