Archived Discussions are read-only. New forum coming soon.
This is a great project that Josh is taking up. If you have a few more minutes, too, can you sign this petition, and share it with others, so we can affect change? As we all know, the number of adjuncts teaching across America is quite high: over 70%, closer to 80% at community colleges. That translates to mean we are undervalued, underpaid. If we want to change that, then please sign the following petition. Sign it, POST it again, and share it with others, so the petition will grow, so we can affect change for a better future: thank you. http://signon.org/sign/better-pay-for-adjuncts.fb1?source=c.fb&r_by=426534
The Adjunct Spring is coming. Let’s get organized.
“Adjunct Spring.” Very cool. I like it.
Occupy the Campus
I have so much to share with you. We are fighting the good fight here in South Texas. My colleague and I have stirred up much conversation across our campuses: Formal grievance process, one of us met with the president of the college last week, an annotated bibliography and letter asking for full-time support from our department presented at the departmental meeting in January (pretty much crickets except for support from our chair and two other instructors) An adjunct meeting off campus is planned for Sunday. I personally have been keeping up with current discussions and scholarship for the past five years.
The conditions here might make the top list under the title “Exploitation and Lack of Concern for Students’ Educational Experience.” Ah, but I say too much? Nope, not anymore.
I’d like to email you personally, but I am not willing to configure microsoft’s email program with my personal email.
Any suggestions on communication?
So grateful for your voice,
It sounds like you are doing good work in a tough climate. My email address is email@example.com. If you would like to write about your successes and/or trials, I would gladly add it to The Adjunct Project blog. There are already about 60 followers of the blog who would immediately receive your post by email, and that number is growing by the hour. It’s a good way to get your story out there. Something to consider. Either way, I look forward to hearing from you.
Josh, do you have any numbers on how many follow by rss feed? Sometimes it’s hard to ignore the expectations of / demands on the quantifiable self, other times annoying not to.
Then too, as I explain periodically to nfm colleagues, there will be visitors who do not want footprints. Along that line, fwiw and of possible interest, Global Voices Advocacy (a Global Voices Online project) has resources for those who need to be untrackable online or just wish to be less visible, http://advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org/projects/
I don’t have those numbers, unfortunately. About 300 people follow the blog directly and I know at least 50 or so more follow it via Google Reader. I do know that every post gets shared widely on almost every major social network, which drives a lot of traffic back to the site.
Just curious, are any of the professional scholarly associations, the MLA, AHA, AAA, etc., addressing adjuncts in any substantive way whatsoever? I know that Michael Berube, head of the MLA, is interested in this issue (http://crookedtimber.org/2012/02/08/more-about-adjuncts/) but have no sense of what other professional organizations are doing. Considering that adjuncting represents a good deal of the actual jobs held by professional academics, advocating for better working conditions should be a priority (rather than, you know, putting on annual meetings where people read papers to mostly empty rooms). A concerted campaign to get our various guilds to join up with/expand the MLA’s efforts might be a good place to organize. Or am I late to the party and someone is already doing this, in which case how do I join up?
I know the AAUP and the AACU have begun to get involved pretty heavily. I saw this first hand at the New Faculty Majority Summit last month in DC. The MLA is taking big steps in the field of English, but I have not yet heard anything significant from the other disciplines. It might be time for those in the other fields to start pressuring their professional organizations to join the party. With whom should we start?
Does anyone remembers Joe Berry’s “report cards” from COCAL IV? He went around Chicago, with cameras and a group as part of a COCAL protest, issuing report cards to area colleges and universities. Maybe we could crowdsource our own professional associations, report back, issue report cards, make them public, encourage and support adjunct members to campaign within their own professional associations.
Great question…..The Organization of American Historians (OAH) has a standing Committee on Part-time, Adjunct and Contingent Employment (CPACE). As a member of this committee, I can tell you that last year we revised the Standards set in 2003 and came up with a “best practices” approach for employing non-tenure track faculty. The link is pasted below.
We continue to think of ways of sharing this information and generating dialogue. At the OAH Conference in Milwaukee on Friday, April 20, CPACE Chair Donald Rogers will hold a “Town Hall” session at 2:30 to encourage discussion on how the OAH might better respond to the challenges we face. Don hopes that people on and off the tenure track in history will generate some new ideas and contribute to the ongoing discussion. If anyone is interested, go to the OAH website for details on the conference.
Many, many thanks to Josh for setting this blog and the Project in motion.
Thank you, Liz. I would like to see more concrete guidelines, but it’s a good start. Just bringing adjuncts into the discussion is the first step. Thanks to you and to the OAH.
