Friday, February 27, 2015

Education Funding Taking Hits Nationwide

Huffington Post
February 25th, 2015

Standard & Poor's Rating Services recently issued a negative outlook for nonprofit higher education for 2015. "Upping the Ante: Costs of Luring Top Students Keeps the Outlook Negative on U.S. Not-for-Profit Higher Education Sector" cites that colleges and universities will continue to struggle to balance their rising costs with student affordability. In addition, increased competition within the industry will require even stronger in-house management.
Education funding is taking a hit nationwide as more and more states are instituting cuts. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's proposed budget calls for $75 million in cuts to the state's public universities. Already heavily dependent on tuition dollars for the majority of their operating budget, educational leaders there worry how these potential cuts will further affect their bottom line - in particular at Arizona State University where officials previously announced no tuition increases for existing in-state ASU students.

To Resubmit or Not To Resubmit?

Inside Higher Ed
February 27th, 2015

Around this time a few years ago, I was patiently waiting for any news. Ok, by “patiently waiting,” I really mean “obsessively checking the status of my application online.” For the most recent wave of F31 NRSA submissions—as I’m sure the applicants are well aware—review committees are beginning to meet to discuss and score those applications.
If this was your first submission, brace yourself—you likely won’t be receiving an award notice in your inbox (those aren’t doled out until later anyway). A few fortunate applicants will be awarded on the first round, but the majority won’t make the cut. So next comes the big decision to revise and resubmit your application, or let it go. After getting a “Not Discussed” (see below) on my first submission, I received funding for my application on my resubmission. I’ve shared a few things below that I learned during my process of revising and resubmitting my F31 application.

Drive to Unionize Bentley U. Adjuncts Succeeds on Second Try

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 26th, 2015

Sixteen months after rejecting the idea by a narrow margin, adjunct instructors at Bentley University have overwhelmingly voted to form a union affiliated with the Service Employees International Union.
The vote at the private college in Waltham, Mass., was 108 to 42. The union chapter is the latest of several formed in an SEIU campaign to organize adjunct faculty members at private colleges throughout the Boston area. Bentley’s administration, which had opposed the unionization of adjuncts there, issued a statement in which it accepted the election results, tallied on Thursday, and pledged to bargain with the union in good faith.

Faculty Union Rips U. of Delaware President’s Column Endorsing ‘Learner-Centric’ Education

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 27th, 2015

The faculty union at the University of Delaware has assailed the president over a column he wrote suggesting that professors give up some of their autonomy in course design, among other things, The News Journal reports.
The union called the ideas presented in Patrick T. Harker’s February 5 column in The Philadelphia Inquirer “an affront to the mission of university education and to core values of academic life.”

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day of Protest

Inside Higher Ed
February 26th, 2015

It started as a simple question on social media: What would happen if adjuncts across the country walked out on the same day, at the same time?
That question got answered Wednesday -- sort of -- on the first-ever National Adjunct Walkout Day. There were some big walkouts at a few institutions but, for a variety of reasons, adjuncts at many more colleges and universities staged alternative protests, such as teach-ins, rallies and talks. Still, the movement led to unprecedented levels of conversation on many campuses, in the media and elsewhere about the working conditions of the majority of college faculty (those off the tenure track). And as a result, adjunct activists declared the day a success -- while wondering what comes next.

NLRB Orders Review of Faculty-Unionization Case at Point Park U.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 26th, 2015



The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ordered a regional official to reconsider a case focused on whether faculty members at a private college in Pittsburgh have too much say in managing their institution to be allowed to unionize.
The case, involving Point Park University, is the sixth that the federal agency has ordered regional officials to reconsider in light of its December ruling in a case involving Pacific Lutheran University. In contrast to the other five cases, however, the Point Park dispute does not involve a religious college arguing that its First Amendment religious freedom would be infringed by NLRB oversight stemming from unionization. Instead, it involves a secular private college and an issue that arose in only some of the religious-college cases: whether the faculty members who seek to unionize should be considered managers and therefore precluded from doing so.

The National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ordered a regional official to reconsider a case focused on whether faculty members at a private college in Pittsburgh have too much say in managing their institution to be allowed to unionize.
The case, involving Point Park University, is the sixth that the federal agency has ordered regional officials to reconsider in light of its December ruling in a case involving Pacific Lutheran University. In contrast to the other five cases, however, the Point Park dispute does not involve a religious college arguing that its First Amendment religious freedom would be infringed by NLRB oversight stemming from unionization. Instead, it involves a secular private college and an issue that arose in only some of the religious-college cases: whether the faculty members who seek to unionize should be considered managers and therefore precluded from doing so.
- See more at: http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/nlrb-orders-review-of-faculty-unionization-case-at-point-park-u/94663#sthash.ddTyXqEE.dpuf

Unionization Drive Halted at California Institute of the Arts

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 26th, 2015

Efforts to unionize faculty members at the California Institute of the Arts have stalled just as professors were about to vote on whether to join the Service Employees International Union, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The SEIU is trying to organize part-time professors in cities across the country. The effort at the California Institute of the Arts was distinct in that nearly all faculty members would have been represented, because the college does not offer tenure. One professor told the Times that the petition to hold an election had been withdrawn because of a lack of support for unionization among faculty members.

