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Thanksgiving Greetings and updates!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my colleagues and friends! I'm blessed to have a full load of part-time assignments for spring, though I'm again worried about not having enough units at one college to keep my health insurance. Pared-down updates:

In California

Mt. San Jacinto Community College part-time Faculty are about to begin contract negotiations with the help of UPTE CWA leadership team and Don Nikkels of College of the Sequoias. Associate faculty from any campus of MSJC are invited to join the bargaining team (contact Alexis A Weisbrod of MSJC or Charlie Ridgell of UPTE), as long as you have opted in as a member (http://upte.org/cc/memberapp.html

). Note that if you work at MSJC you pay the same "fair share" dues, whether you're a member or not! Please 'like' UPTE-CWA (https://www.facebook.com/UPTECWA) on facebook.

The following notes are from Joe Berry, author of "Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education."

The 23,000 professors, lecturers, librarians, counselors and coaches who teach in the California State University system are part of the California Faculty Association, an affiliate of SEIU. As members of CFA, California State University faculty have won contracts that promote academic freedom, uphold faculty rights, deliver financial protection for the faculty, and promote faculty participation in the governance of the CSU and of CFA.

The USFFA (University of San Francisco) Part-time Faculty Association Policy Board has created a video that features interviews with USF adjuncts. It’s a way to capture some of our experiences as part-timers and to help others understand the disparity between full and part-time faculty. We’ll be posting the video on our website, but here is the direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xYbz49K-gg


Good News! Maria Maisto, President of the New Faculty Majority, was added to the lineup of the House Education and the Workforce Committee's hearing Thursday 14 November on "The Effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Schools, Colleges, and Universities." hours (not such an issue in CA as in other states):
http://optfa.com/nfm-president-testifies-before-house-committee-on-aca-effects-on adjuncts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nfm-president-testifies-before-house-committee-on-aca-effects-on-adjuncts

Please join the national membership organization for contingent faculty and their allies, New Faculty Majority. Support, resources,and strategies for all things related to precarious faculty. <www.Newfacultymajority.info>

More on adjuncts and student outcomes

Good radio show from Baltimore on "Adjuncts, the new working poor", with interviews of many colleagues http://www.steinershow.org/podcasts/local-and-state-politics/adjuncts-the-new-working-poor/

Blog on Catholic site on adjuncts and unionization (impetus from Mary Margaret case)
> http://www.uscatholic.org/blog/201311/fight-fair-wages-adjunct-professors-whose-side-church-28115
This good news just in from California Teachers' Association:

Dear Chapter Presidents and CCA Board members,

I just wanted you to know that due to the U.S. Department of Justice prosecution of financial firms, JPMorgan has agreed to a settlement that will put $19.5 million plus interest back into CalSTRS, our retirement system and $261 million back into CalPERS.

In reference to this settlement, Attorney General Eric Holder stated, "JPMorgan was not the only financial institution during this period to knowingly bundle toxic loans and sell them to unsuspecting investors, but that is no excuse for the firm's behavior.The size and scope of this resolution should send a clear signal that the Justice Department's financial fraud investigations are far from over."

All the best,
Lynette Nyaggah
CCA President

Great News for Part-Time Faculty!

Greetings from the driver's seat!   FromDS  No, I don't have time to be writing blogs. On-line students are yammering to be let back into assignment windows past their due-by dates, four e-mail accounts are tugging at my sleeves to be reviewed for urgent messages, a mismatched media cabinet key is demanding an exchange – and yet I feel an urgent need to update barely-followed blogs to alert PTF of new developments.

Great News for Part-Time Faculty! Maria Maisto, President of New Faculty Majority, our national adjunct advocacy association made an appearance before a hearing of the Congressional Committee on Effects of Affordable Care Act on Education:

George Miller (D-Calif.), the senior Democratic member on the committee, said the hearing was the first to cover adjunct issues in any substantial way. He and committee chair John Kline (R-Minn.) agreed a committee hearing should be scheduled to focus on the adjunct situation. Miller also proposed setting up a website to collect adjunct data.

