AdjunctNation.com » Desk Drawer http://www.adjunctnation.com News, Opinion, Analysis and More For the Adjunct Faculty Nation Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:46:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Part-Timers at This School Now Get a $1,000 Kill Fee for Cancelled Classes http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/09/19/part-timers-at-this-school-now-get-a-1000-kill-fee-for-cancelled-classes/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/09/19/part-timers-at-this-school-now-get-a-1000-kill-fee-for-cancelled-classes/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2016 18:59:40 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=7247 A contract between Champlain College and its unionized part-time professors was ratified and released Monday.

Champlain adjuncts have been unionized with the Service Employees International Union since last year. The union and the college have been hashing out a contract for months, and after a 10-hour negotiation session that went late into the night Aug. 24 they struck an agreement.

Adjuncts will see a pay raise across the board. Before the contract, adjuncts were being paid $3,499 per class if they had taught less than 10 semesters for Champlain, and $3,668 per class if they have taught more than 10.

Now, there are three tiers of adjunct professors on the new pay scale, organized by how many credit hours the professor has taught, not semesters. An average class at Champlain is three credit hours. This year, professors will be paid on the following scale:

  • Professors who have taught less than 60 credit hours — about 20 classes — will be paid $3,825 per class.
  • Professors who have taught from 61 to 120 credit hours — from 20 to 40 average classes — will be paid $4,100 per class.
  • Professors who have taught more than 120 credit hours — more than 40 average classes — will be paid $4,200 per class.

Pay increases are locked into the contract until 2018, when a new contract will be negotiated. If a class is canceled through no fault of the professor, like low enrollment, they will get $1,000 under the new contract.

“This tiered pay scale approach ensures that those adjunct faculty who successfully teach more of our students will receive increased levels of pay,” said Laurie Quinn provost of Champlain College in a news release. Quinn called the contract a “win-win” result.

The contract also devotes a section to the creation of a money pool specifically set up to benefit part-time professors. The Professional Development Fund, as it’s called in the contract, will start with $10,000 from the college, less than the $20,000 figure a union spokesperson told news media the day after the agreement had been struck. For the next two fiscal years, the college will contribute more money — $15,000 next year and $20,000 in 2018.

Professors can apply for up to $750 from the pool every year to spend on attending conferences, training or anything else that can help teachers do their jobs better. The money also has to be spent — it doesn’t roll over from one year to the next.

The contract also attempts to stop any possibility of a strike by union members, or a lockout by the college. If any union member decides to strike or do anything to purposefully impede the college, like withholding grades, Champlain College can fire the teacher and the union is required to distance itself from the action. In return, Champlain College will keep its doors open to the union members as long as the agreement stands.

“The contract we have created represents a solid first step toward the fair treatment of part-time faculty members at Champlain College,” said April Howard, an adjunct Latin American studies professor and member of the Champlain bargaining team, after negotiations ended Aug. 26.

Adjuncts at St. Michael’s College unionized in 2014 and adjuncts at Burlington College unionized at the same time; that school closed its doors earlier this year.

Champlain College Tentative CBA

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In Memphis, College President Proposes First Pay Hike for Adjuncts in 30 Years http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/07/05/in-memphis-college-president-proposes-first-pay-hike-for-adjuncts-in-30-years/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/07/05/in-memphis-college-president-proposes-first-pay-hike-for-adjuncts-in-30-years/#comments Tue, 05 Jul 2016 19:48:52 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=7195 University of Memphis adjunct faculty could be getting their first pay raise in more than three decades. Perhaps not coincidentally, the United Campus Workers, Tennessee’s Higher Education Union, has been working to organize faculty on campuses across the state. In April 2015, adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville joined fast food and other low-wage workers at a local McDonald’s to demand that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

After rallying with their low-wage cohorts, the higher education workers boarded a freedom ride bus bound for St. Louis where they joined more low-wage workers participating in the national general strike for a minimum wage of $15 an hour.

The participating adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants were members of United Campus Workers (UCW), a statewide union of faculty, graduate students, and classified staff who make higher education work but are paid poverty and near-poverty wages. UCW is affiliated with the Communication Workers of America.

In 2008, InsideHigherEd reported: “For the adjuncts at the six universities and 13 community colleges governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents, the solution they came up with was to ask politely. They worked with administrators to craft and re-craft a proposal to raise the maximum pay offered to adjuncts so that someone working a 5-5 course load (the kind of load that many tenure-track faculty members would consider unworkable) could be assured the chance of topping $20,000 in annual income. They weren’t even talking about such matters as health insurance (which isn’t provided)….After two years of encouraging meetings organized by AAUP leaders in Tennessee, the board — through its presidents council — decided this month that the current policy works just fine, and that there will be no increases in pay maximums.”

