Tag Archives: Labor

CFP: Graduate Studies and the Academic Labor Market

Call for Papers:
Graduate Studies and the Academic Labor Market

Special Issue of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor 2012
Guest Editors: Bradley J. Porfilio, Julie A. Gorlewski, and Shelley J. Jensen

 Workplace invites and authors to submit papers for a special issue on Graduate Studies and the Academic Labor Market. What are the futures of the academic labor market for graduate students? Or more to the point, is there a future in academic labor for graduate students? Even a casual glance at The Chronicle of Higher Education and, in Canada, at the CAUT Bulletin and University Affairs, suggests a shrinking job market for PhDs. In some disciplines, academic careers have all but disappeared. Post-PhDs are increasingly tracked or streamed into adjunct and sessional appointments, most of which are dead-end and even on full time bases may amount to less than $25,000 per year. This “income” is oftten typically annulled by student loan payments; indeed, the income to debt ratio for post-PhDs adds to a heavy burden of anxiety. We readily romanticize the life of the intellectual, but – more and more – this life does not put food on the table. Food banks are becoming more and more common on university grounds and the lines are not limited to students.

  •  What is the nature of this phenomenon in higher education?
  •  What do these trends mean for the future of education and learning beyond mere technical training?
  •  How do economic hardships affect scholarly pursuits?
  •  How might graduate students reclaim their futures in the professoriate?
  •  What roles exist for the scholar activist – both novice and veteran?
  •  What other questions we should be asking?

The editors request abstracts for papers by September 15, 2012, with full drafts due by December 15, 2012.

For more information and due dates contact Brad Porfilio (porfilio16@aol.com)

Post-Secondary Faculty Support BC Teachers

Please consider signing and circulating a petition for post-secondary support of BC teachers / BCTF
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/support-bc-teachers-bctf-2012/

Thank you,

Sandra Mathison, Stephen Petrina & E. Wayne Ross
University of British Columbia
Faculty of Education

Institute for Critical Education Studies
http://blogs.ubc.ca/ices/
http://blogs.ubc.ca/workplace/

Greek universities in danger

To the international academic community

Greek Universities in Danger

In the last few years, a wave of ‘reforms’ within the European Union and throughout the world has subjected Higher Education to the logic of the market. Higher Education has increasingly been transformed from a public good and a civil right to a commodity for the wealthy. The self-government of Universities and the autonomy of academic processes are also being eroded. The processes of knowledge production and acquisition, as well as the working conditions of the academic community, are now governed by the principles of the private sector, from which Universities are obliged to seek funds.

Greece is possibly the only European Union country where attempts to implement these ‘reforms’ have so far failed. Important factors in this failure are the intense opposition of Greek society as well as the Greek Constitution, according to which Higher Education is provided exclusively by public, fully self-governed and state-funded institutions.

According to the existing institutional framework for the functioning of Universities, itself the result of academic and student struggles before and after the military dictatorship (1967-1974), universities govern themselves through bodies elected by the academic community. Although this institutional framework has contributed enormously to the development of Higher Education in Greece, insufficient funding and suffocating state control, as well as certain unlawful and unprofessional practices by the academic community, have rendered Higher Education reform necessary.

The current government has now hastily attempted a radical reform of Higher Education. On the pretext of the improvement of the ‘quality of education’ and its harmonization with ‘international academic standards’, the government is promoting the principles of ‘reciprocity’ in Higher Education. At the same time, it is drastically decreasing public funding for education (up to 50% decrease) which is already amongst the lowest in the European Union. New appointments of teaching staff will follow a ratio 1:10 to the retirement of existing staff members. This will have devastating results in the academic teaching process as well as in the progress of scientific knowledge.

The government proposals seek to bypass the constitutional obligations of the state towards public Universities and abolish their academic character.

The self-government of Universities will be circumvented, with the current elected governing bodies replaced by appointed ‘Councils’ who will not be accountable to the academic community.
The future of Universities located on the periphery, as well as of University departments dedicated to ‘non-commercial’ scientific fields, looks gloomy.

Academic staff will no longer be regarded as public functionaries. The existing national payscale is to be abolished and replaced by individualized, ‘productivity’ related payscales, while insecure employment is to become the norm for lower rank employees.

Higher Education will be transformed into ‘training’ and, along with research, gradually submitted to market forces.
The government proposals have been rejected by the Greek academic community. The Council of Vice-Chancellors and the Senates of almost all Universities have publicly called the government to withdraw the proposals and have suggested alternative proposals which can more effectively deal with the problems of Greek Universities. Despite this, the government proceeds with promoting its proposals, in confrontation with the entire academic community.

We appeal to our colleagues from the international academic community, who have experienced the consequences of similar reforms, to support us in our struggle to defend education as a public good. We fight, together with our British, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and other colleagues, for the respect of the academic tradition of the European universitas in current conditions.

