Archive for October 25, 2013

Take action for Campus Equity Week, Oct. 28 – Nov. 2

Take action for Campus Equity Week, a week of education and activism that draws attention to the working conditions of faculty working on temporary, low-paid contracts, who now constitute the majority of college instructors.

In fact, there are one million contingent faculty nationwide, and they make up 75 percent of all faculty.

Here are some simple things you can do to raise awareness about equity issues on your campus. You can also download this information as a handout from the Campus Equity Week Tool Kit page.

  • Wear scarlet or red on Wednesday, Oct. 30, during Campus Equity Week.CEW13-Button-Art
  • Use social media and online resources to raise awareness of CEW. Post links on Facebook. Send out tweets. Use hashtags #cew2013 and ##iammargaretmary. Change your Facebook profile photo to the CEW logoGet more tips on using social media.
  • Plan a Campus Equity Week event on your campus. Ideas: A candlelight vigil in memory of Margaret Mary Vojtko. Tabling to collect signatures on an online petition, pass out information, etc.
  • Attend a Campus Equity Week event, including several planned for Ohio, listed here.
  • Sign and share a petition.
  • Send a letter to the editor to your local and/or campus newspaper.
  • Follow the Campus Equity Week Facebook Event page.
  • Tell your adjunct story on the Adjunct Stories Tumblr page.
  • Submit a photo of your adjunct contract to the Adjunct Justice Equal Pay for Equal Work Tumblr page.
  • Take photos of adjunct faculty or others wearing the shirts and buttons, then post your photos on social media.
  • Include a simple line about Campus Equity Week in the signature line of your emails: October 28 – November 2 is Campus Equity Week. Learn more at www.campusequityweek.org/2013
  • Send a letter to the editor to your local and/or campus newspaper.
  • Wear T-shirts and buttons during Campus Equity Week.
  • Serve Fair Trade in Education Coffee at your CEW event.
  • Participate in an online survey conducted by The New Faculty Majority Foundation (NFMF and The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) about how colleges and universities are responding to the Employer Mandate of the ACA as it applies to contingent faculty in “part-time” positions. 
  • Blog for Campus Equity Week.

 

OPTFA meets at UA on Oct. 23

Please join us for tomorrow’s meeting of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association at noon, Oct. 23, in Room 301 of the Student Union on the University of Akron campus.

The Ohio Part-time Faculty Association advocates for the interests of part-time faculty members in institutions of higher learning in the state of Ohio. And we will meet at UA tomorrow to listen to your concerns and advocate for you.

On the agenda are:
  • UA’s new rule that caps the number of hours each adjunct can work outside the classroom at 2 hours credit hour. The limit helps UA avoid providing health benefits under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. How is the new limit affecting you?
  • UA’s timekeeping proceduresAre they efficient and effective? What are your concerns?
  • FOR PROFIT, the solo play that will be performed FREE at UA on Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Theater as part of national Campus Equity Week. It takes a poignant but humorous look at student debt and will be followed by a panel discussion that includes an adjunct faculty member. This is a great  opportunity for you and your students to learn and speak out about equity issues in higher education.
  • The Ohio Higher Education Campus Equity Week Summit, Oct. 26 in Columbus, a free event that is part of national Campus Equity Week. You are invited to join us in planning advocacy to improve higher ed on your campus and in our state.

Higher Ed & the Affordable Care Act: Take the survey

“Part-time” contingent faculty, along with “part-time” workers across the nation, are being directly affected by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the colleges and universities for which they work.

In order to gain more insight into the impact on higher education faculty, The New Faculty Majority Foundation (NFMF and The Campaign for the Future of Higher Education (CFHE) are collecting information about how colleges and universities are responding to the Employer Mandate of the ACA as it applies to contingent faculty in “part-time” positions.

We are interested in understanding both the extent to which institutions are implementing the ACA to expand health care coverage to faculty who have previously not received health care benefits, as well as understanding the extent to which institutions are redefining the workload of “part-time” faculty to fall below the cutoff for provision of health benefits (29 hours per week).

TAKE THE SURVEY

To help us understand faculty experiences, we encourage you fill out a short survey which will take between 10-15 minutes. People who are not “part-time” faculty may respond to the survey if they have knowledge of policies related to ACA implementation on campuses. Please note that we ask you to upload any official documentation surrounding the ACA from your campus. Such documentation is extremely important to understand what is happening.

Your anonymity as an individual respondent to the survey will be preserved and only researchers with NFM and CFHE will be responsible for the analysis and security of the data. Your survey responses will be kept separate from the institutional information that you provide and the data will be stored on password protected files and on password protected computers.

If you do not have access to official documentation but know of news stories that have reported on your employer’s policies on part-time faculty and the ACA, please provide the link or upload a PDF or JPEG of the news story.

