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 firstname.lastname@example.org.