As the Adjunctiverse Turns

cheeky, no respect for academia

A Civil Libertarian Rebuttal to the University of Chicago’s Dean of Students

By now, most people who read this blog have seen the letter that the Dean of Students of the University of Chicago sent to incoming students this week:

The crucial paragraph of the letter was the third:

Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called “trigger warnings,” we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual “safe spaces” where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own.

There’s a lot to say, and a lot that’s been said, about this passage—Jeet Heer wrote a short piece at the New Republic (using some of my tweets as a jumping-off point) arguing that it was…

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My AB 1690 Advocacy Letter to the California Senate Education Committee Members

ICYMI ` Geoff Johnson on #AB1690

The Adjunct Crisis

Good Adjuncts:

For those of you outside the state of California, a big adjunct issue playing itself out in the chambers of the California Legislature is the push for adjunct job security via AB 1690.  The bill made it past the Senate Education Committee, and now awaits a more uncertain battle in the great legislative graveyard–the Senate Appropriations Committee, where its forerunner AB 1010, died last year. I choose to be optimistic.  if it makes it out of appropriations, it is almost certain to get approved by the floor of the senate, then sit before Governor Jerry Brown.  What will he do? No one is certain, but I’d like to think he’ll sign it,and I’m doing everything I can, along with so many others, to see he has that chance.

This the letter I wrote to the legislative aides of particular senators on the Ed. Committee.  They are often the…

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The English Major at Work

Timothy D. Robbins

Among the most potent archetypes in modern American culture is the English major cum budding novelist scriptwriter turned hipster barista. A guaranteed (if lazy) punchline, that a humanities degree ensures a middling career in the food service industry is a truism served up hottest by opportunistic politicians across the spectrum. (Here’s a right-wing governor, here’s a conservative presidential candidate, oh, and here’s the president of hope and change.) Despite the discipline’s best attempts to dispel the myth of the “impractical” English major, career marketability remains a constant source of anxiety within the walls of the academy itself.


The most popular majors in U.S. colleges, big and small, remain those fields with ready professional tracks–Business, Psychology, Nursing, Education, Criminal Justice–and there’s good reason for it, even if, as Natalia Cecire tweeted recently, the rationale might sometimes be a case of bad faith among liberal arts practitioners (though not a necessarily malicious one, as any philosophy major could tell…

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Personal Learning Networks

what personal learning networks might adjunct faculty contemplate? Start with DIY higher ed pedagogy and professional development — because, face it, the odds of departments picking that up for NTT are slim to none. Add exploring and growing in our disciplines because… (see above). Finally — but neither last nor least — activism and social justice networks, not just about adjunct miseries. Don’t forget lagniappe PLNs to feed the spirit.

So you want to be a scientist

Here is an infographic briefly describing some of my reflections on PLNs based on week 2 of #digpins. Still learning and gaining an understanding of what digital identity, PLNs, and digital citizenship mean for me and for how I plan to engage my students with digital learning!


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School Leadership Matters: Why Are So Many School Leaders Mediocre?

apply this higher ed admin

Ed In The Apple

Why is the quality of school leadership, to be polite, so mediocre?  Everyone who visits schools on a regular basis comments on the lack of effective leadership – exceptional school leaders are hard to find.

The first question: Is this a new phenomenon, or, have principals always been mediocre?  Let’s remember, we have had decades of low achieving schools. Scores of large high schools have been closed, high schools that were dropout factories, and, schools in which the powers that make policy seemed  not to care. The lowest achieving schools were staffed with the substitutes, called PPT’s (Provisional Preparatory Teachers), teachers who could not pass the required pre-service exams. There was an unofficial triage system: some schools were sacrificed so others could survive. The most effective teachers and principals found their way to the highest achieving schools.  An (in)famous surreptitiously filmed video showed a principal boasting, “Just because I paid for my job…

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It’s About All of Us: Tell Your Students What You Are

Talk to your students. Explain contingency in academic labor and how it affects them. We can’t say that often enough.

The Adjunct Crisis

I’m posting the latest  from mixinminao (Geoff Johnson) because he is having some technical difficulties with his computer. Here is the hardest working activist in America’s latest post:

For most people reading this, you are serious adjunct/contingent activists who are all too aware of how damaging adjunct working conditions are your life economically, physically, emotionally, psychically. . . and I could go on.  You may also be aware of how it hurts students, the institution, and contract/full-time employees as well.  You may also be aware that people have written about this at length and that in the face of it, movement on much of the issue has been, with but a exceptions, glacial at best.

