by Lori Harrison-Kahan* In April 2013, I attended Adjunct Action’s first symposium in Boston, where the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) was kicking off its efforts to organize adjuncts at area universities. In a little over a year since that meeting, I’ve watched from the sidelines as fellow attendees—part-time faculty at Tufts, Lesley, and, most recently, Northeastern University—have voted yes to unionization. And I’ve seen the SEIU’s metro-organizing strategy spread to cities across the country. As a full-time adjunct professor, I am not currently eligible to vote in a union election. The adjunct labor movement has necessarily prioritized the
Another funny and insightful comic strip from the Academic Avenger. More strips to come. In the meantime, connect with the Academic Avenger on Facebook and Twitter. Academic Avenger by http://academicavenger.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
by Nathaniel C. Oliver Although many refuse to entertain comparisons between contingent academic workers and other classes of exploited workers on the grounds that such comparisons minimize the vastly different working conditions of these groups, I view the argument differently. Obviously, adjuncts do not “have it as bad” as some other exploited groups, but the point is not who has it the worst; the point of drawing these parallels is to illustrate that contingent academic workers are operating within the same continuum of labor struggles as all other workers throughout history. The identification with other exploited workers comes not from
by a Community College Teacher in Oregon I am a part-time faculty instructor at a community college, and I was asked to teach an introductory writing course over the summer. This was an odd request, because typically there isn’t much work in the summer, but I was eager to take it. Also odd was that the request came just weeks prior to the start of the term. Being one of the more successful instructors in the department, my class quickly filled. Concurrent to my class, another was offered, under a less-than-popular–but full-time–instructor. Her class did not fill, but in order
by Victoria Hay, Ph.D. It has been made amply plain that we are paid to be present in the classroom, and that is all we are paid for. The amount per biweekly paycheck does not include grading time. It does not include course prep time. It does not include meeting students outside of class. If for any reason I miss a class meeting–whether it’s sickness, delivering a baby, a dead battery, or a volcanic eruption–my pay is docked for that day. Most sections meet twice a week, so if I’m docked for one day, I lose a quarter of that
by Síle Mór I think I’ve figured it out. Over the past year or so, I’ve come to some important realizations about the ways adjuncts are treated and about how we fit into the university system. When I began teaching at my current school, I was disregarded. Ignored. My attempts at greetings and small talk went unacknowledged, but now I see that I’m not supposed to talk to tenured faculty. I can talk to other adjuncts and I can talk to the department secretary, but I am to seek no acknowledgement from those who hold a higher rank than me.
by Maura Smale* The large and growing number of faculty members working off the tenure track at U.S. colleges and universities has been well-documented. Recent years have seen frequent articles in the higher ed media including the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed, as well as major media outlets like the New York Times. You may have read anthropologist and writer Sarah Kendzior‘s 2012 article about contingent faculty in Al Jazeera, or any of the blog posts by adjunct writing instructor Lee Skallerup Bessette at Inside Higher Ed, just to name a few of the many articles addressing what’s become known as the adjunct crisis.
by Bride of Squid I’ve been deeply gratified lately to see increasing noise in the media about administrative salaries–and particularly presidential salaries–in higher education. For a long time, it seemed like the conversation about student debt and sky-rocketing tuition was focused entirely on faculty salaries, as if tenure-stream faculty were all living lives of outrageous luxury, sipping cognac from snifters in the fancy libraries of our old Victorian mansions. As someone who makes less than $60k (base salary) per year in a discipline where that’s just about the average for my kind of institution and rank, I’ve found the blame put
Introducing the funny and insightful comic strips of the Academic Avenger. This strip was inspired by an NPR news story on adjunct professors. More strips to come. In the meantime, connect with the Academic Avenger on Facebook and Twitter. Academic Avenger by http://academicavenger.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Adjuncts at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) are attempting to unionize with the SEIU’s Adjunct Action group. Unfortunately, the school’s administration has decided to resist the vote. One adjunct at SFAI, Dr. Elle Weatherup, has written a letter to the school’s president, Charles Desmarais. Dr. Weatherup’s letter follows. _______________________________________ In response to Mr. Desmarais’ call to vote “no” to a union at SFAI: Dear Mr. Desmarais: I do not believe we have ever met, but I was visiting faculty in English at SFAI this past fall, and I would like to share with you my experiences there and