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Copies of the completed video are available to adjuncts for $15, other individuals for $20, and to organizations or institutions for $50. If a purchase order is used, add $10 for handling. All tapes are sent “Media Mail” rate at no additional charge, for “First Class” add $1, for “Priority” add $3 and for overnight delivery add $15. For more information, or to order a copy, please contact:
1709 Pomona Court
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206
Phone (513) 861-2462
WITH THE SUPPORT OF
The City of Cincinnati, American Association of University Professors, University of Cincinnati Chapter AAUP, Women’s Film Project, and Peaslee Neighborhood Center
Part-Time Faculty: Migrant Workers of the Information Economy
a 30 minute documentary on the situation of adjunct faculty
teaching in America’s institutions of higher education
Produced & Directed by
In 1960 Edward R. Murrow made a television documentary about the plight of migrant farm workers. Harvest of Shame examined the working conditions and economic realities of those least respected but absolutely vital workers in the agricultural industry, the harvesters.
To Barbara Wolf, a Cincinnati-based video documentarian, the economic situation and working conditions of adjunct professors suggested an information economy parallel to migrant farm workers. As with migrant farm workers, hiring of adjuncts is often done at the last minute, the extremely low pay is based on the number of courses taught, there are no benefits, there is no job security, and many adjuncts teach at more than one institution (often in different cities) trying to piece together a living.
Following the logic of Harvest of Shame, Ms. Wolf interviews a variety of adjunct faculty, who make visible the working lives of these faculty members who now do more than 40% of the teaching in America's institutions of higher education. Interviews with university administration officials, union leaders, legislators, and other observers document both the problem and possible solutions.
Murrow concluded Harvest of Shame by asking his viewers to cultivate “an enlightened, aroused and perhaps angered public opinion” and to demand a change. Wolf sees her documentary as both informational and, in Murrow’s tradition, as a tool for change.
Contingent Faculty Organize
“Degrees Of Shame”(1997) exposes the situation of full-time scholars who are hired to teach in colleges and universities on a part-time basis so institutions can save money. It has been used in forty-five states and seven Canadian provinces as a discussion starter, a call to arms, and an organizing tool.
Barbara Wolf has completed a follow-up documentary under the title “a simple matter of justice: Contingent Faculty Organize”. This new tape focuses on actions being taken to change the working conditions of the faculty members described in “Degrees Of Shame.” For this tape, Wolf and researcher Andrea Tuttle Kornbluh chose to highlight six distinct situations that could serve as models for groups facing similar barriers. What was initially conceived as a 30 minute sampling of circumstances and tactics has grown into a two cassette set that might be more accurately described as a video-book complete with Title and Index, Introduction, Chapters, and Afterword.
The Introduction is the originally envisioned 30 minute sampler that identifies the causes of this labor problem and introduces the situations to be covered in the rest of the video-book.
Each Chapter focuses on the barriers, opportunities and organizing approaches being undertaken in a different situation. For example, part-time faculty in the California Community College system are organizing statewide to change state laws; Boston part-timers are organizing on a regional basis because of the vast number of schools there; the part-time faculty at Columbia College in Chicago organized themselves into a union in an institution where the full-time faculty is not unionized; in many locations in Canada, part-time faculty are joining the full-time faculty union, but beginning with separate bargaining units; part-timers in Seattle, Washington are suing the state; and Northern Kentucky University has a president who believes that part-time faculty should be treated with respect, dignity and parity.
The video-book’s Afterword, taped at COCAL IV in San Jose, CA, demonstrates the value of an international-scale coalition/organization to increase the effectiveness, reach and resolve of contingent faculty.
Wolf envisions the Introduction as that part of the video that every viewer would see. After looking at it a group, new to organizing around part-time issues, could decide which situation most closely resembles their own and then choose to watch that Chapter. It should be noted that while a particular chapter may not directly address a specific situation, there are parts of each chapter that are applicable to all situations.
Copies of the completed video-book are available to individuals for $60, and to organizations or institutions for $150. If a purchase order is used, add $10 for handling. All tapes are sent “Media Mail” rate at no additional charge, for “Priority Mail” add $3 and for overnight delivery add $20. For more information, or to order a copy, see contact information at left.
Fair Employment • Quality Education • Campus Unity
Faculty and Staff displaced by Hurricane Katrina can register at the Louisiana Board of Regents Displaced Faculty & Staff Registry.