Adjuncts Launch Union Bids at 2 Southern California Colleges

Adjuncts at Whittier College and the University of La Verne, both in Southern California, have filed for a union election with the Service Employees International Union as part of its Adjunct Action project. The national campaign aims to organize adjuncts across metro areas and regionally. “There has been a real need to address the inequities that adjunct faculty face for a long time,” said Fatima Suarez, an adjunct professor of anthropology and sociology at La Verne, said in a news release announcing the union bids, filed with National Labor Relations Board. “We are excited for the opportunity to form a union and win a real voice and a better future for ourselves and our students.” Adjunct Action has seen traction in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where adjuncts at institutions including American and George Washington Universities have voted recently to unionize. In Boston, Tufts University adjuncts voted to unionize this fall, while a Bentley University effort was voted down.

La Verne and Whittier are expected to announce by the end of the week whether they will challenge the bids, according to SEIU. The colleges did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ad keywords: 

Anderson U. Ends French, Theater, Philosophy Majors

Anderson University, a private Christian institution in Indiana, has announced that it will eliminate its French, philosophy and theater majors as part of a plan to deal with financial shortfalls, The Herald Bulletin reported. A total of 16 faculty and staff positions will be eliminated as a result of those and other changes.


Academic Minute: String Theory

In today’s Academic Minute, Ali Nayeri of Chapman University discusses the explanatory power of string theory cosmology. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Ad keywords: 

Essay on the cover letter for academic jobs

Get a Job!

Every paragraph has a purpose, writes Cheryl E. Ball.

Job Tags: 
Ad keywords: 
Editorial Tags: 
Show on Jobs site: 

Education research association releases recommendations on evaluating faculty members -- on and off the tenure track

Smart Title: 

Ed schools need to update how they evaluate professors who are up for tenure or promotion, and they need to pay more attention to the conditions of adjuncts, say two new reports.

Study Finds Unanswered Questions in Physics Gender Gap

A new study -- summarizing 26 previous studies on the scores of female and male students in physics -- has failed to find a consistent explanation for women appearing to start and finish courses, on average, with lower comprehension levels than their male counterparts. Viewing the studies in isolation, there is evidence that some factors -- such as different preparation of levels of men and women before college -- may contribute to the gap. But no one factor studied can explain the overall gap, "suggesting that the gender gap is most likely due to the combination of many small factors rather than any one factor that can easily be modified," says a summary of the study, which will appear in Physical Review Special Topics. The summary of the paper also notes that "several high-profile studies that have claimed to account for or reduce the gender gap have failed to be replicated in subsequent studies, suggesting that isolated claims of explanations of the gender gap should be interpreted with caution."




Ad keywords: 

Report Details Financial Struggles of Boston Adjuncts

Service Employees International Union released a report Friday detailing the financial struggles of adjunct faculty at institutions across Boston, as part of its ongoing effort to unionize adjuncts in that city. The campaign is part of a national SEIU effort, called Adjunct Action, to organize adjunct faculty at individual institutions and regionally.

According to the report, called "High Cost of Adjunct Living: Boston," 67 percent of faculty members -- some 15,000 people -- in the Boston area were employed as adjuncts in 2011. Based on median pay per course in New England -- from $3,750 at private, master's-level institutions to $5,225, at private, doctoral-level institutions -- SEIU finds that an adjunct would have to teach 17 to 24 courses annually to enjoy median-priced housing and utilities in Boston, where the cost of living is 32 percent higher than the national average. Teaching 12 courses per year at those rates -- an unusually large course load -- an adjunct may earn $45,000, the report finds. Comparatively, full-time faculty earned from $113,000 to $154,000, on average, in 2011, depending on institution type.

The report is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education Digest of Education Statistics, among other sources, as well as SEIU interviews with adjuncts across Boston. Some tell of living off inexpensive food such as fried potatoes and onions for an entire semester and using credit cards to pay for basic costs, such as Internet and groceries. Many tell of feeling buried by student debt. According to SEIU calculations, an adjunct would have to teach one or two courses per semester to pay back average doctoral student loans alone. SEIU notes that adjuncts who are unionized enjoy on average 25 percent better pay nationally, as well as other benefits, such as increased job security, and, in some cases, access to health insurance.


Ad keywords: 

Rearguard Action Against Vague, Demanding Search Committees

Many aspiring faculty members complain that search committees ask for lots of information they will never use (or even look at), with vague explanations of what to send. Rebecca Schuman, an adjunct at the University of Missouri at St. Louis and a blogger who writes frequently about job issues in academe, has proposed an unusual way to take a stand about such requests. On her blog, she has announced a contest in which she will pay $100 each to the first two people who send a photo of their butt to a search committee (mixed in with the other materials -- to raise the question of whether anyone would find it). Schuman is requiring that contestants provide her with proof, and that they apply for a job in their discipline for which they have the basic requirements. She also has offered to up the payout to $200 for applications to Ivy League search committees.

Via email, Schuman said that several people have indicated that they will send tush-shots to search committees, but so far no one has provided proof.

Ad keywords: 

Academic Minute: Evolution and the Fear of Holes

In today’s Academic Minute, Arnold Wilkins of the University of Essex digs up the evolutionary origin of a strange phobia. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.


Ad keywords: 

Northeastern Students Participate in Adjunct-Themed 'Thriller' Flash Mob

A group of Northeastern University students stormed the library quad in a flash mob performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” Thursday, in support of the university’s adjuncts’ union drive. About a dozen Empower Adjuncts Student Coalition members broke out in dance and song, changing the lyrics of Jackson’s creepy classic to reflect their cause. Here’s the first verse: “It's after midterms, and we're all gasping sighs of relief/But across campus, injustice has its claws sunk in deep/They're everywhere: teachers without proper compensation/Poverty wages, no offices or job security -- and we don't agree.” And the chorus? “It's time for adjunct, adjunct rights/We're building up momentum, the fuse is set alight/We've got to stand up, fight the fight/Let's organize together to make things better, better tonight.”

Similar events took place throughout the week at campuses nationwide, as part of the United Students Against Sweatshops’ “Hallo-Week of Action” against what it calls low-wage worker “exploitation” in higher education, and Campus Equity Week, a national, adjunct-driven campaign to raise awareness of their working conditions.

But Northeastern students said they were protesting in particular the university’s recent hiring of Jackson, Lewis, a New York-based law firm specializing in “labor and preventive practices,” among other areas, according to its website, as outside counsel for a union drive there. Sophomore Troy Neves said the student group hoped to encourage university administrators to “remain neutral” as adjuncts attempt to organize under the Service Employees International Union. Tufts University adjuncts recently voted to unionize with SEIU, which seeks to organize adjuncts across Boston, but Bentley University adjuncts recently voted down a union effort there.

Mike Armini, a Northeastern spokesman, said the university had met with concerned students recently, telling them the firm had been hired to help the university “navigate” the intricacies of labor law related to the union drive. He referred questions about the university’s position on the drive to a letter to part-time faculty from Stephen Director, the provost. “Ultimately, the decision about whether to support SEIU or not is yours,” the letter reads. “We do want to emphasize that the issue of union representation is of critical importance to every faculty member, including you, as well as to the university as a whole. Therefore, we urge you not to remain uninvolved. However you may feel about this issue, please make your voice count.”

Ad keywords: 


Subscribe to RSS - faculty
Back to Top