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The Adjunct Cookbook: Foodbank-Friendly Concoctions

September 25, 2014

By publishing a cookbook like no other, instructors at Front Range Community College (FRCC) are teaching peers, students, parents, and others in the community about a situation that has reached a boiling point. Interspersed amid dozens of what the authors call “food bank-friendly concoctions,” the text is a primer in how the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is slicing, dicing and shredding collegiate-level teaching. Many pages of research, audit charts and budget breakdowns document what the authors say is a recipe for catastrophe for the 163,000 Colorado students looking to those colleges for learning. FRCC has campuses in Longmont, Westminster, Ft. Collins and Brighton.

adjunct cookbook

Included are recipe categories such as “The Frappes of Wrath” and “Nobucks Coffee Drinks.” Recipes calling for beef scraps, bruised tomatoes, orange peelings and chicken bones point to a workforce living on the edge. “Cracked Windshield” is a mint drink based on cracked Lifesaver candies. “If Only” is a gin-and-tonic sans gin. “Sliding-Toward-Despair Asian Sliders” are, perforce, small and inexpensive to make.

The recipes, say the authors in the introduction, reflect accurately the working conditions of the college’s faculty majority. There is also much humor sprinkled in amidst evidence of hardship and other ponderous but necessary facts adjuncts need to know about why they are experiencing hardship.

The cheery cookbook, with the word “Adjunct” set in a fun style on the cover, is enticing, if the initial (sold out) print run is any indication. The authors believe that once teachers and students get the books home to read the recipes, they will discover many startling facts about their college. Most of those facts are public information, albeit well-hidden information, about a bloated administration consuming most of the $576 million in CCCS annual revenues.

With its many photographs and insights from lawmakers, authors report, readers “will see the faces of good people who know about the situation, will know who is already working hard to set things right, and will join us in addressing the rapidly expanding fault line in higher education.” The book also offers many local resources their AAUP chapter has found to help the adjuncts get through the workweek (food bank locales and hours, local contacts for food stamps, energy assistance, health-care, etc.).

“We hope the book helps them realize they have not failed, but that the system has failed them,” says Caprice Lawless, chapter president. The group did not copyright the cookbook, she said, because they want other adjunct groups around the country to use the model to promote their work on their campuses. Copies are available for a donation of $7.50 each (including shipping and handling), via the FRCC AAUP website:

https://sites.google.com/site/coloradoadjunctswiki/

 

We Care Health Fair to help CCCS adjunct faculty get health care

August 26, 2014

The American Association of University Professors has partnered with Colorado Connect for Health to host convenient, on-campus workshops for adjunct faculty to secure free or low-cost health care. The FRCC We Care Health Fair will be held 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 26, in Room C0402 on the Front Range Community College (FRCC) Westminster Campus, 3645 W. 112th Ave.

Following a brief overview of available programs, staffers from Colorado Connect for Health will help each attendee personally through the process of signing up for either Medicaid, for subsidized health coverage, or for making adjustment to their current coverage. They will have on hand several laptops to help participants. Attendees should bring along their 2013 income tax filings, two recent pay stubs, a recent house payment coupon (if a homeowner) and their driver’s licenses.

Approximately 85% of all courses at FRCC are taught by adjunct faculty who earn poverty-level wages. Many of those 1,200 teachers qualify for either free health care under Medicaid or low-cost, taxpayer-subsidized health care. The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) took further measures in June to avoid compliance under the Affordable Care Act. Those measures (fewer courses to teach, elimination of office hours on course syllabi) necessitate that most adjunct faculty adjust their already low incomes to levels even lower.

For further information, contact Suzanne Hudson, Secretary-Treasurer, AAUP Colo. Conf. at: Suzanne.hudson@colo.edu or Caprice Lawless, FRCC AAUP Chapter President, at: frccaaupchapter@gmail.coom

Banner Year for Conference Continues with National Committee Appointments

July 27, 2014

The Colorado Conference is pleased to announce that several members of the conference’s executive committee have been appointed by national AAUP president Rudy Fichtenbaum to committees of the association. Suzanne Hudson, secretary of the Colorado Conference and long-time contingent activist, has been appointed to the Committee on Contingency and the Profession. Caprice Lawless, president of the Front Range Community College chapter, has been appointed to the Committee on Community Colleges. Conference co-president Jonathan Rees has been appointed to the Committee on the Organization of the Association. Additionally, we are pleased to announce that Steve Shulman, professor of economics at Colorado State University, has been appointed chair of the Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession.

These appointments signal continued recognition of the conference’s significance to the Association. Earlier this year Hudson was honored to participate on the search committee to select a senior program officer to the Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance of the national AAUP. In June, Dean Saitta, past president of the conference, was awarded the prestigious Tacey Award from the Association of State Conferences for outstanding service over a number of years to a state conference, and Lawless won the Al Sumberg Award for her involvement with HB14-1154, the conference’s groundbreaking equal work for equal pay community college legislative initiative.

Congratulations to all for recognition well-deserved.

Senator John Kefalas accepts Friend of Higher Education Award.

July 4, 2014

 

fischer, kefalas, suz 2

 AAUP members present Colorado Senator John Kefalas with the Randy Fischer Friend of Higher Education Award on July 2, 2014. Pictured (left to right) are Senator Kefalas, Don Eron, Representative Randy Fischer, Caprice Lawless, and Suzanne Hudson.