Now, eight years after adjuncts asked politely and were summarily rebuffed, in a letter to U of M faculty and staff Wednesday, June 29, school president M. David Rudd said the pay for adjunct faculty has been disproportionately low for many years. In an effort to turn that around, the U of M is proposing a 40 percent increase in minimum adjunct pay, from $1,500 for a three-credit-hour course to $2,100.

“This increase will be funded centrally and reflects the importance of our adjunct faculty to the University mission, along with recognition that the pay has been disproportionately low for many years,” Rudd said.

Last year, the U of M implemented a 2 percent pay raise across the board that did not include adjunct faculty members. Last spring, the U of M Faculty Senate submitted a report to the administration that expressed the importance of reducing salary compression.

Provost Karen Weddle-West submitted the report to the Tennessee Board of Regents along with a general faculty compensation plan recommended by the U of M Faculty Senate that aims to address salary compression and equity.

Read the full report here.

“The steps we have taken this year will allow us to avoid creating a new structural deficit, address concerns about adjunct pay and position us for meaningful merit pay increases in the future,” Rudd said.

The U of M is also proposing a one-time $750 bonus for full-time faculty and staff members who have one year of service effective June 30, 2016. The bonus would be payable in October. Rudd as well as the provost, academic deans and vice presidents have opted out of any bonus payments.

The Tennessee Board of Regents will consider the U of M’s request at their meeting in September.

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At San Jose State Turns Out Student Attrition Has Nothing to Do With the Adjuncts http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/06/02/at-san-jose-state-turns-out-student-attrition-has-nothing-to-do-with-the-adjuncts/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/06/02/at-san-jose-state-turns-out-student-attrition-has-nothing-to-do-with-the-adjuncts/#comments Thu, 02 Jun 2016 16:00:56 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=7187 Ian E. McInness

On San Jose State University’s lush inner-city campus, students in their graduation gowns pose with their families in front of ivy-covered buildings.

They’re the lucky ones.

Just 10 percent of students graduate from this public university in four years. After six years, it’s only a bit more than half.

Think about that — of 100 students who enrolled four years ago, only 10 will walk across the stage this year.

That sounds low, but you can find these kind of numbers at lots of universities in the U.S.

What’s not typical is how San Jose State is tackling the problem.

Officials there did something radical: they phoned students who had dropped out and asked them why.

Up on the north side of campus, you’ll find Marcos Pizarro on the second floor of Clark Hall. At 6 feet 2, he’s nearly as tall as his tiny office is wide.

A professor of Mexican-American studies, Pizarro has been at San Jose State for 17 years.

All that time, he says, he has heard the same explanation about why the graduation rate is so low. It goes like this: “Well, they’re not as well-prepared, and they have a lot of other commitments.”

It’s true, he adds, many students here do come from underperforming schools. Pizarro knows because he has taught in those schools.

And a lot of them work full-time jobs — both to pay for college and to contribute to their families.

Yet, Pizarro adds, something else is true too: “They’re amazing. They’re really phenomenal.” In class, he says, these students are some of the most engaged, motivated and insightful people he has worked with.

So why aren’t they graduating?

When Pizarro started looking at the data, he found that San Jose State’s graduation rate is bad for all students. But for Latinos it’s really bad: Just 4.5 percent graduate in four years. African-Americans do only slightly better.

Pizarro couldn’t let this go. The more he thought about it, the more he realized he needed to talk to those students. Not the graduates. But the ones who left.

“We don’t do exit interviews,” Pizarro said. “It’s not just us. Nobody does exit interviews with students.”

Pizarro and a few colleagues obtained a grant, and they started calling up hundreds of San Jose State dropouts, with a focus on Latino and African-American students.

What emerged from these interviews were real institutional barriers.

And there was one final problem: The dropouts never felt part of the campus community.

The exit interviews, of sorts, revealed issues with class scheduling, advising and fitting in on campus, which has prompted initiatives at San Jose State to add classes, increase the number of advisors and bring students together.

When Lewis and Clark Community College leaders started tracking data to figure out how best to support students, for example, they found developmental education students had retention rates 10 percent higher than those who did not take remedial classes.

Over the past decade, there have been about a dozen studies, several of which sought to lay shrinking student success rates and rising student attrition rates at the feet of the growing numbers of non-tenured faculty hired to teach undergraduates. At San Jose State, the 26,664 undergraduate students at San Jose State University are taught by a total of 1,777 instructional staff. Adjusting these numbers to account for those with part-time status results in “full time equivalent” (FTE) counts. Using these FTE counts for students and staff results in a “student to instructor” ratio of 27 to 1. This places San Jose State University among the worst in terms of instructional attention. A slim percentage of the San Jose State instructors ( 39 percent ) are full-time.

