Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Speak Out & Write Out

Hat tip to KU Xchange and my trusty Google Reader armed and loaded with more feeds than I can usually get through in a day. Checking KU Xchange is always a good bet. Speak Out & Write Out proves that isn't the only good bet by a long shot. I was trying to decide between an open resistance post or cool strategy (playing the game) when I spotted this. It's neither but hopefully will combine a bit of both. Short on swords at the moment anyway, pens (and keyboards) will have to do.

Here's an opportunity  to write and publish on the relationships between quality education and the underfunded,  casualized labor system in higher education.

The journal Open Words: Access & English Studies has put out a Call for Papers for a special issue on contingent labor and educational access. (Full disclosure: I am one of the three guest editors of this issue.) This call is especially timely given the recent attacks on higher education funding.  As tuition increases, our students' access decreases. As budgets are slashed, full-time teachers become an endangered species. Open Words is especially interested in connections with Composition, Rhetoric, Writing, Literature  or Literacy studies.

From the CFP:

We work and live at a time when the American cultural and economic politics are pushing against labor equity and quality education; when colleges and universities operate according to corporate logics that consistently work to dehumanize faculty and students. While these forces come to bear on contingent faculty, open-admissions campuses, and non-mainstream students in unique ways, we also believe that careful analysis of such conditions presents significant possibilities for positive changes across levels and types of institutions. At the risk of sounding cliché, even managerial, difficult situations really do sometimes present unique opportunities.

With that frame in mind, we invite contributions for our Spring 2012 issue addressing relations of contingent labor, open access, and non-mainstream students; manuscripts (generally 15-25 pp., although we will review longer submissions) might consider these questions, or use them as provocations to ask and answer others:

  • How does the increasing reliance on adjunct faculty on open-admissions campuses (and/or campuses serving largely non-mainstream student populations) impact students' learning conditions? Faculty's working conditions? Academic freedom? Curricular control? And how are these situations complicated at institutions employing graduate teaching assistants?
  • Why is the casualization of academic labor happening more quickly, or to greater degree, on open-admissions campuses and campuses serving non-mainstream students? What strategies do faculty, both contingent and permanent, and students have at our disposal to respond to the inequitable conditions facing us?
  • How do the interests of open-admission, community, vocational/technical, and branch university campus faculty coincide/overlap with the interests of students and administrators? How do these interests differ?
  • How is the trend toward hiring non-tenure track faculty affecting the teaching of writing? As PhDs in literature, for example, are pushed out of tenure lines into these non-tenure lines, how do their (probable) lack of familiarity with composition scholarship and theory, and differing professional commitments to teaching writing, impact students, programs, and other faculty on our campuses? And, how is this trend affecting literature programs and the degrees to which they can address the interests and concerns of their 'non-mainstream' students?
  • To what extent are contingent faculty involved in curricular and/or professional development, and to what extent can/should they be? How might departments/units balance the desire to involve contingent faculty in curriculum development, or placement (for example), with the minimal (if any) compensation most units offer for the work? How does this problem become more complex on campuses serving large populations of non-mainstream students with large numbers of contingent faculty?


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