THE FACULTY ADVOCATE

NEWSLETTER OF THE UMKC CHAPTER OF THE
AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS

December, 2001                                     Editor: Patricia Brodsky                                   Vol. 2, No. 2


CONTENTS

Shrunken Heads: The Humanities under the Corporate Model, by Patricia P. Brodsky

Support for Foreign Language Study Comes from Broad Array of Disciplines,
by Patricia Brodsky

The Fruits of Skepticism, by Gerald Carlson

Academic Excellence, by Alfred Esser

Teaching Tolerance Series Continues to Fill a Need

It Could Happen to You

News of the Chapter

Correction: Academic Freedom Violations

Food for Thought, by Patricia Brodsky

Part-Time Faculty Rallies Celebrate Campus Equity Week, by David Brodsky

Support for Unionization Growing in Academe

AAUP Dues Information

Copyright Notice

Back issues
 


Shrunken Heads: The Humanities under the Corporate Model

by Patricia P. Brodsky

This paper is the third in a series which The Faculty Advocate is publishing from the conference, " Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover ," held March 3, 2001 at UMKC and hosted by the AAUP chapter.  Published earlier were: Frank Neff, "Potential Consequences of International Trade Agreements for Higher Education" (April 2001) , and James Mixson, Dorsey Moore, and Kirkland Graham, "Destruction at the UMKC Dental School" (October 2001) .

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        Everyone who has been paying attention knows that the humanities, once the heart of the university, have been devalued in the United States.  Thus, they are often the first victims of downsizing, tight budgets, or profit-driven schemes.  The humanities can serve as a kind of mine canary: when poison gas builds up in academia, they are usually the first to feel its effects, but the other disciplines won't be far behind.  When the humanities are handicapped and threatened by the corporate agenda, the whole academic endeavor as we know it is at risk.

        What academia is now facing the health care industry has already undergone.  Physicians are under pressure to make diagnoses and recommend treatments on the basis of profitability, not medical need.  Doctors are forced into an assembly-line mode and a speed-up.  Decisions are made by managers under orders from the insurance companies that, increasingly, own the hospitals and facilities.  Quality and choice have declined as prices have risen.  Now there is talk of following the HMO's with the EMO--Education Maintenance Organizations.  And the privatization of education is on the agenda of global trade organizations (WTO, FTAA, IMF, World Bank, etc.) [see Frank Neff's article in the April 2001 issue].

        Education is being "redefined" around us, but we are not genuinely part of that process.  On the contrary, we are its victims.  Make no mistake--the corporate university is not about providing an education.  It is about image and PR, about corporate funding, grants, business partnerships, profit, and control.  Anything that interferes with these goals will be reshaped, reduced, or eliminated.  Targeted for elimination are the rights of faculty to choose their own teaching methodologies, to set academic standards, and to control the curriculum.  Students' choices will diminish and, in the long run, tuition will continue to rise.  And freedom of speech in the classroom and in research will become an endangered species.  The redefined university will have very little resemblance to that interconnected community that has evolved over hundreds of years.

        Faculty and students have common interests and a common ground on which to unite in the face of these threats.  Margaret Quan of the California Part-Time Faculty Association said it clearly: "our working conditions are the students' learning conditions."  An underpaid and overworked faculty that sees its function perverted and its discipline condemned as useless, that is kept busy and defensive jumping through senseless bureaucratic hoops, is not going to be able to focus on teaching and serving the academic community.

        Corporate "redefinition" is also about reallocation--the redistribution of resources to predetermined "growth areas."  The disciplines targeted for growth are not chosen by the academic community but by managers, consultants, and outside investors.  Traditional programs not deemed profitable are starved for support, while the latest corporate fads are promoted and provided with funds for new positions, infrastructure, and publicity.  It is generally the humanities--literature, languages, philosophy, history--as well as the visual arts and basic sciences, that get the axe, for these subjects are not high on the scale of value in a society which emphasizes size, speed, and profitability.

        Several events typically accompany the move toward corporatization.  According to an AAUP brochure on the corporate model, "education is a commodity packaged to fit customer demand, priced to suit the market, and designed for efficient delivery.  Corporate funding increasingly determines the scope and direction of academic research....  Scientific discoveries and creative works alike are judged in market terms."

        As the corporate model takes hold, "pressure mounts for academe to conform to measurements that don't assess quality.  Faculty careers are increasingly defined by the rules of the marketplace and by greater competition for publicly supported resources."  The Blueprint/Vision for the Future mandates "a marked increase in overall faculty quality as demonstrated by increased extramural funding (30-50% above the current base within the next six years)" (emphasis added).  But outside funding opportunities are notoriously unequal among various fields, e.g. computer technology, business, and the health sciences as opposed to the humanities and "unprofitable" types of basic science.  Thus the equating of outside funding with "faculty quality" is not only false, it is also a formula for punishing the humanities and a dangerous move toward privatization of the University.

        The AAUP brochure goes on, the "exploitation of contingent labor fosters a production-line attitude toward teaching ...; the content in core courses is made uniform so that it can be delivered more efficiently ..."  It is also important to recognize that the creation of an overworked and under-paid contingent teaching faculty lacking the protections of job security and academic freedom not only makes profits through exploitation but also has a political purpose, to bring the faculty and its functions more tightly under administrative and corporate control.

        Finally, the AAUP brochure addresses the question of distance education, or the "virtual university," which "defines teaching as managing information ... [and] offer[s] a watered-down educational experience."  Let me give you an example of the experience of one humanities department with the combined forces of the market and of an administration determined to impose the virtual model upon it.

        Distance education used to mean the transmission of courses over many miles, serving a student audience that can't take regular courses on campus.  In today's practice, however, distance education applies to both on- and off-campus instruction.  It is merely the separation of teacher and student, the absence of face-to-face communication, or the physical absence of a teacher.  Students can take courses, for example, in their dorm rooms or in computer labs.  This model exists not to improve education or even convenience but to create an education market with a cheapened product.  The market squeezes enormous profits out of exploited teachers (who become deprofessionalized clerical workers), students (who become captive consumers), and the public, whose taxes pay for the high cost of electronic technology.  Quality control in instruction is sacrificed to the bottom line.  The profits go to the corporations who design and sell the software, hardware, standardized exams, updates, and so on, and to a few well-placed administrators.

        The failed experiment I am going to describe took place in the Language Resource Center at UMKC.  It fits the description of distance education because it involved the physical absence of a teacher, and its purpose was to rake in profits with a substandard product and minimal labor costs.  Had it continued, its long-term result would have been to hollow out the Foreign Language Department and turn it into an academic Quik Trip.  In the place of professionals teaching the languages, literatures, and cultures of a dozen countries, we would have become a row of shrunken heads, the contents of our courses sucked out, our discipline reduced to rubble, and our students blithely ignorant of really existing foreign languages and cultures.