While the exit interviews conducted at San Jose State are by no means definitive or scientific in nature, the results of the interviews are nonetheless significant. The students interviewed clearly identified institutional issues as the major roadblocks to their academic success.

In April, AdjunctNation Executive Editor P.D. Lesko wrote, “The persistence of the AAUP, AFT and NEA and their allies in perpetuating the myth that student retention and graduation rates have deteriorated because the number of adjunct faculty employed within higher education has increased, is nothing short of political maneuvering. The AAUP’s annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession is widely written about in the mainstream media and the mainstream media often repeat verbatim misinformation about the alleged destabilization of higher education by the two-tier system under which adjunct faculty are employed.”

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800 Community College of Allegheny County Adjuncts Win Small Pay Hike http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/05/06/800-community-college-of-allegheny-county-adjuncts-win-small-pay-hike/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/05/06/800-community-college-of-allegheny-county-adjuncts-win-small-pay-hike/#comments Fri, 06 May 2016 15:07:01 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=7153 The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that the board of the Community College of Allegheny County today unanimously approved a three-year contract with its roughly 800 adjunct faculty members.

CCAC spokeswoman Elizabeth Johnston said the collective bargaining agreement includes a pay raise of $50 in the first year, $25 in the second year and $5 in the third year — effectively a 10 percent pay raise over three years. Adjuncts are currently paid $750 per credit, which amounts $2,250 for a three-credit course.

The contract runs from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019.

The adjunct faculty voted last July to affiliate with the American Federation of Teachers, and the school did not fight the effort. Jennie Snyder, an adjunct art professor who helped start the organizing effort about three years ago, said members were “very pleased” with the outcome Thursday.

This is a turn around from 2012 when AdjunctNation reported that College of Allegheny County’s president, Alex Johnson, cut hours for some 400 part-time workers to avoid providing health insurance coverage for them under the then-impending Affordable Health Care Act. The move was a cost-saving measure at a time when the college faced a funding reduction.

But to some of the employees affected, including 200 adjunct faculty members, the decision smacked of an attempt to circumvent the national health care legislation that went into effect in January 2014.

“It’s kind of a double whammy for us because we are facing a legal requirement [under the new law] to get health care and if the college is reducing our hours, we don’t have the money to pay for it,” said Adam Davis, an adjunct professor who has taught biology at CCAC since 2005.

Jennie Snyder, speaking about the 2016 contract said: “We got a lot more than we thought we would as far as rights go, and we laid the groundwork for a great future [and] future negotiations.”

The 2016 agreement states that in addition to the pay raise, adjuncts may now participate in departmental meetings and training opportunities. They also will have seniority in class scheduling, which Ms. Snyder said allows for job security.

The school’s faculty members, including full-timers and several hundred part-timers, have been represented by the AFT for the past 40 years. In 2008, AdjunctNation published a blog piece by editor P.D. Lesko critical of the AFT affiliate at CACC for negotiating equal percentage raises for both full-time and part-time faculty union members:

In my last entry, I mentioned the common practice of higher education union affiliates negotiating equal percentage raises for both full-time and part-time faculty. As if on cue, AFT Local 2067, representing 345 full-time and part-time faculty at the Community College of Allegheny County, proudly announced that union negotiators had hammered out a new three-year contract. Read about the contract here.

According to the article in the Pittsburgh Business Times, “Under the three-year contract, the union’s 345 full-time and part-time faculty and staff at CCAC will receive average salary increases of 3 to 4 percent the first year, and 4 to 5 percent in the second and third years.”

While the 2016 contract calls for dollar amount raises over the next 36 months which equal a total of $80 per three-credit course, the fact remains that CACC adjunct pay, despite four decades of representation by the AFT, is less than the national per course average of $2,500 and well below the $5,000 per course pay sought by adjunct activists.

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After New State Law Goes into Effect, All Oregon Adjuncts Now Get Paid Sick Leave http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/01/22/after-of-new-state-law-goes-into-effect-all-oregon-adjuncts-now-get-paid-sick-leave/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/01/22/after-of-new-state-law-goes-into-effect-all-oregon-adjuncts-now-get-paid-sick-leave/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 19:09:31 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6542 by Laura Jordan

On June 22, 2015, Oregon became the fourth state to enact a statewide mandatory paid sick leave law, following California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The bill, signed into law by Governor Kate Brown, requires Oregon employers to provide up to 40 hours of sick leave to employees per year beginning January 1, 2016, and in most cases that leave time must be paid.