We thank you in advance for your participation in the survey. Please feel free to post and circulate the survey as widely as possible. This information is vital for educating the higher education community and the public about this urgent matter.

Initial results will be publicized during Campus Equity Week, October 28 – November 2, 2013.

Many thanks for your participation! Any questions or communications about the survey should be sent to: Gary Rhoades: grhoades@email.arizona.edu Maria Maisto: maria.maisto@nfmfoundation.org

FOR PROFIT at UA on Oct. 28, CSU on Nov. 1

ua for profitVisit the FOR PROFIT at UA Facebook Event page for more. Download the UA flier.

Screen Shot 2013-10-11 at 3.43.53 PM

 

Visit the FOR PROFIT at CSU Facebook Event pageDownload the CSU flier.

 

Get funding for Campus Equity Week event

If you would like to plan a Campus Equity Week event for your campus, apply for a grant now.

The New Faculty Majority Campus Equity Week Grant is available to help local organizations with scarce resources sponsor Campus Equity Week activities during CEW 2013, October 28 – November 2.

The deadline for NFM CEW Grant applications has been extended to Tuesday, October 15, 2013. Get the details here. Download the application.

Attend an Ohio CEW event
So far, there are two CEW events planned in Ohio, the Ohio Higher Education Campus Equity Week Summit in Columbus on Oct. 26 and the solo play FOR Profit on the University of Akron campus on Oct. 28.

Are you an adjunct with student debt? Contact reporter

abj story screenshotIf you are adjunct faculty with an advanced degree and student debt who is unable to find a full-time teaching position in your field, contact Akron Beacon Journal higher education reporter Carol Biliczky to share your story.

She is adding a local take on the current $1.1 trillion student debt crisis and welcomes readers’ stories.

Adjunct faculty across the state can add compelling angles to that story, since Biliczky wants to hear from those who have degrees and debt but are unable to find work. Adjuncts, many of whom are unable to find the full-time faculty jobs for which their degrees qualify them, fit that category.

Biliczky’s first installment on the series, “State lawmaker waits tables, helps with plumbing to pay off student loans,” about a student who ran up $80K in debt while attending the University of Akron and Malone College, ran in the Oct. 6 issue of the daily paper.

In future stories, she will pursue these ideas:

  • Courses of study most likely to result in high-paying jobs that make debt affordable.
  • People who have debt and degrees and are unable to find work.
  • People with debt who quit attending college before obtaining a degree.
  • Parents or relatives who have large debt from financing education for family.

Contact Biliczky at cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com or at 330-996-3729.

Focus on higher ed at Campus Equity Week Summit in Columbus

Four organizations have teamed up to present a state-wide summit in Columbus — open to all and focused on higher education — as part of Campus Equity Week.CEW13-Button-Art

The Ohio Higher Education Campus Equity Week Summit will be held Saturday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Ohio Education Association Building, 225 East Broad St. in Columbus.

The event will kick off Campus Equity Week, Oct. 28- Nov. 2, a week of education and activism that shines a spotlight on our increasingly stratified higher education system. At the core of the inequities that pervade higher education is the crisis of contingent faculty employment.

The details

What: The goal of the Ohio Higher Education Campus Equity Week Summit is to create a statewide organizing body focused on higher education issues and composed of faculty, staff, contingent and part-time labor, students, and campus communities.

Who: Full- and Part-Time Faculty, Campus Staff, and Students from all over the state are invited to attend the Summit to build a better future for Ohio Higher Education.

When: Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Where: Ohio Education Association Building, 225 East Broad Street in Columbus. Get directions to the OEA Building. Free parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis at the OEA parking lot, 200 Oak St., Columbus, OH 43215. Get directions to the parking lot.‎

Cost: There is no charge for this day-long event, which includes lunch.

Sponsors: New Faculty MajorityOhio Part-Time Faculty AssociationOhio Student Association and Ohio Education Association.

RSVP: By Oct. 14 to optfa@newfacultymajority.info. Please include name, email, phone number, address and organizational affiliation (if applicable). Also indicate whether you need childcare and/or transportation help.
Childcare: Please let us know if you need on-site childcare. If you do, please provide the number and age(s) of your children in your RSVP email.
Transportation: Please let us know if you need a ride or can provide a ride for a participant. If so, please provide that information in your RSVP email.

The flier

Download the half-page flier to share with your colleagues.

The draft agenda

10-11 a.m. – Coffee and Registration

11:10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. – Present Vision

11:30 a.m.- Noon – Count off and break out groups

Noon – 12:30 p.m. – Report Back – Who was at table? What are your causes? How do they connect to the vision? Is there anything we can add to the vision?

