Author Archives: Guest Writer

Educated Liberals Elected Donald Trump

Educated Liberals Elected Donald Trump

Educated liberals may not have cast votes for Donald Trump, but what did we do to oppose him? The halls of academia should be a bulwark against the kind of misogynistic, anti-environmental, bigoted policies Trump espouses; yet when academics can’t even rally for their immediate and obvious self-interests, how can they be expected to act globally for the greater good? As an adjunct in Syracuse, N.Y., I made so little money that I was forced to work the graveyard shift of a local hotel where I ...

A Space for Social Justice Education

A Space for Social Justice Education

As an adjunct professor and social justice advocate, I am constantly aware those two paths can come into conflict. I have never been more aware of that than during the Occupy movement, where I was the first arrested and most arrested member of the Albany branch of the movement. In doing media interviews, I was regularly asked about what I did for a living. As one knee jerk reaction to organized protest is frequently “Get a job,” I was always happy to answer that I was an adjunct professor at bot ...

Compartmentalizing Dissent: Transparency, Austerity and the Soul of UNC

Compartmentalizing Dissent: Transparency, Austerity and the Soul of UNC

In North Carolina, the struggle for higher education has taken the form of protest against the appointment of Margaret Spellings to the position of University of North Carolina (UNC) president. For months, student protestors attended Board of Governors (BOG) meetings to show their absolute displeasure at the opacity of governance within their university system. Faculty have also voiced their concerns, especially with Spellings’ lack of qualifications for her new role. In an effort to quiet the d ...

Hands Up: Racial and Economic Inequality in Higher Education

Hands Up: Racial and Economic Inequality in Higher Education

Gather round class, it's time to talk about how racial and economic inequality are interconnected social problems and how they're working in higher ed to perpetuate those inequalities in society at large. Social problems are just that, social, they are embedded in the social structure which shapes our society and our individual experiences. As such, these problems cannot be fixed or blamed on individuals and impact large numbers of people in a negative way. Social problems are circular and both ...

When We Fight, We Win!

When We Fight, We Win!

On Friday September 9, 2016, after over two years, the contingent faculty of Seattle University had their unionization votes counted by the National Labor Review Board. We won this long awaited victory by 10 votes, finally joining SEIU Local 925; the margin would have been higher had the University’s disingenuous challenges to 15 votes been adjudicated. We made the strategic decision to accept the challenges and walk out with the win rather than allow the University and its team of union busting ...

Cheryl DeFlavis: I Believe That We Will Win

Cheryl DeFlavis: I Believe That We Will Win

I am an adjunct activist and sociology professor at two community colleges in Florida. I am paid an unlivable wage and found myself (and my kids) at a food bank this summer. Summer is always the worst part of adjuncting for me, when job insecurity is at its highest for contingent faculty all across the nation. I have been working to form a union with other adjuncts at Hillsborough Community College and what I've quickly learned through this work is that my experiences are not unique. I've heard ...

Dr. Wanda Evans-Brewer: Lesson From South Africa

Dr. Wanda Evans-Brewer: Lesson From South Africa

This week, the first-ever nationwide Fight for $15 gathering across industries convenes in Richmond, Virginia, the former heart and capital of the Confederacy, to take a stand against racism and economic insecurity. The convention culminates in a massive march for economic and racial justice with 10,000 people in the streets demanding justice. One sister we’ll miss is Dr. Wanda Evans-Brewer. Wanda fearlessly gives voice and visibility to the struggle adjunct professors face: I couldn’t have ima ...

Giving Part-Time Faculty a Real Voice in Shared Governance

Giving Part-Time Faculty a Real Voice in Shared Governance

Athol Fugard, the South African playwright, once wrote that "a man who cannot speak for himself is not a man; he is a ghost." Sadly, at too many community colleges and universities, adjunct faculty are ghosts. They are not seen or heard. Part-time faculty remain invisible to department chairs, deans and college administrators, even though they may constitute a majority of the faculty. However, it does not have to be that way. Adjuncts can play an active role in shaping the work environm ...

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