Reports and full presentations from COCAL XII, August 2016, Edmonton, Alberta, CAN:
COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a 20 year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri-national - USA, CAN (including QBC), and MEX) every other year, usually in August. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee, a website www.cocalinternational.org and Facebook page <https://www.facebook.com/COCALInternational>, as well as this news aggregator, COCAL UPDATES. See below at bottom for details on joining the listserv.
Do you find yourself missing national Campus Equity Week celebrations this year?
Looking ahead to October of 2017, a grassroots group of contingent artist-activists scattered across the U.S. have been working under the auspices of New Faculty Majority for several months to design a theme that captures our need to both conceal and reveal our complex identities as members of the precarious academic workforce: mAsk4campusEquity.
We are exploring three basic customizable options for unified Campus Equity messaging and activities in 2017 that capitalize on the change-making power of art:
1. Historical re-enactment of creative social justice protests;
2. Other modes of performance art such as mock funerals, carnival processions, etc;
3. Exhibits that illustrate the diversity of our workforce and the issues of contingent employment.
Over the next few months, we hope to
· build a large network of artist-activists and supporters;
· partner with a number of organizations related to the arts;
· engage participants with expertise in various art media from music and performance to photography, sculpture, graphic arts and new media, to flesh out plans for local actions that will resonate across the country.
If you want to join our campaign on the ground floor, please contact Anne Wiegard at email@example.com.
It’s Fair Employment Week in Canada, meant to draw attention to the unfair working conditions among contingent faculty in Canadian universities and colleges. I was interviewed for a series of short video posts by ACIFA, the network of college faculty associations in Alberta, last week. Here’s a link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRA_Fvht6rE <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRA_Fvht6rE>
Contingent Faculty, MacEwan University, Alberta, Canada
- There's no end in sight for Pennsylvania's first-ever faculty strike. [sic: Comm Coll of Philly has struck more than once] There have been no additional negotiations between the state and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculty, which represents more than 5,000 faculty, since the strike began early Wednesday. "They told us they were done talking to us, they lifted the media embargo that was in place during negotiations, and they gave us a 'last, best offer,' which is negotiations speak for 'go on strike,'" Kenneth M. Mash, the faculty group president, said in a statement. "If they stayed, it was only for appearances. It's clear the real decision-makers were finished for the night." Marshall, the state spokesman, said Pennsylvania has been "working as hard as we can to try to figure out how to resolve this" - though he wouldn't say specifically what the state was doing. "We're involved, we're having a lot of conversations with a lot of people.”
SPEAKING OF CHARTER SCHOOLS: The NLRB declined Wednesday to review a regional director's approval of a collective bargaining unit consisting of full and part-time special education teachers and reading specialists at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, an online charter school in Midland, Pa. Charter schools pose an interesting challenge for the NLRB, since it's unclear whether they're public or private under the National Labor Relations Act, which excludes as employers "any state or political subdivision."
The Supreme Court ruled that the exemption applied to any organization "created by a state, so as to constitute a department or administrative arm of government," or "administered by individuals who are responsible to public officials or the general electorate." But because state and local laws governing charter schools vary, that test has been applied on a case-by-case basis. But in August the NLRB ruled in Pennsylvania Virtual Charter Schools that adifferent Pennsylvania cyber charter school operating under the same statute was a private employer. Because of that decision, the board said, it need not review the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School case. Republican board member Philip Miscimarra dissented, as he did in Pennsylvania Virtual Charter Schools, arguing that the board should decline jurisdiction over charter schools in general.
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AAUP to Investigate Community College of Aurora
Washington, DC—Today the AAUP announced that it will formally investigate the dismissal of a part-time (adjunct) professor at the Community College of Aurora in Colorado. The investigation will examine the facts of the case to determine whether widely accepted principles of academic freedom, necessary for educational quality, have been violated. An investigating committee will visit Aurora, a suburb of Denver, on December 2 to conduct interviews with faculty members and administrators.
The AAUP initially conveyed its concern to the college’s administration regarding Nathanial Bork’s dismissal in a letter dated September 20. Bork, an adjunct instructor of philosophy who for six years had taught various courses at the Community College of Aurora, received notice on September 13, several weeks after the semester began, that his appointment was terminated, effective the next day. The stated reason was a lack of effectiveness in implementing a required “curriculum redesign” for the introductory philosophy class he was teaching. The redesign included reducing the course content; raising the prescribed student “success rate”; reducing the number of writing assignments; employing a standard paper-grading rubric; and using small-group instruction in every other class. Bork’s dismissal occurred soon after he asked his administrative superiors to review a letter he sent to the Higher Learning Commission, the college’s accreditor. The letter he sent conveyed his serious reservations about the mandated changes to the course, which he claimed degrades academic standards, with potentially adverse effects for students.
According to AAUP-recommended policies, when an administration dismisses a part-time faculty member during a term of appointment, it will present adequate cause for doing so, and the faculty member will have the right to contest the dismissal in a hearing before faculty peers. This process is intended to discourage administrations from summarily dismissing part-time faculty members for impermissible reasons, especially those relating to their academic freedom. The AAUP holds that “dismissal will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom or other rights of American citizens.”
AAUP investigating committees are appointed in a few select cases annually in which severe departures from widely accepted principles and standards on academic freedom, tenure, or governance have been alleged and persist despite efforts to resolve them. Investigating committees are composed of faculty members from other institutions with no previous involvement in the matter. If the investigating committee’s published report finds that serious violations have occurred and an appropriate resolution cannot be achieved, the AAUP may place an institution on its censure list, which informs the academic community and the public that conditions for academic freedom at the institution are unsound
29. Adjuncts are scholars too
"Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education". by Joe Berry, from Monthly Review Press, 2005. Look at <http://www.reclaimingtheivorytower.org> for full information, individual sales, bulk ordering discounts, or to invite me to speak at an event.
To receive the periodic news aggregator, COCAL Updates, Email <email@example.com> It is archivedathttp://precaritydispatches.tumblr.com/COCAL-Updates-Archive
To join international COCAL listserve email <http://adj-l.org/mailman/listinfo/adj-l_adj-l.org> If this presents problems, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or, send "Subscribe" to <email@example.com>
Join the national membership organization for contingent faculty and their allies, New Faculty Majority (NFM). Support, resources,and strategies for all things related to precarious faculty. <www.Newfacultymajority.info>
Plan to attend COCAL XIII in Queretaro, Mexico, at the Autonomous University of Queretaro, August 2018.
See www.cocalinternational.org for reports of COCAL XII Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) and plans for COCAL XIII.
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