12:30 p.m. – 1 p.m. – Lunch (Provided)

1 – 2 p.m. – Group Discussion on Action Plan for Wednesday of Campus Equity Week

2 – 3 p.m. – Working in Campus/Regional Groups to Develop Campus Equity Week Action Plan

3 – 3:30 p.m. – Report Back

3 – 3:30 p.m. – Adjourn

Background on Campus Equity Week

Campus Equity Week was originally devised by contingent faculty activists in 2001 in order to highlight the appalling working conditions of the majority of the faculty and the impact of those working conditions on the quality of education.

A central principle of the week is that quality education depends practically and ethically on professional and just working conditions for all faculty. The crisis of contingent faculty employment at colleges and universities is at the core of the inequities that pervade  higher education.

State Sen. Turner contacts ODJFS about unemployment compensation concerns

State Senator Nina Turner has sent a letter to Michael Colbert, director of the Ohio Department of State Senator Nina TurnerJob and Family Services, asking him to address “inconsistent judgments in claims for unemployment benefits” for part-time faculty in the state.

In her letter dated Sept. 30, 2013, Turner maintains that “the main challenge arises from the lack of a clear, workable definition of what constitutes a ‘reasonable assurance’ of employment, as mentioned in Section 4141.29(I)(1) of the Ohio Revised Code.”

Nina Turner letter

As a result, one adjunct faculty member at a university can find his unemployment claim approved, while his colleague, teaching under the same insecure conditions, has hers denied, even after filing appeals.

Some fight every claim; others don’t

Some colleges and universities in the state do not fight the unemployment compensation claims of adjunct faculty. Others, such as the University of Akron, fight every claim that is filed.

This term, UA’s human resources department provided its vice presidents, deans and chairs with a “Reasonable Assurance Memo,” warning them that “failure to give timely reasonable assurance of employment for the next semester can lead to the loss of valued faculty and increased unemployment charges to the department.”

UA’s characterization of the offer of a class for the next term as “reasonable assurance,” is disingenuous, as any class could be cancelled or reassigned to a full-time faculty member due to lack of enrollment.

UA’s definition — and some Ohio Department of Job and Family Services rulings regarding part-time faculty’s eligibility for unemployment compensation — are contrary to information disseminated by ODJFS. One publication, which Sen. Turner cited in her letter, states:

Regardless of whether you are a professional or nonprofessional, if the offer of work is contingent upon sufficient funding or enrollment, you would not have reasonable assurance for the next school year or term.

Help with your unemployment compensation claim

 

KSU student paper covers adjuncts & ACA

dksApril Freely and Katherine Burke, two members of the Organizing Committee of the Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association, are quoted in an Oct. 2 story in the Daily Kent Stater, Part-time faculty face cuts before new health care law.

The story describes Kent State’s response to the Affordable Care Act, which involves a combination of cuts to adjunct course loads as well as increasing the number of full-time appointments by combining adjunct positions, according to KSU administrators.

Last year, more than 50 percent of Kent State’s faculty members at both the Kent and regional campuses were adjuncts, the story notes.

I have felt very alone in this. I don’t feel that there is anybody that I can turn to that has my interests as an adjunct in mind. – Jennifer Ray-Tomacek

Death of an Adjunct author interviewed

Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, died of a stress-related heart attack on Sept. 1 after being fired from her position as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University where she taught French for 25 years. At the time of her death, she was living in poverty and without health benefits. Since then, her story has gone viral, along with the hashtag #iammargaretmary.

In a Sept. 30 interview on Lynn Cullen Live, Dan Kovalik, author of the personal piece, talks about the worldwide impact of Professor Vojtko’s story, why adjuncts need to unionize, and Duquesne’s response to its adjuncts’ efforts to do so.

Read coverage of the story in other media outlets

Pittsburgh City Paper. Adjunct Mary Margaret Vojtko’s death raises questions on college campuses all across Pittsburgh. Oct. 2, 2013

The Street. College costs soar while adjunct faculty head to pauper’s grave. Oct. 2, 2013

CNN. Adjunct professors are the new working poor. Sept. 24, 2013

Opposing Views. Former Duquesne University Professor Margaret Mary Vojtko’s Death Reveals Plight Of Adjunct Faculty. Sept. 23, 2013

Yahoo. Should adjunct professors be paid more? Sept. 23, 2013

NPR. The Sad Death Of An Adjunct Professor Sparks A Labor Debate. Sept. 22, 2013

Inside Higher Education#iammargaretmary. Sept. 19, 2013

Huff-Post CollegeWoman Who Taught At College For Decades Dies Making Reportedly Less Than $25,000 A Year. Sept. 19, 2013

Chronicle of Higher EducationAn adjunct’s death becomes a rallying cry for many in academe. Sept. 19, 2013