Just about every employer with workers in Oregon will feel the impact of the new paid sick leave law in one way or another, including colleges and universities that employ the state’s approximately 12,000 adjunct, part-time and non-tenured faculty at two- and four-year colleges.

At the University of Oregon, this new law grants sick leave to Graduate Teaching Fellows, university-employed students, temporary workers and part-time faculty for the first time, Senior Director of Labor and Employee Relations Bill Brady said.

“Previously the only group on campus who were accruing sick leave were [Service Employees International Union workers]. This extends the right to [ part-time officers of administration], faculty, students, and GTFs,” Brady said.

 

Who Is Impacted?

Employers with 10 or more employees (six or more for Portland employers) will be required to provide their employees who work in Oregon with up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per year. Smaller companies are not necessarily off the hook – employers with fewer than 10 employees (fewer than six for Portland employers) will also be required to provide employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave, but this bank of leave time can be unpaid.

The law applies to the vast majority of Oregon’s workforce, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees. There are limited exceptions, including independent contractors, employees receiving paid sick leave under federal law, certain work-training program and work-study program participants, certain railroad workers, and individuals employed by their parent, spouse, or child. The law applies to both private and public-sector employers, but excludes the federal government.

Employers that already provide their employees paid time off under a PTO, vacation, or other paid leave policy are not required to provide any additional paid sick time under this law, provided they permit employees to use at least 40 hours of leave per year for the purposes covered under the law and otherwise meet the minimum requirements under the law.

What Can Employees Use Sick Time For?

Employees can use sick time, whether paid or unpaid, for the following purposes:

  • for an employee’s own illness, injury, or health condition, including time off for medical diagnosis, care, treatment, and preventive care;
  • to care for a family member with an illness, injury, or health condition, including time off for medical diagnosis, care, treatment, and preventive care (“family member” has the same definition as under the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA), and thus includes spouses, parents, parents-in-law, children, grandparents, and grandchildren);
  • for any purposes allowed under OFLA, such as bereavement leave, caring for a newborn child or newly adopted/foster child, or sick child leave, regardless of whether the employee is eligible for OFLA leave and regardless of whether the company is a “covered employer” under OFLA;
  • for any purpose allowed under Oregon’s domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault, or stalking law;
  • to donate accrued sick time to another employee, who may use it for any qualifying purpose (i.e., any reason listed above or below). This is optional for employers; it is only permitted if the employer has a policy that allows employees to donate sick time to coworkers; or
  • in the event of a public health emergency, including upon an order of a general or specific public health emergency, or when the employer excludes the employee from the workplace by law or rule for health reasons.

How Is The Time Earned?

Employees accrue sick time at a rate of one hour per every 30 hours worked, or one and one-third hours for every 40 hours worked, up to 40 hours per year. Exempt employees are presumed to work 40 hours per week unless their normal work week is less than 40 hours a week. Employees start to accrue sick time on January 1, 2016, or, if hired after January 1, 2016, on their first day of employment. While new employees begin to accrue sick time on their first day of employment, they are not eligible to use accrued sick time until their 91st day of employment unless their employer authorizes prior use.

Employees must also be permitted to carry over up to 40 hours of unused sick time to the subsequent year. Employers who provide employees with sick time or PTO at the beginning of each year – also known as “front loading” – instead of on an accrual basis are exempt from the carry-over obligations of the law.

Employers are not required to pay employees for accrued but unused sick leave upon separation from employment.

What Are Employees’ Rights And Employers’ Obligations?

Employers are prohibited from interfering with an employee’s right to use sick leave or retaliating against an employee who requests or uses sick leave. In addition to enforcement by the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), employees who believe their rights under this act have been violated will have a private right of action to sue.

All employers in Oregon must now provide notification at least once per quarter to each employee of the amount of accrued and unused sick time available for use by the employee. Employers are also required to provide written notice to employees regarding the requirements of the law. BOLI will soon make available to employers a template that meets the required notice provisions under the law.

What About Employers In Portland And Eugene?

Portland has its own local sick leave law, which went into effect in January 2014. That law requires employers with six or more employees to provide paid sick leave to employees working in Portland; those with fewer than six employees must only provide unpaid sick leave. The new statewide law retains the six-employee threshold for employers located in Portland, not the 10-employee threshold which applies for all others. Portland employers must continue to comply with the Portland ordinance until the statewide law takes effect on January 1, 2016.

The Eugene City Council voted to repeal its own city ordinance upon the Governor’s signing of the statewide legislation, and therefore the Eugene sick leave law will not move forward. Employers with employees in Eugene need only comply with the statewide legislation.

The new law prohibits other local governments within Oregon from creating their own sick leave requirements for private employers, so companies can rest assured that they will not be faced with having to comply with multiple local sick leave laws within the state in the future.