Justaguy ~ a number of groups and individuals are in the the process of developing that kind of network. You’re not too late for this party, not as long as the conditions making it necessary exist. Then we can still meet to party and maybe even read papers to empty rooms (but spend less money and have more fun doing it). Where to start and how not to run on for too long?
Short version… In addition to right here and OAH mentioned by Elizabeth, there’s New Faculty Majority (my affiliation). AHA (American Historical Association), CCCC, TESOL and other associations address contingency. Some do better than others. Your own professional association’s web site and CAW (Coalition on the Academic Workforce) would be good places to start.
There are also state and regional groups, groups and pages on Facebook, email lists, Yahoo, Google and LinkedIn groups, Bob’s Profology network. Join whatever best suits you, as many or as few as you like or can manage easily, follow and participate (or not) at whatever level of involvement you are most comfortable with.
Main thing to my mind ~ do something, whether large or small. Every step counts. Share information and links, bridge and help connect multiple networks, communicate and collaborate. Keep us posted too…
New Faculty Majority , Board Member, Resident Blogger and Social Media Slave
In Chicago, we (the Occupy Chicago Education Committee in conjunction with Coalition Against Corporate Higher Education, or CACHE) host “Whose Schools? Our Schools: Repairing the State of Disunion in Higher Ed” discussion forums every two weeks. We travel to different campuses to build coalitions, strengthen solidarity, and share tactics to improve our situations. So far, we have had two great discussions between adjuncts, graduate student indentured servants, staff, and FT faculty. We believe that we need to stand together with everyone else who is harmed by current university practices, so we’re building solidarity that way.
The next one is scheduled for Friday, March 2 from 4:30 – 6:30 in a as-yet-TBA room on DePaul’s campus. Please check CACHE’s website, http://cachechicago.wordpress.com, or OCEduCom’s Tumblr, http://peoplesuchicago.tumblr.com for updated information, and please join us if you’re in the area. We have many links to others, from existing unions like Columbia College Chicago’s P-fac, or Part-Time Faculty Union, to the newly forming New Faculty Majority chapter.
Just checking in to say-great project! Very happy to see it. I was going to come back into the spreadsheet and put some more info in with regard to Westchester CC, one of the places I work-do I get just one shot at it? Also, have to get stuff in for Fordham U and LaGuardia CUNY CC where I also work. As to current projects, I am concentrating mostly on Westchester where I have had a campaign to get the actual numbers of adjuncts listed in publically available places: the only easily available numbers—the ones that prospective students and their families see—is that there are 172 full-time faculty. No number for PT fac, and not even a column for it. In fact, on the inside flap of my latest Adjunct Handbook it still claims only 172 FT faculty. I’d be very happy to hear from any folks working at or near any of my places. And, again, great project. Alan Trevithick, New Faculty Majority -
NFM party. Love it.
Good morning Adjunct Nation.
The Authority Smashing Hour (great Facebook page and group) posted this moment of great solidarity from Occupy Boston Student Summit:
I found quite compelling Sam’s concluding remarks in her Chomsky introduction focusing specifically on “owning class” Administrative class antagonism.
“It’s to their advantage when they say students and workers have nothing in common.”
Biggest take away for me, besides the “scaling” and the “reading group” suggestions — tell your story. the hardest post I wrote–and didn’t want to write, ‘Fr
“Recognize and celebrate that you’re not only learning and participating in the immediate goals but you’re participating in this great world-wide tradition of students working together to make the world better.”
Sorry — Windows hiccup . . . .
Here’s the link to the piece I found my self **needing** to write.
Tell your story!
Authority Smashing Hour! I love it! Checking it out now. Great takeaways too.
I appreciate the limitations of the format. Guidelines or standards are always a work-in-progress. Nearly every professional organization has developed them. Moreover, they are non-binding and represent “wish lists,” most of the time. Yet, they do constitute a point of departure and a position statement.
Questions for those reading this:
How do we convince administrators that the system of employment as currently constituted is unfair and problematic on multiple levels? How do we build coalitions with tenured co-workers?
Note the above is in response to my earlier post and the comment by Josh!
Step 1: Organize the adjuncts
Step 2: Organize the adjuncts and students (Senates, equity committees, etc.)
Step 3: Organize the adjuncts and service workers
Step 4: Invite but do not seek approval of administrators
Step 5: Assess goals
Step 6: Celebrate Success / Address Needs
Step 7: For state colleges and universities, go directly to the counties and towns
At Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, we just organized a union through the SEA/SEIU, which is also the organizer for the state’s community college system. Additionally, Keene State College adjuncts unionized through the NEA. At Plymouth, we’re getting ready for our first set of contract negotiations right now.
