Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Letter of Solidarity


Letter of Solidarity with Part-Time, Adjunct, and Contingent Educators
Composed by the Kentucky College Faculty Association (KYCFA)

Today, February 25th, marks the first National Adjunct Walkout Day. Adjunct faculty, also known as part-time or contingent faculty, constitute an overwhelming percentage of instructors at colleges and universities across the nation. As of 2014, contingent labor make up approximately 75% of all university and college faculty.[1] Furthermore, adjunct faculty teach an overwhelming majority of core courses at college and universities, and are therefore integral to collegiate academic success.

As part-time employees, contingent faculty rarely receive benefits, such as health insurance or contribution to retirement funds. They have little to no job security and work for minimal pay. Many live below the poverty line. Adjunct instructors’ work conditions are their teaching conditions, and are, in turn, their students’ learning conditions.

As “adjuncts,” contingent faculty lack the professional benefits they deserve. Despite being indispensable to the day-to-day operations of their department, they lack professional standing and representation. Despite over 50% of adjunct instructors completing their doctorates, most are silenced in regards to departmental matters.[2] Adjuncts instructors are unable to fight for their academic department, and thus unable to fight for their students.

Given these conditions, faculty nationwide are standing to raise awareness about the growing concern of inadequate teaching conditions and the devaluing of the academic profession at two- and four-year institutions of higher education.

These contingent faculty believe that bettering their teaching conditions will raise success rates for their students in their own classes and beyond. They believe that bettering their working conditions is a profound investment in academic excellence in higher education. They believe that providing contingent faculty a voice will strengthen academic departments across colleges and universities, empowering educators and students alike.

In order to raise these concerns publicly, our colleagues across the city, and as far away as San Diego, Montréal, Miami, and Seattle, are staging walkouts, teach-ins, grade-ins and demonstrations. At the University of Louisville and Jefferson Community and Technical College, contingent faculty have decided to educate students and other members of the community on the issues adjuncts face, and how their jobs affect the academic community as a whole.

Teach-ins will be held at:
JCTC -“Lunch Talk” being held at Hartford Hall Auditorium (in basement), 12-1 pm
U of L - “Lunch Talk” being held at the Chao Auditorium from 11:30-12:30 pm



[1] “The Just-in-Time Professor.” House Committee on Education and the Workforce. 3.
[2] The Just-in-Time Professor.” 25.

Friday, February 20, 2015

PRESS RELEASE 20 FEBRUARY 2015: EVENT ADDED AT UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE



The organizers of the The Louisville Teach-In announce that a SIMULTANEOUS EVENT has been scheduled at the University of Louisville:

Time:
11:30a-12:30p
Location:
Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library


Draft Agenda:

11:30am – Opening Discussion

11:45am – The Presentation “National Adjunct Walk-Out Day”

12:00pm – HB 143

12:20pm – Talk Back/Call to Action

12:30pm – Lunch Talk Ends


For more information contact:

Mick Parsons, Organizer: 502-509-2024 / mick.parsons@kycfa.org
Kate Lafferty, Organizer: 856-287-7426 / kate.lafferty@kycfa.org

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Press Release 19 Februrary 2015

 UPDATE: 3:21pm --

Kentucky Jobs with Justice is supporting the Teach-In!


The Louisville Teach-In (#lvilleteachin) has garnered even more national attention. Thanks to social media and the building support of National Adjunct Walk Out day (#nawd) The action scheduled for February 25th at Jefferson Technical Community College has been included in a national map of scheduled events:
Source: http://nationaladjunct.tumblr.com/

We are also pleased to announce that the Teach-In has found community support from the following people and organizations:

  • The Kentucky IWW Contact: Patrick Danner, Press Officer patrick.a.danner@gmail.com
  • Dr. Tony Newberry, JCTCS President and CEO Contact: Dr. Newberry, tony.newberry@kctcs.edu
  • Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Louisville Chapter  Contact:  Linda Stettenbenz, lgstettenbenz@gmail.com
  • SEIU/NCFO, Contact: Richard Becker, Beckerr@NCFO.org
Some other exciting things are in the works, and we are planning a simultaneous event at the University of Louisville. Stay tuned for more details!

