Rich Moser has written that the current “multi-tiered” academic labor system “constitutes a threat to the teaching profession that, if left unchecked, it will undermine the university’s status as an institution of higher learning because the overuse of adjuncts and their lowly status and compensation institutionalize disincentives to quality education, threaten academic freedom and shared governance, and disqualify the campus as an exemplar of democratic values. These developments in academic labor are the most troubling expressions of the so-called corporatization of higher education.”
Join contingent faculty, students and allies from SEIU Local 500 and across the region and the nation for an action-oriented forum on how we are educating, agitating and organizing against the multi-tiered academic labor system and reclaiming academic citizenship.
Program highlights include:
- Invited guest – Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU
- Featured speakers include: Robins Sowards, Duquesne University, Adjunct Faculty Association-United Steelworkers; Marisa Allison, co-author of “Indispensable but Invisible,” a report on contingent faculty working conditions at George Mason University; Robert Samuels, President of UC-AFT, the union representing 4,000 contingent faculty in the University of California system.
- Friday evening reception with music from the George Washington University jazz band.
- “Unpopular Economics” workshop by Debt Free Future.
- Launch of the white paper The High Cost of Adjunct Living in Maryland.
Call for Participation:
We invite proposals for panels, presentations, workshops, discussion groups, performances, spoken-word, film, art, music or other non-traditional means of participation.
Suggested topics include, but are not limited to:
The stratification of the academic labor market – the fragmentation of the higher ed teaching profession – what are the “costs of education?” – redistribution of revenues in universities and colleges – the politics of knowledge production – making college affordable and accessible – the role and future of HBCUs – reducing soaring tuition – student debt and how to fight it – students and contingents sharing economic precariousness – organizing at community colleges –community colleges as democracy’s colleges – tuition free education– race and class in the contingent faculty movement – education as a public good – precariousness and academic freedom – the myth of academic meritocracy – teaching critical consciousness and dissent – student activism – finding allies – art and performance in the contingent faculty movement – organizing at religious schools – legal battles – minority unionism – the high cost of adjunct living – fight not plight – contingent faculty inclusion in the academic community – the role of professional associations in the contingent faculty movement – metro-strategy organizing –
Panelists and Presentations include:
Bob Samuels, President, University of California-American Federation of Teachers, Lecturer, University of California at Los Angeles
This presentation focuses on bringing together the fight for free college tuition with current efforts to improve the working conditions of contingent faculty. There will be a detailed analysis of why the current funding and financial aid model for higher education is not working, and how President Obama’s plan for free community college can be used to improve the working conditions of the casualized academic labor force.
Robin Sowards, United Steelworkers, Vice President, New Faculty Majority Foundation
Are Faculty Senates Company Unions?
This talk will explore the (deliberately provocative) question asked in its title in light of the history of faculty governance and the tactical and legal considerations that confront unions (especially unions representing contingent faculty) on campuses where some or all faculty have some kind of representation in a shared governance process.”
Sam Parsons, George Mason University Student:
UnKoch Your Campus- Fighting Corporate Influence in Higher Education
UnKochMyCampus.org is a grassroots campaign which organizes students, faculty, alumni, labor and community members to fight undue corporate influence and guard academic freedom in higher education. In the last several years, the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and its partners have contracted “strings attached” influence over faculty hire and curriculum control inside our public universities and colleges and are funding on-campus centers and institutes that push “free market” research agendas in support of the corporatization of education, slashing RPS standards, eliminating collective bargaining, and union busting. This workshop will bring awareness to the Koch problem we face on campus and in the nation. The primary purpose is to teach organizers how to use coalition building strategies to integrate knowledge and research on the Kochs (and their influence in education) into the larger struggle against the corporatization of politics and the dismantling of student and union power. Participants will walk away with knowledge of how to research Koch influence in their communities, colleges and states and use media outreach, social media production methods, and solidarity networking to build an effective campaign that brings a diverse group of people together to protect the labor movement, students, and academic integrity.
Jill Niebrugge-Brantley, Vice President, George Washington University Part-time Faculty Union/SEIU Local 500
The “Adjunct Discount” Just Got Bigger and More Lethal—The American Council on Education, Adjuncts, and the Affordable Care Act
Refocusing higher education around teaching and valuing pedagogical skill.
Clayton Sinyai, Catholic Labor Network; Jane Harty, Pacific Lutheran University; and Alan Trevithick, Fordham University :
Approaches to Catholic Colleges and Universities that reconcile religious freedom concerns and union rights.
Organizing a union at religious institutions – the Pacific Lutheran and Fordham experiences
Dr. Michael Loadenthal, Adjunct lecturer, Program on Justice & Peace (Georgetown University)
Academic Labor and Consumer-Side Politics: The Adjunctification of Education
Contingent laborers in the field of higher education are well aware of a change which has taken place. Over the last few decades, a seemingly gradual change in university culture has occurred concurrent with the restructuring of university labor forces. This new articulation of the university labor model is reflective of larger shifts in the technology of neoliberalism, and as such, can be read through similar critiques. This discussion will explore how the adjunctification of the university workforce has been influenced by macro practices of neoliberalism and the micro politics of consumerism. Reframing the student as consumer and the lecturer as alienated producer, we will discuss the situation we find ourselves in and potential strategies for change.
Darien Ungar, Howard University; Albert Pearsall, University of the District of Columbia; Orisade Awodola, University of the District of Columbia; and Richard America, Georgetown University
The Future of HBCUs and the role of Contingent Faculty
Seth Kahn, Department of English, West Chester University of PA
Inside/Outside (But Mostly Inside): Working Within and Across Disciplinary Organizations
Disciplinary/professional organizations, even when they’re inclined to do the right things, are often slow-moving to the point of inertia. On the other hand, our disciplinary organizations have power and resources to move adjunct equity efforts forward. In this session, Seth Kahn describes efforts across two different organizations (Conference on College Composition and Communication; Council of Writing Program Administrators) to mobilize membership and leadership around adjunct activism, in order to prompt a strategy session for getting our organizations to work harder for equity.
Marisa Allison; The George Mason Coalition of Academic Labor
Findings from “Indispensable but Invisible,” a report on contingent faculty working conditions at George Mason University.
Strategies for organizing without collective bargaining at George Mason University.
Maria Maisto, President New Faculty Majority
A presentation and discussion on the recent work of The New Faculty Majority Foundation, including the Women and Contingency Project and legislative efforts.