24h-payday

When we added humorous chapter books (eg Roscoe Riley) to my three-year-old’s story time, we were appalled to find that one of them featured one of the cruder and, we thought, outmoded Asian stereotypes–the New Kid from the Black Lagoon, it turns out, is not the scary blue-skinned alien from Mars that the other kids […]

Twenty years of schoolin’ And they put you on the day shift Look out kid They keep it all hid –Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues On March 22, a prominent group of education bloggers agreed to provide statements loosely organized on the theme of “why faculty like me support unions.” Unexpectedly Stanley Fish, a career-long […]

Most Chronicle readers probably aren’t among the 3 million or so that Neilsen can measure watching the Spartacus prequel miniseries Gods of the Arena, which premiered in January at the number one position among cable shows in its time slot. Episode 5 plays Friday, 2/18 (Starz, but the best way to catch up is in […]

You’ve probably been watching or reading about a remarkable event here in California–a group of parents at Compton’s McKinley Elementary using the nation’s first “trigger law” to transfer management of the school. It’s an important story, raising interesting questions about a potentially useful law that is already being imitated across the country. The problem is […]

I’d like you to imagine the following. Suppose we are going to have a national summit on health care. Do you not suppose that a substantial number of the voices included would be from professionals in health care, including doctors and nurses? Would you have 3 people with just the head of the AMA to […]

An interesting piece in last week’s Chronicle, Goodbye to those Overpaid Professors in their Cushy Jobs, attempts a possibly premature farewell to a stereotype, the enduring myth that “college professors lead easy lives.”  According to reporter Ben Gose, once-rampant complaints about the imaginary prof on a three-day workweek are now hard to find. Nonetheless he […]

Just last year, Stanley Fish was playing Clint Eastwood with his manifesto: Do Your Job, Punk! (or, My Tinfoil Hat Keeps Politics Out of My Teaching–Get Yours Today!) In that widely panned book, he argued that the role of the faculty was to produce and distribute knowledge magically apart from the mundane and political. Earlier […]

Over at the Atlantic, business editor Megan McArdle lit up the Beltway blab-o-sphere by posing an interesting question: If “almost every” tenured professor she knows has a “left-wing vision” of workplace issues, why do they accept the “shockingly brutal” treatment of faculty with contingent appointments? Her perception of leftism among the faculty leads her to […]

A new survey conducted for AFT adds confusion to the already muddled debate about the majority of faculty serving outside the tenure system. Ultimately the union is interested in a particular problem–organizing–for which in many states part-time status represents a legal boundary for the construction of bargaining units. This legalistic definition of the group, and […]

  Eric Lee’s Labour Start clearinghouse for global labor news has just announced nominees for its first-ever award, Labor Video of the Year. Two of the five finalists are inspired by working conditions in higher ed. I think both are among the three likeliest to win. My top choice is the clever, often hilarious series […]

The stark contrast between recent imaginative actions by students and the decades of poor data, bad analysis, and foot-dragging by most academic institutions suggests a possibility. Could AAUP and the disciplinary associations could become the next target for the more radical students? For today’s grads, socially conscious unionism no longer represents the left wing of […]

Dear University of California students, staff and faculty: Thank you. As a California parent, I am grateful for your courage in standing up to this administration in the massive walkout you’ve planned for tomorrow, September 24th. You are wise. Without you, tuition would soon rise to a point where most Californians couldn’t afford it. Public […]

The professional opinion of the chair of the George Mason University economics department is mistaken for the punchline to a Cajun joke. Last Thursday, 350,000 faculty members–most of them without any hope of entering the dried-up tenure stream–received a militant blast email from the AAUP: The AAUP serves notice that we are working to end […]

A short piece forthcoming in the tenth anniversary issue of Pedagogy (Duke UP). For me the most compelling question in English studies today is the tension between the figure of reading and the figure of writing, especially as it plays out in what David Downing calls managed disciplinarity, the disciplinary division of labor between writing […]

This essay is drawn from the final issue of minnesota review to be edited by Jeffrey Williams, featuring a series of statements of professional commitment or belief–credos–by representative scholars. It’s a very special series of essays, and a worthy capstone to Williams’ extraordinary run as editor. I’ll follow up with more about Williams’ accomplishments, and […]

EVERY DAY MAY DAY!   Thursday, April 30 is May Day for faculty serving contingently, according to the fledgling New Faculty Majority coalition. Major support provided by Bob Samuels, president of the California Federation of Teachers, representing nontenurable faculty at five UC campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, San Diego and Santa Cruz. Support ’em by wearing red […]

