As the Adjunctiverse Turns

cheeky, no respect for academia

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Today on the Future Trends Forum: Charlottesville and education

Denizens of the #Adjunct/iverse: don’t miss this one.

Bryan Alexander

Today we’re attempting another Future Trends Forum experiment.  Once again we will focus on discussion, and not center it around a guest.

Instead, we’re going to talk about Charlottesville and what it means for education.

In light of current events, we will hold an open session today, August 16th, from 2-3 pm.  This is an hour for us to reflect, process, and share our thoughts about what just happened, and what it might tell us about the future.

This is an experiment, and one that runs certain risks, given the intensity of the topic, to put it mildly. I want to welcome diverse participants.  That includes the nearly 2000-strong Forum community, and anyone else that’s interested.  As convener and host, I will facilitate discussion with care.  I reserve the right to warn, then boot people if they abuse others.

Charlottesville students at statue
If you can’t be there today because of scheduling or…

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Can an employer fire a publicly-avowed white supremacist?

Minding the Workplace

Screenshot of rally photo from Huffington Post

While following developments concerning the horrific white supremacist/neo-Nazi/KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, I asked myself, how would I like to be working with one of these lovely individuals? I then thought, if I was a manager, could I simply fire a white supremacist for participating in the rally?

The answer to the first question is easy and purely personal: No way would I want to share office space, a cubicle area, an office suite, a store floor, or a factory floor with one of these folks. And as an Asian American, I assume they’d feel the same way towards me.

The answer to the second question is more objective, complicated, and nuanced: Yes, in many instances the law would allow a manager to terminate a white supremacist for participating in the rally, but there are potential exceptions and twists, especially…

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Campus Equity Week Prepping Part IV: Addressing Challenge of Adjunct Apathy and Reluctance

Forget Winter: October 2017 is coming and with it, #CEW2017. Whether just a handful of adjuncts, a full, active chapter or @AdjunctCrisis’ series will help you prepare. Watch this space for Part V coming soon.

The Adjunct Crisis

Good Adjuncts,

So you’ve decided to take action, or do a series of activities, or maybe you want to, but feel stymied.

Of the main challenges I have faced, and continue to do so, is dealing with the apathy or self-interest of my colleagues.  I know that some adjunct activists would want me to speak of fear first, and I’ll address this later, but I will tell you apathy and self-interest are far bigger challenges.

Some of you have heard the expression that organizing adjuncts is like herding cats, and to a large extent it’s true.  I constantly hear how adjuncts are busy teaching their heavy loads at multiple classes with family and personal obligations to boot. I would like all these busy adjuncts to know that everyone (including myself) is busy too, but anyway…

Keeping it positive here, a lot of adjunct apathy is driven by the sort of…

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Visualizing future trends for education and technology

Bryan Alexander

With the help of Future Trends in Technology and Education friends and Patreon supporters, we now have a first FTTE infographic.

The idea was to organize all of the 85+ trends the report tracks into a single image. This first design is aimed at appearing as one page, such as for a workshop handout.

FTTE visualization

The heart of it is the group of three main columns, which contain the bulk of FTTE content.  The very top contains the higher ed crisis or bubble trends; they appear up there because they rest on other trends, like pillars.  I showed the connection between specific technologies as they appear in the world and their educational instances (3d printing, digital video, etc) by aligning them up within a colored box.

Each trend contains countervailing trends as well.

Later I’d like to edit and compress it down to smaller sizes, as for a card.  That would most…

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LazyWeb: Why Did Trust In Press Collapse in the mid-80s/early-90s?

ICYMI #adjuncts understanding pushing #media and helping take out the digital trash matter: check out Hapgood blog and the Digital Polarization Project

Hapgood

I have a question I’d love others to answer for me.

So I was looking at longer term declines in trust in the press. And what I expected to see was a long steady fall-off from the peak trust of Watergate and if you look at some charts you see that.

trustchartTumblr

But when you look closer on those charts they really elide the 1980s,

If you get granular, and look at the 1980s, the charts look like this:

20561968_10100935173801327_1783419035_n

That’s a dramatic drop, which coincides with Clinton’s election, and maybe with the rise of AM radio news hosts? But man — that’s really steep.

rise

Again, you can peg the launch of Fox in here at the end (mid that elision at the end of the graph), but here there is even a significant uptick through 1985-88 (Iran-Contra?)

