As the Adjunctiverse Turns

cheeky, no respect for academia

Workplace bullying and mobbing: Resources for HR

not just in the academic workplace ~ bullying and mobbing also happen in organizations, groups, movements — online and off.

Minding the Workplace

Earlier this spring, I promised a post about resources for human resources professionals who want to learn more about workplace bullying and mobbing and how to incorporate that knowledge into their organizational employee relations practices. As I’ve written here often, I am skeptical about HR’s role in preventing and responding to bullying and mobbing behaviors, given how many horrific stories I’ve witnessed and heard about from those who have experienced these forms of mistreatment. Nevertheless, excellent resources are available, and I’m happy to share some of them.

Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie have co-authored The Bully-Free Workplace: Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes From Killing Your Organization (2011), an employer-oriented complement to their groundbreaking, worker-centered The Bully at Work (rev. ed. 2009). The Bully-Free Workplace sets out the Namies’ basic blueprint for employers that want to take workplace bullying seriously. In addition, the Namie’s Workplace Bullying Institute website includes a

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Carving up the internet in May 2017

The high cost and deep consequences of losing net neutrality is an adjunct advocacy issue.

Bryan Alexander

Just how divided and controlled will the internet become?

Balkanika_emanningbxI’ve been tracking the trend of internet balkanization for several years.  Many nations have been attempting to carve up internet access in various ways, from local filters to ISP arrangements and China’s Golden Shield.  New political developments during the past few weeks pushed this trend to new levels of potential impact.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched a process to undo net neutrality.  This, despite a flood of comments urging the Commission not to do so.

Many people have weighed in, like Peter Suber.  John Oliver is still on the case: (don’t forget gofccyourself):

So Americans and anyone else connecting through US networks might end up with a multi-tiered internet, blocked out by political connections and favorites.

Meanwhile, last month the Turkish government blocked that country’s access to…

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Systems enable workplace bullying, so where are the systems to stop it?

On the systems that support and benefit workplace bullying and mobbing and reinforcing “countervailing powers” against them.

Minding the Workplace

(Image courtesy of

As I wrote earlier this year, workplace bullying and mobbing “usually cannot flourish without organizational sponsorship, enabling, or, at the very least, indifference.” Indeed, if we take this a step further, we see that workplace abuse is enabled by formal and informal systems of people and networks.

Those who study social work or organizational behavior learn about systems theory, which is basically a fancy way of saying that human roles and interactions are complex, interrelated, and intertwined, culminating in systems that produce certain results. With workplace bullying and mobbing, dysfunctional or hostile systems inflict injuries on targets and protect their abusers. Thus, a typical campaign of severe bullying or mobbing at work involves multiple players, including but hardly limited to:

  • The main aggressor(s);
  • The supervisor or boss of the main aggressor(s), in order to ratify and sometimes further the abuse;
  • On frequent occasion, peers recruited/pressured/incentivized to…

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Accreditation: “‘relatively superficial, extremely time-consuming and doesn’t lead us to a goal of significant improvement'”

@plthomasEdD on education, accreditation, media and journalism on the occasion of Northwestern’s announcement to forego the accreditation dance and let their journalism program lapse.

radical eyes for equity

For well over three decades, I have been both a full-time educator (high school English teacher for 18 years and currently a college professor, going on 16 years) and a writer. As a high school teacher, I also taught journalism and was the faculty sponsor for the school newspaper and literary magazine over about 10-11 years.

Therefore, I have a great deal of experience in the fields of education and journalism, experience that has revealed to me a rather damning fact: One can be well trained in educational pedagogy or the craft and conventions of journalism, but without nuanced and deep knowledge of the content of that teaching and writing, the outcome can and often is quite awful.

In journalism, for example, the vaunted New York Times publishes and fails to recognize blindly awful articles about poverty. And Education Weekregularly features the worst of edujournalism.

And let…

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We’re still here.

CASA is back…what excellent news and a great treat (depressing news not withstanding)


Yes, we haven’t posted for a while but we’re still here. Still thinking, still working on our few words. Still (with)standing.

Why are we still here? We’ve asked ourselves this question quite a few times over the last 18 months or so. And we’ve partly answered on Twitter and on our own blogs and we’ve also stayed quiet, because in some instances, there has been too much to say, too much to take in, too much to process, too much to get through.

