Archive for Testimony

Advocating for adjuncts in D.C. today

The tweets below from New Faculty Majority shared news about today’s Inside Higher BewdqJACEAANLcGEd 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.

Thanks to all of you who participated in the forum by telling your adjunct story!

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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 Names of individuals submitting comments will not be published without permission, according to the website.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: http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/eforum

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 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.

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

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.