- Continuing to Move Forward
- NFM's Health Insurance Plan Launches
- Meet the NFM Board
- NFM and the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education
- How to Organize or Raise Awareness on Your Campus
- Present the Facts
- My Experience as an Adjunct: A Tale of 2 Faculties
- A Word from NFM's Treasurer
- Follow Your School's Re-accreditation Process
|Continuing to Move Forward by Maria Maisto, NFM President|
One of the lessons that every teacher learns is that you can't be a good teacher without being attuned to what it feels like to be a student. Over the last two years as we have worked to get NFM up and running, all of us on the NFM Board have periodically found ourselves feeling very much like our students: alternately confident and confused, often elated and occasionally dejected, determined but exhausted, sober but energized. We try to remind each other that while our objectives are ambitious, every step we take is instrumental, and every new member who joins us is a reminder of the first steps we all took to become activists for change and of the hopes that we all had, and continue to have, for NFM as an agent of change.
That's why we're especially proud to announce that, after some unexpected delays, our health insurance initiative has officially launched! Thanks to the tireless work of Board member Tracy Donhardt, NFM members can now obtain health insurance in most states. As Tracy explains, some states are excluded, so we are working to see what might be available in those states excluded by the carrier with whom we have partnered. Keep checking back for updated information, and if you know of plans (or other solutions) that might be accessible to contingent faculty, please let us know.
We are also thrilled to report that our nascent 501(c)3 foundation will be receiving grants from The Ford Foundation and the French American Charitable Trust to support the educational, outreach, advocacy and research effort embodied in our January 28, 2012 "summit" on contingent academic employment in Washington DC. This meeting, to be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, will launch a nationwide effort to mobilize all stakeholders in higher education - faculty, administrators, students, legislators, and the public - to work together to achieve FTE - Fair Trade in Education for faculty and students. Naturally, we want to have a healthy contingent of contingent faculty at this event, so keep up to date on plans for this summit at the NFM Foundation website: www.nfmfoundation.org.
Meanwhile, our efforts to encourage faculty unions to include and support their members with contingent employment status continue as we support groups like the new Contingent Faculty Caucus of the National Education Association in the Caucus's own efforts to address serious concerns like the retaliatory behavior of his union toward NEA (and NFM Board) member Jack Longmate. Jack's situation is particularly troubling at a time when other NEA affiliated locals are moving in the right direction, like the recent success of NFM Board member Betsy Smith's NEA local in securing equal voting rights for contingent faculty. At NFM we believe that the best unions are those that embrace the principle that no union can be strong when its most vulnerable members are mistreated or ignored.
A good example of a union acknowledging this principle is the most recent support NFM has received from the New York State Union of Teachers (NYSUT), which has just made a second donation of $2500 to NFM. This donation will help us to improve NFM's two websites - the main website and the site for the Unemployment Compensation Initiative, which needs better, more sustainable support. (Please be sure to pass along the Website Manager position description in this newsletter to anyone who might be qualified and interested in applying!) Among our plans for the NFM website 2.0 is a robust discussion board so that NFM members can connect with each other at the local and national levels and work toward having our first national members' meeting. (We are continuing to seek financial support for these and other projects because IRS rules stipulate that they do not fall under the purview of the NFM Foundation.) We look forward to working with NYSUT and other unions which are committed to confronting and overcoming the problem of contingency in higher education faculty hiring.
Similarly, the launch of the recent Campaign for the Future of Higher Education continues to hold much promise for a faculty-led reform effort. The Campaign is working on a November meeting in Boston on November 4-6, on the heels of Campus Equity Week 2011 (October 24-28), a week-long, national campaign to highlight the problems associated with contingency and the lack of equity on campuses across the country. Start planning now for events on your campuses, and let us know of your plans so we can help publicize them.
Social change movements grow in fits and starts, and ours is no different. NFM has learned that the mark of successful movements is the determination to keep working at every level, learning from every effort and keeping focus on the ultimate goal. Our focus is clear and our determination strong as ever! So keep the faith and know that we continue to work with you and for you and the students whose future is our collective responsibility.
|NFM's Health Insurance Plan Launches|
Hopefully you all saw our announcement July 8 about NFM's health insurance plan for members. Yes, after months of working through the process, we have secured a limited medical plan with four coverage level options for members in 37 states and the District of Columbia.
NFM wants to thank you for your patience as we encountered a number of unexpected obstacles and issues which may have made you wonder if we'd ever get here. This initiative certainly took longer than any of us thought it would but we're thrilled to finally be able to say any adjunct in the states where the plan is allowed can now obtain health insurance.
This is a limited medical plan, which means it does not cover everything and has limits on the amount that will be paid toward those accidents and illnesses. This is not a traditional group employer plan which many of you may be familiar with. NFM is young and an association, not an employer, therefore we are not able - at this time - to offer a full-blown medical plan as much as we'd like to do so. But down the road when NFM gains longevity, visibility, and members, insurance carriers will be more inclined to take a risk with us and provide us better coverage to offer our members.
But in the meantime, this coverage provides a level of protection for many adjuncts who have no coverage at all or have access to coverage so cost prohibitive they are unable to buy into it. We look forward to offering dental coverage soon and are also working on life insurance.
For more information about our medical plan, including benefits, rates, eligible states, and a short informational presentation, visit NFM's websitehere. Here you also will find a link to the insurance carrier's site where you can obtain more information and enroll.
If you have any questions, please email Tracy Donhardt, an NFM Board member, at Tracy.Donhardt@newfacultymajority.info.
We hope you find this new health insurance beneficial because as we all know health insurance is not only a basic right we all deserve, but also is crucial to our ability to be as effective as possible in the classroom.
Meet the NFM Board: Meet Betsy Smith