Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Bay Area adjunct professors organize to improve conditions for students, faculty"

2014-03-04 "1021 NewsWire":
Support the Adjunct Action campaign.
Adjunct professors are the new low-wage workers. Paradoxically, these professionals have attained graduate degrees and are charged with educating college students, yet are generally paid so little that some must rely on food stamps to get by.
In 1969, tenured and tenure-track positions made up 78 percent of faculty in colleges and universities, and non-tenure track positions only 22 percent. Today those numbers have been completely -- and exactly -- reversed. In the Bay Area today, 78 percent of faculty positions are non-tenure track. Meanwhile, students are paying higher tuition than ever -- 439 percent higher in 2007 than in 1982, and still climbing -- yet increasingly get educated by professors who are, by definition, temp workers.
Those who teach as their primary source of income often find themselves shuttling from campus to campus, using the trunk of their car as an office, constantly scrambling to prepare lessons, grade papers and try to meet with students -- none of which they get paid for. They are paid only for classroom hours, yet do not know from one semester to the next how many classes they will teach -- if any at all.
"We have a schizophrenic approach to education in this country," explains Matteo Bittanti, Adjunct Professor of Visual Studies at California College of the Arts. "We tell students that learning is extremely valuable, yet we are not willing to sustain those who make it possible. As a result, education is simultaneously 'crucial' and 'irrelevant.'"

Brain trust -
Adjuncts across the country, however, including those in the Bay Area, are stepping up, joining forces, and organizing for better pay, working conditions, and job security. They are joining the SEIU Adjunct Action campaign to finally win contracts that respect their needs and give them a voice in how their institutions serve their students.
Christian Nagler (pictured), Adjunct Professor of Writing and Art at San Francisco Art Institute and a union supporter, was recently a guest on the KALW radio show "Your Call," hosted by Holly Kernan. He attested to the subpar working conditions for adjuncts and how these conditions affect students; he also advised adjuncts interested in working together to improve these conditions: "Don't be afraid to organize, to get involved, to be transparent, to talk about it."

"Today on Your Call: How is the corporatization of higher education affecting teachers?"
2014-02-18 by Becca Hoekstra from "KALW" newspaper [http://kalw.org/post/today-your-call-how-corporatization-higher-education-affecting-teachers]:
On today’s Your Call, we’ll discuss how colleges are hiring part-time teachers to save costs, and what impact it has on education. Adjunct teachers now make up 50 percent of higher education faculty. Many receive no benefits and are paid poorly, with no chance of job-security or tenure. What happens to students when their teachers are contractors, not full-time professionals? And how are adjuncts organizing for change? Join the conversation on the next Your Call, with Holly Kernan and you.
Listen [http://cpa.ds.npr.org/kalw/audio/2014/02/021914yc.mp3].
* Dr. Adrianna Kezar, professor of higher education at the University of Southern California and director at The Delphi Project
* Maria Maisto, adjunct English teacher at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland and president of the New Faculty Majority
* Christian Nagler, adjunct teacher of writing and arts teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute

Web Resources:
* NYT - The New College Campus [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/17/opinion/the-new-college-campus.html]
* PBS NewsHour - Is Academia Suffering from “Adjunctivitis”? Low-paid adjunct professors struggle to make ends meet [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/is-academia-suffering-adjunctivitis/]
* Inside Higher Ed - Congress Takes Note [http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/24/house-committee-report-highlights-plight-adjunct-professors]
* Chronicle of Higher Education - To Improve Adjuncts’ Plight, 1st Step is to Acknowledge the Problem
* Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Death of an adjunct [http://www.post-gazette.com/Op-Ed/2013/09/18/Death-of-an-adjunct/stories/201309180224]
* NYT - More College Adjuncts see strength in union numbers [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/04/us/more-college-adjuncts-see-strength-in-union-numbers.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1]
* Inside Higher Ed, Adrianna Kezar - Higher ed disruptions doomed to fail without addressing state of the faculty [http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/12/06/higher-ed-disruptions-doomed-fail-without-addressing-state-faculty-essay]
* The Delphi Project [http://www.thechangingfaculty.org/]
* The New Faculty Majority [http://www.newfacultymajority.info/equity/]

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