Monday, June 14, 2010

Conference Voices

Following the briefest of breaks between Apri/May events, summer brings forth yet another conference season. No rest for either wicked or weary. This particular season seems more profession, career and labor than academic discipline and pedagogy oriented ~ but still with workshops, panels, forums and such. Adjunct issues are increasingly represented too, just as they are at the major conferences for academic disciplines.

 Unless very close to home, attending conferences is hard on the adcon's limited budget but probably a necessary expense considering how much they expand networking opportunities for activists and advocates, all the more indispensable when there a campaigns or projects to promote, i.e. building membership in a new organization or the Unemployment Compensation Initiative.

The first "post semester" conference, SUNY Stonybrook's How Class Works, was June 3-5. Maria Maisto hosted an active NFM Q & A session and Steve Street presented. Next, June 9-12, came the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) Conference in Washington, DC. 9-10, with adjunct sessions June 9-10.  I probably have enough details on both Stonybrook and AAUP for separate posts, especially (hint, hint) if I hear from a few more participants. 

It's not just faculty out there on the conference trail: AAUP included sessions on administrative issues and at least one presentation by a longtime trainer of online "facilitators" at for-profit universities. Concurrently with the AAUP Annual Conference, the CCA (Career College Association) held its Annual Convention & Expositionan adjunct issue free event, June 9-11, in Las Vegas and covered by Inside Higher Ed like any other conference. The Vegas venue is also popular with with K-12 administrators for meetings and workshops as well as with lawyers taking required professional development workshops. 

A very different conference, the U.S. Social Forum will take place June 22-26 at Detroit's Cobo Hall and at various locations throughout Detroit. The dramatic and symbolically charged difference makes a striking counterpoint.

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The forum is not an academic or exclusively academic labor conference and promises to be an event where working people from all walks of life can share stories and creative solutions to problems as they plan for social, economic and environmental change. The Union of Part-Time Faculty at Wayne State will host 'Adjuncts United' contingent during U.S. Social Forum's opening march June 22 and the "Voice for the Voiceless" workshop to discuss adjunct organizing efforts June 23. 

Check The Adjunct Voice and at AFT Face Talk. for more coverage, links, and contact details. Likewise, Owen Thomas is also reminding Open a Vein readers to head for Motor City.  NFM board members Jen Bills will be there, others as well, so I'm hoping for follow-up good reports. 

Same time frame, June 22-July 6, the NEA Convention meets in New Orleans. The Representative Assembly (RA) takes place during the final four days of the Annual Meeting. Hinting again, dear readers, if you are attending, please drop me a line. 

Reports on any conferences with ad/con sessions would be most appreciated. I especially welcome state and regional conferences. I'll also be checking in on Twitter for conference updates.  

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