Part of this is because every time we broach the issue on our campuses during activist events like Campus Equity Week or Adjunct action, we spend more time having to tell students what an adjunct…

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Thoughts On Summer School Teaching

What are your thoughts on summer teaching as an adjunct? (If you can get it, that is).

PS check out the rest of Mike Madigan’s blog, Bottledaux. We ❤ adjunct blogs! (wine and writing too)


Frankly, I adore it.  Not just the brevity, but the intensity of the whole experience.  Only eight weeks, here at SRJC anyway.  This Summer, as I have the past two or three (can’t remember if I taught in Summer ’13), I’m teaching English 100, the Reading and Writing section just before 1A.  This is a perfect week-amount for such a course.  I return to the staging of intensity and the dedication a student has to demonstrate each meeting in order to pass, and grow however they want to as a student, or reader, writer.  The short nature of the term is the motivator.  And, honestly, it motivates me to be more speedy and punctual with not only handing back papers but planning my lessons, writing lectures, sketching activities, outlining assignments.  With everything.

The weather.  Well, that’s part of it.  Right now it’s in the 80s, while the forecast for the…

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The master/servant relationship: a mediæval romance

long, detailed and, like all rare and precious New Unionism article, very much worth reading, saving, sharing and reading again.

For the readers of last pages first, the closing paragraph:

“Dear reader, it’s anybody’s guess whether the current global regime is going to wreck everything for all of us, once and for all. If we do pull through it will be because workers and their unions stepped up. If this happens I would like to suggest a final resting place for the corpse of the master-servant relationship. It’s a special place once reserved for malign spirits within the Great Chain of Being. If the ancients were correct, it’s somewhere below the inanimate objects. Underneath all the rocks, lost socks and broken toasters.”

NewUnionism's Blog

Why do we defer from 9 to 5? The “master-servant relationship” is a feudal phantom that still haunts today’s workplaces, thanks to English common law. Peter Hall-Jones argues that it’s time to exorcise the old ghoul. The workplace democracy movement aims to do just that, but where do unions fit in? The way they respond to this agenda might well determine their relevance in the workplace of the future.

O2Great_Chain_of_BeingNCE upon a time there was a great chain of being. Up the top was God; down at the bottom were all the inanimate objects[1]. Actually, somewhere beneath all this, below the rocks and lost socks and broken toasters in a kind of hidden underground lair, were the Devil and his minions. As for you and I, we were stationed at different points along the way depending upon our status. Kings were below angels; vassals below lords; apprentices below craftsmen; and wives below husbands. And there wasn’t much point…

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Call for Manuscripts: Strangers in Academia: Teaching and Scholarship at the Margins

#CFP from @PLThomasEdD

the becoming radical

Call for Manuscripts

Strangers in Academia: Teaching and Scholarship at the Margins

Christian Z. Goering, University of Arkansas; Angela Dye, PBS Development, LLC; and P.L. Thomas, Furman University, editors

This volume seeks to collect contributions from authors across the spectrum of academe who, for one reason or another, feel as if they are strangers at their own universities and/or in K-12 education.

In the background of this project, we are confronting the mainstream idea that formal education is somehow revolutionary, for both individuals and the larger society. Therefore, this volume is a testament to how all levels of academia are too often reflect and perpetuate the society the schools/universities serve.

Specifically, we are seeking to include the experience, thinking, and scholarly perspective of those who feel othered, ostracized, pushed out, relegated, or marginalized because of your status (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) or your professional and/or…

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In Unity: A Strong, Active Union, Equal Pay for Adjuncts

file under make my day: always a welcome treat to see a JR Hoskins post on Adjunct Crisis

The Adjunct Crisis


The adjunct crisis is the higher education crisis.

There is a division within our union ranks not of our own design, which we do not clearly see. And this is troubling. We are divided. Our union is divided. As long as we accept that the interests of adjuncts and contract faculty are different, as long as we conceive of them as distinct bargaining groups, we will perpetuate this division, this two-tiered system. It is not an accident, I think, that tenure has been under attack in the courts recently, at just this point, a perfect storm. It is not an accident that the ACCJC tried to shut down CCSF, the largest California community college full of adjuncts who are paid on an equity scale, as part of a scheme, I am convinced, to privatize the entire system. But ACCJC failed, in part, because of the unity of local 2121…

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