Please spread the word. The exploitation of part-time and contingent faculty means students are being exploited, too.

Monday, February 16, 2015

KYCFA Made News in "The Atlantic Monthly"

Fred Thornhill ReutersKYCFA received a brief, but important mention in “The Atlantic Monthly” article “The Tall Task of Unifying Part-Time Professors,” by Kate Jenkins.


Ms. Jenkins writes:


For the upcoming day of action, at least one school, Seattle University, has organized a traditional walkout that over 100 faculty have pledged to participate in. But, by and large, “Walkout Day” may prove to be a misnomer; under some state laws governing unions and strikes, adjunct professors can’t actually walk out of classrooms without risking their jobs—so many campuses are organizing alternative activities instead. A community college in Kentucky is planning a teach-in, and some schools in the City University of New York and State University of New York systems are planning other non-walkout events. There is also talk of “grade-ins,” in which adjuncts gather to work in public places to raise awareness about their lack of office space.


Please read the rest of the article here, and our most sincere thanks to Ms. Jenkins for taking the time and making the effort to report so thoroughly on all the efforts to win equality for our members and teachers everywhere.


 



KYCFA Made News in "The Atlantic Monthly"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Update on NAWD

On Friday, we were asked to speak at the JCTC faculty meeting about the Teach-In and President Newberry was kind enough to reinforce our statements throughout his report.  Not only are we gaining some attention locally, but also nationally. 
We were interviewed for an article for In These Times magazine and are looking forward to seeing the article. 
Also, we received a shout-out in The Atlantic about the Teach-In that you can check out here. 

We are holding an organizational meeting on Tuesday and also the day before the Teach-In.  We are hoping to have a solid PowerPoint presentation to present to the group this week, and looking forward to hearing what else we can do during the day.  We have a few short videos, such as Ohio State's NAWD video and Con Job, which is long, but very informative.  We will be including some small portion of these videos.  Also, we would love to get a great discussion going during the Teach-In.

On February 25th, we booked the Hartford Hall Auditorium from 12-1pm in order to allow faculty, students, and staff to stop in and listen to information about the contingent workers at JCTC.  I hope this day brings some awareness to the issue, and it seems as though it has already.  In looking at some of the articles being posted about the day, I think we are well on our way to having more open and respectful discussions. 

Keep in mind, the Teach-In is only the beginning!  Nothing will be solved in this one day, but it will open the doors for future discussions.  And that's really what we are looking to do with the start of the KYCFA (kycfa.org).  This will be the beginning of negotiations and us working together to gain more rights as workers! 

Adjunct Testimonials

The following are reflective testimonials from Adjuncts in the United States. Due to privacy concerns and fear of retaliation from employers, names and other identifying information have been removed.

If you would like to contribute your own story, please share it in the comment box below. If you would like to contact KYCFA to participate in our national survey, please use the KYCFA contact form.



Adjunct, Louisville, KY:

This is my 13th year as an Adjunct in the Louisville area. I’ve taught community college students, prison inmates, and private university students. I’ve had anywhere from 10-120 students per semester. I’ve taught at 1-3 campuses per semester. The pay is abysmal. With four classes, I take home $767 average twice monthly. When I taught one class, I got $120 or so twice a month. I’ve just about wiped out my retirement from the full time job I had 15 years just in the 6 months I’ve returned to Adjuncting.

I am on Medicaid, and am probably eligible for more thing than just that. I’m grateful for the Affordable Care Act because I couldn’t have gone back to school and be Adjuncting without it. Savings is laughable. I can’t even eek by, much less have savings. Retirement is depleted—or just about. There’s no way I can save for it. I just hope when I have my PhD I’ll not be an Adjunct!