 

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Lecturer Uses Facebook to Expose The Poor Working Conditions of Part-Time Instructors In South Korean Universities http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/01/19/lecturer-uses-facebook-to-expose-the-poor-working-conditions-of-part-time-instructors-in-south-korean-universities/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2016/01/19/lecturer-uses-facebook-to-expose-the-poor-working-conditions-of-part-time-instructors-in-south-korean-universities/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2016 20:03:28 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6538 by Jean Marie Abellana

About 70,000 lecturers from several universities in South Korea are working part-time. These teachers renew their job contracts every semester. While the majority of them desire to be given a full-time status, most schools prefer not to grant them such since part-time employment is seen by universities as more cost-effective and practical.

The Korea Times reported on Friday that most part-time lecturers in South Korea were engaged in labor with poor working conditions. In 2010, one teacher committed suicide because the university system, along with its senior colleagues, failed to provide a satisfactory working environment.

Part-time instructors in most South Korean universities suffer from poor working conditions and low income. (Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)

Part-time instructors in most South Korean universities suffer from poor working conditions and low income. (Photo by Chung Sung Jun/Getty Images)

In 2014, Kim Min Sup, a 33-year-old part-time lecturer, launched a Facebook page revealing the poor working conditions of individuals like him. He worked at a University in Wonju and was paid on an hourly basis. For three years, he taught students about Korean Literature, which earned him about $8285.80 annually. However, his income could not supplement the amount needed for his family to acquire medical insurance. Hence, he worked at a branch of McDonalds for at least 60 hours per week so he could be qualified to receive the health insurance. In addition to his lecture, he also had to deal with additional tasks provided to him by the school and full-time colleagues.

“My efforts were not recognized or appreciated, let alone compensated,” Kim said in an interview.

In 2011, a law was passed to improve the lecturers’ job security but was not immediately implemented. Several schools had terminated the contracts of part-time teachers as they could not afford to comply with it.

Kim, like other part-timers, was saddened by the delay in enforcing the law. He urged lecturers to voice out their sides and universities to become more responsible.

“Without requests from lecturers, the universities won’t act to improve their wellbeing,” Kim said. “Both the schools and the lecturers have to act, instead of just passing the buck to politicians.”

On April 6, 2008, The University World News also reported about the undesirable conditions of part-time lecturers.

According to the report, part-time lecturers “teach [40 percent] of classes at universities. Since their status was downgraded 34 years ago under the Park Chung Hee regime, they have been unable to enjoy basic benefits such as pensions and medical insurance.”

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Dutch Legislature Strengthens Temp. Faculty Contracts, Universities Thwart New Law http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/11/13/dutch-legislature-strengthens-temp-faculty-contracts-universities-thwart-new-law/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/11/13/dutch-legislature-strengthens-temp-faculty-contracts-universities-thwart-new-law/#comments Fri, 13 Nov 2015 20:43:31 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6369 At universities in the Netherlands, an increasing number of university academic staff are being employed on flexible contracts, the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reported in 2014. Over the past 17 years, the number of university staff on flexible contracts has doubled, rising to 40% in 2012.

If Ph.D. students, most of whom are on temporary contracts, are included, the number of academics on flexible contracts rises to 60%.

Money

The main reason for the rise in flexible contracts is the decreasing amount of money available from government funds. Universities must increasingly find financing for their projects from organizations and the business sector. With each project running for a few years, academics are more likely to be offered a short-term, flexible contract, an official from the faculty union Vawo says.

“Good research and good teaching need continuity,” the Vawo’s Marijtje Jongsma told the paper. “That continuity is lost when no one stays more than a couple of years.”

In response, the Dutch government passed a law in 2015 aimed at providing contract faculty with higher pay and better contracts. In response, Dutch university officials have devised a scheme to thwart the new legislation.

Now, Dutch universities are getting around changes in the rules on temporary contracts by offering lecturers a fixed contract for one lecture a week plus a short-term contract for the rest of their work, the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant reported this week. The set up breaks the terms of the universities’ pay and conditions agreement, the paper says, and makes it particularly difficult for lecturers to get a mortgage. Amsterdam University employs dozens of people using the combination contracts, according to a lecturer protest group known as UvAFlex.

Amsterdam’s VU, Radboud University in Nijmegen and universities in Leiden and Tilburg all use the same system. The current university pay deal includes a commitment to halving the number of temporary contracts. In addition, changes to temporary contract legislation introduced by the government this summer are aimed at encouraging companies and institutions to take on more permanent staff by giving more rights to workers on flexible contracts.

