Monthly Archives: July 2014

Northern New Mexico signs petition in protest of Northern New Mexico College budget

The Northern Issue

Hi everyone, this is the only article the Rio Grande Sun published this week about Northern. Enjoy!

Ralph Chapoco

Rio Grande Sun

July 17, 2014

Former Northern New Mexico College employees have been circulating a petition and urging fellow community members to support it. The petition is asking the New Mexico Higher Education Department to reject Northern’s proposed 2014/2015 budget because of academic program cuts.

The Board of Regents dedicated the majority of its April 24 meeting to discuss the proposed budget. The budget called for cutting three programs: automotive, construction and radiology. It also proposed eliminating nine employees as well as the day care center. The budget was unanimously approved with two people abstaining, Board Member Donald Martinez and Board President Rosario Garcia, and was then sent to the state’s higher education department for final approval.

Emotions were charged at that meeting. Several students, faculty and staff publicly opposed…

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That Petition You’ve Been Hearing So Much About

Can we convince David Weil of the US Department of Labor to investigate working conditions, adjunct (mis)treatment, and student learning conditions in higher ed? So far, 1,705 (and counting) people hope so. Remember, anyone can sign it. Anyone.

The petition I cowrote with nine fellow activists is going strong. This time last week, we’d just starting getting signatures. Now, we’re approaching 2,000 signatures faster than any of us thought possible a week ago. A big, big thanks to such tireless retweeters as Victoria Scott, New Faculty Majority, Citizen Academic, and Fabián Banga.

Reporter Justin Peligri just wrote a great piece for USA TODAY College, as did a reporter for Inside Higher Ed. We’ve also gotten some nice write-ups from fellow activists (say, here and here), as well as a short piece on Daily Nous.  We’re hoping for more media attention in the next few weeks–including, we hope, some photo ops when some of us hand-deliver the letter to Labor. The more attention, the better.

What’s next? Why do all these signatures and news stories matter?

Ultimately, we want the petition to initiate an investigation into what many of us know: American higher education is broken, and students are being hurt by it. We don’t need another overpaid provost or deanlet to talk about a “strategic plan,” “vision for the 21st century,” or “flipped classrooms.” We need fairly paid, fairly treated professors for our college students. We need equitable, stable working conditions for university faculty and staff. We need strong, stable learning conditions for university students.

In the shorter term, our plan is to hand-deliver the petition to David Weil, as well as try to get the attention of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. (Know a staffer for someone on that committee? Let me know.) We need the might and resources of a government department on our side. University administrations need to know that all is not well in their kingdoms, and that a lot of smart, engaged, and energetic people are unhappy.

We don’t want this petition to be one of those things you sign, share, and forget about. We want it to be the start of something great. A lot of you have helped us so far; keep doing what you can for the petition, our goals, adjunct professors, and–ultimately–our students.

Guest Post: Quiet Plebs, a Provost Is Talking

Why read the work of a real provost when you can read the work of a “provost” who’ll make you laugh?

pan kisses kafka

Inside Higher Ed has a recurring column called Provost Prose. Today’s is about a tropical cruise a provost took his daughter on for her sixteenth birthday (obviously), and the many important direct parallels between that cruise and the modern university customer experience.

Some of my friends did not like this post, and made this known to me. As a result, I put out a call through my high-class back channels until I located a provost of my own, who was also highly offended by this column. He found it “tonedeaf,” he says, to the “real issues provosts face–which, as we know, is the number-one issue of higher education today.” So I asked him if he’d mind writing a short guest post for me–unpaid, of course, because the prestige of appearing on this august blog should be enough. He readily agreed. So here, without further ado, is:

PROVOST PROETRY

by T…

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Why you should sign a petition calling for the Department of Labor to investigate contingent faculty working conditions

ACADEME BLOG

Guest Blogger Seth Kahn is a faculty member (composition and rhetoric; critical pedagogy; qualitative research methods) at West Chester University of PA. He’s a peace activist and serves in several positions for the PASSHE schools’ faculty union (APSCUF).