Adjunct, Writer, Mother of 1:

As an Adjunct all over the northeast, I’ve taught various journalism courses. It’s hard to say how much time I spent grading/planning. Both took longer in the beginning, before I started using rubrics and when I was planning courses from scratch. A rough estimate is maybe 2-3 hours planning each class session. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to grade each student story/paper, so the time spent grading depends on how many stories assigned each semester (usually 4-10 depending on the class) and how many students were in the class. The biggest hurdle as an Adjunct has been the pay. It’s depressing to think about my hourly rate as an Adjunct. A (very) rough estimate tells me that my hourly rate as an Adjunct is about one-third of my hourly rate as a freelancer. (Sometimes I think I might be losing money by being an Adjunct instead of devoting that time to more lucrative freelance work!) I’d love to spend more time on all aspects of my classes (planning, grading, meeting with students, etc.), but I can’t afford to do it because the pay is so low.


 Former Adjunct, New Jersey:

The most rewarding experience for me as an Adjunct was seeing my students respond to the literature that I had assigned; the biggest hurdle was the lack on consistent employment. One semester I might have several offers, but another I might have none. One community college in particular had promised me three courses for the Spring of 2013, but accidentally double assigned the same classes and I, lacking seniority, was out of luck, a week before the semester began.

As an Adjunct I felt like I lived out of a suitcase and that I didn’t know anyone. I think that Adjuncts would benefit from more community connection and having access to office space. Additionally, I believe that some sort of contracted stability would be beneficial. Knowing that if you accept a job in the Fall semester, that you should also have one in the Spring.


Adjunct, New Jersey:

I have worked as a lecturer for about eight months, teaching first-year writing in New Jersey and Philadelphia. When I taught four courses, I made about $2000 a month. But I have not had health insurance in almost a year (pats self on back). I still panic at random moments that a car will careen off the road and hit me. At this point, I will only make about $1200 a month until May. I am considering applying to substitute teach because I am underemployed right now. The NAWD should make the numbers of Adjuncts who teach college courses – and get paid the tuition amount of one student – more visible.

I really enjoy leading my students in classroom discussion and encouraging them to think more carefully about the world, literature, and art. Their enthusiasm is the most rewarding part of my job, but the inconsistency in employment is a big problem. I can never expect to be employed the next semester and have to keep applying for jobs.



H.W.M., Adjunct, Michigan:

I worked as an Adjunct instructor for three years in Michigan, teaching multiple sections of reading and writing courses. My first year, I didn’t supplement my income, and I went into credit card debt. By year two, I worked thirty hours per week, waiting tables in a Chinese restaurant. I had to wait on a few students. They seemed alarmed, like maybe I had been fired from the college. In my third year, I devoted 50 hours per week at a larger, public institution as a tutor for student athletes. I got paid for 30 hours per week at this job. There were gaps of hours between appointments.

As an Adjunct I only made $32 per in class hour. For two three-credit courses, I made about $750 per month.



Adjunct Testimonials

Saturday, February 7, 2015

This week in Louisville...

We have made some headway for National Adjunct Walk-Out Day and couldn't be more excited to share the news!
In the past week, we have successfully started a website: www.kycfa.org.  We will be posting and updating the site regularly over the next few weeks.
We have been contacted by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and look forward to speaking with them in the very near future.
A few of us had the opportunity to meet with the President and Provost of Jefferson Community and Technical College, and we are starting what hopefully will be a productive negotiation process to support our Part-Time faculty and contingent workforce at the college.  They are willing to hear our issues and give their support for the Teach-In we will have on February 25th. We will be presenting our ideas about the Teach-In during the faculty meeting next Friday.
Also, during that meeting, House Bill 143 was brought up, which is a bill you can find here.  This bill proposes that "adjunct faculty" would be able to take up to six credit hours of public post secondary education each semester with tuition waived.  This would open up numerous opportunities for part-time faculty. 
We have also been contacted by a journalist from In These Times magazine who would like to run a story on the Teach-In. 

In other news, SEIU asked for a "new minimum compensation standard" for adjunct faculty.  While $15,000 per course is a stretch, it's definitely getting some attention.  Read the story here.

Here's another recent article about the U.S. News college ranking system and the need to put how many full-time/part-time faculty members are employed at each college.  Find that story here.

AAUP put out this report which includes some excellent graphs and charts about the economic issues facing higher education. 

The Just-In-Time Professor is a report that summarizes the working conditions facing contingent labor in higher education. Another good resource to look at when time permits, especially in preparation for National Adjunct Walk-Out/Teach-In Day!