We ask you to send electronically the appeal below, signed with your name and indicating your academic status and institutional affiliation, to the Initiative of Greek Academics (europeanuniversitas1@gmail.com). The support of the international academic community will prove invaluable for the upcoming developments not only in Greek Universities but in respect to European Higher Education as a whole.

Initiative of Greek academics

To: europeanuniversitas1@gmail.com

Subject: Defending Higher Education in Greece

Defending Higher Education in Greece

We, the undersigned, express our support for Greek academics who oppose the Higher Education reform proposed by the government, which hinders the research and teaching potential of Greek Universities.

Any process aiming to improve the institutional frame of Higher Education has to decisively take into account the positions of the academic community. We understand that the vast majority of the Senates of Greek Universities, the Council of Vice-Chancellors of Greek Universities, as well as the local organisations of University teachers have publicly expressed their opposition to government proposals.

We ask the Greek Prime Minister, Mr. Giorgos Papandreou, and the Minister of Education, Life-Long Learning and Religions, Ms. Anna Diamantopoulou

(a) not to proceed with voting the law, as the direction it has taken has proven devastating for Higher Education wherever it was implemented

(b) to start a real dialogue with the Senates of Universities aiming towards an institutional frame that will safeguard the constitutionally protected self-government of Universities and the public funding of Higher Education, and will respect the principles of European academic traditions regarding the public functioning of Universities.

http://supportgreekacademia.wordpress.com

France on strike

France on Strike

Weeks of strikes, protests and demonstrations have brought much of France to a standstill as workers, students and others voice their strong opposition to a government proposal to raise the age for a minimum pension from 60 to 62. A quarter of the nation’s gas stations were out of fuel, hundreds of flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train services in many regions were cut in half. Protesters blockaded Marseille’s airport, Lady Gaga canceled concerts in Paris and rioting youths attacked police in Lyon. The unpopular bill is edging closer to becoming law as the French Senate is preparing to vote on it today. Collected here are recent images of the unrest around France. Update: Pension reform bill just now passed by French senate. (40 photos total)


A man holds a placard which reads “Listen to the public’s rage” during a demonstration in front of the French Senate in Paris October 20, 2010. French trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to an unpopular pension reform due for a final vote in the Senate this week. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)

View more photos here.

Rouge Forum Update: Valentine Smackeroo Edition

They Say Get Back! We Say Fight Back!

Strike, Educate, Agitate, Occupy on March 4th to Transform Public Education. Defend Education from the Ruling Classes!

On the Little Rouge School Front:

Call For Proposals–Rouge Forum Conference August 2-5, 2010

Detroit Federation of Teachers Uses Cops Vs Members: The DFT leadership had police greeting members coming to the February 11 meeting where rank and file dissidents hoped to present, again, a petition to remove DFT president Keith Johnson who, in December, foisted the worst teacher contract in US history on Detroit School workers. Police removed several members from the meeting in handcuffs. Below are quotes from the DFT web page (http://mi.aft.org/dft231/) demonstrating how the AFT around the country is more and more turning to force in order to whip educators into line. Force alone will never win. Meanwhile, DFT members watch as $250 vanishes from each paycheck, their insurance co-pays go from $5 to $40. In some schools, the testing schedule of preparation and bubbling-in will take up 49 of the next 100 school days. An injury to one just goes before an injury to all. Union bosses are the nearest and most vulnerable of workers’ enemies–harsh measures.

“Cameras NOT ALLOWED at Membership Meeting [2.5.10]

The Feb. 11 General Membership meeting, like all DFT meetings, is a closed and private meeting. No personal video or still cameras will be allowed. No videotaping by cellphone cameras will be allowed. Some members have formally complained to the union that their photo was taken and posted on the internet without their approval. Any person videotaping meetings will be told to cease and desist or will be ejected from the meeting…Any member who continues to disrupt the meeting will be removed by the police.”

Walmart Takes Over Four Detroit Schools: “Students will get 11 weeks of job-readiness training during the school day and 10 high school credits for the class and work experience. Sean Vann, principal at Douglass, said 30 students at that school will get jobs at Walmart. He said the program will allow students an opportunity to earn money and to be exposed to people from different cultures – since all of the stores are in the suburbs.”

Remember when the Detroit Federation of Teachers Dealt Out the Worst Teacher Contract in US History When Last December, Promising Concessions Would Save Jobs? Looky Here: “the scheduled layoff of Marc W. Haas, Orchestra Conductor and Music teacher at Detroit’s Cass Technical High School:“More than 25 music and art teachers are threatened with Feb. 28 or March 7, 2010 layoffs. In my view, the arts programs in Detroit are one of the things that have been working for decades within the Detroit Public School system despite its troubles in other areas. Losing arts teachers and programs would only serve to put Detroit’s youth in further peril.“Quite simply, I believe the arts matter. The arts provide access to success in all areas. Our nation’s arts programs not only produce talented and successful artists, but also talented and successful surgeons, lawyers, scientists, politicians, business executives, etc….leaders period. Let us not lose what has proven to contribute to greatness time and time again.”