New attention is focused on the adjunct phenomenon, with the promise of further Congressional investigation.
Details at http://www.newfacultymajority.info/equity/wordpress/?p=350

More adjunct news:

Silence of Lambs (regarding faculty conditions at City University of New York ) by Kanh Ho

Baltimore Sun chimes in for part-time faculty, article By William Primosch

Marcia Newfield on the upcoming COCAL XI
> http://academeblog.org/2013/11/01/cocal-xi-the-way-forward/

Not a Scarlet Letter
> http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/10/31/essay-calls-adjuncts-start-talking-students-about-their-status

"Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty", by Berry, Stewart and Worthen, published by Chicago COCAL, 2008. Order hardcopy from <www.chicagococal.org> Also available as free download online at same site.

Ed schools, evaluation and adjuncts: two new reports
> http://insidehighered.us2.list-manage1.com/track/click?u=ed1d2ff123b6b83dd97022f88&id=8e0eed3c42&e=26d8672fcd

AERA (American Education Research Assoc.) issue statement on nontenure-track faculty
> http://www.aera.net/Newsroom/News/AERAIssuesRecommendationsforSupportingNonTenureTrackFaculty/tabid/15255/Default.aspx

Just for fun:

Satire: Faculty Shows Restraint during New President's Speech

Why Pick on Catholic Universities?

Colleen Flaherty of Inside Higher Ed. Captured the pathos of the story of non-tenured Duquesne University French instructor Mary Margaret Vojtko who died of a massive heart attack on her front lawn after 25-years of lauded service to the Catholic institution. Flaherty's article was widely shared on FaceBook and other Social media as

Professor Gives 25 Years to Teaching, Dies Broke

--  a reworking of a story by Daniel Kovalik in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which spurred many follow-up stories, like this one by Rick Perlstein for The Nation: http://www.thenation.com/blog/176292/adjunct-tragedy# .

What Flaherty adds is an insider's look at the explosion of the story in adjunct or part-time faculty circles, with comments that reveal the damning nature of the story. She quotes Maria Maesto of New Faculty Majority, a Catholic with ties to Pittsburgh, who finds the situation shameful; Keith Hoeller, co-founder of the Washington Part-Time Faculty Association, who said the story demonstrates the "meanness" of the two-track faculty system; and of course the author, who provides some pitiful details about the deceased, buried "in a simple cardboard casket, devoid of any handles for pallbearers -- a sad sight, but an honest symbol of what she had been reduced to by her ostensibly Catholic employer.”

Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association, told Flaherty by e-mail that Vojtko's sad story showed, "This faculty member experienced poverty wages, marginalization, and overall poor working conditions, and as she became ill, she still managed to keep her commitment to her students." Without singling out Catholic universities for criticism, Feal noted, "If the institution for which she worked were following MLA guidelines, she would have received around $7,000 per three-credit course along with access to benefits. Perhaps cases like this one will force institutions to realize that those hired to teach college-level courses deserve to be treated as the professionals they are."

Margaret Mary's is not an unusual adjunct plight, though the poverty of private university part-time faculty is worse than that of most public college and university adjuncts. A conversation is going on in part-time faculty groups about our colleagues not covered by Social Security or ANY kind of a pension -- a loophole exploited by some hiring bodies. At the same time, a great deal of anger is leveled against private universities, with for-profits being the greatest exploiters and Christian ones being the most obvious hypocrites. Georgetown, Catholic University of Washington D.C., has only recently – and reluctantly – given adjuncts the right to organize for better working conditions and Duquesne has been fighting its faculty unionizing efforts on the grounds it has "religious immunity" against any such stirrings of social consciousness.

