24h-payday

Chanting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” the protesters occupying Wall Street are digging in for a fifth day and circulating graphic images and video of escalating police violence and harassment. There are several reports of hospitalizations due to brutal arrest tactics, such as this one showing a protestor tossed headfirst to the […]

On Saturday September 17th, movement organizers hope to funnel 20,000 protestors into Manhattan’s financial district, set up kitchens and tents, and occupy Wall Street for the next several months. Proclaiming we are the 99 percent, many of the 7,500 persons who have indicated an intention to participate are the highly educated working poor, under-employed with […]

Do yourself a favor and give five minutes of any of your 250 or so labor days this year to El Empleo (“Employment”), an extraordinary award-winning 2008 animation by Argentine illustrators Santiago Grasso and Patricio Gabriel Plaza. You won’t need any help interpreting the film’s conceit, which makes visible the complex web of relationships in […]

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 […]

You don’t know the name Elbert F. Tellem, but you will. Just last week, as the acting Director of National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) District 2, Tellem issued a potentially historic decision green-lighting contingent-faculty unionization at Catholic-affiliated Manhattan College. In the process, he threaded his way through some of the most dishonest law in the […]

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 […]

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget. It began with […]

I’m acquainted with Joel Russel, chemistry prof and president of the AAUP chapter at Michigan’s Oakland University. Courteous, soft-spoken and gentle to the point of self-effacement, he’s naturally conflict-avoidant and careful with his speech. But yesterday’s scheduled start of classes found him walking a picket line with most of his colleagues and several hundred supportive […]

I just came across Mike Stanfill’s cartoon from last week, which captures a truth about the way the coding of the words “public” and “private” function in our debates about our laughing-stock-of-the-developed-world system of “health care.” (You know, health care for those who can pay and aren’t sick, health care as a reason to stay in a […]

Late last night, disabled faculty veteran Gerald Davey posted to the adjunct faculty discussion list (join) to explain that he’d been fired, less than a year after blowing the whistle on San Antonio College administration’s scheme to defraud contingent faculty by forcing them to sign waivers relinquishing pay and eligibility they had earned under state […]

Bob Samuels is the president of UC-AFT, the union representing nontenurable faculty at University of California campuses across the state. Like thousands of others, he recently received a layoff notice in the wake of the chancellor’s assumption of ’emergency powers’ (the academic equivalent of martial law). On his blog recently, Bob explained how 3500 U.C. […]

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 […]

A funny thing happened on the way to the White House. The one-time supporter of the only kind of national health insurance proven to work (single payer) rolled over for the insurance industry and adopted the single most ridiculous health care plan offered during the 2007-2008 Democratic primaries. Against all the evidence, candidate Obama asserted […]

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 […]

I am the seed ground. I am a prairie that will stand for much plowing. Terrible storms pass over me. I forget. The best of me is sucked out and wasted. I forget. Everything but Death comes to me and makes me work and give up what I have. And I forget. Sometimes I growl, […]

Maria Doe is a former NIH-sponsored researcher who struggles with chronic mental illness, tumbling from the tenure stream into contingent appointments and the prospect of homelessness. MB: When did you first begin serving contingently? MD: My first adjunct position was in my own graduate department. The faculty member who was scheduled to teach that class […]

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 […]

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 […]

Turkey at the top is always intensely competitive. This year’s contenders included first runner-up Robert Felner, the U of Louisville dean indicted for conspiracy to commit fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion in what the feds allege are repeated acts of embezzlement of grant monies amounting to over $2 million. Not content with these escapades, […]

 Colbert tells like it is: “Let’s just classify belief in the free market as a religion.” Hint: drag cursor to 4:40 I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for help with dislodging the market fetish, whether I’m talking to undergraduates or economists. Some regular Brainstorm contributors have all been expending a ton of […]

College tuition is free; and executive salaries capped at 15 times the minimum wage. The Yes Men media pranksters have claimed responsibility for a million-copy spoof edition of the New York Times handed out yesterday on Manhattan streets. It captures the gap between what is needed–what we hope and long for–and what we’re likely to […]

He texted. He Twittered. YouTube visitors played his official campaign videos for almost 15 million hours. But what impact will social media have on his governing? We now know that a first-term U.S. Senator overcame two of the most successful political machines in recent history — the Clinton network and the Republican 72-hour get-out-the-vote operation […]

It’s nice to see the electorate finally rejecting the same old Raw Deal. On the other hand, we’re pretty far away from a new New Deal, except for bankers. In fact, we could be in for a long tour of Hooverville. I know, that’s not what you want to hear about The One. He’s pretty. […]

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 […]

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

In response to the fake teacher shortage “requiring” some communities to import education workers from abroad, one of my colleagues at “Brainstorm” (hereafter simply “BS”) wondered whether we should send higher education faculty serving contingently into schoolteaching. To which I replied as follows. Faculty who serve contingently are not surplus labor that need to be […]

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 […]

I posted yesterday on the campaign of 900-member United Part-Time Faculty at Wayne State, an AFT affiliate, to win job security for faculty serving contingently. Like workers in most fields, they believe that serving part-time doesn’t exempt faculty from workplace due process, seniority, and continuing appointment. I wrote my letter to WSU president Irvin Reid […]

In recent years, faculty serving contingently have rung up a series of important successes through unionization, often raising salaries substantially. They’ve also begun to bargain for job security. At some public institutions, notably Cal State, faculty have a contractual pathway to renewable appointments. At private schools, the UAW contract with the New School guarantees not […]

In this final season of David Simon’s The Wire, we see the dystopic contemporary Baltimore created by the class war from above. It’s a city ravaged by “quality management,” the same philosophy that administrations across the country have adopted in shunting the overwhelming majority of college faculty into contingent positions. As Time magazine television critic […]

In our abortive exchange over at Brainstorm, Stephen Trachtenberg a) repeatedly ignored my very polite request to talk about the circumstances of the overwhelming majority of faculty, those who serve contingently; b) said I could leave the academy if I didn’t like it; c) affected that I was a tricky fellow using rhetoric and d) […]

In a couple of recent posts, I raised questions about both Democratic candidates’ health plans–Obama’s really won’t cover many people and Clinton’s enthusiastically endorses tiering of care. As we move closer to the likelihood of an Obama presidency, isn’t it time to start moving the candidate toward questioning his own lousy health-care plan? His plan […]

In the very unscientific polls I placed at DailyKos and the Chronicle of Higher Ed nontenure-track forum, a 3/4 majority responded, “neither–we need a single-payer system.” This seems to reflect at least one of the candidate’s own judgments: Clinton appeared to acknowledge in the last debate that single-payer was preferable, just not in her view […]