Tuesday, April 27, 2010

News(letter Issue 1) from New Faculty Majority


If you aren't a New Faculty Majority member or haven't received your copy yet, the 1st issue of the NFM newsletter is available online. Future issues are scheduled for monthly publication, articles already being assembled for issue #2. Please forward and share the newsletter widely. 

We're targeting early May (I'd like to say May Day! but don't want to jinx it) to roll out (softly) our Unemployment Insurance Initiative ("take the initiative" ~ "file for your rights"). 

Obviously, Unemployment benefits for adjunct faculty and contingent academic labor will be a major focus in May issue ~ but not the only one. Other May newsletter topics include (but are not limited to) articles on how to form chapters and steps in planning a health care initiative for NFM members. 

You're invited - indeed strongly encouraged - to recommend topics, ideas for future features and to inquire about submitting articles for future issues. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Southwestern College makes news again

when it receives Jefferson 'Muzzle' Award for Egregious Censorship

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has awarded a 2010 "Jefferson Muzzle"—a dubious distinction reserved for "egregious or ridiculous affronts to the First Amendment right of free speech"—to administrators at California's Southwestern College

The public college earned its Muzzle by "consistently refusing to heed and apply such clear principles of free expression in the governance of an institution of higher learning" in dealing with a peaceful student and faculty protest over budget cuts. The college banned from campus faculty members who participated in the protest. 

FIRE has been extensively involved in defending the faculty members and advocating for the dismantling of Southwestern's unconstitutional "free speech zone." This is the third consecutive year that a school at the center of a FIRE case has been awarded a Jefferson Muzzle. 

(an example of Column B)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Newsletter ToC



OK, make that two from Column A. Here is the Table of Contents. More release information with appear as it becomes available. I've asked questions about delivery etc and will share the answers with you as they arrive.  


Are you ready for a relevant humor break?

Gary Trudeau on adjunct hiring at Walden U, Sept 9-14, 1996


ToC (subject to change)
  • President's Welcome message - Maria Maisto
  • Highlights of first year's activities - Peter G. Brown
  • NFM opens National HQ in Akron OH and establishes first chapter - Matt Willaims
  • Report of first NFM Executive Committee meeting in Akron, March 13-14 - Anne Wiegard
  • Call for Volunteers - Peter G. Brown
  • NFM and the 21010 TESOL Convention - Jack Longmate
  • 2010 Budget and donating to NFM - Bill Lipkin
  • National Campaign for Unemployment Insurance - Maria Maisto
  • Amendment to By-Laws - Ross Borden
  • Faith-based Initiative - Yvonne Bruce
  • Successful Vancouver Model - Frank Fosco
  • How to Form a Chapter - Ross Borden

First Year Highlights

One from Column A (see previous post) ... Board member Peter Brown's recap of NFM's first year. We get frustrated because there is so much to address. Sometime it feels as though we are dancing as fast as we can just to stay in place. Seeing the year neatly laid out for examination is reassuring. Still no rest though: we intend to keep on dancing.  


The following has been condensed from "Highlights of NFM's first year." The complete version will appear, along with other articles, in the first issue of the NFM Newsletter.




The Idea
In 1996, the Coalition for Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) was formed in Washington, DC….began organizing conferences every other year at different sites and also established an adjunct listserv. By 2008, some activists felt strongly that the time had come for even more than just these two initiatives.
We envisioned a national organization that could advocate on a continuous basis for the more than one million contingent instructors who now constitute the majority of teachers in American higher education. Early in January 2009, I met with Joe Berry in Chicago to discuss a national organization. A pioneer in organizing adjuncts, Joe is a leader in the movement for adjunct and contingent equity and, as a non-tenured activist, more appropriate to initiate action. When he declined to convene 
a preliminary organizing committee
, the next step was to take the discussion national.
Invitation, first steps
On February 2, 2009, I sent an invitation to the adj-l list to form an organizing committee. The message included:
This new coalition is not designed to supplant or be in competition with unions or any other currently existing organization. I would like to see a fully independent national organization advocating exclusively for contingent faculty equity 52 weeks of the year. It should be led by adjunct and contingent faculty working together with tenured professors, both inside and outside union structures to foster a national grass-roots movement of contingent academic labor across the country.
Within minutes, the first enthusiastic responses poured in, forming an organizing committee of about a dozen activists, who formed an online group and held their first “meeting” via a telephone conference call three weeks later.
Taking a Name
At this initial meeting, the principle of majority rule was adopted as the group decision-making procedure. Deborah Louis and Maria Maisto were unanimously elected to co-chair the NCAE coordinating committee, and I gladly relinquished my role of convener.
Initial efforts focused on drafting a mission statement and by-laws and developing procedures for communication and fundraising. A press release followed the next day.
Since last February, most of the original organizing committee has stayed on in some capacity. New members have joined. We soon learned that building a national organization is more challenging than talking about forming one. The organizing committee formally adopted our official name in March 2009: New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity.
Structures

Friday, April 16, 2010

Out but not down: back now

Where have I been? Out. What have I been doing?  Tweeting more than blogging (and making allusions that date me). 140 characters and RTs more manageable on allergy (NM wind + juniper pollen) + COPD days. Not to mention other blogs, including three community blogs and one poetry blog.

Just thinking about the list flat wears me out. I need a plan. In full procrastination mode, I firmly resolved to hit the list ... tomorrow. Then (bless the RSS reader) up pops this nifty fill-in from the Bookforum to tide me over until the morrow. Then, in the interest of keeping it manageable, just one from column A (an NFM story) tomorrow (later today actually) and perhaps one from column B. Is there a Column C and if so what would be on it? I'll have to think about that. Easier if I were more of a hedgehog.


 (after all, that's what we're here for)
From The Hedgehog Review, Edward J. K. Gitre on A Failure to Communicate: Benjamin Braddock and the Aims of Education. In a critique of the pragmatic reduction of knowledge, Boyan Manchev defines the university as "locus of the unconditionally political". A study finds that academics generally lean one way or another early in life, bolstering theory that self-selection explains the large numbers of liberals in higher ed. Enlightened skepticism too easily turns to snark, leaving empathy and intellectual courage in short supply. 

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