The AAUP Colorado Conference is proud to bestow its newly renamed Randy Fischer Friend of Higher Education Award on Colorado Senator John Kefalas (Senate District 14, Fort Collins). This award is presented annually by the AAUP’s Colorado Conference to honor Colorado legislators and elected public officials “whose legislative work and public service has significantly advanced civic understanding and public support of higher education in the State of Colorado.” The award recognizes Senator Kefalas for his indefatigable efforts on behalf of Colorado higher education institutions and faculty of all ranks and disciplines over a legislative career that spans six years in the Colorado General Assembly’s House of Representatives, continuing since 2013 as senator. He has proven himself a highly effective public servant and skilled listener who reaches across the aisle to build stakeholdership on issues of common interest to all Coloradoans irrespective of party labels. The AAUP is especially appreciative of Senator Kefalas advocacy and support of House Bill 12-1144 on Non-Tenure Track Teaching Contracts, which became law in April 2012, and his recent support for AAUP’s Community College Pay Equity bill (HB14-1154) that Randy Fischer introduced at the General Assembly this year (John Kefalas co-sponsor in the Senate). AAUP Colorado Conference looks forward to working with Senator Kefalas on this issue and others in the 2015 legislative session and beyond.

Note: In 2014 the AAUP Friend of Higher Education Award was renamed in honor of Representative Randy Fischer’s outstanding career contributions to higher education advocacy in Colorado. It is especially appropriate in our view that Senator Kefalas should receive this award considering his long-time collaboration with Randy Fischer on Colorado higher education issues. For a list of past award winners see: http://aaupcolorado.org/awards/

The most influential AAUP state caucus in America.

May 30, 2014

I may be biased, but I think AAUP Colorado is the most influential state caucus in America. Where’s my proof? In 2012, two members of our leadership team, Don Eron and Suzanne Hudson won the Tacey Award from the Assembly of State Conferences. Today, we learned that two other members of our leadership team have been similarly honored.

Former Co-President Dean Saitta from the University of Denver is the winner of this year’s Tacey Award from the ASC. Here’s a passage from the letter that nominated him so that you can get an idea of his incredible service to the organization in particular and the professoriate in general:

“His contributions to the development of the Colorado Conference are extraordinary across a broad band of leadership and service categories. In 2006, he took the lead in reviving DU’s moribund AAUP Chapter, organizing faculty and championing academic freedom and shared governance on campus. He quickly became the go-to person for challenging a range of administrative decisions, from arbitrary faculty evaluations and tenure decisions to championing changes to the faculty manual strengthening shared governance. He designed a compelling webpage enabling colleagues to access AAUP resources and he offers commentary on governance issues both relevant to DU and Colorado higher education. His blogs and commentary relentlessly advanced academic freedom on campus and throughout the state and his skilled analysis of violations of faculty rights have been instrumental in reversing several unwarranted administrative decisions adversely affecting both untenured and tenured colleagues on the DU campus, CU-Denver Medical School, and elsewhere.”

Caprice Lawless, the fearless leader of our Front Range Community College chapter, is the winner of the AAUP’s Al Sumberg Award this year. Here’s a piece of her nomination letter:

“The Colorado Conference of the AAUP sponsored an historic bill in the 2014 legislative session titled The Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act of 2014 (HB14-1154). This bill, which would become known as Colorado’s equal pay for equal work legislation, was instigated by Caprice Lawless, an adjunct instructor and president of the Front Range Community College chapter of the AAUP. Caprice built the FRCC chapter by recognizing the exploitation of the adjunct workforce at Colorado’s community colleges through below-poverty wages and denial of benefits. For example, when the full-time faculty were given free flu shots while the adjunct faculty, who comprise 85% of the workforce at FRCC and receive no sick pay or health insurance, were ignored, Caprice contacted the Department of Health and obtained flu shot vouchers, which she labeled with AAUP stickers and handed out to adjunct faculty. Caprice takes adjunct faculty to food banks every week; she maintains a blog that addresses the indignities of adjunct faculty’s working conditions.”

Congratulations to them both. It is truly an honor to work with them on behalf of faculty everywhere.

AAUP Report on CU’s Treatment of Philosophy Department

April 17, 2014

 

Following is a link to a report from the University of Colorado (CU) chapter and the Colorado Conference of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) regarding the recent upheavals in the Philosophy Department at CU. The upheavals stem from complaints about sexual harassment made to CU’s Office of Discrimination and Harassment. The report details the CU administration’s attack on the academic freedom, shared governance, and due process rights of the members of the Philosophy Department faculty.

AAUP Report on CU Philosophy Department

Senator Rollie Heath Receives AAUP’s Friends of Higher Education Award

March 6, 2014

Members of the AAUP from the University of Colorado and Front Range Community College met with Senator Rollie Heath on February 28 for two purposes: (1) to present Senator Heath with the AAUP’s Friends of Higher Education Award and (2) to talk with him about HB14-1154, the Community College Pay and Benefits Equity Act of 2014.

Rollie Heath

      Suzanne Hudson presents the Friends of Higher Education Award to

Senator Rollie Heath

Senator Heath received his award most graciously. He also listened to the AAUP members’ concerns about the low pay and lack of benefits awarded to adjunct faculty at the community colleges. Senator Heath expressed concern about the working conditions of adjunct faculty and promised to study the issues and keep an open mind about the bill.

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