        Both Arts & Sciences and Departmental rules state that a course may be given as an experimental offering a limited number of times, but then must either be withdrawn from the schedule or sent to departmental and college curriculum committees for approval.  This procedure allows for experimentation by the faculty along with quality control.  It ensures that successful courses become institutionalized while those that were unsuccessful, for whatever reason, are not perpetuated.  Several years ago the Dean of Arts & Sciences at that time asked the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures to offer a series of beginning language courses developed by someone outside the department.  These German and Spanish courses were to be taught by computer in the Language Laboratory, rather than by a teacher in a traditional classroom.  The Department agreed to do so, under the limited "experimental" number.

        The word spread rapidly that the new courses were an easy way to get ten hours' credit and enrollments spiralled.  But the Dean hired only one instructor per language.  In German the numbers were small and the teacher went out of her way to
help the students prevail in spite of the flawed methodology.  However, at one point enrollment in first and second semester Spanish together reached 500 students, with one part-time faculty member in charge.  There was obviously no personal contact, no teaching, and minimal learning.  All the "instructor" did was record the results of the computer-graded exams and assign grades.

        In addition, the Department faculty discovered that the so-called computer-delivered courses had numerous flaws in themselves.  They had originally been developed for audiotapes and a workbook, and their creator had merely transferred the pictures and sound to computer software.  The method employed was totally passive.  Students didn't speak at all and rarely wrote.  They looked at pictures and listened to voices say words and sentences.  Nor were any grammatical concepts presented.  Exercises were not interactive, nor did they take advantage of any other possibilities offered by computer technology.  The only plus for the students was that they didn't have to show up for class at regularly scheduled times.

        The problems worsened when students attempted to transfer from these courses into the mainstream curriculum at the third semester level, for they had learned virtually nothing.  This caused havoc for instructors in the third semester courses as well as hardship for the students.  Their graduation dates sometimes had to be delayed, and they were justifiably angry at having wasted their time and money.  It also necessitated our teaching additional remedial courses so that the students could fulfill their requirement.

        From the Dean's point of view it was a great set-up.  The students paid regular full tuition for each five-hour lab course, but he had to pay only two part-time salaries to two instructors.  But it was clear to us that this scam was undermining academic standards while filling the College coffers, short-changing the students, exploiting the instructors, and threatening to ruin our good name.

        The Departmental curriculum committee determined that the "experimental courses" were a failure, and voted unanimously to pull the plug.  We would no longer offer them, and if they were given under other auspices, we would not grant foreign language credit for them.  The Dean then told us we didn't know how to teach. He instructed staff at Registration to continue to allow students to enroll. Academic advisors were told to steer students into the courses.

        We then made multiple announcements to the campus community that we were disassociating ourselves from these courses.  When it became clear that we would not teach them, the Dean attempted to keep them alive by offering them through PACE and as 400 level (senior) psychology courses.  For several years they appeared in the catalogue as "The psychology of learning Spanish."

        Without language requirement credit, however, enrollment soon dropped.  But it was only when the Dean stepped down, in the summer of 2000, that this nightmare finally ended.  In the meantime our department has hired a full-time linguist whose responsibilties include researching cutting edge technologies to support language teaching.  The Department's position remains, first, that though technology can be a useful and creative aid to teaching and learning, it can never be the sole method used in class, or an end in itself replacing face-to-face instruction.  And second, that course content and methodology must remain in the hands of professionally trained faculty who actually teach the courses.  The AAUP Policy Documents and Reports, the volume that outlines the principles accepted by most American colleges and universities, states it very succinctly: "The faculty has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject matter and methods of instruction..." (183).

        The case of the UMKC Foreign Language Department represented a serious threat to professional control of curriculum, educational standards, and faculty autonomy.  An administrator imposed a methodology chosen by himself on a department which rejected it as fatally flawed.  Displaying a complete disregard for the integrity of an academic discipline--not surprisingly one in the humanities--he tried to bully the faculty into compliance.  He engaged in false advertising, claiming the courses would provide skills that the method was incapable of delivering. The motive was clearly "the bottom line."  The astronomical enrollments had no relation to learning and teaching, but they did provide a burgeoning source of income for the Dean's budget.

        If outsiders, whether administrators or corporations, seize control of what and how we teach, we will have lost the main battle in the war over education.  The UMKC experience shows how quickly the function of professionals can be usurped by a profit-driven agenda and human beings can be replaced by software.  Unless faculty insist on their intellectual property rights in binding agreements with the administration, online courses will become the property of the institution, and eventually teachers themselves will become largely redundant.  Only a small staff--probably ill-paid part-timers--will be needed to produce new courses, up-date old ones, and communicate with students by e-mail, if at all.  Our experience of one instructor "responsible" for 500 students is a warning of what the corporate agenda has in store for all of us.

        A danger of a different sort was discussed in a recent article in Mother Jones (Eyal Press & Jennifer Washburn, "Digital Diplomas," Jan.-Feb. 2001).  The authors point out the social inequities inherent in the spread of virtual or distance education according to the corporate model.  "Distance learning," they write, "could split higher education into 'brick universities' that provide traditional degrees for those who can afford them and 'click universities,' that offer a form of glorified vocational training for everyone else."  They cite a Professor of English at Georgetown, who says, "I see it as a class issue....  Who is going to end up in these distance-learning classes?  Single moms, working parents--the very people who most desperately need social contact as part of their educational experience."  Two other professors cited warn that "mass universities will deploy distance learning to deliver low-cost content ... necessary to turn working-class students into performers for low- and mid-level jobs in the global economy" (37).

        Jane Buck, President of the National AAUP, reminds us of our professional responsibilities.  "We aren't always right when we speak out, but we're always wrong when we don't."  If we in the Humanities, indeed faculty in all disciplines, don't speak out and keep speaking out, we may all end up as a row of shrunken heads, decorating the walls of the corporate university.



