Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reading Room: the fault lines of american #highered « #Omnivore @bookforum

…another outstanding Omnivore collection of briefly annotated higher education links that I could not decide where to trim so kept them all. All of the topics are familiar and a number of the links will be too, but there are also links I don't recall seeing shared around the adjunct corner of social media. The first chunk is admin related; the next, institution and profession; and the final two about, adjuncts, grad school, academic labor and the job market.

From the New York Times Magazine, Michael Sokolove on the trials of Graham Spanier, Penn State’s ousted president. The coup that failed: Talbot Brewer on how the near-sacking of a university president exposed the fault lines of American higher education. Avoiding disastrous presidencies: Ry Rivard reviews  Presidencies Derailed: Why University Leaders Fail and How to Prevent It by Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, Gerald B. Kauvar and E. Grady Bogue. 

There’s the war on college, and then there’s Rick Perry’s war on the University of Texas. Nicholas Lemann on the soul of the research university. From Polymath, a special issue on being a professor (and part 2). The teaching class: Rachel Riederer on how teaching college is no longer a middle-class job, and everyone paying tuition should care. What do college professors do all day? Lisa Wade investigates. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Texas @MoveOn…@AFLCIO…@AnaMFores vs @ALEC + a few petitions more

…so what is ALEC doing in Texas? Annual meeting...even they have them too, so it stands to reason that Texas MoveOn takes aim at ALECTexas AFL-CIO takes on ALEC too, as well every labor and activist/progressive group in the state...but not without Adjunct Justice.

...and petitions (because...)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

❝@AnaMFores' People's #Petition: #AdjunctJustice demands Better Pay for #Adjunct Faculty

…how it all started…When I first began my petition, Vanessa Vaile was the first to pick up on it and post it. I can't find that link offhand, but I do have one of her first few emails that began our friendship and collaboration, dating back to April 2012. It seems only yesterday, but a lot has happened since then, in our movement, and in our lives. I think I will save that for another blog, though...

I remember when I began my petition for Adjunct Justice, demanding better pay for adjuncts; it was a day of desperation, as my college had given me an ultimatum: either teach Writing Composition classes with 35 students each or do not teach these particular classes at all. It was my choice. 

I gave them an unequivocal no. 

I would be remiss in my duties as an effective educator were I to teach students under such untenable circumstances. How can we teach that many students at the same time, and have them learn anything of value? 

That semester I taught only two classes, thus beginning my quiet revolution against what I saw not only as the exploitation of adjunct faculty but also the diminution of student learning. 

These past two years I have persisted, so the petition has gone forward little by little. We now have over 8300 signatures. I have met online friends and colleagues, groups of grassroots activists who have helped me nurture it and bring it forward. I have become friends with higher ed academics all across the United States: adjunct, tenured, and untenured alike.  

digital bouquet: florilegium #adjunct/orium

In medieval Latin  a florilegium (plural florilegia) was a compilation of excerpts from other writings. The word is from the Latin flos (flower) and legere (to gather): literally a gathering of flowers, or passages collected from a larger work, each illustrating specific topic or themes. "The florilegium is one of the earliest recorded examples of remix culture — a Medieval textual Tumblr" ~ Brainpickings ~  and "a metaphor for networked knowledge and combinatorial creativity"

Florilegium © Robert Amesbury
A fine name indeed for  miscellany posts of snippets from a variety of links. The genre frees me from the obligation to comment but does not prevent me from doing so. It also frees me from organizing the digital bouquet. A time saver. I'm always on the lookout for easy to assemble (but still interesting) models for posts. 

Adjunct outsourcing: remains a topic of interest, although spilled pixels alone seem unlikely to change either admin or EduStaff's wicked, wicked ways: Discussions continue on recent IHE outsourcing article with 36 comments on article and more elsewhere. One IHE comment pointed readers this 2013 Cronker. Don't laugh too much, at least not in total disbelief. According to Topsy, 229 tweets, although follow up conversations sans tags would not be fully tracked. There was at least one public G+ thread ~ still ongoing and probably the best one. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

@NewYorker #highered articles to read while #archives are free HT @Voxdotcom

493187403Discovered on Twitter via @womeninhighered, this Vox article (shared to Precarious Faculty on Facebook, and thus back to @precariousfac on Twitter) picked 12 education articles (see link below). Below are's higher education selections: Louis Menard (2011); Malcolm Gladwell (2011); Jill Lepore (2014); Ken Auletta (2012); and Hanna Rosin (2005)

All due respect to the higher ed mission and blogging it, the best part is learning about the New Yorker's free summer archives...