Michigan Leads the Way (Backwards) in Call For National Standards: “Schmidt said he believes Michigan is heading in the right direction by being part of the process of developing common national standards. If more students fail the MEAP as a result, Schmidt said, that will put pressure on teachers to produce better results.In addition, Flanagan said, recent legislation that will make student growth a significant part of teacher evaluations also may spur teachers to ensure the standards are being taught. If too many kids fail, a teacher is likely to be downgraded in his evaluation. The idea is to remove ineffective teachers.”

How To Become A Great Michigan School? Pay $25 Grand to the Ad Company: “The banner ad across the Lincoln school district’s website proudly proclaims it has been recognized as one of the best school districts in Michigan.The criteria for Lincoln and eight other districts being selected? A $25,000 check.

Bob Bobb Honored By Detroit Business Mag: “There are better days ahead for Detroit Public Schools,” Bobb said, adding, he thinks DPS should be under mayoral control.

Southwestern College Fights Cuts, Boss, Arrests: The blunt and confrontational Chopra has a long history of turning around troubled districts and educational systems — and of igniting brutal labor clashes. And he’s drawn more scrutiny here for accepting a pay increase while laying off long-time employees, cutting classes and for apparently boosting a paragraph from Southwest Airlines’ CEO in his Thanksgiving letter to employees. Hundreds of college employees have united against Chopra and are taking out their frustrations on three members of the Southwestern board. In the crosshairs are trustees Jean Roesch, Terry Valladolid and Yolanda Salcido.

You Tube Three Minutes Vs Merit Pay

Krashen Letter Cracks NYTimes on NCLB: “ Every minute spent testing that is not necessary bleeds time from learning, and every dollar spent on testing that is not necessary is stolen from investments that really need to be made in schools…Any new education law should result in less testing, not more.” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/opinion/l11educ.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Beverly Hills: Kick Out the Kids!: “The district is changing the way it funds schools, declining state money based on student attendance and instead using property-tax revenue. Board members argued that Beverly Hills taxpayers should not subsidize education for nonresidents.”

Resistance News:
Feb 9: Building Occupation in Progress, University of Sussex: Students at the University of Sussex are occupying their university’s conference center to protest cuts to classes and employee layoffs.

Greeks Strike Against Austerity Plan: “Thousands of Greeks have rallied against deficit-cutting measures during a national public sector strike.Flights have been grounded, many schools are closed and hospitals are operating an emergency-only service.”

New home, new outlook, new publishing system for Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

The Editorial Team of Workplace is proud to announce the journal’s new home, new outlook, and new publishing system!

We encourage you to browse the Workplace open journal system, submit a manuscript, or volunteer to review http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/index. We also welcome proposals for Special Issues; if you have an idea or have assembled a group of scholars writing on higher education workplace activism and issues of academic labor, send us a proposal.

Current preprints include:

John Welsh‘s “Theses on College and University Administration” and “The Status Degradation Ceremony.” As a whole, both feature articles challenge scholars to rethink the administration of higher education and how we frame research into this process http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/issue/current.

“The Education Agenda is a War Agenda: Connecting Reason to Power and Power to Resistance” by Rich Gibson & E. Wayne Ross

Reviews by Richard Brosio and Prentice Chandler

Thank you and please forward this invitation to colleagues and networks.

Stephen Petrina & E. Wayne Ross, Co-Editors

Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy
University of British Columbia
http://m1.cust.educ.ubc.ca/journal/index.php/workplace/index

Call for Papers: Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions

Call for Papers
Special Issue for Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Working In, and Against, the Neo-Liberal State: Global Perspectives on K-12 Teacher Unions

The neo-liberal restructuring of national education systems is a global phenomenon and represents a major threat to the possibility of a democratic, public education committed to meeting the needs of working class and oppressed groups. Teacher unions, across the world, despite all the attacks on them, represent perhaps the most formidable obstacle to neo-liberal restructuring. Teachers remain highly unionized and although they have suffered many setbacks in recent years, their collective organizations generally remain robust.

