Archive for November 29, 2013

Maisto to discuss adjunct issues on MSNBC this Saturday

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, will appear live on the Melissa Harris-Perry Melissa Harris-PerryShow on MSNBC on Saturday, Nov. 30, from 11:30 a.m. – noon. Maisto was invited to be part of a panel discussion on how universities and colleges treat adjunct professors.

Please use email, Facebook and Twitter to share this information with your colleagues. Then tune in and watch the show.

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry provides analysis and guest-driven discussion of political, cultural and community issues. Her show airs Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. – noon ET on MSNBC.

OPTFA meets Nov. 24 at John Carroll

The Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association is going on the road again. This time, our regular November meeting will be held in Room E145 in the Dolan Science Center at John Carroll University at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24.

You can also attend online or by phone. See below for details regarding the agenda, location and virtual meeting options.

  • John Carroll adjunct experiences, issues and concerns
  • Update from SEIU Local 500 Coalition on Academic Labor Conference in D.C.
  • Testimony of Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, before congressional committee and the adjunct eForum that resulted
  • Organizing in Ohio
Here are more details about the location: Also see map below with arrow.
Dolan Center  is the largest building on campus, right by the main JCU gate off Warrensville JCU_Campus_Map_w arrow copyCenter Rd and John Carroll  Blvd. (JC Blvd is a street off a roundabout at the intersection of Warrensville Center Rd and Fairmount Blvd. (East side of Warrensville Center Rd)  From the John Carroll Blvd Gate, facing Dolan, E145 is in the wing on the right (South East side)  Dolan has halls forming an H with a large atrium in the center. Entering Dolan in the center on the side facing Warrensville Center gate, E145 is the at the bottom of the right-hand bar of the H.

How to attend online or by phone:

1.  Please join my meeting.

2.  Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) – a headset is recommended. Or, call in using your telephone.

Dial +1 (786) 358-5417

Access Code: 314-704-133

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 314-704-133


Online Meetings Made Easy®

Not at your computer? Click the link to join this meeting from your iPhone®, iPad® or Android® device via the GoToMeeting app.


An invitation to tell your story to Congress

Note: The deadline for sharing your adjunct story with Congress has been extended to Monday, Jan. 6, 2014.

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) has followed up on what he told Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, he would do at the Nov. 14 House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 11.10.41 AM hearing on “The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities” at which she testified last week: begin deeper investigation into adjunct faculty working conditions by collecting stories and information through an e-forum.

Rep. Miller, the senior Democratic member on the committee, has set up an eForum on the Working Conditions of Contingent Faculty in Higher Education and is asking adjunct faculty to submit their stories by Dec. 20. This is a tremendous opportunity to share stories about your experiences as a contingent faculty member, including working conditions, compensation, benefits, opportunities for growth and advancement, job stability, and administrative and professional support. Rep. Miller is also interested in your views concerning how these conditions affect your career, your students and higher education in general.

Please submit your stories and circulate this information far and wide so that we can continue to educate our national leaders about the urgent need for action on the contingent faculty crisis.

Comments or excerpts sent may be posted on the Education and Workforce Democrats website in the coming weeks, submitted to the congressional record, and/or used in a report issued by Education and Workforce Democrats on any findings from the eForum. Names of individuals submitting comments will not be published without permission, according to the website.

The media release issued by Rep. Miller’s office on Nov. 19 is copied below.

Miller Announces eForum on Adjunct Faculty in Higher Education

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), senior Democrat on the House Education and the Workforce Committee, today announced an eForum to investigate how an increased reliance on contingent faculty by colleges and universities nationwide has impacted the lives of faculty as well as students’ higher education.

“This eForum is an opportunity for adjuncts and other contingent faculty to inform the Congress about what’s happening on the ground with higher education. I think there is a huge lack of understanding of what it means to be in the adjunct world,” said Rep. Miller. Rep. Miller raised the idea of an internet forum for receiving adjuncts’ stories and comments at a committee hearing last week.

“We should all be alarmed about what’s been happening to higher education labor over the last couple decades,” Rep. Miller later elaborated. “Tuition keeps skyrocketing.  Yet the people doing the bulk of the work educating college students are getting less and less compensation. There are adjuncts who make between $2000 and $3000 per course for a semester, with no benefits.  There are adjuncts on food stamps. I think the Congress should be taking a serious look at this phenomenon.”

In the last 40 years, there has been a spike in the number of adjunct faculty at colleges and universities as schools look for ways to cut costs. According to some estimates, approximately 75 percent of instructional faculty members are off the tenure track, with the number of part-time faculty increasing at three times the rate of full-time faculty members over the last 15 years. The average contingent faculty makes approximately $2900 per course, approximately 60 percent less than comparable full-time tenure track and tenured faculty, according to the Adjunct Project. Furthermore, only about 22 percent of part-time faculty members are provided some form of benefits.

The purpose of the eForum is to assess the impact of this growing use of contingent faculty.  Rep. Miller is interested in hearing from adjunct and other contingent faculty about their job satisfaction and working conditions, and how those conditions affect the state of higher education in this nation.

The eForum can be found on the Committee Democrats website at:

NFM President testifies before House committee on ACA effects on adjuncts

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, testified at the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on “The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities.”