The entire contents of each issue of The Faculty Advocate (except for public domain material) is copyrighted. The Faculty Advocate, December 2001, Copyright 2001 by the UMKC Chapter of the American Association of University Professors. All rights returned to authors upon publication. AAUP chapters, state conferences, and the national organization have permission to reproduce and distribute. Permission for other non-profit publishers is a formality, but UMKC AAUP asks them for the courtesy of requesting it. Contact the Editor, Patricia Brodsky: 816-235-2826, e-mail: brodskyp@umkc.edu

Support for Foreign Language Study Comes from Broad Array of Disciplines

by Patricia Brodsky

        In my April 2001 "Food for Thought" column I reported on the debate in the College of Arts and Sciences about reducing graduation requirements, triggered by the proposals of the A&S Curriculum Committee.  Although its global proposal was tabled, a much more limited one, eliminating the foreign language requirement for Bachelor of Science majors, passed by a hair in a controversial vote.  Proponents of elimination treated the requirement as a "burden" on students, an argument that was implicit in other remarks hostile to humanities graduation requirements in general.  A&S requirements are now being considered in a separate General Education discussion group independent of the Blueprint and open to all interested faculty.

        While the debate was taking place, a number of colleagues from outside the College, the humanities, and the University sent thoughtful comments on their vision of humanities education and the role of foreign languages in their professional, technical, and scientific fields.  Four of them are printed below.

        Mary Lou Hines, Interim Dean, School of Interdisciplinary Computing and Engineering, related how a visiting official from the Computer Science Accreditation Board had emphasized the need for a foreign language component in undergraduate programs in both Computer Science and Information Technology.  This official, Mary Lou wrote, "further elaborated that in her curriculum revision work, the feedback they had received from their corporate partners was that foreign language was very important to employers--especially since so many of the high-tech firms today are international.  It is not just the foreign language skill that was important; rather the exposure to another culture was critical, an exposure that is both broad and deep."

        Fred H. Hays, Carl W. Allendoerfer Professor of Banking and Finance, wrote eloquently as follows:

        "This letter supports retention of the exisiting foreign language requirement in the College of Arts and Sciences.  As a member of the Bloch School of Business and Public Administration for 24 years I am shocked to learn of proposals to substantially reduce the foreign language requirement in the College.

        For the past 11 years I have been the faculty leader for the International Business study abroad courses offered in cooperation with People to People International.  As a consequence I have been associated with dozens of students representing universities in 39 states and a few foreign countries.  I have had students from Harvard, UC-Berkeley, Virginia, NYU, many of the Big 10 schools and a host of other well known national and regional institutions.  Many of these students have acquired substantial language proficiency during their studies.  UMKC over the years has professed to be "on the cutting edge" and a "world-class" leader in education.  It seems to me that a move to reduce foreign language is ill-advised and inconsistent with those educational objectives.  Business students, in particular, need increased language skills to function in an increasingly global competitive marketplace.

        The discipline of studying a foreign language may be as important to student education as the actual development of speaking skills.  I will never regret spending four years studying Latin, even though my intent was not to speak the language.  Afterward, studying French and Spanish became much easier.

        Over the years we have seen mathematics and statistics reduced in our curriculum along with other basic foundations such as Economics.  This has, in part, been driven by 'competition' to attract (or retain) a student population.  In the end, the best students recognize the decline in quality and pursue their education elsewhere, leaving us with less qualified students who demand even less rigor.  I believe reducing foreign language requirements is a shortrun strategy with dangerous and counterproductive longrun consequences.  In the end we are caught in the 'downward death spiral' of diminishing quality.  Please let me know if I can provide additional support for retention of foreign language requirements."

        In a similar vein and with similar breadth of vision, Professor James Mixson wrote:

        "I am an Associate Professor in the School of Dentistry at UMKC, and I write to support a strong undergraduate language requirement for B.A and B.S. students.

        Learning a second language is the kind of rigorous training which gives one a new depth of understanding of different cultures and ideas.  Especially for future clinicians it gives one a well-rounded personality for one whose ability to deal with people is critical to his/her success.  Did you know that the standardized medical boards for entrance into medical school now contain a written essay to emphasize the importance of language skills, not just science skills?

        I have never regretted the Latin and French I studied, and believe it has helped me to think, organize and analyze probably in ways I don't even realize.

        I hope language requirements remain an important requirement for all students."

        Alex Dajkovic, an advanced graduate student in molecular biology at University of Kansas Medical Center, supports the independence and integrity of the humanities as disciplines that take up questions which the exact sciences do not and can not deal with.  He writes:

        "The natural sciences give us a glimpse of the reality in which we take part, on the one hand giving us an appreciation of our knowledge of the world, but on the other hand reminding us of our profound ignorance of the many complexities of the Universe.  Consequently, the most important questions of human significance have remained beyond the reach of the sciences and perhaps forever will.

        What about those questions then?  Where might thinking humans find explorations of the human condition, where might they look for Beauty, and where for reflections on the questions that have been a part of human consciousness from the earliest recorded times?  Certainly not in the exactitude of the sciences.  These questions are not even approached by them.  Humanities concern themselves with the complexities of human existence and provide insight into those questions.  They are an essential part of complete education for everyone, including scientists like myself.

        The possibility of curtailing humanities courses, programs, or majors at UMKC is very disturbing.  Let this letter be a voice of support for the humanities coming from a person who is devoting his life to the sciences."


The Fruits of Skepticism

by Gerald Carlson

The following is the text of a talk given by Professor Gerald Carlson of the School of Biological Sciences at the Fall Convocation on October 12, 2001, on the occasion of being named UMKC Faculty Fellow.

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        Thank you, Mr. Erdman and UMKC Trustees.  Although I've been asked by the Faculty Senate to speak on behalf of all UMKC researchers, my remarks will understandably reflect my personal views.

        As Dr. Ballard said, part of our job as professors is to "maintain a continuous and independent search for new knowledge, [in other words], to do research."  In fact, when a university quits producing new knowledge, it has ceased being a university.

        How does one go about producing new knowledge?   Research can be large or small; it can be inductive or deductive; it can be carried out privately or by large collaborative teams; it can rely on expensive instrumentation or little more than pencil and paper. All of these approaches are valid, and all have their appropriate place.

        Despite differences in their approaches, good researchers share many common traits. They should be:

        Perceptive--able to logically analyze what is in front of them.

        Principled--research results require an implicit trust in the honesty of the researcher.

        Patient--most research projects are relatively lengthy.  In fact, the typical NIH grant is for the same duration as the average term of a university administrator.

        Persistent--so many unexpected problems crop up during a long research project that dogged determination is vital to success.

        Precise--both in thought and words.  We have all learned that imprecise words generally mirror equally imprecise thoughts.

        Perceptive, principled, patient, persistent, precise: are these all the traits that good researchers share?  No, the single most important trait has been left until last.  A good researcher must above all else be:

        Skeptical--if you're perceptive and precise, you've already noted that this is not another 'P' word.  Good research must be a process of constant doubting, constant doubting.  A good researcher must learn to play devil's advocate with his own findings.  His job is not to prove what he believes, but to try his hardest to disprove what he would most like to believe.