Tilburg economics lecturer Ronald Dekker told the paper the hybrid contract system is a transparent attempt to get round the new laws on flexible work.

“These people have a lot of work to do but … they are being offered as little security as possible,” Dekker said. Universities have been cutting back on permanent contracts since the 1990s in an effort to compensate for unpredictable funding and fluctuating student numbers.

 

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Campus Equity Week Kicks Off With a Quick Counterpunch http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/10/26/campus-equity-week/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/10/26/campus-equity-week/#comments Tue, 27 Oct 2015 01:32:51 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6325 by P.D. Lesko

Campus Equity Week, Oct. 26-30, is here and aimed at drawing attention to the exploitation of low-wage adjunct and contingent faculty at American colleges and universities, and to the impact of colleges’ staffing decisions on students.

On campuses from California to Ohio to New York, the country’s adjunct and contingent members will be distributing petitions and surveys, holding membership drives and rallies, providing students and faculty with information about adjunct poverty, and fighting for job security, higher wages and better working conditions.

Despite the popular image of tweed-wearing college professors, the majority of faculty today are struggling to fight their way into the middle class:

  • Contingent faculty—including adjuncts/part-time faculty, full-time nontenure-track faculty, and graduate employees—now represent 75 percent of the higher education instructional workforce.
  • Adjuncts are paid an average of $2,700 per class with few or no benefits—below the minimum wage for a typical lecture class.
  • Adjuncts themselves usually have advanced degrees, and their student loan debt situation is even worse than it is for other students—averaging $43,000 for graduate school debt.

AFT President Randi Weingarten had the following to say about Campus Equity Week: “To strengthen the middle class, we need high-quality, affordable higher education and strong unions. That will help make a difference for this inequitable and exploitative environment. For too many Americans—increasingly including adjuncts and contingent faculty members, who are the majority of the higher education instructional workforce—too many obstacles are standing in the way of the American dream. Unless and until institutions reward the dedicated teachers who teach most of the classes in higher education with the job security and pay that they deserve, America will be shortchanging students. And while we fight each day to fix this broken system, this week represents an opportunity for our members to engage and educate parents, students and colleagues on the exploitation of part-time higher education faculty.”

MLA Executive Director Rosemary Feal took to Twitter to lend her organization’s support to Campus Equity Week.

Feal_Tweet

The MLA, which has seen a more than 10 percent decrease in its membership since 2011, serves around 27,000 members, approximately 6,000 of whom are students. In 2013, the MLA’s annual conference attracted 7,715 registrants, according to the organization’s federal income tax return. Of those attendees, in 2013 the MLA provided 65 cash awards to non-tenure-track and unemployed conference goers in order to defray the costs of attendance. While the MLA doesn’t keep track of how many of its 21,000 faculty members are non-tenured, it is thought that the number could run as high as 30 percent of the organization’s total non-student membership.

On the group’s website, Campus Equity Week organizers suggest activities for each day of the week:

Monday: Mobilize!

Contact your representative to attend or follow-up on the congressional briefing with New Faculty Majority on adjunct working conditions.

Tuesday: Tweet/Teach-In!

Share your story on campus and on social media.

Wednesday: Wear Scarlet!

Scarlet, and the red A, have risen as symbols of equity for adjunct faculty.

Thursday: Thank You!

Thank activists and their allies working for change. Highlight examples of courage and ethical practice. Follow CEW @CampusEquityWk and like us on Facebook. #CEW2015 #CampusEquity

Friday: Forward Motion!

Keep campus equity a year-round event. Participate in national and local campaigns to achieve the goals of equality and quality in higher education.

According to CEW organizers, Colorado State University has a vibrant, dynamic Campus Equity Week planned that includes “pop-up classes, round table discussions, book talks (Michael Bérubé’s & Jennifer Ruth’s Humanities, Higher Ed. & Academic Freedom), movie screenings (the film Con-Job, as seen on our Resources page), and guest speakers.”

Critics of Campus Equity Week include Keith Hoeller. Hoeller, in a blistering essay published in Counterpunch on Oct. 23 writes, “Campus Equity Week (CEW)  will be held across the U.S. October 26-30.  CEW started as a grass roots movement in 2001 and has been held every other year, alternating with meetings held by the Coalition on Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL).   Since 2013 CEW has been overseen by the New Faculty Majority (NFM), that describes CEW as ‘a week of education and activism that draws attention to the working conditions of faculty working on temporary, low-paid contracts, who now constitute the majority of college instructors.’ But one million insecure and low-wage professors, some living on public assistance, now need and deserve much more than recycling old slogans and charging half-price for ‘part-time cookies,’ as Green River College adjuncts did ten years ago. We need concrete goals and concrete actions to achieve them.”