543-1

Here’s a different story. And again, I think about Iran-Contra for that late 1980s…

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Reasons to be optimistic about the future in 2017

because it’s not always all doom-saying and Queen Sacrifices

Bryan Alexander

What cheers me up in mid-2017?

The nature of my work means I have to spend a great deal of time with grim stuff.  In looking hard at the future of education I study (among other things): rising income inequality, the possibility of civil strife, increasing acceptance of surveillance, the possibility of automation-fueled neofeudalism, racism, sexism, the decline of the humanities, higher education slashing at its core, governments behaving at epic levels of stupidity – and that’s all from a quick glance at one document on one of my hard drives.  It doesn’t include climate change or existential threats.

sun over dark forestAs a futurist I have to be open to a range of possible futures.  They include ones that I personally find bad, and that others might fear as well.

So to stay sane, to keep my mind balanced, and to keep my work sharp and useful, I discipline myself to pay…

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Documentary: “Coming of Age in Aging America”

relevant for precarious academic labor because the adjuncts is aging but can’t afford to stop working

Minding the Workplace

“Never in human history are so many living so long.”

Dear Readers, through August 1 you can watch for free a compelling one-hour documentary, “Coming of Age in an Aging America,” which tells the multifaceted story about the nation’s aging population. It includes a lot about the employment and Social Security implications of an aging workforce. It also covers the serious problem of elder abuse.

You may access the free screening through this piece on the Next Avenue website. If you miss the freebie window but still want to watch or learn more about the documentary, you can check out its webpage, here. You may also access a four-minute quickie version:

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Student loans are cramping the American economy: what this could mean

Adjuncts, consider the long term effects of our own student debt. Many of us carry a substantial student debt load from grad school. Our work status makes it even harder to qualify for PSLF. It’s not just the debt making adjunct futures grim. However statistically insignificant when compared to the general student population, we are. as a group, aging out. Seniors are a vulnerable population and among the most affected by changes in insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, access to affordable housing, USDA and other programs in the fraying social safety net.

http://www.chronicle.com/article/In-Higher-Ed-Adjuncts-May/239999

Bryan Alexander

Many people think student loans are a problem for American students in 2017.   The total amount of debt is enormous, a good number of students carry serious loans, some leave school owing money yet lacking academic credentials, etc.  I and others have been enumerating these problems for a while.

Could the negative impact of student loan debt reach even further?  Might the sheer size of $1.4 trillion in debt damage the broader American economy?

The New York Federal Reserve Bank just released a studying arguing that this is the case.  Specifically, a significant number of students now carry enough debt to prevent them from buying homes.  This in turn cramps the housing market and weakens overall national economic growth.

Zachary Bleemer, Meta Brown, Donghoon Lee, Katherine Strair, and Wilbert van der Klaauw (pdf) found that millennials loaded up with increasing debt were less likely to buy…

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Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and a Revolutionary Praxis for Education, Part I

@thetattoedprof’s Freirepalooza, part 1. Part 2 , here

Age of Revolutions

By Kevin Gannon

Educational theory and practice has always been a contested terrain, even if many of the practitioners in these fields deny that controversies bubble beneath their work’s placid surface. In the mid-twentieth-century United States, much of the pedagogical approach and institutional structure of secondary and higher education was shaped by Cold War culture, by the imperatives of consensus ideology, and its emphasis on a pragmatic and utilitarian approach to educational outcomes. Much of the curriculum in which students and teachers operate today is a legacy of this era, perhaps best exemplified by the standard Western Civilization survey that is the bedrock of many a college history department’s course offerings. The demands of US political culture profoundly shaped (and indeed continue to shape) education and educational policy. White resistance to integration and the maintenance of white supremacy, an overweening emphasis on STEM education in the escalating arms and space…

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Workplace abusers: A few “bad apples” or part of a terribly bad harvest?

Minding the Workplace

Image from todayifoundout.com

In recent weeks, I’ve encountered multiple variations on the “just a few bad apples” excuse/explanation/dodge, meant to assure others that corruption, violence, sexual harassment or assault, or bullying of employees or customers are the acts of a mere handful of miscreants within an organization, or perhaps even a sole rotten one. There’s always going to be a bad apple or two. He was just a bad apple. It’s hard to screen out every bad apple. It’s unfair to define us by a few bad apples. And blah blah blah.

True, the bad apples analogy may sometimes fit the situation. Maybe an organization that tries to do everything right in terms of hiring, supervision, and review finds itself dealing with that rare bad employee who has mistreated others, and somehow the situation got out of hand.

I’ll concede that possibility.

But all too often, when I hear or…

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