        So, if research is obligatory for a university to be considered as such, as implied in Dr. Ballard's remarks, then it is logical to infer that one of the obligations of a good university administrator is to foster research.  How can a good administrator help to make a good researcher?  This question has generally been answered by saying that good administrators establish the proper climate for research to prosper.  Among other things, a good research climate comprises, at the very least:

        Stability--not just in support (financial and otherwise), but stability in doctrine and in leadership.

        Freedom--of thought, of logical inquiry, and freedom from politics.

        Understanding--not just of the needs of research (like space and time), but of the necessary traits of researchers, especially their absolutely essential trait of skepticism.  It is too often convenient for an administrator to label skepticism, the hallmark of a good researcher, as cynicism, an unfortunate trait in anyone.  Administrators should not just tolerate skepticism in faculty researchers, they should encourage it, and dare I say, even demand it.

        If a proper research climate is not maintained within a university, then research will eventually cease, and with it, the university, as it is transformed--transformed back into the teaching college from which it invariably had evolved.

        Thank you.


Academic Excellence

by Alfred Esser

The author, a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, sent the following essay to the Kansas City Star for publication in its column, "As I see it."

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        When Chancellor Gilliland presented the goals of her "Blueprint for the Future" to civic leaders at the beginning of the academic year The Star's editorial board declared "things look good" (Sept. 2), to the consternation of many inside UMKC.  A recycling center and a campus coffee shop, while worthwhile, are peripheral to the mission of a university: to provide an excellent education for all citizens.

        The perplexity was enhanced by Yael Abouhalkah's article in the same issue which stated that regional graduate and research programs are not just below the national average but frequently at the bottom of the pile.  He worried correctly that this does not bode well for the region's economic future.  Was Abouhalkah absent when his colleagues decided on a grade for the Blueprint?  Or was he simply unable to open their eyes to the fact that this blueprint has little room for academic excellence?

        In a discussion in The Star (June 25), one KC technology leader, commenting on the lack of chancellor-driven substantive initiatives, said "I'm wondering who hires these people" and questioned what their mandate was.  In an open letter to the faculty, the Chancellor declared that she was hired by the UM President and the Board of Curators with a "mandate for change."  Contrast this with KC Symphony musical director Ann Manson's statement (also Sept. 9), "The [Symphony] board's goal for the orchestra is artistic excellence, and that's the goal they hired me for."

        Academic excellence used to be the normal quest for academic leaders.  As Abouhalkah pointed out, UMKC's graduate program in biochemistry and molecular biology was ranked 104th among 194 programs in 1996 by the NRC/NAS.  What he did not mention is the fact that it was at the very bottom only 10 years earlier and therefore was listed in the same report as the 6th most improved graduate program in the nation.  This striking change resulted from the creation of UMKC's School of Biological Sciences (in which this program is housed) by then Chancellor Russell and his persistent demands for excellence when he was president of UM.  Now the Blueprint process derails future improvements.  One can only hope that when filling the forthcoming vacancy in the UM presidency the Board of Curators will have learned a lesson from the Symphony board and once again insist on substance over smoke and mirrors.  Why is UMKC willing to spend $2.5 million on non-academic initiatives when academic programs must accept budget cuts?  Since when is it the mission of a university to compete with Deffenbaugh and Starbucks?


Teaching Tolerance Series Continues to Fill a Need

        After the success of the September 21 "Teaching Tolerance" forum on xenophobia , organizers and attendees agreed that there was an on-going need for such an exchange on campus.  Since that time the UMKC-AAUP chapter has co-sponsored two more events in the series, each time attracting a substantial and engaged audience.

        On October 26 at Teaching Tolerance II, two Kansas City area Afghan students made an articulate and well-organized presentation about the history and culture of Afghanistan.  They then fielded questions from the audience of about seventy-five people for another hour.  It should be noted that considerable courage was required for these young women to speak out in public, given the anti-Afghan, anti-Islamic atmosphere produced by the mainstream media.  Their point of view was one conspicuously lacking in recent public discourse--that of Islamic-American women of Afghan heritage who deplored the use of terrorism, but for whom, as for many of their compatriots at home, the Taliban represented a return to order and security after years of rule by bandits and war-lords.  In keeping with the spirit and intention of this series, the exchanges between the audience and the speakers, while often in sharp disagreement, were respectful and civil.  After the forum ended, attendees moved to another room in the University Center for a tour of an exhibit of Saudi Arabian art objects sponsored by the Muslim Students Association.

        November 16 brought the third forum in the series, featuring Kansas City Star columnist Lewis Diuguid.  Diuguid first showed a 1985 PBS produced video entitled "Faces of the Enemy," which illustrated the almost universal practice around the world of creating negative national, racial and other stereotypes in order to produce and support a war mentality, a sense of "us" vs. "them" that can be manipulated politically.  The discussion then focused on the press treatment of the current crisis and the persistence of racism and stereotyping in our society.  He emphasized the importance of seeking, and speaking, the truth, even or especially in times of apparent public unanimity.

        The AAUP, along with the Education for Democracy Network and the student groups Shifa ("Cure" in Arabic) International, the TEA Society (Teaching Educational Activism), and the Muslim Students Association, is planning more teach-ins in the series for Winter Semester 2002.


The AAUP chapter at University of Missouri, Columbia has launched a newsletter called Tiger Talk .  The first issue deals with the shortcomings of the university grievance process.  It can be read online through a link on the UMKC AAUP website.  What follows is an unsigned slightly abridged editorial from Tiger Talk.

_____________________________

It Could Happen to You

        The Administration at the University of Missouri-Columbia has systematically eroded its faculty rights and its faculty participation in governance.  Over the last 15 years, the number of tenure-track positions has decreased by approximately 500 while non-tenure track positions have increased by about 1000.  Despite almost static total faculty numbers, administration has increased in size by 600%.  Of particular concern is that non-tenure track faculty have few if any rights.  This University insists that our non-regular faculty are employed entirely at will, vulnerable to the whim of any administrator.  MU recognizes the absence of rights for non-regular faculty, but refuses to even discuss the issue until September 2002.

        Meanwhile, the Administration has also increasingly denied tenure-track faculty the basic right to due process.  This has been most evident in tenure application, the academic grievance processes, and in nonrenewals.  The fundamental problem is that an expedient administrative culture has arisen that defends absolutely any administrative decision on a reflex basis, however misplaced.  Most faculty are unaware of these facts.  For others, such events remain someone else's problems, until unexpectedly they also suffer arbitrary administrative consideration.

