National Adjunct Action/Awareness Week at Fredonia
The personal experiences of adjuncts are too often dismissed or ignored completely by tenure-stream faculty and administrators. Here is an opportunity to express the value of these colleagues to academic institutions. Many disciplines regard ethnography and qualitative research as valuable tools to explore life experiences and valuable contributions to the world at large; personal stories and reflections can supplement statistics and allow for understanding and identification. Quantification of contingency is important, to be sure, but so is thinking through the particular structures of feeling that arise from working in a system of higher education increasingly reliant on contingent labor, whatever your place(s) in that system.
Many contingent faculty have decided there is great value in sharing their stories and views. Some, like James Hoff, Amy Lynch-Biniek, and Elizabeth Salaam, have been doing it on their own. Others have responded to calls for papers (cf. Hybrid Pedagogy) or calls for testimony (cf. “The Just in Time Professor” [compiled by the Democratic Staff of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in January 2014]).
There are many organizations collecting such stories even now:
So why not take the opportunity to write a short piece that might take on a life of its own after being posted on your office or dormitory door or bulletin board, on your blog or Facebook page? Why not explore what it means to be a student? Or a tenured faculty member? Or a contingent faculty member? Why not consider the pros and cons of National Adjunct Action/Awareness Week relative to tomorrow’s National Adjunct Walkout Day? Beyond better understanding the system, why not help the Fredonia community consider what will change it?