Archive for February 20, 2013

Adjunct activism at the MLA

A number of New Faculty Majority members and other advocates have strengthened the Modern Language Association’s already leading role on behalf of the majority of the faculty over the last year. 2012-13 MLA president Michael Berube and executive director Rosemary Feal, new NFM members in 2012, kept contingency on the front burner throughout the year.

An unprecedented number of faculty members on contingent appointments were nominated for leadership positions; Berube made contingency the major theme of the 2013 Boston convention (including featuring an all-adjunct presidential panel); and the organization rolled out its powerful Workforce Data Center and helped unveil the Coalition on the Academic Workforce’s Contingent Faculty Salary Survey.

In an unprecedented collaboration, the radical caucus, the executive committee for the part-time faculty discussion group, and the committee on contingent labor in the profession collaborated to introduce a motion directing the organization to work even harder on behalf of the most vulnerable of their colleagues — which passed decisively on January 5, 115-1. Oh — and Michael’s reflections on our January 2012 summit inspired member Josh Boldt to start The Adjunct Project — and the rest, as they say, is history!

Note: This report appeared in Issue 3 of the New Faculty Majority E-Newsletter, published on Feb. 13, 2013.

Advance equity for adjuncts: Come to a February meeting of OPTFA

Help advance equity for adjuncts in Ohio by joining us for one of two February meetings of the newly formed Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association. Each meeting will follow the same agenda, so you can come to either session and get updated on the OPTFA and contribute your ideas to the discussion.

Meeting Dates and Times:
  • Sunday, Feb. 24, 6 p.m. Chaired by April Freely of the University of Akron, co-chair of the OPTFA Organizing Committee
  • Wednesday, Feb. 27, noon. Chaired by David Wilder of Tri-C and John Carroll University, co-chair of the OPTFA Organizing Committee

Meeting Location: the new office of New Faculty Majority and the OPTFA. The address is Copley Commons, 2830 Copley Rd., Suite 26, Copley, Ohio 44321.

Tentative Agenda:

  1. Introduction of Organizing Committee
  2. Establishment of OPTFA as statewide organization
  3. Discussion of priorities for the coming year

RSVP: to optfa@newfacultymajority.info. If you can’t make it to either meeting but would like to conference in via phone or computer, please let us know. We can make that happen.

Share the flyer: Download the event flyer to post in your department and share with your colleagues and friends.

Join the Organizing Committee: Freely and Wilder are looking for adjunct faculty throughout the state to join them as Organizing Committee members. Contact them at optfa@newfacultymajority.info if you would like to be involved.

Find out what happened at the initial meeting of OPTFA on Jan. 27.

Submit paper proposal for panel on workplace inequality

Elizabeth Faue, professor of history at Wayne State University, is organizing a panel for the labor network for the 38th Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association in Chicago, November 21-24.

Following on the conference theme, “Organizing Powers,” she is looking for papers that would fit under the topic: Organizing the Dirty Work: Workplace Inequality, Civil Rights, and the Politics of Occupational Health and Safety. She has two papers so far, one on African American workers at the Rouge and one on women and the UAW efforts prior to Johnson Controls.

Contact her at ad5247@wayne.edu or evfaue@gmail.com if you would like to present a paper or volunteer as commentator.The panel proposal deadline is firm and is Feb. 15. Get the call for papers.

Report from first meeting of OPTFA

Energy was in the air when about a dozen adjunct faculty members from campuses in the Akron and Cleveland areas turned out for the first meeting of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association on Jan. 27. If you couldn’t make it to the meeting and want to know what happened, here is an update:

