Archive for activism
Joe Berry, labor historian, renowned adjunct faculty activist and author of Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education, will be in Cleveland TOMORROW, Saturday, Sept. 6, for a meeting with the OPTFA Organizing Committee to discuss adjunct organizing here in Ohio, particularly the effort to launch a metro-wide organizing strategy in Northeast Ohio.
Given recent organizing activity on many campuses across our region, we would like to open this meeting to any interested contingent faculty members in the area. With momentum building here and across the country, NOW is the time to join with colleagues committed to improving higher education by transforming the working conditions of contingent faculty.
The agenda will be:
- To explain the metro organizing strategy and to learn how to make it work most effectively, including by building coalitions that include multiple colleges and organizations
- To plan a metro organizing meeting to take place a month from now
- To report on plans for a Cleveland-focused Campus Equity Week action in late October
Please send us an email at email@example.com if you are interested in coming to the meeting on Saturday from 1 – 4 pm. If you can only come for part of the time, that’s fine! We have a location near Hopkins Airport but may have to change it to accommodate larger numbers of people, so please RSVP asap so we can finalize the number of attendees and location.
Again, please let us know asap if you are available to meet with Joe TOMORROW, Saturday, from 1-4 pm by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. with your name, email and phone number(s). Please indicate if we can text you.
David Wilder (Tri-C, John Carroll U) and April Freely (U Akron, Lakeland CC)
Co-Chairs, OPTFA Organizing Committee
Maria Maisto (Tri-C), Member, OPTFA Organizing Committee; President/Executive Director, New Faculty Majority Foundation
Momentum is growing for the Lakeland Adjunct Group. So far, 58 adjuncts have shown their support for creating a more empowered adjunct community at Lakeland Community College.
If you are an adjunct at Lakeland, join the group this Saturday, March 29, at 1 p.m. at the Mentor Panera right down the road from LCC, at 7537 Mentor Ave.
On the agenda: continued outreach efforts and social events, the formation of a formal executive committee, and most importantly, a strategy to voice our concerns and goals to the Lakeland administration.
RSVPs are always appreciated. To RSVP, email email@example.com
Two hits for adjuncts on Monday, Feb. 3: a story in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Adjuncts Gain Traction With Congressional Attention,” and another on NPR’s All Things Considered titled “Part-Time Professors Demand Higher Pay; Will Colleges Listen?”
The NPR story by Claudio Sanchez featured the adjunct situation in Ohio, specifically at the University of Akron and Cuyahoga Community College. And the Chronicle story will be followed up with a Chronicle Chat on adjunct issues on Wednesday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. Visit the page to participate in the chat and submit your questions.
Meanwhile, Monday’s stories, which quoted adjunct leaders from OPTFA and New Faculty Majority, prompted messages of support around the Web. Here are just a few:
- I’m glad the issues of adjunct justice are finally reaching the wider media as they’ve so closely touched our lives and the lives of many colleagues and friends.
- Indeed the situation is at a crisis, as you…well know. Those of us who are lucky enough to have found a solid berth must keep the issue alive.
- What the story doesn’t report is the chasm between many administrators and rank-and-file tenured faculty: the latter often support equitable treatment of adjuncts. The Ohio provost’s reference to higher faculty pay leading to higher college costs is absurd. Anyone in higher ed knows how much money is wasted on high profile projects & new buildings & (no surprise here) administrators’ salaries which often run into a quarter of a million a year or more.
- What a thing to listen to – and are parents hearing this, I wonder? So many who love teaching lost to the profession in a money-driven culture.
- This is not news to those of us who have been adjuncts for years. At the New School, I can add up what the students are paying and what I’m getting paid. It makes for some amusing math. And we have a union. But that didn’t prevent the school from offering fewer classes – another way of paying us less.
- Glad awareness is being raised.
The tweets below from New Faculty Majority shared news about today’s Inside Higher Ed story on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democratic Staff’s report, as well as the report itself, “The Just-In-Time Professor.” It was issued today and is based on 845 responses to Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.) e-Forum.
The Ohio Part-Time Faculty Association will meet with representatives from the United Steelworkers at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 11, to discuss USW’s adjunct faculty organizing efforts in Pennsylvania, as well as the situation of adjuncts in Ohio.
The meeting is open to all interested adjunct faculty. It will be held at the OPTFA office, Copley Commons, 2830 Copley Rd., Suite 26, Copley, Ohio 44321. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Adjunct Faculty Association, a USW affiliate, has organized adjuncts at Duquesne University and has advocated for their improved working conditions.
Examples of USW activism include:
- In April, the USW sponsored an academic conference, Countering Contingency for contingent workers, including adjunct faculty.
- During Campus Equity Week in November, adjunct faculty from Duquesne and Point Park universities, the University of Pittsburgh, the Community College of Allegheny County and other Pittsburgh-area schools, held a variety of events to draw attention to the poor working conditions of adjuncts.
Although Ohio law stipulates that colleges and universities are not required to bargain collectively with adjunct faculty, the law does not prevent adjunct faculty from organizing or joining a union.
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
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: http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/eforum
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 TakePart.com.
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.
Read coverage in the Chronicle of Higher Education: Lawmakers Told of Health-Care Law’s Harmful Effect on Adjuncts and Colleges. Nov. 15, 2013