If you’re a Facebook friend or in my G+ network, you’ve seen me post a link to this petition calling for the Department of Labor to investigate the working conditions of contingent faculty in the US.

If you haven’t already, here’s why you should do this–

If you’re a contingent faculty member, it may (should?) benefit you directly. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t sign it, especially because your local administration should never know that you did. It’s safe, and it’s potentially very helpful.

If you’re a faculty member who isn’t contingent, there are several reasons to do this. First, it’s an obvious act of solidarity with our contingent colleagues whose positions are…

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Why you should sign a petition calling for the Department of Labor to investigate contingent faculty working conditions

Help us petition the Labor Department to investigate higher ed. The initial goal is 500 signatures, but something like 5000 would be loads better.

Here comes trouble

If you’re a Facebook friend or in my G+ network, you’ve seen me post a link to this petition calling for the Department of Labor to investigate the working conditions of contingent faculty in the US.

If you haven’t already, here’s why you should do this–

If you’re a contingent faculty member, it may (should?) benefit you directly. I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t sign it, especially because your local administration should never know that you did. It’s safe, and it’s potentially very helpful.

If you’re a faculty member who isn’t contingent, there are several reasons to do this. First, it’s an obvious act of solidarity with our contingent colleagues whose positions are untenable; even contingent faculty with the best salaries and benefits and access to governance and all the rest of it are still contingent. Second, if you believe that “we” need to be taking action on behalf of…

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Another #ArticleRemix

For the record, let me say–again–how big a fan I am of the #ArticleRemix concept Katie Pryal wrote about on her blog a week or so ago. (Short version: revise & remix a #fancy smartypants piece to make it accessible & engaging for a wider audience.) “So much academic writing is hidden behind paywalls,” Katie tells us. “And then, when you finally can download an article, the knowledge it contains is hidden behind field-specific jargon (some of which is completely unnecessary for the making of meaning).”

I’d love to see more writers–whether current, academics, former ones, or something else–remix their work and share it with a broader audience. If what we’re writing about is so worthwhile and good, why not share it with others, spread our knowledge, and gain new readers? Or, as Katie asks, “And if we experts can’t share our expertise, then what’s the point of being experts?”

In early 2012, I published a book, Faulkner and Hemingway: Biography of a Literary Rivalry, with Ohio State UP. At the time, I hoped it was my “in” for a tenure-track job in some university English Department. Yet the rules of Calvinball academia kept changing, and the book wasn’t the magic ticket I expected it to be. ‘Tis no matter, though. I loved writing the book, discussing it, and giving presentations on it. It was definitely labor (worth a whopping $3.62 in royalties so far), but one of love & some fun.

An editor at the New England Review approached me not long after the book was published to ask about running an excerpt in an upcoming issue. I had to make some revisions, take out most of the scholarly backbone of the excerpt, and smooth out some parts. New England Review has a solid print and web readership, and they were great to work with.

For those with institutional login info, it should be archived here. For those without such access, I’m sharing the PDF. I hope this encourages you to remix & share some of your own work.

33.1.fruscione NER

The Airing of Grievances (Adjunct Version)

When I was an adjunct, I sometimes needed a safe, anonymous to vent about…whatever. Unfair conditions. Painfully low pay. A new administrative policy that helped no one but the provosts and deanlets. Knowing I was qualified for the tenure track, yet regularly hitting RESET every new school year or having to make nice when the department hired #FancyNewGuy instead of promoting from within.

Adjuncts can now–safely and anonymously–share whatever experiences, complaints, rants, or whatever on a tumblr, Adjunct Sounding Board:  http://withoutushigheredwouldcrumble.tumblr.com/. Add yours, and then share the link with other adjuncts.

Let those grievances air, I say. Higher ed needs to hear about it.  Whether they don’t know or just don’t care, schools and their upper-level admins need to know that, without adjuncts, higher ed would crumble.