Walking Out, Teaching In, and Puppeteering: A Glimpse at National Adjunct Walkout Day

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 26th, 2015



When the idea for National Adjunct Walkout Day was first floated last fall on social media, the plan was simple: Designate a single day of action, and stage events nationwide that would call attention to adjuncts’ often-low pay, lack of job security, and challenging working conditions. In contingent circles, the idea spread like wildfire.
But there was an obvious challenge: Not everyone had the option of walking out. Many adjuncts on unionized campuses were prohibited from doing so by their collective bargaining agreements; other part-time professors felt that they simply couldn’t afford to leave their classrooms.
So instead, the event aimed to give adjuncts the freedom and flexibility to tailor events to their particular campuses and circumstances. The result? It’s hard to estimate just how many people actually took part in the national walkout, held Wednesday. But in addition to the part-time faculty members who left their classrooms, others led campus protests, organized teach-in events, and followed along on the Twitter hashtag #NAWD, among other actions.


When the idea for National Adjunct Walkout Day was first floated last fall on social media, the plan was simple: Designate a single day of action, and stage events nationwide that would call attention to adjuncts’ often-low pay, lack of job security, and challenging working conditions. In contingent circles, the idea spread like wildfire.
But there was an obvious challenge: Not everyone had the option of walking out. Many adjuncts on unionized campuses were prohibited from doing so by their collective bargaining agreements; other part-time professors felt that they simply couldn’t afford to leave their classrooms.
So instead, the event aimed to give adjuncts the freedom and flexibility to tailor events to their particular campuses and circumstances. The result? It’s hard to estimate just how many people actually took part in the national walkout, held Wednesday. But in addition to the part-time faculty members who left their classrooms, others led campus protests, organized teach-in events, and followed along on the Twitter hashtag #NAWD, among other actions.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/919-walking-out-teaching-in-and-puppeteering-a-glimpse-at-national-adjunct-walkout-day#sthash.GM0kNlu8.dpuf

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How I Get By: Mary-Faith Cerasoli

The Chronicle of Higher Education
December 16th, 2015



Close your eyes. Picture a homeless person.
The image you’ll likely see is that of a man with matted hair, vacant eyes, and leathery skin. He’s probably wearing torn clothes, with an odor that hits you from a good distance away.
Now open your eyes and look at the photo above of Mary-Faith Cerasoli.
She’s a professionally dressed middle-aged woman with a careworn face, hair swept back prettily over her ears, plucked eyebrows, rouged lips, and manicured nails. She’s an adjunct professor who teaches Spanish and Italian at the Bronx and Manhattan campuses of Mercy College and Nassau Community College in Long Island. She has a life-threatening thyroid disease, and she’s homeless.
Since fall of 2010, when the 52-year-old started adjuncting, Cerasoli has had to rely on the kindness of friends to survive because her pay is so meager. Over the past six months she’s had to move four times. Her annual salary for teaching five courses per semester is around $22,000 before taxes. Because she has no health insurance, she goes to a specialty clinic in Manhattan, where she has racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills. 

Adjunct professor: This is why part-time professors are walking out today

Washington Post
February 25th, 2015

I have been a temp for 20 years.
I began teaching as an adjunct in 1995 at Brooklyn College (part of the City University of New York). I had enrolled in an MFA program there, and hiring adjuncts was CUNY’s form of financial aid to graduate students.
Adjunct instructors, in case you are unaware, are part-time instructors in colleges and universities. (Trust academia to give a fancy name to a temp.) Adjuncts are paid by the course and hired by the semester.
But they’re an entrenched part of the system. The trend of hiring adjuncts has grown. They now comprise over half of instructors in higher education.

National Adjunct Walkout Day

Inside Higher Ed
February 25th, 2015

I’m originally from Quebec, where there is a long history of strikes and walkouts, up to today. Most recently, there was the Printemps √Črables (many of the links in my original post are now dead and gone. Here is some general information in English as well as an in-depth overview – and as an aside, the Quebec history entries on Wikipedia in English are terrible). The striking students brought down the government, but change didn’t really happen (they’re planning to strike again this spring). But they have long recognized the power of collective action in order to bring about change, however incremental.
All of this to say that I was pretty excited to see that this year will see a National Adjunct Walkout Day. We have been long working to bring more visibility to adjunct issues on campus, on the ground. There was a Campus Equity Week where adjuncts and adjunct supporters were asked to wear red. But this is the first time that there has been an attempt to organize a full-scale national, nay, with campuses from Canada participating, international day of protest around adjunct issues.