Maisto was one of four witnesses invited to testify at the Nov. 14 hearing, and the only one whose statement focused on the efforts of colleges and universities to avoid providing health benefits under the Affordable Care Act by cutting the workloads of adjunct faculty.

“Since the ACA has become law, some college and university administrations have been in the news for reducing part-time faculty work assignments or by redefining their work in order to avoid providing insurance.  Some people would have us believe that the ACA is giving the managers of colleges and universities no choice but to enact these policies.  I am here to correct that misperception,” Maisto said.

“It is not the ACA but rather these colleges’ interpretation of and response to the law that is hurting adjuncts and their students. Colleges have lots of choices, and unfortunately for their students, too many have chosen not to support or invest in faculty. The faculty members who do not have access to healthcare — or to the other professional supports that all faculty need in order to do their jobs consistently well — are being set up for failure, as are their millions of students,” she said.

After Maisto’s testimony, committee members from both parties asked probing questions about adjunct faculty working conditions and agreed that adjuncts should have healthcare benefits.

George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member on the committee, said the hearing was the first to cover adjunct issues in any substantial way. He and committee chair John Kline (R-Minn.) agreed a committee hearing should be scheduled to focus on the adjunct situation. Miller also proposed setting up a website to collect adjunct data.

Maisto was invited to testify before the committee after committee staff members read her op-ed, “There’s Something Sneaky Going On At Colleges Across America,” published April 23, 2013, on

On Wednesday, Maisto also testified at the Department of Education’s open forum on the Obama administration’s plan to address college value and affordability at George Mason University. Deputy Under Secretary Jamienne Studley moderated the forum.

View the Archived Webcast. Read the testimony.

Read coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Lawmakers Told of Health-Care Law’s Harmful Effect on Adjuncts and CollegesNov. 15, 2013

Call for papers for panel at Comp Lit Meeting

The American Comparative Literature Association 2014 Annual Meeting will be held March 20-23 at New York University.

Patrick W. Gallagher, an organizer with UAW at NYU, is organizing a panel on “Beyond Excrement: Can the Permanently Underemployed Capitalize on Overproduction?” and has issued a call for papers.

Here are the details:

There are many, many trained humanists–scholars with Ph.Ds in humanities fields from accredited departments–whose relationship to the institutions of higher learning is tenuous, marginal, or nonexistent. As many have documented–most notably Marc Bousquet, with his “excrement theory” of graduate education–the chronic overproduction of Ph.Ds means that it is simply impossible for the field to validate the work of more than a minority of humanists with a traditional tenure-track position.

The purpose of this seminar is to explore whether it is possible to acknowledge this reality and move beyond it in constructive ways that could nevertheless advance the cause of the humanities, absent the hope of tenure for the majority of scholars. Can the “capital” that we accumulate from doctoral study be invested in other fields to ends that advance the humanities in one unconventional yet vital way or another?  Can or should humanities PhD programs help doctoral students find rewarding non-academic jobs? How do job market conditions shape the form and content of one’s scholarship, especially once one has become an “independent scholar” with no firm institutional affiliation?  Does the widespread yet vague imperative that scholars “market” themselves influence the form and content of scholarship in notable or in any sense interesting ways?

Essays on personal or professional experiences, as well as analytic papers on the politics of higher education, or studies of literature and criticism that illustrate the impact of job market conditions on scholarship, are all equally welcome. Proposals are encouraged to be as optimistic as possible.

Email with questions or proposals.

Advocating for adjuncts in D.C.

Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority and a member of the OPTFA Organizing Committee, will testify before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce hearing on “The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities” on Thursday, Nov. 14, at 10 a.m.

She will also testify at the Department of Education’s open forum on the Obama plan, the college affordability initiative, today at 1 p.m. at George Mason University. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as well as other U.S. Department of Education officials, will facilitate the forum.

Coalition of Academic Labor Conference

In addition, Maisto, along with several other members of the Organizing Committee of OPTFA, will attend the Coalition of Academic Labor Conference, sponsored by SEIU Local 500. It will be held in Washington, D.C. Nov. 15-17.Here’s how NFM and OPTFA will be involved in the conference:

  • Maisto will be part of a panel discussion on “Inside/Outside Activism: Political, Bi-partisan, Institutional and Public Advocacy for Adjuncts.”
  • Maisto, along with OPTFA Organizing Committee Co-chairs April Freely and David Wilder, will present a panel on OPTFA organizing efforts in Ohio, which is dubbed a “union-hostile state.”
  • Aaron Calafato will present a performance of “For Profit,” which will be followed by a discussion forum moderated by Maisto.

Meeting on temporary workers this Friday in Cleveland

North Shore AFL-CIOCleveland Jobs with JusticeNational Staffing Workers Alliance and New Faculty Majority invite you to a meeting on temporary and precarious workers and the growing movement to fight back.

When: Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, 6-8 p.m.

Where: North Shore AFL-CIO, 3250 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115

Who: Advocates from across the country will be present to connect with local workers and organizations and discuss recent efforts to organize workers in the growing segment of our economy where there is an ever increasing distance between employers and their workers, and where workers do not know whether they will have a job next week or next month. We can’t rebuild our communities on temp jobs!

We look forward to seeing you there and making lasting connections to move this fight forward!

For more information contact Mike Munoz, National Staffing Workers Alliance, at or (323) 247-9970.