        What would you do if you were an internationally respected scholar in a career non-tenure-track earning  position, had been grant-funded over 20 years with a new  grant, had generated considerable additional income for your department and were then fired, without cause, because of a personality difference between you and your new supervisor?  Your supervisor then (allegedly) slanders you causing you to lose several job prospects.  You find yourself in a position where you have no recourse but to legal action.  The University has deep pockets and purposively implements a strategy to bankrupt you.  Can this really happen?  Absolutely!  Not only is this scenario possible, but your supervisor can then attempt to take over your research grant.

        If you are on the tenure-track, you might think that none of this could happen to you, for you have guaranteed rights to due process and academic freedom enshrined in the University Rules and Regulations.  You would be wrong!  In fact, you would find that your supervisor could indeed take over your grant and could prevent your access to the tenure process without consulting the faculty promotion and tenure committee of either your Department or School, and without consulting your Dean.  You then find that your supervisor sabotages the offer of an endowed Chair by (allegedly) slandering you.  When you seek to regain your reputation using the faculty irresponsibility process, the University suppresses it.  The grievance process is first denied, and then fails to meet in the year of your terminal appointment.  A campaign of pretextual justification is condoned in an attempt to justify the malfeasance.  Characteristically, when you seek injunctive relief through the legal system, you experience obfuscation, meretricious claims, and deliberate procrastination....

        Such unforeseen difficulties can now happen to any one of us.  The university world that we have known is changing.  In this new supposed "corporate" environment, poor management can adopt the arbitrary principles of "hardball," and remain unaccountable to anyone.  It is simply unacceptable.


News of the Chapter

        The AAUP Chapter at UMKC co-sponsored and organized three well-attended teach-ins, in the series Teaching Tolerance.   It was also centrally involved in events during Campus Equity Week , continuing its strong support of part-time faculty rights.

        On October 11 the Chapter held its first general meeting of the 2001-2002 academic year.  It was good to welcome members from eight different departments and schools on campus, including several new faces.  Discussion focussed on the UMKC budget process, recent events in the School of Biological Sciences, UMKC as a research university, and the Blueprint/Vision.  A leitmotif of all the discussions was the ongoing threat to the university by corporate pressure, interference, or outright piracy.  Chapter President Stuart McAninch presented a summary of some of the main issues discussed and what needs to be done about them.  These included: 1) rejuvenating the Senate as a faculty forum; 2) protecting state funds and developing our own understanding of the budget; 3) breaking down the isolation of faculty and individual units; 4) pooling our knowledge base to make action possible; 5) publicizing university violations of rules and regulations, as well as of state law; and, 6) as always, continuing to publicize the AAUP principles to educate the faculty about their rights.

        In October President McAninch attended a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Missouri State Conference of the AAUP.

        UMKC and the AAUP lost several valued colleagues this semester, as Delia Cook, Ed Mills, and Amy McAninch left the University for positions elsewhere.  But membership continued to climb, as the word spreads about our determination and ability to be a voice for the faculty.

        On Saturday, March 9, 2002 the Missouri State Conference of the AAUP will hold its annual meeting in Kansas City. Its theme, like that of the last year's UMKC conference hosted by the chapter, "Education for Democracy: Fighting the Corporate Takeover ,"  will be the corporatization of the university.  Meetings will be held on the campus of Rockhurst University, and the UMKC Chapter will be involved in preparations.  Members will receive detailed information in a future mailing.


Correction: Academic Freedom Violations

        In the online version of the story, "Brain Wash: a Review Article" (Faculty Advocate, October 2001), the sentence, "The national AAUP office receives 120 complaints every year about violations of academic freedom," should have read: "The national AAUP office receives 1200 complaints every year about violations of academic freedom."

        The error, which underreports academic freedom violations by a factor of ten, occured in transferring text from the printed to the online version of the newsletter.  The correct number, 1200, appeared in the printed version.  This statistic was cited in order to refute the allegation made by a supporter of the Blueprint process that such violations (e.g. "weeding out critics") are rare "in a university setting."  On the contrary, three reported violations occur every day, including holidays.

        The Editor and the Web Manager apologize for the error.


Food for Thought

by Patricia Brodsky

Bluespeak: "Silos"

        A favorite term used by devotees of the Blueprint (now known as the "Vision") is "silos."  As Kendrick Blackwood explains in his Pitch article, "'silos' is a Starrism [an invention of Gordon Starr].  It refers to the way some departments isolate themselves and avoid working with other departments" (p. 20).  [See "Brain Wash," Pitch Weekly (Sept. 20-26, 2001).]   Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines "silo" as "an airtight pit or tower in which green fodder is prepared or kept."  Since UMKC is located in the midwest, "silo" was probably chosen as a condescending substitute for "fortress."  Ascribing a "fortress mentality" to the faculty portrays them as stubborn, isolationist, defensive, and protective of their own turf.  The "silo" image thus serves the administration agenda of weakening and usurping faculty rights and responsibilities.

        But there are numerous indications that the UMKC faculty is deeply committed to cooperation across disciplinary boundaries.  A number of courses, programs, and initiatives at UMKC emphasize team-teaching and shared research.  The School of Biological Sciences, for example, is engaged in a number of educational partnerships, including outreach to area schools (see http://sbs.umkc.edu ).  For years the College of Arts and Sciences has required interdisciplinary team-taught courses for graduation, and students are offered a Program in Interdisciplinary Studies, an interdisciplinary PhD program, and opportunities for double majors and area studies degrees.  Some faculty have joint appointments; many lecture in one another's classes.  Others meet in interdisciplinary seminars to share their research and critique one another's ideas.  A College-wide workshop to discuss the future of the curriculum is another sign of a widespread cooperative spirit.

        Attacking academic units as "silos" ignores or dismisses their really existing cross-disciplinary cooperation.  Rather, the attack is meant to undermine the foundations of faculty governance, the academic units that typically house disciplines.  Disciplinary units empower their members to maintain intellectual control of the curriculum and protect disciplinary knowledge as the bedrock of any interdisciplinary endeavors.  Disciplines, of course, are not historically static.  But disciplinary changes emerge from the work of the faculty, who are uniquely competent to assess the states of their fields and to follow new and promising paths voluntarily.

        The Blueprint destruction of what its supporters view as "silos" is already underway, raiding our academic granaries in order to fund their own projects, via reallocation and withholding of support from basic programs.  Our acceptance of their terminology would be just another step in the corporate takeover of the University.  One way of resisting manipulation is to refuse to be linguistically maneuvered out of existence.