N.J. professors plan protests, teach-ins for 'National Adjunct Walkout Day'

True Jersey
February 25th, 2015

New Jersey college students may arrive at class today and find their professors packing up their bags and skipping class in the first-ever "National Adjunct Walkout Day."
The loosely-organized national protest is designed to highlight the plight of part-time professors and lecturers on college campuses. Organizers have been using social media sites, including Facebook and Tumblr, to urge adjunct professors to participate in the walkout.
Adjuncts are typically hired to teach one or more courses per semester. Compared to full-time professors, they earn low pay and have little job security. But they now make up the majority of teachers on college campuses nationwide, according to a survey released last year by the American Association of University Professors.

As High-Tech Teaching Catches On, Students With Disabilities Can Be Left Behind

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 25th, 2015

Educational innovations like the flipped classroom, clickers, and online discussions can present difficulties for students with disabilities.
The issue was highlighted this month, when Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were sued for allegedly failing to provide such students with closed captioning for online lectures and course materials.
Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University and author of eQuality: The Struggle for Web Accessibility by Persons With Cognitive Disabilities (Cambridge University Press, 2014), said blind and deaf students need to be considered when shifting core parts of teaching to the Internet.

Today Is ‘National Adjunct Walkout Day.’ Will It Make a Difference?

The Chronicle of Higher Education
February 25th, 2015

 Adjunct instructors at colleges around the nation plan on Wednesday to stage events designed to call attention to their low pay and poor working conditions. On Tuesday, The Chronicle interviewed Ellen Schrecker, a professor of history at Yeshiva University who has extensively researched academic labor and the broader labor movement, to get her assessment of adjuncts’ hopes of bringing about change. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

Today Is National Adjunct Walkout Day

Inside Higher Ed
February 25th, 2015

As part of National Adjunct Walkout Day today, many adjuncts -- along with some students and tenure-line faculty members -- will walk out of their classes or participate in other forms of protest on campuses across the U.S. and Canada. The idea was posed in the fall on social media to highlight adjuncts' working conditions, lack of job security and relatively low pay. Many adjuncts on unionized campuses are prohibited by their collective bargaining agreements or state laws from walking out, but many unions have pledged to support the effort through awareness campaigns, such as teach-ins. A list of actions is available here, and updates will be posted throughout the day on Twitter under #NAWD and on Facebook.

Personal Philosophy

Inside Higher Ed
February 25th, 2015

It's not every day that respected academics reveal their personal struggles, especially to a big audience of colleagues and strangers. So a recent talk by Peter Railton, the Gregory S. Kavka Distinguished University Professor and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan, is making the rounds on social media -- along with accounts of multiple standing ovations and even open weeping from some of those present. Railton’s topic? His battle with depression, which he says he's hidden for too long.
“As academics, we live in its midst,” Railton said, according to a draft of the John Dewey Lecture he delivered last week at the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association’s Central Division in St. Louis. “We know how it hurts our students, our colleagues, our teachers, our families. Of course, most of us are ‘educated’ about depression -- we like to think that we no longer consider it a stain on one’s character. We've gotten beyond that. Or have we?”

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

VIDEO: What If Unions Took to Heart the Need to Organize Their Own Members?

Labor Notes
February 24th, 2015




Recently I was invited to speak at the Albert Shanker Institute, the think tank run by the American Federation of Teachers. I know, it kind of makes your head explode, right?
Heavyweights from across the country gathered there in January to discuss the future of our movement. After I got past the suits and lingering hot air, I was struck by just how far the discussion—even in official circles—has swung towards labor’s troublemaking wing.
AFL-CIO Vice-President Tefere Gebre, for example, made a point of saying we can’t do anything without rank-and-file members at the center. Speaker after speaker said our power comes from our ability to disrupt. And to my pleasant surprise, more than one raised the thorny topic of union democracy.


South Carolina: A State University Puts Its President on Administrative Leave

New York Times
February 23rd, 2015

Trustees of financially troubled South Carolina State University unanimously voted Monday to place President Thomas Elzey on administrative leave. The closed-door vote took place 11 days after trustees said they were standing behind their president. But since then, lawmakers have rapidly lost their patience with the state’s only public historically black university and its $11 million of debt. Mr. Elzey has nearly three years left on his contract, and it was not immediately clear whether he would be paid. The Feb. 12 statement of confidence in Mr. Elzey came after a State House committee suggested temporarily closing the school to get its finances in order and the Legislative Black Caucus called for the removal of the president. Since then, the State House Ways and Means Committee advanced a proposal to replace all trustees and fire the president.