  • A regular meeting schedule for OPTFA was set. OPTFA will meet on the fourth Sunday of each month at 6 p.m. and on the fourth Wednesday of each month at noon. Meetings will be held at the OPTFA office, Suite 26, 2830 Copley Road, Copley, Ohio. Weekend and weekday meetings were scheduled to accommodate the varied schedules of adjunct faculty. Dates for the next meetings are Sunday, Feb 24, at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 27, at noon.
  • Two individuals graciously stepped up to serve as co-chairs of the newly formed OPTFA Organizing Committee. David Wilder of Tri-C and John Carroll University and April Freely of The University of Akron volunteered their services. They have issued putting a call for volunteers to join the committee.
  • Maria Maisto and Matt Williams, president and vice president of  New Faculty Majority, updated the group on recent NFM activities, from Maisto’s participation on a presidential panel focused on adjuncts at the Modern Language Association Convention 2013 to her recent op-ed,” Higher Education’s Darkest Secret,” posted on Take Part.
  • The group discussed a variety of topics, including:
    • setting up a statewide conference for adjuncts in partnership with AURCO, the Association for University Regional Campuses of Ohio
    • retirement benefits for adjuncts, including STRS and Social Security
    • Ohio law regarding adjuncts and collective bargaining
    • obtaining unemployment compensation for adjuncts, a topic that will be covered in a March 20 webinar with Northeast Ohio employment law attorney Nancy Grim. The webinar will be held at noon. Check out the OPTFA Events page for details.

Since the meeting, conversation on the Ohio Adjunct Discussion Listserv has been brisk. It has revolved around the issues raised at the Jan. 27 meeting, as well as OPTFA Organizing Committee Co-chair Wildman’s suggestion that we organize a state-wide tour of campuses to meet with adjuncts and gather their thoughts about building the OPTFA. An adjunct faculty member at Youngstown State University has already volunteered to organize such an event on that campus. If you would like to join the Organizing Committee and/or help plan an OPTFA event at your campus, email optfa@newfacultymajority.info.

We urge you to keep up to date on OPTFA news and conversation by joining the ongoing Ohio Adjunct Listserv Discussion and visiting the OPTFA website for regular updates.

Pittsburgh conference focuses on adjuncts

Adjunct faculty in Ohio are invited to attend Countering Contingency: Teaching, Scholarship, and Creativity in the Age of the Adjunct, an academic conference sponsoredafaconference by the Adjunct Faculty Association of United Steelworkers, which is organizing adjuncts at Duquesne University.

The conference will be held April 5-7 at the United Steelworkers International Headquarters in Pittsburgh.

The conference is the result of interest generated by the Adjunct Faculty Association’s organizing effort at Duquesne. Adjunct faculty members working at a number of higher education institutions met with organizers from the USW and decided to plan a conference that would open up dialogue about the casualization of the academic workforce.

Conference organizers received proposals for papers, panels, workshops, roundtables and creative presentations highlighting, critiquing and theorizing how the unstable and unsustainable working conditions of NTT faculty impact intellectual work; narrowing or analyzing the logistical challenges of serving as NTT teachers, scholars and artists; and discussing the working conditions that call for revision.

Download the conference handout, which includes registration details and the conference schedule, to share with your colleagues. For more information, please email nttfconference@gmail.com.

AURCO seeks conference presentations by adjunct faculty

The Association for the University Regional Campuses of Ohio (AURCO) and the Ohio Part-TimeAURCO 2013 POSTER Faculty Association (OPTFA) are co-sponsoring a special track of presentations at this year’s conference to be devoted to the professional interests and concerns of adjunct faculty.

Adjunct faculty can propose 15- to 30-minute individual or collaborative presentations, or put together 45-minute panels on a given topic.

The idea is to showcase the interests and concerns of adjunct faculty and to provide opportunities for adjunct faculty to network not just with full-time faculty but with other adjunct faculty across our campuses.

Proposals will be due by March 1. They should be submitted to Martin Kich, a member of AURCO’s board of trustees, at martinkich@gmail.com. Guidelines for the proposals are available at http://www.aurco.net/conference/guidelines

All papers presented at the conference can be submitted, following the conference, to the AURCO Journal, a refereed annual journal.

This year’s conference is being hosted by Ohio University’s Lancaster Campus on Saturday, April 13. The conference typically runs from about 8 a.m. to about 3 p.m.

Overnight accommodations for conference participants are available at nearby hotels at reduced rates. To encourage participation by adjunct faculty, their registration has been reduced to $25, from the standard registration of $99 charged to full-time faculty.

Information on the conference registration and available lodging is provided on the AURCO website. For presenters staying overnight, there is an arts program on Friday evening.

AURCO was founded in 1993, so this is the 20th anniversary of the organization. Its annual conferences are notable for their friendly and relaxed atmosphere.