COCAL IX, the BIG EVENT for adjunct and contingent faculty, kicks off this coming Friday as participants - presenters and attendees, activists and organizers - converge on Quebec City from across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. A short history of COCAL (Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor).
Université Laval in Quebec City
New Faculty Majority, an adjunct advocacy group, will talk about its new 20-year plan to reverse the trend that has made professors working off the tenure track the largest swath of the professoriate. The plan, whose details have been tightly held, will be unveiled at the conference.
If I hadn't been participating in ongoing discussion about the program (not a "20-year plan" ~ not even 4 consecutive 5-year plans either), I wouldn't know what to think and might very well take away a misleading impression. That's my personal opinion. I've been sitting on the story (which I probably know more about than the Grey Lady of our academic press) because we all understood that what we (and most especially Frank Cosco and Jack Longmate) have been working on a) wasn't ready for prime time, and b) dealt with matters too important to be slipshod about.
A press release will be forthcoming and the program/plan for change will be published on the NFM website by the time the COCAL opens. It will be equally available, with comment form for input, to those unable to attend COCAL as it will to those attending.
For somewhat more detail, less loaded language, go to the COCAL Programme
The New Faculty Majority (NFM) is the only incorporated associated dedicated to advocacy for non-tenured faculty in the United States, with 800 members and growing. After an overview of NFM activities and projects, includig its National Unemployment Compensation Initiative, the New Faculty Majority will unveil an in-process "Program for Chanege: 201-2030: that includes goals and milestones which, as achieved over time, will lead to the correction of the current dysfunctional system with its discriminatory structure and restore normalcy to the faculty [academic] workplace.
The Saturday afternoon session Moderators are NFM VP Matt Williams (University of Akron, OH) and NFM Secretary Anne Wiegard (SUNY Cortland, NY). Matt and Anne will present an overview of NFM history, structure and goals before describing projects such as the Unemployment Compensation Initiative, Health Care Initiative and Chapter Toolkits. Then panelists Frank Cosco (NFM Advisory Board, Vancouver Community College Faculty Association) and Jack Longmate (NFM BoD, Olympic Colleg, Bremerton WA) will present the in-process and not yet finalized "Program for Change."
NFM board members are also appearing on other panels: Bob Samuels (Work Stabilization in post-secondary education, Communicating to the public and mobilization), Rich Moser (Access to Tenure), and perhaps a few I missed. NFM Panelist Jack Longmate (Access to Unemployment) and Anne Wiegard (Building alliances on campus and state level) appear on additional COCAL panels. Hopefully, many members will be there as well. If you're an NFM member and headed for COCAL, be sure to look them up. For sure, don't miss the "unveiling" session, which will include a a Q & A period.
Whatever your initial reaction, kindly hold conclusions until you've had a chance to hear it all from us or read the draft in full. We welcome your input then. That's still my opinion, but I'd bet the farm on it being shared.