#Occupy @NatGat2014…gather again, July31 in Sacramento

follow #NatGat2014 online via Twitter and several livestreaming channels, InterOccupy updates and on the NatGat2014 Hub. Now I wonder if  COCAL International's Steering Committee is aware of InterOccupy (or, if aware, would have availed themselves),

News from around Occupy
InterOccupy | Connect. Collaborate. Organize.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Email Get this from a friend? Subscribe
Jump to: Upcoming calls | Newswire | New Hubs | Hub Updates
The folks coordinating the Occupy National Gathering in Sacramento, on the ground and online across five time zones,  just sent in this update for you. Hope all is well!

Best, The InterOccupy Team

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Matinee: A Simple Matter of Justice, Afterword at COCAL IV

San Jose City College, founded in 1921, is a community college located in the city of San Jose, Santa Clara County, California. San Jose City College was originally called San Jose Junior College and operated in downtown San Jose, California. San Jose Unified School District took over the College’s operation in 1953, moving it to its present 2100 Moorpark Avenue location, overlooking Interstate 280. The name changed to San Jose City College in 1958..
January 12-14, 2001, CPFA and San Jose City College hosted COCAL IV

Each Chapter of A Simple Matter of Justice focused on the barriers, opportunities and organizing approaches being undertaken in a different situation. The video-book’s Afterword, taped at COCAL IV in San Jose, CA, demonstrates the value of an international-scale coalition/organization to increase the effectiveness, reach and resolve of contingent faculty. 

While it's still morning…misc blogkeeping, #adjunct petitions

…because afternoon is matinee time. This may be the last one in the pre COCAL XI series.  I'd as soon not run video posts back to back and, besides, have made some blog page changes, enhancement bordering on clutter. Instead of one over sized blogroll, there are now three. The details are below. I also added translation tool since not all out visitors are Anglophone...and I intend to add more non-Anglophone material.

Now that contributors are prominently featured on the masthead, they can expect more reminding to contribute. +Ana Maria Fores Tamayo, I'm looking at you.

There is still more to do. Numbers tell me that visitors come for the features as much as for the posts. The blog-as-hub offers one stop shopping for social media followers and social media averse alike. There may more of the latter than the FB-centric realize. The FB social model serves them ill or not at all. Email subscription is a somewhat like an automated email newsletter.

On other blogs in the network, Uniting for Equity in Diversity has two new pages: petitions (to collect them in one place for easy signing and sharing) and for resources for helping child refugees. Curated news collections (academic freedom, organizing) are scheduled on Precarity Dispatches but may have to wait for archiving Joe Berry's most recent emailing to COCAL Updates. That depends on how the day falls out, and whether the trolls stay under bridges where they belong. But the precarious faculty blog is just as much about the newsreel, videos, feeds and other blogs (besides mine) to find there. Any network worth its digital salt is a node in and connects with other networks.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Videos—Thomas Piketty & @GC_CUNY Panel…history of #money ➜ #inequality & #education

In The Economist's July 9, 2014 video interview, Thomas Piketty explains briefly how wealth and income inequality evolved and why more meritocratic access to education could address both problems.

for a much longer video, here's an video from the CUNY Graduate Center's April  28, 2014, panel discussion,"Capital in the 21st Century" with Thomas Piketty via CUNY TV

Friday, July 25, 2014

from the newsletter beat, featuring @DemChron

…on Central American Immigrants, Indonesian Presidents, Federal Employment and more in this week's Democracy Chronicles newsletterAs blogger, social media content curator/editor and Precarity Faculty Network coordinator, I subscribe to many weekly and daily email newsletters in addition to following social media and blog feeds. I don't -- can't -- blog all the newsletters but do try share as many as possible on social media and introduce you to selected newsletters by blogging samples. 

