More on adjuncts – which isn’t all of you

For those of you who teach as adjuncts, or have taught in that capacity, here are a couple of interesting items.

The UMass faculty union, the Massachusetts Society of Professors, is taking an interest these days in adjuncts who teach in the Division of Continuing and Professional Education. Read about it here:

And here is a story from an adjunct professor who used to be on the tenure track, tellingly titled “I Used to Be a Good Teacher.” What she says about teaching in a vacuum is especially astute. Check it out. Thanks to Elizabeth for this.

Online conference; in-person meetup

Hello, Hidden Scholars!

Here’s a notice from a colleague: Adjunct Action will be be hosting a conversation about women and adjunct teaching with Sarah Kendzior, writer with Al Jazeera English and the Chronicle of Higher Education, this Friday, August 29th, at 2pm EDT, in a Google Hangout space. You can find a link here:

(Disregard the date on the site – it’s postponed to August 29 from the 22nd.)

The topic – women and adjuncts – makes me wonder what the special issues for men might be. A discussion for another time, perhaps?

Adjunct Action, which is a union project, will also be hosting an “organizer boot camp” in September.

Meanwhile, it’s time for a meetup.

On Tuesday, September 9, 7-8:30 p.m., let’s return to The Roost in Northampton (corner of Bridge St. and Market St.). Table space can be a little tight, but they have everything: coffee, beer, food. Drop by any time.

Finally: we welcome comments and updates on your situations, needs, and ideas.

Best wishes for the new academic year, the job searches, the current and future projects, the general state of higher education, and the world of scholarship.

Tuesday twofer for independent scholars

Next Tuesday looks like a very rich day for independent scholarship in the Valley. At 4:30 in the afternoon, the director of the new Amherst College Press looks at the future of open-access digital scholarship. A reception follows.

And at 7 p.m., the Jones Library, also in Amherst, presents a public program on independent scholarship. Several of us will be participating, and I know that all of us can bring really valuable perspectives and contributions to this.

Hope to see you there.

NPR report on adjuncts

All Things Considered has a good solid report on the adjunct situation this evening, Feb. 3.  The segment will (probably) run again in the 6 – 6:30 hour on WFCR; or check the website later.  There’s nothing really surprising in it, but it’s reinforcing and perhaps reassuring.

Academic shame culture?

A colleague in the American Academy of Religion passed along a blog post titled “Surviving (and Thriving) in the Academic Shame Culture.” The link is here and in the sidebar:

For those who need a refresher, social scientists distinguish between guilt (feeling bad about something you did) and shame (feeling inadequate in front of others). There’s also a distinction between success-failure culture (for example, ours) and honor-shame culture (traditional China, most Arab societies, etc.) (Fun fact on religion: the historical context of the Bible is almost entirely honor-shame culture, not success-failure culture. Does that clarify anything for you?)

Anyway, there is apparently a good deal of discussion out there about a culture of shame in academia. What’s your take on this? Have you experienced subtle or overt shaming in graduate school or faculty meetings? Have your professors or senior colleagues used shame as a motivating force? Are we expected to feel shame for not  being on the tenure track? Is academia really exceptional – that is, does just as much shaming go on in business or law, for example? Let us know what you think.