Certainly, an institution that can pay its President $700,000 a year can come up with some sort of benefits and pension arrangements for the majority of its faculty (part-timers are now acknowledged as over 75% of faculty, nationwide, or closer to 85%, if the fact that only 15% have tenure or are on tenure track is considered). Mary Margaret only taught eight classes a year (some tenured faculty do no more, though most adjuncts do considerably more, spread over several campuses). Making less than 2,500 per course during her peak years of teaching French, Mary Margaret was not doing well, by any means. After Duquesne minimized course loads to avoid contributing to adjunct benefits through Obama Care (a popular move by high-salaried university administrators), her earnings would have been closer to $14,000/year, clearly poverty wages, which she supplemented working as a grocery clerk, as long as she could.

Activity on Twitter went viral with the hashtag #iammargaretmary. Many adjuncts chimed in there and on FaceBook where, incredibly, we found ourselves having to explain the solidarity this story brought forth. It's "There but for the grace of God go I." Poor Mary Margaret, saddled with such pious names and so dedicated to teaching. Of course we are all Mary Margaret! For whatever reasons, we, too, failed to win the job lottery. Our own precariat situations are held together by threads of spousal support, of family inheritance, of proximity of multiple campuses where our services are wanted and by the humanity of a few special administrators who understand our plight and don't scorn us for being stupid enough to be college educators.

Rick Perlstein quotes Daniel Kovalik saying, “Duquesne knew all about Margaret Mary’s plight, for I apprised them of it in two letters. I never received a reply, and Margaret Mary was forced to die saddened, penniless and on the verge of being turned over to Orphan’s Court” and he ends his own piece with " Expect more cases like that of Margaret Mary Vojtko. Social service agencies, be prepared." Amen.

More News on Issues That Affect Us:

Politico on MOOCS

After refusing adjunct pay increased, SUNY new Paltz give provost $300,000 one year study leave. Union objects.
> http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130918/NEWS/309180327&emailAFriend=1

Campus Equity Stand up. Speak out. Organize
For more information on CEW, contact Craig Flanery, National Coordinator, New Faculty Majority Campus Equity Week, at craig.flanery@newfacultymajority.info

Lumina Foundation also behind privatization efforts in schools in Mexico, where teachers wre just driven out of Zocalo by cops. http://www.dailycensored.com/criminalizing-unions-student-groups-mexico/

Save City College of San Francisco Check our calendar http://www.saveccsf.org/calendar/

Music: Missa Votiva by Zelenka [R.I.P. Margaret Mary]
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/U6pnDcHVNok" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Mark Twain as Saks Fifth Avenue Icon

“The offspring of riches: pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, tyranny” -- Mark Twain

Here sits the man of ironic humor, Mark Twain, on a bench outside the Saks Fifth Avenue store on El Paseo in Palm Desert! Ah, for the contemplative life!

A room of our own:

Fabulous Union Twist on the Palindrome! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLGoKqPAhSk

Free Speech fight:

New 2014 calendar of labor struggles world-wide from LabourStart  [Check it out.] http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=f3995b46c18cb039818f29a32&id=dbb18fe5fb&e=eb8750f24b

Adjunct Advantage (?) [Northwestern U study finds some students, especially those less well prepared, do better with adjunct teachers who do not have research assignments) http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/09/09/study-finds-students-learn-more-non-tenure-track-instructors

Striking Adjuncts Will be Fined, Taxed and Fired – LABOR with no rights?

Sept. Notes

Advice to Students: Be known in class:

Shakespeare OP – original Practices At the Globe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPlpphT7n9s&sns=tw

For Fun: Check out some of the wild photos from Burning Man 2013

Militant against Slights

1) Negative Labeling: Thursday night a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a student outside my college's Digital Library Auditorium, when a maintenance cart pulled up with a load of round tables. One of the guys explained derisively that the catered event being hastily organized was "for the night shift."