Editor/publisher since 2011, New School University graduate Adrian Tawfik, writes an editorial columnregularly publishes articles about adjunct issues and actively welcomes new contributors. Democracy Chronicles, is the product of a network of democracy activists  Contact DemChron to join them.

from the archives: A Modest Proposal for the Reform of Academe

December 15, 2012, re-posted from The Faster Times College section, Modest Proposal is by medievalist, fencer, translator and contingent academic Ken Mondschein (PhD Fordham + studies at BU, SUNY Buffalo, Harvard) who writes...

QEDMost every commentator on academe has mentioned the sorry state of higher education: A decades-long oversupply of Ph.Ds, and cheap adjunct labor for everything from teaching intro writing classes to supervising theses to cleaning the president's office. Despite the fact that tenure-track jobs are rarer than hen's teeth, that venerated institution has come under attack, as well. Critics charge that tenure gives professors license to be unproductive layabouts or maniac wingnuts, but there's not a damn thing anyone can do about it unless said tenure-possessor burns down the administration building or runs naked through freshman orientation. 

But I am not here to kvetch: I am here to offer solutions. It seems to me that all of these symptoms of current malaise of higher education could be solved in one sweeping stroke, were we only to reintroduce dueling to the academy.

Read the rest at precarious faculty: A Modest Proposal for the Reform of Academe. More articles by Ken Mondschein in Faster Times, at and books, including several on fencing

Thursday, July 24, 2014

❝@DomesticWorkers: #takeaction to protect kids & families at the #border

Many petitions, especially for the #childrefugees at the border, land in my mailboxes. Lately, I'm making an effort to sign more of them than usual. And the ones for the children? I sign all of them. 

Plus I've been following, supporting and sharing +Ana Maria Fores Tamayo's unrelenting efforts on their behalf. This morning I broached the idea of collecting these petitions on a single to facilitate signing to the adj-l list. Cooperation does make a difference. 

If no one steps up, then I'll do it on my own. Here's a start with today's petition from the National Domestic Workers Alliance:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#Adjunct Reading Room: blogs & posts of note

…there always more than just a few don't miss posts out there. Often I do miss them though or, if I catch them, don't get back to read more attentively (which skimming on the fly is not). Today's post (started two days ago!) reviews several recent blog posts and blogs I read regularly. Posts like this will help me keep up and remind you about blogs you might want to add to your own list. Give them a visit.  And yes, a real life adjunct Reading Room would look far shabbier than this image. A contest and online photo-stream forays come to mind,

Don't overlook less mainstream sources of insightful commentary on academia and academic labor -- and in our own voices -- by limiting your reading to higher ed media and adjunct stories. Even cast your digital reading net beyond the Ivory Silo™ to include K12 bloggers. Advertising and other funding are factors too. Who influences editorial content? Follow the money and affiliations. You may not agree with independents, but at least they are less likely to be wearing a collar.

This is not to say don't read read mainstream higher ed media. Do read them -- just not to the exclusion of other sources or as a substitute for developing your own. The wider you cast that net, the better.

Blog Posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Matinee: "Degrees of Shame"

Today is another movie day on the blog ~ BYOP(opcorn). Leading up to #cocalXI ~ or #altCOCAL, even both, depending on your inclinations (but that's another post), the current Sunday Matinee series focuses on Barbara Wolf's films about adjunct academic labor, which have been closely associated with COCAL since the first Campus Equity Week in 2001, where Degrees of Shame: Part-time Faculty: Migrant Workers of the Information Economy was shown in Chicago (and became a CEW staple). The afterword to A Simple Matter of Justice was taped at COCAL IV in San Jose, CA. In the picture to the the right, Barbara Wolf is handing out flyers in Chicago.

See also Barbara Wolf's bio and other posts in the series. Barring the unforeseen, next Sunday's Matinee will be that very San Jose afterword and more links, of, Degrees of Shame

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Meet #SteveEarly & ❝Save Our Unions❞…video, book review +

…not that I intended to make this a movie marathon weekend but with this Saturday post and a Barbara Wolf selection scheduled for tomorrow's Sunday Matinee / COCAL XI lead in post, that's what the weekend is starting to look like. Some post decisions are considered, even planned and researched; others appear on the spur of the moment, unannounced or prompted by a chance exchange. This is one of the latter.