And we’ve been rather tired.

But we’re making the most of the tiny swell of energy that’s come from this news, and from a few paragraphs in the always-informative Campus Morning Mail newsletter, May 2, 2017 :

Casual but professional

Leo Goedegebuure and Peter Bentley from the L H Martin Institute have crunched the numbers and found no evidence that increased teaching by casuals causes a crunch in…

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The Elements of Bureaucratic Style

required reading for #adjunct, #labor and other #socialjustice activists confronting precarity in its many manifestations


Colin Dickey | Longreads | April 2017 | 12 minutes | 3000 words

On Monday night, Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines, sent an internal email to his staff regarding the incident on Flight 3411 in which members of Chicago Aviation Security forcibly removed a customer who refused to give up his seat when asked. In the note, Munoz offered an explanation of events and a defense of both his employees and law enforcement. The email ended up on Twitter where its contents were roundly excoriated.

Munoz’s email is, in its own way, a work of art; a triumph of the willingness to pass the buck. It misstates objective facts and shifts responsibility onto the passenger, David Dao, who ended up bloody and dazed after the encounter.

As you will read, the situation was unfortunately compounded when one of the passengers was politely asked to deplane refused and it…

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Reading _Lower Ed_: the plan

Here’s Bryan Alexander’s plan for the Lower Ed book club reading sessions, making cyber landfall starting Monday May 8 with the Introduction.

Bryan Alexander

On to our next book club reading!  The discussion and voting pointed to Tressie McMillan Cottom‘s Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy. (publisher; Amazon).  In this post I’ll outline a proposed reading schedule.

Lower Ed being heldLet’s start reading on May 8th.  That should give us time to lay our hands on copies.*

Each chapter is under thirty pages, so if we assign ourselves one per seek, we get:

May 8 – Introduction: The Education Gospel

May 15 – Chapter 1. The Real.

May 22 – Chapter 2. The Beauty College and the Technical College.

May 29 – Chapter 3.  Jesus Is My Backup Plan.

June 5 – Chapter 4.  When Higher Education Makes Cents.

June 12 – Chapter 5. Where Credit Is Due.

June 19 – Chapter 6. Credentials, Jobs, and the New Economy.

June 26 – Epilogue and Methodological Notes

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Workplace bullying: Blitzkrieg edition

happens in #highered too ~ #badmin send out their flying monkeys

Minding the Workplace

Image of German Stuka dive bombers from

Like all types of interpersonal mistreatment, workplace bullying and mobbing come in varying degrees of frequency and intensity. All are bad, but some are worse than others, and in some cases, much worse. For a long time I’ve been thinking about the right term to describe a particularly virulent form of all-out, coordinated or semi-coordinated, multi-directional work abuse, and I think I’ve found it: Blitzkrieg bullying or mobbing.

Blitzkrieg is a German term meaning “lightning war.” As defined by historian Raymond Limbach for Encyclopedia Britannica, blitzkrieg is a “military tactic calculated to create psychological shock and resultant disorganization in enemy forces through the employment of surprise, speed, and superiority in matériel or firepower.” He continues:

Germany’s success with the tactic at the beginning of World War II hinged largely on the fact that it was the only country that had effectively…

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Oscar Wilde on the Poor and Socialism

from the becoming radical renamed — but still radical, Paul Thomas, ‎@plthomasEdD

radical eyes for equity

While I highly recommend a careful reading of Oscar Wilde’s The Soul of Man under Socialism, I also urge you to consider that this examination of the consequences of private property and how that perpetuates poverty is stunningly similar to the current education reform movement, notably: “But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.”

poor oscar wilde copy

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My next Devil’s Dictionary: a call for nominations

Ready for some fun? Send suggestions to @BryanAlexander’s Devil’s Dictionary of EdSpeak

Bryan Alexander

In 2016 we satirized educational technology keywords through a Devil’s Dictionary (part 1, part 2).  Now I’d like to tackle the words of education beyond ed tech.  Which vocabulary would you like to see skewered?

I have assembled a first list, to whet your appetite:

Faculty governance
Graduate school
Legislature (state)
Private (as in institution)
Professional development
Public (as in institution)
Publish or perish
Residence halls
Social sciences
Student life
Traditional student

What else deserves a good Biercing?

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