Welcome to the reboot of New Faculty Majority’s blog!
It’s been a while since we’ve posted here because, well, our staff, like most contingent faculty, are pretty busy trying to stay alive, while also furthering the work of NFM. But the past year has brought a number of both accomplishments—which we’ll be highlighting here—and changes in personnel. So let me introduce our new blog editor and Communications Committee co-chair, Lee Kottner. You might know her from her fierce Twitter and Facebook presence, where she is also an administrator for both the New Jersey City University (NJCU) AFT Local 1839 page, and the Local’s Adjunct Faculty Caucus page. She is Recording Secretary of Local 1839 and a member of City University of New York’s (CUNY) Professional Staff Congress. Lee teaches composition and research at both NJCU and CUNY campuses and lives in New York City. Her writing and activism show that she is equal parts “disruptive innovator” and creative organizer.
Essential old posts from the eponymous blog originated by our late NFM colleague (and namesake of our award for Extraordinary Faculty Activism) Steve Street will soon be archived here. The editorial policy that will govern our rebooted blog can be found here. In the spirit of Steve’s love of wordplay, our new name recognizes not only that contingent faculty are the majority, but that our voices need to be at the center of efforts to confront contingency and to change the rules governing faculty employment in higher education.
So we’re looking for contributions from contingent faculty and allies across the country and anywhere else contingency is a problem for faculty, covering a large number of issues and topics that will help us make and enforce those new rules. This is not a forum for complaints but a place to bear witness, expose exploitation, exchange tactics for change, and plot solutions. We want:
- Essays on current higher education issues as they relate to contingent faculty
- Essays on the relationship between K-12 education issues and educators and higher education
- Essays on the growing alliances between contingent faculty and activists in the student debt and low-wage worker movements
- Analysis of current reports, trends, and data in higher education that relate to contingent faculty
- Responses to articles on adjunct issues published elsewhere in the media
- External cause-related news/events (with commentary)
- Activism tips/opportunities/actions/resources
- Organizational news and announcements
- Research and funding opportunities
- Calls for Papers
- Teaching and survival tips
- Book reviews
- Interview Q&As
- Photo essays
- Personal stories about adjunct faculty experiences, especially how teaching as an adjunct affects your ability to be the best teacher and scholar you can be
Please see the “Submit a Post“ page for more detail.
We’re also planning some regular features to keep you informed and amused, in addition to Joe Berry’s regular COCAL updates:
- Weekly curated roundup of news
- News about NFM’s activities, past and future
- Check-ins from adjunct unions/caucuses re: bargaining wins/actions/problems
- State and national education legislation watch
- Action alerts
- The Gallery of Shame: send us photos or descriptions of the most exploitative, egregious institutional policies and contracts you’ve encountered.
- The Gallery of Fame and Hope: tell us about victories in the use of collective power to secure ever-better policies and contracts. Feel free to acknowledge courageous and principled colleagues, administrators, students, trustees, and others who can inspire by example.
- What to Do If…: An advice column drawing on adjunct organizer/activist expertise from across the country
We’ll also be expanding the sidebars, to give you more links to the growing number of fearless individual adjuncts and contingent advocacy and support organizations and unions, too. So if you have a link for us, please submit it to the blog as you would a writing query.
A brief word about nomenclature. We use the word “adjunct” as synonymous with “contingent,” which covers both full- and part-time faculty not on the tenure track, particularly those on renewable contracts of some sort: visiting professors, post-docs, 1-5 year renewables, semester-to-semester precarious professors/lecturers/instructors. This is not to diminish anyone’s status, or to narrowly define it. In fact, Maria has often suggested that one solution to the ongoing debate about nomenclature is to call contingent faculty “Extraordinary Faculty.” However, we recognize that the general public has largely adopted the term “adjunct” in its rapidly increasing attention to the crisis of contingency in higher education, and we note with pride the now-widespread use of the Scarlet A as a symbol of the movement. So if you are teaching or researching for a higher educational institution without job security, a living wage and benefits, and/or being given the opportunity to work toward tenure, you fit our definition of adjunct.
Lee wanted to hit the ground running when we brought her on, so you’ll see the blog gradually transforming over the coming weeks as she continues the reboot/rebirth process. We both hope that you will help out by submitting posts and sharing your knowledge—and courage—here, so that your voice is a critical part of making higher education run by Majority Rule.
President/Executive Director, New Faculty Majority/NFM Foundation
Communications Committee Co-Chair
and NFM Foundation Board Member
P.S. If you’re not a member yet, please don’t forget to join and support our efforts. Dues are on a sliding income scale.