I've been reading and saving Steve Early articles on unions and organizing. Just recently Keith Hoeller brought up the most recent book. He met and spoke with Early at the book tour's Seattle. That gave me the idea of asking Keith to write a review of Save Our Unions from the perspective of organizing adjunct and academic labor. So I did. Then came the idea of this post while I''m waiting to hear from him (and  OK to nudge him on just a bit too). To accompany the video below, here are links to a review, an interview (podcast) and an author bio, short version:

Friday, July 18, 2014

#BAD14 is coming—blog about #Inequality on Blog Action Day #Oct16

…I've been blogging BAD off and on for a number of years. Sometimes I lose track and don't register in time. Or I get over ambitious and register too many blogs. This year I'm reminding myself sooner...and will try to delegate by persuading other adjunct bloggers to register. Starting now with a few words from the BAD website:
Over the last seven years thousands of people from over 100 countries have taken part in Blog Action Day, creating global conversations on poverty, water, climate change, food, the environment, Power of We and Human Rights.

So it was natural for the team to look back through the posts from our  Blog Action Day community for inspiration for this year's theme. And we found it. 
Inequality is the theme for Blog Action Day 2014, on Oct 16We quickly noticed a common thread within your posts, across the varied Blog Action Day themes of the last several years that always aroused great passion and empathy. Inequality
Your collective passion to highlight, take action and overcome inequality in its many forms inspired us to make it our theme for 2014 Blog Action Day.
So what is this Blog Action Day anyway? 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

From the #PFR archives: @NLRB Protects #ConcertedActivity

As re-posted from Portside Labor, which "aims to provide material of interest to people on the left that will help them to interpret the world and to change it."The National Labor Relations Board webpage describes the rights of employees to act together for their mutual aid and protection, even if they are not in a union.

“Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection, and shall also have the right to refrain from any or all such activities.” -Sec. 7, NLRA
The page, at, tells the stories of more than a dozen recent cases involving protected concerted activity, which can be viewed by clicking points on a map. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

a list of #adjunct bloggers on the #precariousfaculty blogroll

…precarity bloggers on the left sidebar consists of 65 blogs linked and listed below by name (followed by title of most recent post) in order of posting, with the most recent less than an hours ago and the oldest 6 months back. Inactive blogs, no matter how excellent get cut: if you blog, do try to post more often than once a year. Although only the 10 most recent posts display automatically, there is a "display all" link at the end of the blogroll. Many adjunct blogs are about adjunct issues -- but not all. Explore the collection ~ visit and comment. PS: These do not include the PFR blogs with viewer gadgets on this page: Precarity Dispatches, Equity in Diversity, Ana M Fores' Adjunct JusticeAdjunct Stories; Joe Berry's COCAL Updates.

Recent additions: Charles Bivona (@njpoet); Adjunct Sounding Board; Mark Carrigan; The Consulting Editor (@ProfessorF74); Gordon Haber; adjunct world comics; adjunct purgatory; Contingent Representation (CUNY); The Northern Issue.

Blog populations fluctuate. The average life span of a blog is three years, and most last less than a year. Listing earliest blogs would take some remembering and checking. The Adjunct Project (CUNY) is one: how fitting then for Sean Kennedy's Contingent Representation to be among the most recent...bookends.

precarity bloggers

Sunday, July 13, 2014

#Adjunct/#AFT14 in brief & Sunday Night Late Show: Starting a #PTFaculty Union

…because it's far too late for a Matinee…Chicago seemed a particularly setting apt for this weekend's feature because of an announced CACHE Chicago event, The Pursuit of Truth, Friday July 11. I can't say how it went because haven't heard more might have been because the AFT convention in L.A. was also this weekend. It saw more contingent friendly resolutions than usual. Twitter covering for and posting on National Mobilization for Equity as well as a pre-convention AFT in the news special issue on Precarious Dispatches added more to the usual online busy.