The two guys were standing in for catering services, which had misplaced the order for an Associate Faculty back-to-school event (supposedly the mistake of someone on paid vacation – a perk teachers on "the night shift" don't get).  I chimed in that the reception was for part-time faculty, trying to explain that we are much more than "the night shift." We are the new faculty MAJORITY, after all!

2) Third Class Accommodations: As I typed in my collegeinitials.net, backslash, first initial, last name and password to get into my Riverside City College e-mail account today I felt the usual Janus-like gratitude and resentment over my status as "associate" faculty. I'm glad I have work and that my students e-mail me as first name, dot, last name @ rcc.edu as if I were a real member of the faculty and I'm feeling the usual burn over the idea that my e-mail is patched into the college server as belonging to an outsider (pariah?) group on rccd.net. What possible damage could my cadre of low-paid, politically under-represented (i.e. voiceless), overworked (whether "moonlighting" from K-12 or trying to make a living commuting between multiple campuses) and job-insecure but almost ideally dedicated teachers inflict on RCC's official server?

NEA 2013 Teachers Working Late

"Welcome back, Associate Faculty!"

'Just had to share a few photos of the back-to-school reception for Associate Faculty at Riverside City College on Thursday (8/22/2013). The college food services had forgotten/misplaced the order made by our CTA/CCA part-time faculty representative, John Sullivan and the ensuing scramble left us with some pretty dry and cheese-less pizzas
(something like a grossly thick version of Turkish "lamacun" or flatbread with tomato paste and a few herbs -- though ours came with other traditional toppings like pepperoni). Despite the odd fare and the heat (104 degrees yesterday), the company was good and some of us who know each-other from RCC and other part-time teaching locations had a chance to get caught up on each-other's news. Only about 35 of the 408 of us attended the reception, though more arrived for evening workshops. IMG_1118

Back to College Teaching This Week

I'm back to college teaching this week and limited in reading and writing time. Here are some URLs for articles of interest to part-time faculty and friends.

Regarding MOOCs and other technology:

MOOC Analysis w/Research:

CFHE on CA MOOC bill (defeated)

Teaching Prof. Tech. Conf.

Laptops Lower Grades:

Regarding part-time faculty and salaries:

Adjunct Pay

Un-Hired Ed.

Degree Net Worth:

Regarding other educational issues:

Quick standards approvals to thwart what I call "Cretinists"

Fighting Ignorance:
-- logical fallacies exposed

Finding textbook bargains

Joe Berry Update:
Check out the new FACEBOOK page for Campus Equity Week 2014, Oct. 27-Nov.2. Make it happen at your school too!
https://www.facebook.com/events/602445409795770/   Thanks to Vanessa of NFM for taking the initiative on this page.

CoCal  2014 in NY

Textbook Orders and Bookstore (?) Changes

College students who check ahead about books listed at the campus bookstore and review the teacher's pre-semester e-mails and class web page postings are a real help, when bookstores (and maybe someone from the division or department?) decide to change the order that the teacher placed for a newer or older edition of the required textbook without telling the teacher of record. Still, students' e-mailed and telephoned outrage is not what we want, when we are already busy enough tweaking our course outlines and content web pages!

Now I get to scan or photocopy & put on library reserve the relevant "with additional readings" pages from my 7th edition, so those who bought the more expensive bookstore-promoted 9th, or whatever, edition will not have the additional cost of returning and replacing books, or worse, make a capital CASE against me, when I'm the one most wronged! In one case, a student was even sold a 6th edition -- dumping old stock, are we?

Does anybody stop to think about what a bother it is for the teacher who has published all the course documents (after spending weeks of summer "break" tweaking assignment descriptions, rubrics and grade grids) to have to accommodate students with different editions of the text? No. don't answer that. I think I've got an idea who the somebody is.
English Skills OLDES8thES9th
'Just the start of another semester in the powerless new faculty majority trenches.

= link to Rite of Spring Sacrificial Dance (my mood music for this).

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