At “Reclaiming Academic Democracy: Facing the Consequences of Contingent Employment in Higher Education: A National Summit” on January 28, 2012, we proposed working together as a community in a democratic fashion to construct a practical, ethical way out of the morass of the contingent faculty employment model that currently dominates higher education.
We offer NFM and its Foundation as the convener and chief facilitator for a broadly representative effort to construct a framework for action modeled on, and perhaps partnered with, The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. (The Climate Commitment is a model — or potential partner — because it suggests an infrastructure within which to share resources and promote public commitment and accountability for carrying out reforms.)
While this reform effort needs to be broadly representative of all sectors with a stake in the future of higher education, it needs to be led by, and facilitated by, an organization like ours that is exclusively focused on adjunct faculty in higher education. Only a coalition like ours can make sure that focus and momentum are maintained and that progress is made. Therefore, we remain committed to continuing to build NFM’s membership and, through its Foundation, its active involvement in public discourse about the future of higher education.
In order to accomplish the ambitious goal of transforming the practice of contingent academic employment, we believe we need to achieve certain preliminary goals first — like consensus about the broad assumptions, values, and principles that should guide reform.
Based on the discussions we have been having for the last couple of years with many respected voices inside and outside NFM, we have drafted goals, assumptions, and principles about which we invite conversation and to which we seek broad consensus. Please use this forum for feedback and suggestions that the Summit Task Force can consider in devising commitment text of our own (as well as a name for the initiative). Read and respond to our goals here and to our assumptions and principles here. General feedback about NFM’s proposed path forward are welcome below.