K-12 issues usually dominate both AFT and NEA deliberations, leaving higher ed somewhat to the side and contingent faculty even more so. This year's battle was Common Core, not irrelevant to higher ed but that's for another time. For now, I'll go with +George Station who says it best: "no one will be pleased.").

Our news: the new Contingent Faculty Caucus organized by Bill Lipkin (yes, our Bill) held its first meeting at yesterday. Bill standing in front of the meeting sign smiling says it all.

On with the show, the final chapter. Next week will be with the Afterword filmed at COCAL VI in 2001 or a back track to Degrees of Shame, Barbara Wolf's first adjunct video and a perennial Campus Equity Week staple. ICYMI, catch the previous episodes in the series here

In Chapter 6, of A Simple Matter of Justice, the part-time faculty at Columbia College in Chicago organized themselves into a union in an institution where the full-time faculty is not unionized. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Matinee: Chs 4 & 5: Organizing Boston & California

Barbara Wolf, Workplace 4.2
#adjunct organizing is A Simple Matter of Justice (Barbara Wolf, 2001). This Sunday's videos examine two noted cases and still relevant organizing models for regional and state, respectively.

Each Chapter focuses on the barriers, opportunities and organizing approaches being undertaken in a different situation. For example, Boston part-timers, through COCAL-Boston, are organizing on a regional basis because of the vast number of schools there, which may be the first US example of "metro strategy" later described by Joe Berry in Reclaiming the Ivory Tower

California community college part-time faculty, CPFA (California Part Time Faculty Association), are shown organizing statewide to change state laws. Sadly, the Boston page is gone, leaving no more than a a description in a Kairos article and dead link to a no longer existing website. The last Wayback Machine snapshot was May 1, 2003.  CPFA is still going strong: website, discussion list, quarterly journal, blog, Twitter, etc

About Boston Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor 

catching up w/#adjunct corner of the #HigherEd galaxy

news sources and conferences division.

News, there's a lot of it. Even filtered by topic ~ higher education, academic freedom, adjuncts, contingent faculty, academic labor, faculty unions, organizing, there is still a lot. Sources include higher ed media, mainstream medias, news feeds, blogs, social media and aggregators. If you are social media averse or just "Facebook suspicious" and follow by email notice or rss feed, then you may miss the posts from the precarious faculty network's news blogs syndicated to Facebook and Twitter.

An occasional post here about recent posts on those should take care of that. Precarity Dispatches and COCAL Updates are usually the most active, Both feature news link collections, but not exclusively. PD's are themed (academic freedom, adjunct organizing, higher ed, etc) and more curated. CU is a somewhat tidied up web version of Joe's email Updates ~ primarily contingent academic labor and regular updates on the City College of San Francisco v. accreditors. Lately, re-purposed and renamed, (Uniting for) Equity in Diversity has been more active, thanks to Sean Kennedy's series of posts recounting ongoing conflict between CUNY adjuncts and PSC-CUNY, spilling over into COCAL XI. Adjunct stories abound, with no shortage of narratives or websites/blogs publishing them. With no need to add yet another, Precarity Tales appears intermittently, usually when a story doesn't fit anywhere else, and is still finding itself.

About covering conferences

Saturday, July 5, 2014


I became active in the labor movement over 25 years ago at a time when very few people even knew what the word 'adjunct' referred to. I immediately saw the inequities in every aspect of Higher Education and began to question and investigate. It did not take me long to realize that we were a new class of professional educators: a class with little pay, no benefits and few rights. As a Political Scientist/Historian I knew something was wrong but no one wanted to listen to me. Well, at that time we made up a small percentage of the teaching force and had little support outside of our own circle.

Did I give up trying to better the position of adjunct faculty? Of course not, but as our numbers grew the support did not. In fact many of us just hunkered in and continued to let ourselves be exploited. Many of us had been working as individuals in our own states or in our own Colleges to get more equity for adjunct faculty. Working alone is difficult when trying to achieve success, however many of us networked and kept each other aware of the failures and success we had achieved. We did this because we shared a common goal: respect and better pay and working conditions for adjunct faculty.

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