Category: Blog

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 ...

Faculty Move Forward Together, Not One Step Back in Richmond, Virginia

Faculty Move Forward Together, Not One Step Back in Richmond, Virginia

“People who work for fast-food corporations like McDonald’s led the way, but the Fight for $15 is now for everyone” (Derick Smith, Adjunct Faculty at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University). As Spelman adjunct philosophy professor Tara Holman knows, “[teaching] would be the best job in the world if I actually made a sustainable, living wage.” Too many of us in higher education know the truth, though: there is no such thing as a sustainable, living wage for most adjunct facul ...

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 ...

The Disparate Truth of Debt in Higher Education

The Disparate Truth of Debt in Higher Education

At the outset, I knew that I would have to overcome systematic racism, transphobia and homophobia. I knew my learning disabilities would make it difficult as well. Yet, the most forbidding boundary in my way is the tremendous debt I have accrued, a fact compounded by the prospect that my calling is not known for being financially lucrative. … I have grown to fear that the pursuit of my passion, which is ultimately to help and liberate others, has doomed myself and my family to captivity; working ...

Faculty are Taking a Stand to Defend the American Dream

Faculty are Taking a Stand to Defend the American Dream

All across America, faculty are uniting to advocate for students and the profession—and the future of higher education is brighter thanks to heroic efforts to bring about authentic structural change and preserve the integrity of our public institutions. ...

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