The August meetup was wonderful. We were glad to meet two new participants, and we had time and space for some extended conversation. Looking forward to seeing you all on September 11.
A colleague calls our attention to the National Coalition of Independent Scholars, which has been out there since 1989. NCIS offers a home base and institutional affiliation to independents, as well as financial services for grant management.
What interested me most was their list of local affiliates. It seems there are groups of independent scholars around the country – in New Haven, the Twin Cities, San Francisco, San Diego and elsewhere. Several of them predate the national coalition. They don’t conform to any one pattern in their practices and purposes, but they show us that we are not the first or the only ones. And their existence raises some interesting questions about the long history of scholarship outside academic institutions.
Another resource is the online magazine Adjunct Nation (adjunctnationcom). I ran across it because it reproduced the Gazette’s article about Hidden Scholars, and I found some lively and provocative material on the site.
And by the way, I checked with the editors and they assure me that they did have permission to republish the article. The reference to the Gazette as the original source isn’t obvious.
Our own Five College consortium offers some resources that may be useful for independent scholars. To begin with, its website provides a list of faculty seminars in various disciplines. I’ve really appreciated the History Seminar over the years. Be aware that in some fields (not history!, there may be some slippage in the mailing list when contact persons change.
There’s also a Five College calendar of events that includes departmental lectures and seminars. Here again, be aware that not every event will be listed – it’s a good idea to be in touch with your department at each college. These events can be ways to network and connect with colleagues.
Some of us are eligible to be Five College Associates, with borrowing privileges at all five libraries, access to shared office space, and once again, a formal institutional affiliation. Current eligibility requirements are posted on the website under “Academics” (not “Faculty”). The definition may be changing soon – watch that space.
Last but not least, the site provides links to the job listings at institutions in the region. Although we have all heard of openings that never made it to the listings, this is a good place to start.
Next meetup: Thursday, August 16 (details below). This fall, we’ll experiment with more focused programming, in response to a number of suggestions. And as some scholars have requested, days and times will vary.
The meetup starts at 5:00 p.m., once again at Amherst Brewing Company, 10 University Drive. This will be an informal occasion for mutual support and getting acquainted.
Programs in September through November will be in the Amherst Room at the Jones Library, 43 Amity Street, Amherst.
The first program: Opportunities for Earning outside Teaching.
A brief talk by a member with some interesting ideas, followed by discussion. Feel free to contribute your ideas, experiences, advice, and questions. Tuesday, September 11, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Light refreshments provided; bring your own coffee. Sorry about the unfortunate date.
For post-meeting conviviality, Amherst Coffee and the High Horse pub are within easy reach.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 11, at 5:00, and Thursday, November 15, at 7:45. Topics are still TBA, but may include the adjunct situation; staying focused; re-entering the job market after time off; social relationships in departments, and more.
We’ll see how this goes. If it’s useful, we’ll continue in the spring. Social meetups will also continue!