Archive for Higher Education

Standing Tall for Public Higher Education

uupdate 2-26-15

In the most important day of the year for public higher education in New York, UUP members turned out in force for Higher Education Advocacy Day to push back against an unprecedented threat: A governor who wants to hijack public higher education funding and the democratic process and public debate that help set that funding in the first place.

“Andrew Cuomo has attacked all of public higher education,” said UUP President Fred Kowal, as higher education leaders and members prepared for a day of meetings with lawmakers Feb. 26 in Albany. “I don’t like to use marshal terms, but we are in a war – a war against the work that we do. We defend the good and the right. The times we face and the challenges we face demand that we be bold.”

UUP leaders spent the day telling lawmakers that this year’s advocacy is not just about asking for deserved funds to be restored to SUNY; it’s about pointing out that the governor – as stated in the new UUP television and print ad campaign –is just plain wrong.

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UUP Honors Contingent Faculty Teaching 55% of New Paltz Courses

Contingents 3During National Adjunct Action Week, February 23-27, UUP is honoring the over 300 contingent faculty members who teach 55% of the 1,256 courses taught this semester at SUNY New Paltz. The union’s New Paltz Chapter has installed a display in the Jazzman’s Café, located in the foyer of Jacobson’s Faculty Tower, listing all of the approximately 700 courses taught by 57 full-time lecturers and 248 part-time, so-called “adjunct” lecturers and instructors.

“The dictionary definition of the term adjunct—something added to another thing but not essential to it—is such a misnomer in this case,” commented Chapter President Peter D. G. Brown, Distinguished Service Professor of German Emeritus. “Our adjuncts here, as everywhere else, teach all levels of all subjects, from Anthropology to Zoology. The entire academic enterprise is carried on the backs of these poorly supported and largely invisible academics. Students are adversely affected when their teachers lack basic support in the form of a living wage or offices to meet and mentor their students. Education suffers in the absence of any meaningful academic freedom due to our contingent faculty’s precarious employment.”

Part of the UUP display includes a collage of over 100 photos depicting the diverse faces of the contingent faculty at SUNY New Paltz.

Both UUP, representing some 35,000 members on 28 different campuses, and the SUNY Student Assembly, representing 465,000 students at 64 campuses, have called for increasing the minimum starting salary per three-credit course from the current $3,100 to $5,000.

NAAW 2, 2-22-15

NAAW 1, 2-22-15

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UUP: Loud and Strong in NYC Labor Day Parade

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UUP President Fred Kowal said he wanted UUP to march in the 2014 New York City Labor Day Parade to demonstrate the union’s strength to politicians, candidates, unionists and anyone who was watching.

Mission accomplished, and then some.

More than 300 UUP members, along with family members and friends, marched proudly up Fifth Avenue, joining thousands of unionists from New York City and across the state in the parade.

Members fell in behind UUP President Fred Kowal and the union’s statewide officers, chanting and waving signs that said “Speak Up for Workers” and “Labor Works for You.” They smiled, waved and even blew kisses on a sweltering, humid day with temperatures in the mid-90s.

There were no complaints, only gritty determination as members, wearing red UUP shirts, marched 17 blocks up the sun-drenched avenue, handing pencils to parade goers who cheered as they walked past.

“We’re showing our strength, our solidarity, and our willingness to literally take to the streets in defense of the work that we do,” said Kowal. More

AFT Demands an End to Exploitation of Contingent Faculty

aftThe American Federation of Teachers (AFT), UUP’s national affiliate with 1.6 million members, issued a strong call for “ending the exploitation of contingent faculty.” At SUNY New Paltz, fully half of the teaching faculty are contingents, with over 200 part-time adjuncts and some 70 full-time lecturers.

In a series of resolutions passed at AFT’s convention, meeting July 11-14 in Los Angeles, AFT demanded pay equity for contingents, including compensation for class preparation time and office hours. Further demands include:

• Equitable access to employee benefits;

• Access to and compensation for opportunities for professional development;

• Meaningful job security, including job security comparable to tenure, long-term academic appointment contracts or certificates of continuing employment, which guarantee the presumption of rehiring;

• Opportunities for career advancement, including conversion opportunities to full-time, tenure-track positions;

• Enforceable standards for the timely notification of teaching appointments;

• Protections for academic freedom, regardless of tenure status; and

• Full inclusion in and compensation for participation in all institutional work, including service, research and governance.

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