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Ffe Presentation 2010 03

Ffe Presentation 2010 03



Jack Longmate - Presentation at Session 173094, Employment Status: Effects and Actions. Forum for Fair Employment (FFE)

Jack Longmate - Presentation at Session 173094, Employment Status: Effects and Actions. Forum for Fair Employment (FFE)



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  • It is appropriate to conceive of part-time instruction as a treadmill. Not only is the work part-time and commonly capped at some percentage below full-time, pay is significantly discounted. Oftentimes, “part-time” educators have no choice but to hold multiple jobs and lead a harried lifestyle much like a frantic treadmill.
  • Part-time faculty are the majority faculty in US higher education.
  • When push comes to shove and the institution has to make a choice between, say, a biology instructor and an ESL instructor, the ESL instructor is at a disadvantage. The biology instructor, after all, may have a master’s degree. Of course, so might the ESL instructor, but with the predominate assumption that if one can speak a language, one can teach a language, an advanced degree in teaching ESL is not as esteemed as an advanced degree in biology or another discipline might be. TESOL deserves some credit for drafting position papers and resolutions to defend the dignity of the profession.
  • It is not only because the teaching of ESL is dominated by part-time positions; it’s because there is no other defender. Consider part-time faculty and unions membership:
  • In late 2009, this survey of student engagement was issued. How did part-time faculty fare?
  • The survey reported that part-time faculty are far less involved in advising students than full-time faculty. But this should be no surprise. It would seem like criticizing a dentist for not performing knee surgery as often as a surgeon might.
  • It correctly attributes the difference to the different expectation and compensation.
  • It correctly observes, whether right or wrong, part-time faculty are integral to the delivery of higher education classes.
  • TESOL is a signatory to the CAW’s statement.
  • While this statement would seem positive and noble at first glance, it is troubling that it is vague. Far better if there were a single standard for compensation for “one faculty” as opposed to a relative definition like “commensurate with their status as professions.”
  • In our current economic downturn, non-tenured faculty have been losing their jobs (but it tends to go unnoticed as they do at the end of every term). The Modern Language Association, including one of its members, Cary Nelson, who happens to be president of the American Association of University Professors, got MLA approval for this resolution calling for job security and the right to tenure for all faculty.
  • One immediate thing that part-time faculty can do as a step toward bringing about job security is to file for unemployment between terms, when they truly are not employed. Joe Berry, who spoke at this colloquium at TESOL 2008 in New York, has authored an excellent booklet available for download at the Chicago COCAL website.
  • Massive filing of unemployment would indeed convey to the system that they might as well create new full-time positions or confer true job security to non-tenured part-time faculty.
  • COCAL is an international movement to draw attention to contingent faculty’s precarious position. Its excellent conferences are held on the even years and are the foremost meeting of advocates for change.
  • Campus Equity Week/Fair Employment Week are held on the odd years.
  • A 2002 TESOL member resolution supported both Campus Equity Week and representation at the conferences of the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor.
  • Both in the formal mission statement and among members, upholding the dignity and respect of the profession is a high priority shared by all within TESOL.
  • Perhaps Interest Sections, Forums, task forces, and Standing Committees could do a stronger job of collaborating on efforts that build the professionalism and respect of the field.
  • I confess my activity is flatline during most of the year except for around March when TESOL comes.
  • But TESOL could likely be more productive in making progress toward achieving fair employment and professional dignity if we members could sustain our interest and activity throughout the year.

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