Hoeller sees COCAL and NFM as being co-opted by leaders of the AFT and NEA, unions to which Hoeller belongs and of whose policies regarding their allegedly decades-long lackluster representation of part-time faculty nation-wide he has been persistently critical.

Keith Hoeller writes in his Counterpunch essay: “If U.S. faculty advocacy organizations and unions remain unwilling to embrace ‘full equality’ as the singular vision for the contingent faculty movement, and continue to proclaim only vague goals of improvement, they should be seen as obstacles, not friends, of the contingent faculty movement. And contingent faculty themselves must use discernment to avoid being hoodwinked by the sweet-talk of equity or parity, equal percentage pay increases, and other measures that effectively accommodate to the two-tier system, instead of challenging it.”

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At Fordham U Adjunct Fast Shows “Jesuit Just” Movement Gaining Momentum http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/09/21/at-fordham-u-adjunct-fast-shows-jesuit-just-movement-gaining-momentum/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/09/21/at-fordham-u-adjunct-fast-shows-jesuit-just-movement-gaining-momentum/#comments Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:18:05 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6171 by Katie Meyer

Last week, a handful of Rose Hill’s adjunct professors spent the day without food. Their cause? As longtime anthropology adjunct Alan Trevithick explained it, the fast was part of an ongoing campaign that aims to “make visible the poor working conditions, low pay, and non-existent benefits of adjunct…faculty.”

These professors, Trevithick noted, commonly work multiple jobs with minimal security. And yet they make up a clear “majority of higher-ed faculty in almost all colleges and universities in the U.S., including Fordham.”

At Fordham alone, there are about 650 adjuncts. These professors are part-time (at Fordham they are only allowed to teach a maximum of two courses, or 18 hours per week). They are also, by definition, untenured and must renegotiate their contracts at the end of each academic year.

Fast

Several Fordham adjuncts and supporters tweeted pictures hashtagged #fastforfaculty to raise awareness for their campaign. Courtesy of Alan Trevithick

Trevithick and many of the rest of the participants in the Fast for Faculty movement tweeted pictures of themselves throughout the day holding up signs expressing solidarity and hashtagging #FastForFaculty. And they say the conditions they are fighting against constitute a crisis.

“The pay is extremely low…less than one third per class of what full-time faculty receive to teach the same class. And there are no benefits. There’s no job security,” Trevithick said. “Basically it is part time employees without benefits who are de facto full-time employees.”

And, he said, the problems are not limited to any single school or type of college or university. Although Fast for Faculty is a movement specific to Jesuit institutions, it is just one offshoot of a more general movement called Faculty Forward which, in turn, is organized under the umbrella of the Service Employees International Union.

All things considered, it is a large movement. Even the specifically Jesuit offshoot that encompasses Tuesday’s fast stretches across the nation, with chapters popping up everywhere from Chicago Loyola to St. Louis University to Georgetown.

But breadth notwithstanding, the movement has seen some difficulty, particularly with organization. At Fordham, although the 650 or so adjuncts currently employed by the school make up a significant percentage of the faculty, you would be hard-pressed to tell based on the fast. When asked how many participated, Trevithick (who is one of Fordham’s more active adjunct-rights activists) said he wasn’t even sure.

“I really have no idea, actually,” he said. “Maybe five or six, maybe more.”

But, he explained, that low number has less to do with disinterest in protesting, and more with the challenges of consolidating a fragmented group like adjunct faculty.

“One of the big problems with adjuncts, certainly, is that they’re hard to organize because they have so many different schedules,” he said. “They’re often on campus at many different times, and then they’ll have to go another job, or another campus or something like that.”

That is not the only difficulty, however.

Another Rose Hill adjunct who participated in the fast said one of her primary concerns is the lack of security that comes with an adjunct position. Though she has taught at Fordham for over five years, she said she is often reluctant to speak up about poor adjunct treatment. For this article, she declined to share her name or department because she feared any negative remarks may put her job at stake.

But, she said, that does not mean she accepts the current state of affairs for adjuncts around the country.

“The problems involved — it’s financial, but it’s also time. Being a good professor takes preparation,” she said. “That’s important. And you can’t give it your best if you’re working multiple other jobs, because there just isn’t time.”

She herself has four different jobs, including her two-day-a-week Fordham contract. But she said she’s actually more fortunate than a lot of her colleagues.

“My field has a good number of practical applications, so if I can’t find a job in academia for a while, there are other options,” she explained. “Not everyone has that.”

Sometimes it is obvious that people are struggling, she said. She has known some professors who routinely come to school hungry, and food stamps, she noted, are fairly common. That level of poverty within the academic community, she said, is what disconcerts her most.

