March 05, 2004

No Taxation without Representation

Any faculty member on the tenure track is a potential ally. You might be surprised to find how many professors are former non-tenure-track faculty members themselves. You want any and all of their support because they can help persuade their colleagues about the rightness of your cause.

-- Charles Naccarato, "Becoming Visible"

Charles Naccarato reports on a successful campaign to gain faculty senate representation for nontenured faculty members at Ohio University. It's a fairly optimistic piece ("some modest good news" is how Naccarato puts it), which places its emphasis on positive pragmatic strategies. Still, he does issue the following warning:

Be prepared for things to get personal. We academics like to portray ourselves as people who are above being swayed by personal attacks when judging the equity of an argument. If you've been in the academy for more than a few months, you probably know that this image differs somewhat from reality. It's quite natural for certain professors who are upset by change to start asking personal questions about the people making noise in the back row. Get used to hearing your name with the words 'disgruntled' and 'whiner' attached to it.
Posted by Invisible Adjunct at March 5, 2004 12:57 AM

I would add that many of us tenure-track types have family and friends in the adjunct situation -- even if we haven't been through it ourselves, we're still sympathetic.

Having just recently sat through a campus assembly meeting where we discussed this very subject, I can also say that the majority of faculty at my university are all in favor of making adjuncts full colleagues in all senses of the word, and that the real obstacles are to be found in the administration. (Fortunately, at my university, the administrators are also on board with the program of supporting our temporary faculty and doing their best to create more tenured positions. But I think we're bucking the trend out here.)

Posted by: PZ Myers at March 5, 2004 10:13 AM