“We’re in the business of education,” Arne Duncan says. The market worshipers have marched out of the building; hurray! Wait–who’s that tall basketball-playing fellow getting ready to sit in the Education seat? As superintendent of the Chicago public schools, Arne Duncan has given us a fair preview of his vision. It’s “a business-minded, market-driven model […]

Part 1: Overview & Key Facts Part 2: Kudos for Recommendations Part 3: Complaints and concerns Part 4: Interview with Paul Lauter There are some problems with MLA’s representation of the needs and circumstances of the nontenurable faculty. If you want to know how they really live and think, watch Linda Janakos’s documentary, Teachers on […]

Literally a decimation. And so many women faculty, toiling out of the tenure stream for incredibly low wages.  Part 1: Key facts and kudos Part 2: Complaints and concerns Part 3: Interview with Paul Lauter Most of my blogging between now and early January will relate to the worst-timed gathering in the profession, the Modern […]

you gotta watch this Batgirl video! Look, there’s no way to confront how the gated-community crowd has stunk up the economy without core legislation addressing higher education, health care, gender equality and workplace association as human rights. While the five million top consumers were out getting boob jobs, BMWs and blood diamonds, the rest of us […]

Without federal leadership, the crumbling faculty infrastructure will remain disproportionately white and male in the best-paying and most secure positions. With everyone else getting bailed out, higher education is at an absolutely critical juncture, with profound implications for academic actors at all institution types, and their ambitions to serve racial and economic justice. On the […]

Steve Street thinks you could be part of the problem, and he’s right. In the current issue of _The Chronicle,_ faculty activist Steve Street writes from the perspective of the overwhelming majority who serve contingently to the shrinking minority of us who serve in the tenure stream. Titled Don’t Be Kind to Adjuncts, the piece […]

“It seems that anyone who attempts to have a frank discussion about labor and/or capitalism finds themselves staving off the same arguments again and again.”–The Girl Detective @ Alas, a Blog All year long over at the Chronicle’s Brainstorm, I’ve been grappling with market fundamentalists (Why doncha go where the Market will pay ya! My […]

As previously reported in this column, this could be the end for _minnesota review_. Editor Jeffrey Williams released this announcement earlier in the week: The _minnesota review_ is seeking a new editor and a new institutional home. Please send queries and proposals to Jeffrey J. Williams, at jwill@andrew.cmu.edu or Department of English, Carnegie Mellon University, […]

In honor of Labor Day, very interesting posts by Brainstorm comrades Bauerlein (part one and part two) and Barreca. The posts and ensuing conversations are very much worth a look. Above, Professors Take The Long Course in Poverty by Melanie Hubbard, St. Petersburg Times, January 6, 2008

Part 1 of an interview with Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship, and a book contract who has never been interviewed for a tenure-track job while serving on full-time contingent appointments for 10 years. MB. How would you describe your situation? MH. Downwardly mobile! I was a teaching assistant at an […]

Anon. I looked at everyone sitting around me. ‘Slavetrading’? …Nobody reacted. MB. But you kept working there. Anon. I had no choice. We needed the money. Next I’ll feature Melanie Hubbard, a Columbia Ph.D. with articles, an NEH fellowship, and a book contract who has never been interviewed for a tenure track job while serving […]

Teaching in Hell very short fiction by Richard Dean He just might get part-time teaching work at one of the several universities in the area, but there were no guarantees. He might well end up working at a grocery store, or a bar, or, if things went really badly, at a convenience store or fast […]

When you teach for love, how do you pay your teaching assistants? I completed my app. with style and perfection Now I wonder how long before you make your selection I hope you don’t mind that I’m being persistent But, I really want to be your teaching assistant –“JD,” March 13, 2008, applying for a […]

“Wal-mart workers know they’re being had,” Michelle Masse says. “Academics don’t.” In part 2 of our interview, she argues that the call to service in higher education has been a vector for cynical exploitation by administrations, but also for willing submission to exploitative demands. This is especially the case for women faculty, but also for […]

Thanks to Feminist Law Profs for putting HTUW on the recommended bookshelf, together with a great article by Marina Angel. “Women of All Colors Steered to Contingent Positions in Law Schools and Law Firms.” I’ve excerpted the abstract below. The sexist division of labor in the academy (via the feminization of disciplines and the permatemping […]

It used to be that feminists adhered to a “pipeline” theory of progress in gender equity in higher ed–the more women with PhDs, the more tenure-stream women, the more women in leadership. It hasn’t turned out that way. The majority of women teaching in academe get paid in the same range as men working as […]