Plymouth’s a great place to work and we’ve had real support from a lot of full-time faculty (my department head first pointed me to the Google Spreadsheet) who understand that the plight of adjuncts and tenure-track faculty are entwined.
Probably the best way to follow what’s happening with New Hampshire’s adjuncts is the NH Adjuncts United Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-Hampshire-Adjuncts-United/122040727853928
I doubt we’ll have much news for a while, but if anyone wants more info, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Shawn Warren. I am a Canadian adjunct of 12-years. I have read most of the material on the “Adjunct Project” site and the comments posted thus far.
This qualifies as a piece of correspondence relevant to your stated goals. I am someone interested in “saving (American) higher education.”
I would most certainly like to be put in contact with the majority of academic labour in America – the adjunct.
I have a proposal to correct the ills, not only of our vocational circumstances, but those of HE. It will likely strike you as odd, even impossible at first. (Our current paradigm is iconic.) But please give it some thought – that is what we do. It is our vocational and civic responsibility.
This is the social experiment I have in mind: Convert the vocation of “professor” from status as a union-represented, university-government employee (us) to an independent professional, as we find in law, medicine, engineering, and the like.
If viable, this proposal is well worth pursuing. I have offered more detailed discussion on my website should you be interested.
Thank you for your time.
If you would be interested in putting together a post for the blog, feel free to contact me at email@example.com. I would like to hear more of your ideas.
Most kind, Josh. I will.
This angle is very compelling. Lots of questions. But, unique. It also draws attention to the “professional” status of all professors, not just adjuncts — which is inclusive and community building in essence. More!
Hello MI (if I may),
Please, ask your questions. Whatever you wish.
I got lost in the mix. Sorry for the delay.
How does a “guild movement” redefine the relationship between professor and institution while not contributing to the downsizing of our vocation?
Equity committees. What if we flooded equity committees with hearing requests?
Is this a mobilization/action step?
Something on the inside that has both political and administrative (awareness) effect?
If memory is serving me correctly, I believe equity hearings are made permanent record; and those records are required during accreditation review. Don’t want to have fifty adjunct equity grievances on the books, now, do ya?!
an intriguing and promising notion, worth pursuing
Wednesday, April 25th
10:45 assembly in the parking lot
11:00 meeting in Rm. 226
Looking for New England (NH and VT) based Adjuncts to occupy one of the great offenders of equity. This action will take place during the board of trustees meeting. We would shoot for a 90 second intervention and then distribute information to faculty, staff, trustees, legislators in attendance. Fall back point off campus at downtown diner. Details can be found at http://migrantintellectual.wordpress.com
Bring cell phone cameras, digital cameras, and whatever recording equipment you can bring. A list of needed action and reaction shots will be distributed to interested parties.
When I realized that I would only make Dr. Quinn’s wages, I was saddened to be pushed to consider looking for work outside of my chosen field to make a decent salary. As I hold an MA, it is more than a sad comment that supermarket stockers make more money and benefits. It is unconscionable! And I live in VA, one of the lowest ranking states in the nation for adjunct pay. As I should like to find exactly how low, can any of you tell me where I can find the ranking of adjunct pay throughout states in the US?
Finally, a grassroots campaign would entail a nationwide movement. This project is an excellent beginning. It should be sent to every community college, college and university in the nation, asking for it to be sent all adjuncts. I found it only by accident. Every adjunct needs to see it, very purposefully. This step should be seriously considered as a vital step in reaching the goal of campaigning for decent working conditions. Following the suffrage movement and other marginalized groups have had to fight for a voice and achieve change, Occupy Campus would be another good step.
In fact, I live just miles form DC. A protest on the National Mall should be organized, helping to bring attention to this Dickensian problem of 20121!.
I would gladly help organize these efforts – GLADLY.
a good reminder that we should post occasional reminders about the crowdsourcing project ~ both visiting and posting
Josh, I was asking only about rss feeds, not the rest. Google reader (how I follow blogs) *is* rss feeds, lion’s share but not the only one. Nor are feed readers the only place to stash feeds. No doubt all destinations are countable for anyone wanting to track them to their lairs. As my comment implied, the quantified self is the part of digital identities that interests me the least (neck and neck with branded one). That said, I recognize numbers matter when dealing with number crunchers and disciples of the obvious. At some point though, it might be interesting (for someone else) to spider adjunct blogs for aggregate numbers. Useful too if we can use the information to mobilize and call forth flash mobs.
what is an equity hearing?