“I knew I wouldn’t be wealthy when I went into academia. But I’m going to work until I die…and that’s terrifying,” she said. “There’s no savings.”

Trevithick agreed with those sentiments.

“This is a situation that has building to its present crisis for forty years,” he said. “It’s changed higher ed very much and it’s very bad not just for faculty, but for students as well.”

He remains fairly hopeful however, particularly with this Jesuit-based approach to adjunct rights gaining some traction.  Jesuits in particular, he reasoned, might be a little more receptive to arguments for higher pay and better benefits.

“They should have a kind of moral motivation to take us seriously,” he said. “It’s a pretty straightforward set of ideas we’re trying to get across. You know, it’s just a set of notions about social justice and job equality and so forth.”

The anonymous professor, for her part, said she and many others would happily settle for just a decent livelihood.

“We’re not asking for tons and tons of money,” she said. “We’re just asking for a living wage. Any worker deserves that.”

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Asking Adjunct to Change Football Player’s Grade Costs Rutgers Coach $50K & Suspension http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/09/17/asking-adjunct-to-change-football-players-grade-costs-rutgers-coach-50k-suspension/ http://www.adjunctnation.com/2015/09/17/asking-adjunct-to-change-football-players-grade-costs-rutgers-coach-50k-suspension/#comments Thu, 17 Sep 2015 15:29:43 +0000 http://www.adjunctnation.com/?p=6163 Read the full Rutgers Report on Kyle Flood here.

Kyle Flood, who earns $2.5 million as the head coach of the Rutgers University football team has been suspended for three games as Rutgers football coach and fined $50,000 following a university-led investigation into rules violations and amid a recent string of off-field transgressions involving players on his team, university president Robert Barchi told NJ Advance Media.

“This suspension is the result of the very detailed extensive investigation that we carried out over the past several weeks regarding the allegations that the football coach had an inappropriate contact with a faculty member who was the instructor of one of our football players, a contact that is in violation of the university policy,” Barchi told NJ Advance Media. “That is what it’s about. That is what it’s in response to.”

The faculty member, an adjunct, earns $2,500 per course, according to the Rutgers faculty union.

In a letter to the Rutgers community on Wednesday, Barchi outlined the critical findings:

  • Flood met with the professor off-campus, and contacted the professor through subsequent emails, after he was told by a member of the academic support staff “that he is not to have contact with any faculty member regarding a student’s academic standing.”
  • When the faculty member agreed to “review an additional paper” to possibly help Barnwell’s standing in the class, Flood helped Barnwell by providing “grammatical and minor editorial suggestions to the submitted paper.Flood faced suspension or termination if he were found to have acted contrary to institutional policy by initiating contact with a faculty member with regards to a player’s academic standing.

Flood’s program also has been besieged by off-field problems recently. Six players have been kicked off the team in the past two weeks as the result of arrests. Two players, cornerback Dre Boggs and fullback Lloyd Terry, have been charged in home invasions. The other four players — Barnwell, cornerback Ruhann Peele, safety Delon Stephenson and fullback Razohnn Gross — face assault charges.

“As a member of the faculty and as a former provost myself, I know that Coach Flood’s actions in communicating with the faculty member crossed a line that all faculty hold dear,” Robert Barchi, president of Rutgers, said in a campuswide email. “Our faculty must have complete independence in executing their duties and there is a reason why we prohibit athletics coaching staff from discussing the academic standing of students with faculty.”

According to a report released Wednesday, the university stated that Flood “knew or should have known of well-established university policies prohibiting coach-initiated contact between coaches and members of the faculty regarding a student athlete’s academic standing.” Yet, officials concluded, Flood contacted a professor several times using the coach’s personal Gmail account.

According to a piece posted to InsideHigherEd.com:

Last May, a football player became academically ineligible after receiving a poor grade, according to the account in the Rutgers report. The player emailed the professor of that course, asking if there was a way for him “to work something out.” The professor said she could not change the grade.

The player continued to ask the professor if there was a way to improve his grade, and eventually the professor emailed an academic adviser, saying that the player was “badgering” her to change the grade.

Flood was notified of the player’s ineligibility and his interactions with the professor. In July, Flood asked the player to draft a letter to the professor “explaining his behavior last semester.” The coach forwarded the letter to the professor, saying, “I am sending it from my personal email to your personal email to ensure there will be no public vetting of the correspondence.”

Flood said that if the professor’s decision not to change the grade was final, then he was in “full support of that decision.” However, he added, if there was any work that could be done to earn a grade change, he would make sure the work was done during “football hours.” The professor replied, saying she was unsure how to change a grade so many weeks after it had been submitted. Flood asked if the two could meet in person, and then sent four more email messages arranging a time and place.

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