The Colorado Conference’s Annual Meeting will be held Saturday, December 7 on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus in Room 247 of the University Memorial Center. Time is 9:00-3:00. Guest speaker is Howard Bunsis, President of the AAUP Collective Bargaining Congress. Dr. Bunsis is a nationally-recognized expert on college and university budgets. Also on the agenda is a discussion of legislation, to be introduced in 2014, mandating pay equity in Colorado’s community colleges. The meeting is open to all AAUP members, would-be members, and non-members. A continental breakfast and boxed lunch will be served. Please RSVP to Suzanne Hudson, Conference Secretary-Treasurer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two of our own were featured in higher education’s two most popular news sources last week. Don Eron, a non-tenure-track professor of writing at CU-Boulder and member of the National AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, was interviewed by Inside Higher Education regarding Committee A’s new statement on “The Freedom to Teach.” According to the AAUP statement:
The freedom to teach includes the right of the faculty to select the materials, determine the approach to the subject, make the assignments, and assess student academic performance in teaching activities for which faculty members are individually responsible, without having their decisions subject to the veto of a department chair, dean, or other administrative officer.
Don suggests that individual vs. collective responsibility for course design is “probably the central academic freedom issue” confronting adjunct instructors—particularly for those teaching core courses, which are more likely to be subject to administrative calls for standardization across sections. Don also suggests that:
Of course, there should be an agreement among faculty on common goals, guidelines, and requirements for these courses, but when these guidelines and requirements encroach upon the realm of pedagogy or curriculum, academic freedom is abridged. That does not augur well for the quality of instruction in these courses, or, for that matter, the future of the professoriate.
Meanwhile, Conference Co-President Jonathan Rees of Colorado State University-Pueblo continues to insightfully and entertainingly watchdog the MOOC movement and its celebrated “Superprofessors” with an essay (re-posted from his terrific blog) for the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae site, entitled “I’m Not a Real Professor, I Just Play One on The Internet.” You have to read the whole thing to understand the image below. It’s well worth it.
Adjunct Faculty at Front Range Community College have been moving aggressively and courageously to promote equitable treatment—and the AAUP chapter—on their campus. Following are some pictures from last week’s Campus Equity event. Along with lots of great information our colleagues gave away AAUP branded muffins and a local merchant donated free coffee. Folks look like they’re having a good time, and FRCC may have picked up a few new AAUP members in the bargain. Kudos to these faculty for their information sharing and campus organizing efforts!
The Colorado Community College System had $579 million in revenues in 2013. Only 11% went to the 4,000 adjunct faculty who teach approximately 70 percent of all CCCS courses. Figures vary on the percentage of courses taught by adjuncts. Rural campuses typically employ more full-time faculty, while metropolitan campuses (Pikes Peak CC, FRCC, Red Rocks CC) employ more adjuncts. Figures for the metropolitan area-campuses run 75-85% adjunct instruction.
Maria Maisto, President and Executive Director of the New Faculty Majority, will be a featured guest for events to be held at Colorado State University- Fort Collins to observe Campus Equity Week October 28-November 1, 2013. These events focus on the role of adjunct faculty at the university. They are sponsored by CSU’s Department of Economics and The Institute for Learning and Teaching.
As universities have come to rely on faculty who work off the tenure-track to teach undergraduate courses, disparities in working conditions and compensation have moved adjunct or contingent faculty to advocate for reforms. These events encourage those efforts.
Maisto will participate in an all-university colloquium Monday, October 28th, from 2-4 p.m. in the Morgan Library Event Center. She will meet with members of the CSU Adjunct faculty to brainstorm strategies for meeting President Frank’s 2013 initiative of “Creating an Exceptional Environment for Adjunct Faculty.” The workshop will be held Monday, October 28th, from 4-5 in the Morgan Library Event Center. Maisto will also meet with CSU President Tony Frank and other administrators following the Adjunct faculty workshop and prior to attending an organic theater production, “Contingency: A Crisis of Teaching and Learning” scheduled for Monday, October 28th at 7:00 p.m. in TILT 221.
Additional Campus Equity Week Activities include a College of Liberal Arts Adjunction Faculty Committee Informational Workshop scheduled for Wednesday, October 30th, 5-6 p.m. in the Lory Student Center rooms 220/222. A “Plaza Chalk Followed by Chalk Talk” event featuring student involvement is scheduled for Thursday, October 31st, from 11:20-12:15. During this event students will work in groups to address the topic of Academic Freedom in a Democratic Society, an issue of serious concern for non-tenure track faculty. Brainstorming in the Morgan Library Event Center will lead to final statements chalked on the Lory Student Center Plaza. Subsequent classes will engage in “chalk-talk” discussions in the Morgan Library Event Center from 12:15-4:00.
New Faculty Majority is a national non-profit organization founded in 2009 to improve higher education by “engaging in education and advocacy to provide economic justice and academic equity for all college faculty.” Its efforts concentrate on adjunct or contingent faculty, who hold positions off the tenure-track that colleges and universities have increasingly turned to for undergraduate instruction. Maisto, an adjunct English instructor in Ohio, helped found and currently directs both NFM and its affiliated Foundation. Her keynote will discuss “NFM’s approach to advocacy and activism on behalf of adjuncts, explaining how it builds on and differs from what has gone before, what NFM has learned in its short existence, and where NFM is going in its work.”
Contacts: Laura Thomas at 970-988-9714, Sue Doe 970-222-3728, or Natalie Barnes 970-491-7735.
Because 70% of the teachers who teach 85% of the classes at Front Range Community College earn below-poverty level wages, the FRCC Chapter of the American Association of University Professors has begun sponsoring weekly visits to area food banks for the college’s 500 adjunct teachers.
According to the most recently published Colorado Community College System audit, less than 11% of its $579 million annual revenue goes to those who teach 85% of the courses the system offers the adjunct faculty. The average FRCC custodian for example, earns twice the average annual pay of an adjunct, even while hundreds of adjuncts have been teaching the equivalent of a full-time course load for years. The college’s foundation support has quadrupled; tuition and enrollments have also risen. Consequently, only a tiny fraction of CCCS support comes from Colorado taxpayers. Nevertheless, FRCC uses its monies to hire more administrators and to remodel buildings. Such decisions lead adjunct faculty to realize their work is undervalued, and that there is very little community in the community college. For the full story of what this means for adjunct faculty at FRCC, go here.
Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia was given the Colorado Conference’s 2013 Friend of Higher Education Award on Thursday, September 19 in a brief ceremony at his office in the state capitol. Conference Co-Presidents Steve Mumme and Jonathan Rees attended, along with Executive Committee members Suzanne Hudson and Caprice Lawless. The Friend of Higher Education Award honors Colorado legislators who distinguish themselves as supporters of higher education in the state. Mr. Garcia is the first non-legislator to win the award. He is the former president of CSU-Pueblo and Pikes Peak Community College.
“Joe has been a crucial voice in explaining the importance of effective universities to the future of Colorado”, said Jonathan Rees. ”We are grateful for the priorities and experiuence that Joe brings to the table as the legislature and the [Governor] Hickenlooper administration craft budgetary solutions for Colorado’s public colleges and universities.”
The full press release is here.
This is the title of a presentation that Conference Co-President Jonathan Rees gave on July 17, 2013 to the University of Denver’s Strategic Issues Program panel on “The Future of Higher Education.” The full text of Jonathan’s presentation is on the Documents page of this website and also on Scribd.
Jonathan has been in the news a lot lately, giving-and-taking for his analysis of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) phenomenon. For his recent essay in Slate on “The MOOC Racket” see here. And for much more visit his blog, More or Less Bunk.