My Last Day as a Professor

“It’s not that bad” – acknowledging privilege when critiquing the ‘Adjunct Narrative’

The Smart Casual

Please note: In this blog post I use the term ‘adjunct’, as that is the nomenclature used by my casual colleagues in the US. It is not exactly interchangeable with “casual” as we use it in Australian higher education, which is why I did not just substitute it in. However the issues faced by adjuncts in the US are parallel to the ones faced by casual academics in Australia, and this is the position I am taking with this post.

At the moment there is an outpouring of adjunct/casual rage within the blogging world. There is a seething undercurrent of resentment and hostility, where my casual colleagues are sharing their adjunct stories and communicating outside of the parameters of the networks offered by their institution to forge friendships and alliances. Their seems to be consensus that casualised staff within the higher education sector are marginalised and excluded, that…

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On Recognizing Privilege

Bad Cover Version

By now, you may have seen this post on the Chronicle Vitae site. In it, Kelli Marshall, a lecturer at DePaul University, talks about her job as an adjunct as a pretty pleasurable experience. And, really, reading her description: it’s not so bad. She apparently makes more than most adjuncts (almost the starting salary of an assistant professor, she says), has a decent commute, has an office, and is fairly secure in her situation. Oh, and she has a husband, also in academia, with a full-time job.

Now, if you caught me on a really good day, that description could be me (except that my husband is not in academia). On a bad day, like today, when it took me over an hour to commute 3.7 miles via bus, you will only get scowls from my general direction. I’ve been teaching at the same two institutions for the past five…

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War and Women: Civilians, Soldiers, Prostitutes & Pawns

War is traditionally portrayed as a masculine endeavor, but women live through war and fight in wars as well. War and Women: Civilians, Soldiers, Prostitutes and Pawns, a Spring 2014 course in the Women’s Studies Program at Kent State University (WMST-20095-001 ) will take an interdisciplinary approach to the gendered roles women play during wartime.

Using films, videos, and readings from literature, history, and the social sciences, we will look at women’s roles on the home front and the battlefront in wars ranging from World War I through this century’s Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.

Below are two flyers for the class. Each features a different image representing women’s roles in war. Which do you prefer and why? What role(s) are these women playing?

Register for the class. Check out the Storify. Download the flyer.

We will read the texts listed below, along with a few journal articles and/or chapter from related disciplines, including mass media, history and the social sciences. An optional text is Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives by Cynthia Enloe.

  • Sparta: A Novel by Roxana Robinson
  • Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy
  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  • Writing War: Fiction, Gender and Memory by Lynne Hanley

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UA grad’s photo book in Cleveland museum exhibit

The Cleveland Museum of Arts DIY: Photographers & Books exhibition space. (Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art)

An outstanding former student in the University of Akron Women’s Studies Program is making a name for herself in artistic circles — and her work is being shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art, right alongside that of well-known photographers.

Susan Lilley, a University of Akron graduate with a degree in art, entered a juried exhibition at the museum called DIY: Photographers & Books. Her print-on-demand book of photographs was accepted and will become part of the nationally known teaching collection of books at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

In an email, Lilley wrote that “one of the aspects that I am trying to achieve with my photography . . . is getting photos off the wall and into the realm of everyday living.”

The groundbreaking show runs through Dec. 30. Visit for details.

To learn more, read the Akron Beacon Journal story published in the Aug. 26 issue, “Photo books share images with public.”

Sign petition to educate Biden about low pay for adjunct faculty

The letter reprinted below is from Maria Maisto, president of New Faculty Majority, the national coalision for adjunct and contingent equity.

Friday the 13th was truly an unlucky day for college faculty. Vice President Joe Biden characterized them as supposedly overpaid and a major reason for the high cost of college! Mr. Biden claimed that “Error on salaries for college professors have escalated significantly? to “$100,000.”

In fact, what has escalated is the number of these so-called “part-time? faculty, who together with graduate students constitute over 60.5% of the teaching faculty (often 80% at community colleges). When you factor in the number of non-tenure-track full-time faculty, whose pay is closer to the $39,000 figure Biden quoted for the early 90s, the adjunct population reaches a whopping 75%!

With the average pay of part-timers $25,000 or less per year for having the same teaching loads and teaching responsibilities as their full-time colleagues, and the average pay for full-timers, tenure track or not, nowhere near the $100K range, it’s clear that Vice President Biden needs to be educated about the real working conditions of college faculty in the United States.

SO: educate him and his colleagues by signing this petition and recruiting as many additional signatures as you possibly can!

Because faculty working conditions are student learning conditions,

Maria Maisto
President, New Faculty Majority

Take action against the heartbeat bill

Speak out against H.B. 125, the heartbeat bill now under consideration in the Ohio State Legislature. Please call each state senator’s office and politely tell them:

  • House Bill 125 is unconstitutional.
  • Passing an unconstitutional bill will put the state in a costly court battle that would last years.
  • If they want to reduce the number of abortions that happen in Ohio, they should support the Ohio Prevention First Act, Senate Bill 190.

Then use this link to fill out the Web form to email their offices.

You can also read this Toledo Blade editorial, which effectively sums up the issue.