Tuesday, June 29, 2010

AAUP urges adjuncts to attend COCAL IX

Mayra Besosa, Co-Chair, AAUP Committee on Contingent Faculty and the Profession writes (AAUP Newsletter, Monday, June 28),

Are you a full- or part-time non-tenure-track faculty member who is tired of being marginalized by the institutions you serve?  Are you dismayed by the working conditions and lack of academic freedom protections that come with being hired on a contingent status? Are you concerned about what the corporatization of the university is doing to the teaching profession and to students' learning conditions?

I am. That's why I'll be joining hundreds of my colleagues from the United States, Canada, and Mexico at the ninth conference of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL), in Quebec City, August 13–15, 2010.


The conference is run by contingent faculty activists and will feature practical workshops and sessions on topics including the following.

*  Academic freedom for contingent faculty
*  Bargaining for fair compensation
*  Communicating to the public about contingent faculty issues
*  Building alliances on campus and mobilizing faculty
*  Developing solidarity on all levels
*  Progress and prospects for unionization
*  Sustainable development and the environment
*  Recognition of adjunct faculty and the quality of education
*  Stabilizing jobs
*  Social programs such as unemployment benefits

You Talk, They Listen
Leaders of major higher education unions will participate in the conference, both to discuss their views on prospects for improving conditions for contingent faculty, and to hear your views on the subject. Plenary speakers will include Cary Nelson, president of the AAUP, as well as leaders of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and major Canadian and Mexican faculty unions.

Social and Recreational Events
Included in the price of registration are a cocktail hour and supper, a bus tour of Old Quebec City, an outdoor multimedia show, and a dinner cruise on the Saint Lawrence River. Take advantage of the down time to enjoy beautiful Quebec and continue the day's discussions with your fellow activists.

Old Quebec City

More Info

Be part of an international movement to save higher education and the academic profession.  Join us at the Université Laval in Quebec City for COCAL IX, August 13–15.



  1. I would LOVE to attend COCAL. As a long-time (11 years) ad-con and someone who works closely with ad-con issues (in both the way they affect my work life and as they relate to my scholarship), this would be a perfect opportunity for me. I'd love to hear Cary Nelson (hero of higher ed labor issues) speak, and I'd love to gain further practical tools for raising awareness around and making changes to higher ed labor practices. However, the cost of the conference seems so prohibitive - especially for folk who are only making a fraction of what FTTT faculty make. I know that when I attend conferences in my field, I am often dismayed if they charge the same amount of $$ for registration for both FTTT faculty and part-timers. Perhaps someone who knows a good deal about the conference could explain to me the very high registration rate? I'm truly interested.

  2. I know AAUP, like MLA and some other concerned professional organizations, has offered fee breaks for adjuncts for some of its conferences. Gwen Bradley is an AAUP communications director who's up on adjunct issues: gbradley@aaup.org. If AAUP itself can't subsidize adjuncts to attend COCAL, she might be able to direct you to other funding sources. True that the cost's prohibitive for individuals w/out support.

  3. VTmtngrrl: A better AAUP contact might be Mayra Besosa, a contingent faculty liason:


  4. Conferences are expensive to put on. We've all had to stay home and feed on second hand reports. I wish hosting organizations could pro-rate registration fees. Then it would be up to contingents to network about sharing expenses. Even so, all too often, it's still money we can't spare.

  5. On the adj-l listserve, there's talk of a COCAL scholarship fund. Will post specifics on how to apply if and when they become available.


  6. In addition to the cost, which for many of us, especially coming out of a summer without income, is the deal breaker, the timing would require me to miss classes during the crucial first week of the semester. I fully support the mission, but it is beyond the reach of those it seeks to advance.

  7. I was going to reflect on the irony of being "beyond the reach of those it seeks to advance," but irony doesn't cover it. Subaltern?

    This and related discussion at adj-l should be continued and expanded.

  8. Where is academic freedom for adjuncts on the final program listing?


    Classic case of "bait and switch" -- and by an AAUP official at that!

  9. @Anonymous: Beats me ~ you'd have to ask them. Is this really "bait and switch"? I'd allow that maybe whoever was going to present/ organize something on academic freedom bagged or got bumped by organizers.

    Maybe someone from AAUP reading comments will answer your question. If you are attending COCAL or know someone who is, ask the question or have it asked. Want to submit a guest post?

  10. I am wondering if AAUP has anything to do with "Private Universities" and the way they decide regarding their part time faculties as well.

    Please advise.

    Thank you.

  11. The AAUP takes action against private universities as well as public. However, not having actual regulatory authority, they can only condemn and use the force of their reputation by publicly putting institutions on their "bad uni" list (which has another, more dignified name) until they mend their ways.

    Have you checked the AAUP website about disciplinary procedures and how to file a complaint?


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