More Bluespeak: "Stakeholders"

        Still on the subject of language and reality, let's consider a questionnaire sent to faculty and staff in October by the Budgeting for Excellence Blueprint Team.  The "Stakeholder Survey," claims to be "gathering ... input from our stakeholders" on the restructuring of the university budgeting process.  In corporate jargon (absent from my dictionary), a "stakeholder" appears to mean anyone who has an investment, monetary or otherwise, in a process or institution. Webster's , however, tells us that a "stakeholder" is "one who holds stakes when a wager is made by others and pays it to the winner."  A "stake," Webster's goes on, is "something, especially money, risked or hazarded, as in a wager, game, or contest."  It is also "a share or interest, especially a financial one, [as] in ... a business venture."

        If we are "stakeholders," in what game are we staking our future?  Who is placing bets, with whose money, and whose financial interest is being served?  "Stakeholders" and "stakes" are a smokescreen to make faculty feel important while depriving them of any real power.  The terms cynically suggest that underfinanced faculty and programs ("stakeholders") have discretionary funds ("stakes"), and can risk them to place bets in the university casino.  But the only winners are the real stakeholders, those who currently hold the bank.

        So much for "stakes" considered as wagers.  If "stakes" are regarded as financial shares, underfunded faculty and programs by definition lack the wherewithal to become affluent entrepreneurs.  To compensate for withheld support, their attempts to "self-finance" with pitifully inadequate "stakes" will force them to lower standards and exploit themselves or others.  In addition, the notorious "zero-sum game" of yesteryear is still in effect, i.e. scarcity of resources is artificially maintained to force everyone into fighting everyone else for a share.  Artificial scarcity induces predatory competition at the bottom of the academic food chain, and the surplus it generates enriches upper administrators and outside business interests.  This no brainer divide-and-rule tactic produces a lose-lose situation for the faculty and the university community.

        All employees of public universities are public servants, not private gamblers and financiers.  The metaphor of gambling with public funds violates our role as public servants and, if the metaphor were to become reality, would violate the law.  The university must not be reduced to a casino, its everyday financing made dependent on the outcomes of games of chance.  Behind this language also looms the stock-marketization of the the public domain (for comparison see "The Faculty Performance Shares: President Pacheco's New Rewards System," Faculty Advocate [December 2000]).


Part-Time Faculty Rallies Celebrate Campus Equity Week

by David Brodsky

        Campus Equity Week (CEW), October 28 to November 3, was a coordinated campaign by thousands of faculty at hundreds of institutions in the US and Canada, including at UMKC.  Its purpose was to educate the campus community, the public, and policymakers about the poor pay, working conditions, benefits, and job security of contingent (non-tenure line) faculty, who along with graduate teaching assistants, comprise 60% of the total instructional workforce nationally.  Documentation can be found on the CEW website, http://www.cewaction.org .

        CEW marked the first time all of the major faculty unions, associations and disciplinary organizations from the US and Canada (among them AAUP) joined forces for an international campaign of this nature.  CEW is also linked with the Living Wage movement and the National Alliance for Fair Employment, which addresses the inequities of contingent work in all walks of life.  Thus, it endorses the adoption of equitable labor policies and community employment standards (see the CEW website ).

CEW actions around North America

        CEW was celebrated across the US and Canada with ubiquitous informational tabling, fliers, buttons, posters, mass mailings and e-mail campaigns; op-eds, letters to the editor, interviews, questionnaires, surveys; petitions to administrators, Boards of Trustees, and elected officials; special issues of faculty newsletters; teach-ins, meetings, rallies (some fortified with bells and air horns), concerts, music, and songs; forums, discussions, and lobbying; and refreshments, receptions, and meal events.  Likewise prevalent were showings of Barbara Wolf's videos about part-timers, "Degrees of Shame" and "A Simple Matter of Justice."

        CEW was integrated into union activities at a number of institutions.  Organizers began a lecturer union drive at University of Michigan, part-timers at Emerson College in Boston celebrated their recent victory, unions at many other schools used CEW as an opportunity for recruiting, and California part-timers pressured administrations to reopen stalled negotiations.  The Texas AFT is planning to offer low cost memberships as an incentive for part-timers to organize.  A union-sponsored meeting in Chicago had the subtitle: "Organizing Resistance to the Restructuring of Higher Education Work."  And a rally was held at the State of Illinois Building in Chicago to demand legislation authorizing collective bargaining for community college faculty and graduate employees.  AFT and Jobs with Justice sponsored public hearings at University of California, Berkeley and Philadelphia Community College, respectively, to which legislators were invited and featuring testimony by contingent faculty.

        The CEW coalition of national faculty organizations set an example for local and international solidarity.  The unionized part-timers at University of Delaware did outreach to area community colleges, where most part-time faculty are employed.  Faculty from a number of midwest states converged on Chicago for multiple events, culminating in a conference at which the Midwest chapter of Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor (COCAL) was founded.  A representative of "sessional lecturers" in British Columbia spoke on a panel at Santa Monica Community College, where American counterparts were interested in the Canadian model of province-wide union contracts.

        On some campuses part-timer issues were situated in broader contexts.  A University of New Mexico faculty forum was entitled "Contingent Faculty and Corporatization."  The erosion of academic freedom was the larger focus at San Jose State University in California, as well as at the three Rutgers campuses in New Jersey, which were linked through teleconference lecture halls.  The Rutgers conference featured presentations by Mary Burgan, General Secretary of AAUP, and Carlin Romano, a full-time faculty activist fired from Bennington College after tenure was eliminated there.

        A number of campuses honored their part-time faculty for dedicated service and other accomplishments.  Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, California, held a community art reception for adjunct artists, writers, and photographers.  The AFT local at San Jose State sponsored a student essay contest on the theme of their favorite lecturer.  At various campuses students wrote course papers based on materials they received about contingent faculty issues, or on interviews they did with part-time teachers.

        Wry humor enlivened the celebrations.  San Jose State sponsored a "Lecturer Wailing Wall," on which were hung part-timers' stories "about life in the fast lane."  Because part-time faculty are forced to commute between several jobs to scrape together a living, they are called "Freeway Flyers" (thus the "fast lane").  At Central Connecticut State University a large tent was erected on campus in order to finally give lecturers office space.  All week they held office hours in the tent, charging 25 cents per consultation.  The same campus also sponsored 1) a "Bake Sale" for faculty salaries, because part-timers deserve more than crumbs; 2) a medical clinic which dispensed cough drops, to stress the high cost of healthcare for the uninsured.  The Hallowe'en event in Chicago billed itself as a "Healthcare Horror Show!  It's scary to depend on healthcare benefits at the University of Illinois!  Ask a graduate employee why."

