Faculty serving contingently are already laughing this idea into deserved obscurity over at ADJ-L and Inside Higher Ed, but a University of Phoenix adjunct is trying to get herself a piece of the for-profit pie, and squeeze $400 apiece from as many suckers as she can with a “certification” scam.

Write your check to Rochelle Santopoalo, president and founder of SOCAFE (Society of _Certified_ Adjunct Faculty Educators) and she promises to “increase your marketability as an adjunct faculty educator” with the “prestigious academic certification” she just Made Up in Her Own Head. “Prestigious” in this case refers to the proud reaction of Ma and Pa Santopoalo, and the southeast corner of the breakroom at Phoenix.

Tenure-stream folks tired of earning bartenders’ wages are being offered their own certification scam, but it’s quite a bit more plush: you can apparently pay $28,000 to Virginia Tech or any of four other “market-smart” institutions to have yourself retooled as a business educator and cross over into the world of business schools–you know, the folks who’ve been driving Beamers while you got a 1% salary increase.)

Of course if you don’t want to keep making opportunists rich, and you’re not captured by the poetry, philosophy, or history of marketing, you can stand and fight for the principle that education is a public good. For starters, attend the 8th International Conference of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, hosted by COCAL-California, San Diego State University. August 8-10, 2008.

Steve Street will be there. Ask him about the ways that faculty serving contingently and faculty on the tenure stream can and must work together. In his AAUP Academe article, Don’t Pit Tenure against Contingent Faculty Rights, he urges “developing new and more equitable ways of incorporating contingent faculty into the institutions they’re already serving.” Specifically, he argues that improving wages and working conditions for those serving contingently is in the best interest of those on the tenure stream. He asks whether tenure-stream faculty are willing to join their comrades serving contingently and

search for new models, as the Canadian Association of University Teachers has done with its proposal for part-time tenure, or as the University of Colorado’s Association of Teaching Faculty is currently doing with its Instructor Tenure Project? Or to explore models for dual-career tracks like the ones Georgia State University and New York University have recently instituted?

The AAUP’s 2003 policy statement Contingent Appointments and the Academic Profession and its 2006 recommended institutional regulation dealing with part-time faculty appointments while continuing to support tenure for part-time faculty, also describe basic protections that should be afforded to all part time faculty members—tenured or not—and additional protections for long-term part-time faculty members.

Similarly, the most recent campaign of the American Federation of Teachers calls for legislative as well as collective bargaining measures against both the overuse and the abuse of contingent faculty…

Major unions in New York, California, and Michigan have already won substantial continuing employment rights, and there are advanced campaigns in Colorado, New Jersey, and Montreal. For more, see the documentation at the University of Colorado–AAUP website’s Instructor Tenure Project.

Above see The Committee of Two, part 2 of 2 of my interview with Elizabeth Hoffman, a long-term activist with the California Faculty Association. She describes how faculty serving contingently begin to organize (ie, with Joe Berry’s “committee of two,” you and your cubicle mate), and build political coalitions to win steady, major gains toward dignity and security in the academic workplace.

Next week I’ll feature some smoking mad contingent faculty: Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship, and a book contract who has served as full-time contingent faculty for 10 years and “Anonymous,” a long-term part-time lecturer.






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