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.