        Some of the more colorful actions included street theater and its variant, "guerrilla theater," so designated at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, as well as daily skits by Theater Department students at Central Connecticut State.  In Chicago faculty stood next to a life-sized replica of an elephant and handed out snack packages to passersby, since pachyderms and part-timers both work for peanuts.  The Teaching Assistants Association at University of Wisconsin, Madison (represented by AFT) put on a public "freak show" hosted by a carnival barker, who enticed people to step right up and view the oddities on display.  These included: "The World's Smallest and Most Overcrowded Office," "The Tiniest Pay Raise Ever," "The Oldest Limited Term Employee On The Planet" (who can't die because she can't afford to retire), and "The Tattooed TA," his arms plastered with reminder notes about meetings with students.

        Endorsements for Campus Equity Week were obtained from the Governors of Oregon and Washington, as well as from numerous labor and faculty organizations at the state and local levels, and even from some university administrators who want state governments to greatly increase funding for lecturers.  Student organizations often cooperated with part-time faculty in joint CEW activities or staged their own.  Petitions and rallies typically thanked elected officials for their efforts on behalf of contingent faculty while reiterating basic demands.

        A few states, such as Washington and California, are working to alleviate the problems part-timers face by increasing funding for salaries and enabling eligibility for benefits.  The Illinois Board of Higher Education was ordered to prepare a report by mid-November and to recommend creating more tenure-line positions, and similar legislation is pending in New Jersey.  Faculty in Pennsylvania and other states are asking their legislatures to undertake studies of contingent faculty use.  A Part-time Faculty Pay Equity Bill has been introduced in the Wisconsin legislature, which would pro-rate part-time pay based on comparable full-time compensation.

CEW rallies at UMKC

        The UMKC Part-Time Faculty Assocation (PTFA) held CEW rallies in the quad behind Scofield Hall.  Entitled "Your Money, Your Voice," the events unfolded in perfect weather on October 29 and 30.  Fliers and petitions were bestowed on the crowds of students passing through, a good number of whom stopped to watch, listen, and enjoy.

        PTFA also produced for the occasion a handsome six page newsletter.  It contained background articles on Campus Equity Week, "The Temping of America," facts about part-timers at UMKC, "The History of the PTFA at UMKC!," and a report plus 12 photos documenting their March rallies ("Information Days").

        Informational, agitational, and inspirational talks were given by members of the PTFA--English Department Lecturers Mindy Fiala, Harry Blanton, Pat Huyett, and Andy Cline, and by graduate student Amy Zeh, who also did yeoman service as an organizer.  David Gruber, past president of the Missouri Conference of AAUP, drove in from Kirksville to speak with part-time faculty and attend the rally.

        The media were present: a Channel 5 TV News camera, reporter Tom Bogdon from the Kansas City Labor Beacon , and Judy Ancel, producer of Heartland Labor Forum on KKFI community radio 90.1 FM (airs Thursdays 6:30-7:30 PM) and Director of the Institute for Labor Studies at UMKC.  Pat Huyett was an invited guest on Judy's November 1 program.  Mindy Fiala and Beth Huber were quoted in a front-page article in the Kansas City Star (November 23) on the growing use of part-time faculty.  An earlier article appeared in the Johnson County Sun (November 7) about lecturer dissatisfaction at Johnson County Community College.  While local mainstream media attention to part-timer issues is welcome and overdue, it gave minimal space to faculty voices and none to CEW, in contrast with extensive press coverage in other cities of CEW and faculty concerns.

        A welcome innovation at the March rallies was an extended "read-in," where full- and part-time English Department faculty and grad students performed their favorite literary works.  At the October CEW rallies the read-ins broadened to include Foreign Language Department faculty performing poetry from six languages and cultures.  The sensuous sound of foreign poetry read in public is a rather exotic phenomenon in this region (English translations were provided).  Judging by national reports, the only other place where poetry reading occurred was the Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City.

        All four UMKC rallies showcased the humanities in the otherwise apathetic or hostile environment promoted by the Gilliland administration.  It should be noted that dislike of the humanities is hardly confined to this campus or this region.  Thus the most exploited part-time faculty, who are concentrated in the humanities, are being forced to fight on two fronts, both to improve their wages and working conditions and to defend their disciplines from degradation and extermination.

        Because the performance of poetry at political rallies is an uncommon event in the US, I would like to memorialize each reader and each work that was read on the Scofield Hall steps at UMKC on October 29 and 30.

        At the Monday rally, Rafael Espejo-Saavedra, Professor of Spanish and Chair of the Department of Foreign Languages, recited from memory three poems by Federico Garcia Lorca ("A Horseman's Song," "Road," "Quarrel") and read verses by Jorge Guillen ("The Shadows," "Snow," "Nature Alive") and Antonio Machado ("Clouds Ripped Open," "And He was the Evil Spirit of my Dreams," "From the Doorsill of a Dream They Called my Name").  Patricia Brodsky read the English translations.

        Associate Professor of Spanish Louis Imperiale, a native of Italy educated in France, read poetry in three languages: Pablo Neruda's "The Heights of Macchu Picchu," Octavio Paz' "Poetry," Baudelaire's "The Albatross," and a scene from Pirandello's "Six Characters in Search of an Author."  English versions were read by part-time Lecturer in Spanish, Marne Wittung.

        Associate Professor of French Gayle Levy read Eugene Pottier's "The Internationale" (at one time the most popular song in the world), Jacques Prevert's "The Dunce," and "On Political Women" by Constance de Salm, a poet writing during the French Revolution.

        On Tuesday Associate Professor of English Michelle Boisseau read W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming," W. H. Auden, "As I Walked Out One Evening," Marianne Moore, "Silence," Margaret Walker, "For Malcolm X," Rodney Jones, "Winter Retreat: Homage to Martin Luther King," and Carolyn Kizer, "In the Night."

        Amy Zeh read Auden's "September 1, 1939," and, in a departure from belles lettres, the "Campus Charter" adopted by the University Organizing Project on January 26, 2000 at Northeastern University in Boston.

        Elizabeth Howard, a Lecturer in English, sang a haunting miner's song and read a poem by William Carlos Williams.

        The Celtic Folk Rock Band, "Intuition" (PTFA President Beth Huber, Phil Huber, and Lezlie Revelle), entertained the crowd with a series of numbers.

        Danny Reardon, a Lecturer in English, displayed his prodigious talents in four Shakespearian speeches: the Introduction and "Harfleur" speech from Henry V; Antony's crowd speech from Julius Caesar; Richard's "Winter of our Discontent" from Richard III; and Shylock's "Hath not a Jew eyes" from the Merchant of Venice.

        Patricia Brodsky, Professor of German and Russian, read Goethe's  "Prometheus" and Brecht's "Bad time for poetry" and "Questions of a reading worker."