Despite the significance and importance of teacher unions they remain largely under-researched. Mainstream academic literature on school sector education policy often ignores teacher unions, even in cases where scholars are critical of the market orientation of neo-liberal reforms. Two recent exceptions to this tradition are the contributions of Compton and Weiner (2008) and Stevenson et al (2007). The strength of Compton and Weiner’s excellent volume is the breadth of international perspectives. However, individual chapters are largely short ‘vignettes’, and the aim is to offer fairly brief and readable accounts, rather than detailed and scholarly analysis. Stevenson et al offer a series of traditional scholarly articles, although the emphasis is largely on the Anglophone nations (UK, North America, Australasia), and the collection fails to capture the full breadth required of an international perspective. In both cases, and quite understandably, these contributions were not able to take account of the seismic developments in the world capitalist economy since Autumn 08 in particular. These developments have significant implications for the future of neo-liberalism, for the development of education policy in nation states and for the policies and practices of teacher unions. There is now a strong case for an analysis of teacher unionism that is detailed, scholarly, international and able to take account of current developments.

This special section of Workplace will focus on the ways in which teacher unions in the K-12 sector are challenging the neo-liberal restructuring of school education systems in a range of global contexts. Neo-liberalism’s reach is global. Its impact on the restructuring of public education systems shares many common characteristics wherever it manifests itself. That said, it also plays out differently in different national and local contexts. This collection of papers will seek to assess how teacher unions are challenging the trajectory of neo-liberal reform in a number of different national contexts. By drawing on contributors from all the major world continents it will seek to highlight the points of contact and departure in the apparently different ways in which teacher unions interface with the neo-liberal agenda. It will also ensure that analyses seek to reflect recent developments in the global capitalist economy, and the extent to which this represents threat or opportunity for organized teacher movements.

Compton, M. and Weiner, L. (2008) The Global Assault on Teachers, Teaching and their Unions, London: Palgrave.

Stevenson, H. et al (2007) Changes in Teachers’ Work and the Challengs Facing Teacher Unions. International Electronic Journal of Leadership for Learning. Volume 11.

Submissions
Contributions to Workplace should be 4000-6000 words in length and should conform to MLA style. If you are interested, please submit an abstract via Word attachment to Howard Stevenson (hstevenson@lincoln.ac.uk) by 31st July 2009. Completed articles will be due via email on 28th December 2009. All papers will be blind peer-reviewed.

CFP: Academic Labor and Law

CFP: Academic Labor and Law
Special Section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor

Guest Editor: Jennifer Wingard, University of Houston

The historical connections between legislation, the courts, and the academy have been complex and multi-layered. This has been evident from early federal economic policies, such as the Morell Act and the GI Bill, through national and state legislation that protected student and faculty rights, such as the First Amendment and affirmative action clauses. These connections continue into our current moment of state and national efforts to define the work of the university, such as The Academic Bill of Rights and court cases regarding distance learning. The question, then, becomes whether and to what extent the impact of legislation and litigation reveals or masks the shifting mission of the academy. Have these shifts been primarily economic, with scarcities of funding leading many to want to legislate what is considered a university education, how it should be financed, and who should benefit from it? Are the shifts primarily ideological, with political interests working to change access, funding, and the intellectual project of higher education? Or are the shifts a combination of both political and economic influences? One thing does become clear from these discussions: at their core, the legal battles surrounding higher education are about the changing nature of the university –the use of managerial/corporate language; the desire to professionalize students rather than liberally educate them; the need to create transparent structures of evaluation for both students and faculty; and the attempt to define the types of knowledge produced and disseminated in the classroom. These are changes for which faculty, students, administrators, as well as citizens who feel they have a stake in higher education, seek legal redress. This special section of Workplace aims to explore the ways in which legislation and court cases impact the work of students, professors, contingent faculty, and graduate students in the university. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

  • Academic Freedom for students and/or faculty
    • Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights
    • Missouri’s Emily Booker Intellectual Diversity Act
    • First Amendment court cases concerning faculty and student’s rights to freely express themselves in the classroom and on campuses
    • Facebook/Myspace/Blog court cases
    • Current legislative and budgetary “attacks” on area studies (i.e. Queer Studies in Georgia, Women’s Studies in Florida)
  • Affirmative Action
    • The implementation of state and university diversity initiatives in the 1970s
    • The current repeal of affirmative action law across the country
  • Benefits, including Health Benefits, Domestic Partner Benefits
    • How universities in states with same-sex marriage bans deal with domestic partner benefits
  • Collective Bargaining
    • The recent rulings at NYU and Brown about the status of graduate students as employees
    • State anti-unionization measures and how they impact contingent faculty
  • Copyright/Intellectual Property
    • In Distance Learning
    • In corporate sponsored science research
    • In government sponsored research
  • Disability Rights and Higher Education
    • How the ADA impacts the university
  • Sexual Harassment and Consensual Relationships
    • How diversity laws and sexual harassment policies impact the university
  • Tenure
    • The Bennington Case
    • Post 9/11 court cases

Contributions for Workplace should be 4000-6000 words in length and should conform to MLA style. If interested, please send an abstract via word attachment to Jennifer Wingard (jwingard@central.uh.edu) by Friday, May 22, 2009. Completed essays will be due via email by Monday, August 24, 2009.