Tag: Students

An Adjunct Couple Speaks for Contract Ratification

Our names are Canan and James. We’re partners and we both teach as adjunct faculty in the Department of Sociology. As adjunct faculty at Temple University, we deserve to be recognized as workers who contribute to the university’s mission to provide excellence in teaching to Temple’s diverse and engaged student population. That’s why we’re excited to be members of TAUP and ratify our first-ever union contract with an overwhelming YES  vote.

We all know too well that adjunct labor and the particular difficulties of adjunct life often remain hidden. In many cases, full-time faculty have never met the adjunct faculty in their own departments who teach a large portion of the classes and keep departments running.  Most students don’t really know if their instructor is an adjunct, and if they do, what that means for our day-to-day life. Many don’t  know what a low percentage of the tuition they pay actually goes toward paying their adjunct instructors.

Ratifying this contract will give adjuncts an immediate pay bump from $1300/credit to $1425, and another raise next year to $1500. It provides 50% and 25% health care subsidies to adjuncts.  It also lays the groundwork for adjuncts to build meaningful job security, seniority, and a promotion structure into future contracts. This contract shines light on our conditions as precarious adjunct labor, and recognizes adjuncts not simply as miscellaneous faces in the crowd, but as significant workers who put our time and energy into educating Temple’s diverse student population.

Uniting with full-time faculty in the bargaining process provides space for us to share our mutual concerns and use our strength in numbers to win. By working under a contract, adjunct faculty can begin to work towards obtaining the rights to a basic and decent livelihood that all university workers deserve. All members of TAUP will have the opportunity to ratify this contract between September 25 – 29 in an online vote. Add your name here if you plan on helping our first contract pass with an overwhelming YES vote.

In solidarity,
Canan Tanir

James Parisot

Adjunct Instructors, Sociology

Fighting for DACA and the Dreamers 

Wednesday, TAUP jointly released a letter with Temple Student Government, voicing our opposition to President Trump’s unconscionable decision to phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).  There, we urged all of us to contact our elected officials to make DACA permanent and to call on people to attend a meeting today from 3:00-4:45 at the Howard Gittis Student Center 200C to discuss how to respond most effectively to this assault on 800,000 people brought to our country—which is now their country, too—as children.  (We also urge anybody interested to attend “Creating a Welcoming Campus Community” at Paley Library on Wednesday, September 20th, at noon.)

Our national union, the American Federation of Teachers, has also released a statement.  We were heartened, too, by the letter yesterday from The Faculty Senate, which outlines some concrete steps faculty and librarians can take to support their students, both in and out of the classroom.

TAUP additionally recommends that concerned members consult the following resources assembled by The Stephen and Sandra Sheller Center for Social Justice at Temple’s Law School.  It offers trustworthy and current information about this issue as well as contact information for local agencies that provide assistance to immigrants.

Finally, we call on Temple’s Administration to express their support for DACA.  President Englert signed on to a letter defending DACA back in November, but it is imperative that Temple raise its voice again, as Penn State, Pitt, and many, many other universities have already done to speak forcefully against this recent decision and to outline steps the Temple community can take to protect Dreamers.

 

Note:  Earlier this week we promised to post photos documenting our students honoring their teachers at graduation last Spring.  Because of the urgency of this and other matters we have had to postpone that message until next week.

A Basic Needs Syllabus Clause

Guest Contributor Sara Goldrick-Rab is a Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology at Temple. She describes herself as “a scholar-activist with a singular mission: to identify novel approaches to making higher education the accessible and affordable place that families want and need it to be.”

We invited her to write an eBulletin when we learned of her latest effort to help students facing food and housing insecurity. We hope you will consider including the syllabus clause she has crafted to support her work in identifying and serving students in need.

Dear Temple colleagues,

It’s shame that anyone needs a reminder of the cold hard fact that adequate nutritious food and a good night’s sleep are required for learning college material, but let’s be honest — there’s plenty of evidence that much of higher education is in the dark. Part of the research I do at Temple is about how we can support every learner’s need for food and housing in an age of harsh and unforgiving inequality and a shredded safety net.

This is my first fall teaching at Temple. My course is for master’s degree students in our Higher Education program, and it is meant to equip them with the skills they need to attend to equity when working on college access and success. We’ll be working to unpack concepts such as “college readiness,” exploring the dimensions of inequality that shape our students’ lives, and discuss actions that practitioners can take when preparing students for college and supporting them while they attend college. Several weeks will be spent discussing the impacts of poverty and systemic racism on college outcomes and ways to use both internal collaborations and strategic external partnerships to ensure that such challenges to contain the harm such things do to the odds that students will complete degrees.

I thought the syllabus was finally finished, having just added the series of requisite College of Education policies (on things like plagiarism, attendance, etc.), when suddenly I realized that something was missing. And then I began crafting a statement on basic needs security, appending it to the set of policies. This was a first for me, but it felt necessary and internally consistent with the course. Here’s what it says:

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the CARE Team in the Dean of Students Office for support.  The CARE Team web address is careteam.temple.edu.  Furthermore, please notify me if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable me to provide any other resources that I may possess.

I added those four sentences because acknowledging that all students (including graduate students) face real financial challenges that could affect how they do in class, lets students know that I know this and care a lot about it, and help direct them to both support and resources. At the same time, I am not prepared to field every request and know that the CARE Team is terrific and ready to help.

Is this the right thing to do? Will it also help accomplish another goal — communicating to my students that a classroom of learners is, in my mind, a sort of family? Is this language exactly right? Will they respond to it as intended? I don’t know. But in this day and age, it sure seems worth the shot.

Please join me and support your students. And if you do modify your syllabus, please share that in this quick survey! Finally, if this topic interests you and you want to learn more, come to the #RealCollege conference I am hosting on campus this fall.

Much thanks,

Sara Goldrick-Rab

Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology

Temple University

SGR@temple.edu