        David Brodsky, independent scholar, read poems by the Polish poet, Cyprian Norwid ("To Citizen John Brown") and the Russian Soviet poet, Vladimir Mayakovsky ("Fair Treatment of Horses").

        Stephen Holland-Wempe, Lecturer in Spanish, read a Spanish poem of his own composition, entitled "Nada" (Nothing).

        No account of the UMKC rallies would be complete without mentioning the warmly received contribution made by Nicole English, Research Assistant in the School of Interdisciplinary Computing and Engineering.  She demonstrated the skills she uses in her other job as a professional belly-dancer, such as executing difficult figures while balancing a cup on her head.  Nicole's dances only apparently signified a change of pace from high culture pursuits.  Her disciplined performance solidarized with part-time faculty, who are forced to take multiple jobs to survive.  It also demonstrated the compatibility of mental and physical labor, work and pleasure.  The public performance of poetry, and not only of dramatic verse, is likewise physically demanding and pleasurable.

Facts about Part-time Faculty

        According to a report issued by the American Federation of Teachers , part-time faculty nationwide comprise 43% of the instructional workforce in academia and work an average of 37 hours per week.  72% of part-time faculty earn less than $3,000 per course and under $20,000 per year, and 80% have no health or retirement benefits.  The part-timers who receive the lowest pay are concentrated in humanities disciplines.

        These findings are confirmed by information about UMKC part-time faculty published by the PTFA.  They comprise 53% of the total faculty and teach almost 50% of all classes.  Most of them work full-time hours.  Many have PhD's, publications, and lengthy research credentials.  The average part-timer pay at Kansas City area community colleges is slightly higher than at UMKC, and the other three UM campuses pay better, with compensation at UM Columbia almost twice the UMKC amount.

        Part-time faculty in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences typically receive $1800 per 3 hour course, which, a Modern Language Association report noted, has earned the university national distinction.  Namely, UMKC places in the very bottom tier of research universities in the US.  The upper administration, which is responsible for underallocating funds to A&S programs and thus to part-time faculty pay, wins the "Wooden Nickel" award hands down.  If UMKC wants to reach that star, it will have to do some pretty fast climbing in the next four years.  But not on the backs of its most dedicated and most exploited teachers.

        Testimony given at the Illinois State Hearings in October concurs.  A part-timer there stated that "adjuncts should not be subsidizing a school's financial health through deplorably low incomes.  If schools are financially solvent enough to invest in multi-million dollar building schemes and massive purchases of technology, they should be able to find a way to pay us equitable wages."

        UMKC should do no less.  Its reputation has nowhere to go but up.  Adequate funds should be released now, so that contingent faculty begin to be treated with equity and dignity.


Support for Unionization Growing in Academe

        AAUP chapters nationwide fall into two categories: Collective Bargaining (CB) chapters and Advocacy chapters, which do not enjoy the right to collective bargaining.  Because of current Missouri law, which does not authorize collective bargaining for most public employees, the UMKC Chapter is an Advocacy chapter, but its ultimate goal is to achieve CB status.

        In response to burgeoning threats to academic freedom and the integrity of the profession, college faculty in all categories--tenure track, contingent, and graduate teaching assistants--have increasingly turned to unionization as a powerful implement to protect themselves, their students, the campus community, and the public by promoting high standards and eduational opportunity for everyone who wants to learn.  One of the largest national faculty organizations which has come out strongly in favor of a unionized faculty is the Modern Language Association (MLA), the principal organization for teachers and scholars in English and Foreign Languages, with over 30,000 members nationwide.

        At its 2000 meeting the MLA Delegate Assembly approved a strong motion encouraging language and literature teachers and researchers to unionize.  In addition the MLA membership ratified a resolution on unionization.  Both documents were publically supported by the MLA Executive Council.  We present below an excerpt from from the Delegate Assembly's motion and the resolution approved by the membership.

Motion on unionization (excerpt)

        "Whereas dramatic cutbacks in government funding for higher education continue despite ... high corporate profit levels and have accompanied a decline in the number and quality of educational resources in all affected institutions, among full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty members, and higher tuition at virtually all of them; and

        Whereas, without regard to funding, institutions of higher education continue to increase the employment of underpaid adjunct, part-time, graduate- and teaching-assistant faculty members, a large and growing minority of the members of the MLA, at less than a living wage; and

        Whereas salaries, benefits, and working conditions for full-time, tenured and tenure-track faculty members are directly threatened both by funding cutbacks and by increasing reliance on superexploited part-time adjuncts, and graduate- and teaching-assistant faculty members; and

        Whereas a nationwide political movement exists which claims the crisis in higher education stems not from the denial of resources but from the admission of 'unqualified' students to higher education and ... seeks to pit middle-class students against working-class students and especially to pit white students against non-white, particularly African American students, concurrent with an upsurge of racist incidents at institutions of higher education; and

        Whereas, in contrast, the academy has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in unionization in the profession that has the potential to help reverse the erosion of educational quality, lack of equal opportunity, growth of racism, and decline in educational facilities, faculty and staff security, pay and benefits; and

        Whereas, therefore, unionization represents one essential step in struggling to arrest the decline of our profession and the erosion of educational opportunity and facilities,

        We, therefore, move that the MLA shall encourage its members and all those employed in teaching and research in the modern languages and literature, to unionize as an essential step toward defending decent teaching and learning conditions where they exist and fighting to gain them where they do not and to encourage faculty or professional staff members, and all other campus workers, when already represented by a union, to join that union."

Resolution on Unionization Passed by the MLA Membership in June 2000

        "The MLA endorses the right of all academic employees--full- and part-time faculty members, graduate employees, and support staff--to engage in collective bargaining if they choose to do so.  We believe in the democractic right of employees to decide how to negotiate their salaries and working conditions; accordingly, we believe that all administrators should honor the results of employee votes taken by secret ballot on collective bargaining and union representation."


AAUP Dues Information

Local UMKC chapter dues

$10 per academic year.  Send payment to Treasurer, Tim Thomas, 109B Spencer Chemistry Building, 816-235-2297, or thomastf@umkc.edu .  Please make checks payable to "UMKC-AAUP Chapter."  Also please send Tim your preferred mailing address(es), phone(s), and e-mail address(es).

National dues

Go to the AAUP chapter home page-- http://cas.umkc.edu/aaup/ and click on the direct link to the national dues web page; or go to the national dues page--http://www.aaup.org/duestest.htm



 
 

Back Issues

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 1 (September 2000)

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 2 (December 2000)

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 3 (February 2001)

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 4 (April 2001)

The Faculty Advocate, Vol. 2, No. 1 (October 2001)
 

AAUP chapter home page