Community College Articles

Overview

Community College

News and stories of interest for full-time and part-time faculty teaching in the community colleges. 

Article coronavirus immigration DACA

Undocumented students more vulnerable than ever during pandemic
How faculty can make a difference

By Jessica Silver-Sharp, San Mateo Community College Federation of Teachers

When I first wrote about undocumented students in October 2017, I couldn’t have foreseen how things could change so much in less than three years. Two out of three of our campus Dream Centers in the San Mateo Community College District were established during this time when young “Dreamers” were forming a national youth movement and “coming out” across the country. Then, a majority of the hundreds of undocumented students on campus enjoyed legal protections under DACA.

Allan Hancock College teachers and the ‘new normal’
Union presidents surveys part-time faculty for newspaper column

By Mark James Miller, Part-Time Faculty Association of Allan Hancock College

“I miss the face-to-face contact.”

“Something is missing.”

“I miss being with my students.”

As Hancock College’s part-time instructors adapt to the “new normal” brought on by the coronavirus, one theme is constant: With all classes now being taught remotely, they miss being in the classroom with their students.

Adjunct faculty leaders organize, meet challenges of pandemic
The union picture — now and in the months ahead

The ongoing COVID-19 experience for part-time instructors has demonstrated their great collective strength and resiliency, despite limited pay, benefits, job security, and often minimal support.

Several local union leaders — who are part-time faculty — report that beyond the initially hectic and at times frenzied process of transitioning to remote instruction and services, faculty have more or less still been able to teach a semblance of their face-to-face course.

Article part-time faculty coronavirus

Relief for part-timers and their families during pandemic
Unemployment Insurance, housing, utilities, student loans

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, part-time faculty — beyond dealing with protecting the health and safety of themselves and their families — are facing threats to their economic security, including loss of income, access to health insurance, and their capacity to pay for housing and utilities.

It is essential part-timer faculty are aware of recent actions taken by the federal government and state of California to provide relief for people facing these challenges.

Article part-time faculty AFT

“An Army of Temps” — AFT’s call to action
New AFT report attaches numbers to the human crisis in higher education

Part of the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic is that for those who were already at risk, it has laid their situation bare. This is a part-timer reality.

“While it may seem like an odd time to be putting out the “Army of Temps: AFT Contingent Faculty Quality of Worklife Survey,” frankly, it’s about as good a time as ever to show the fragility of this workforce.”

Article coronavirus distance learning

The changeover at Allan Hancock College
Challenges and rewards of teaching online

By Mark James Miller

Even before Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shelter-at-home order, Allan Hancock College was gearing up to meet the challenges the COVID-19 virus presents to an institution of higher learning.

For faculty and students, this new normal brings with it many issues regarding how best to continue the mission of education — providing the students with the highest quality of instruction — while trying to remain free of the virus and maintain social distancing.

Article Calbright

Has Calbright lost its legislative support?
Senators take online college to task in February 13 hearing

It may have taken over two years, but the Calbright online community college has apparently lost any support it might have enjoyed in the state Legislature when the CFT first warned about the potential for failure. In December 2017, Jim Mahler, president of the CFT Community College Council, sent a seminal letter to Gov. Jerry Brown, Calbright’s main promoter, pointing out key flaws in its proposed structure.

Article Calbright

CFT leading voice of opposition at Calbright hearing
Community college faculty speak out at February 13 Senate hearing

Community college faculty mobilized on February 13 to let the state Legislature know that they want the enormous resources wasted on the Calbright online community college project redirected to the needs of the existing, underfunded campuses around the state. These campuses serve tens of thousands of students, while this one project has absorbed $120 million for fewer than 500 students.

Finding “common ground” in higher education
Campus Equity Week conference brings together contingent faculty from all higher ed systems

Members, officers, and activists from higher education unions throughout California came together for a full day during Campus Equity Week to chart a strategy for defending public higher education. They denounced especially the way education institutions, under corporate pressure, increasingly rely on contingent instructors while treating them as outsiders.

Article part-time faculty labor solidarity

Part-timer takes the helm at State Center Federation of Teachers

One of the great powers of a union is its ability to uplift the living conditions and status of its members, not just at the bargaining table, but within the structure of the union itself — when the seemingly most marginalized members assume leadership roles.

In local unions representing all faculty, there has been a recent trend of the membership electing a part-time faculty member to lead the union, with significant support from the full-timers. There is perhaps no better example of this, though he might be reluctant himself to say so, than Keith Ford.

Governor signs loan forgiveness bill, vetoes paid maternity leave
From the Capitol – On the cusp of good things for part-timers

Budgetarily, it’s been a tough year for winning greater gains for part-timers in Sacramento, but with regard to legislation which CFT succeeded in getting to the governor’s desk, and for legislation already in the wings for next year, part-timers are on the edge of good things.

Article part-time faculty

What I learned in my research of the “Involuntary Adjunct”

By Bobbi-Lee Smart, Cerritos Faculty Federation

My dissertation research focused on the perceptions of the impact of adjuncts on community college campuses in Southern California. I specifically wanted to understand the reality of involuntary adjuncts — those whose who want full-time tenure track jobs, couldn’t get a position, so worked as “full-time” adjuncts (those whose adjunct work is the majority or entirety of their income).

Article part-time faculty AFT Local Action

Freeway Flyers: Local action & quick news
Salary comparison, part-timer conference, celebrity part-timers

Los Angeles adjunct becomes chair of California Democratic Party

Rusty Hicks, known to the larger California public as the newly elected leader of the California Democratic Party, is known to the students of the Los Angeles Community College District and the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, by another title since 2016 — Adjunct Instructor of Labor Studies.

Article Calbright privatization

CFT takes bold next step in opposition to statewide online community college
Union to sue CalBright for violations of Education Code

Duplicating existing programs. Diverting taxpayer resources. Recruiting students from other districts. Not meeting critical deadlines. Lack of input from faculty stakeholders. Lack of transparency.

These are some of the reasons  leaders from the CFT’s Community College Council strongly oppose the state’s new all online community college, now doing business as “Calbright,” which they say was created to fill a need that doesn’t exist.

Article labor art

How unionizing the Lusty Lady has influenced faculty members
Novelist and poet works to organize faculty in creative departments

When Aya de León started as a lecturer in African American Studies at UC Berkeley and director of its Poetry for the People program, she was excited to join AFT Local 1474. She’s been working since she was a teenager, de León says, but this is the first job where she has a union to represent her.

When she was younger, the idea of being in a local seemed very adult to her, and now being a member of one makes her feel she has arrived, she says. That’s just one reason she’s excited to be a union member.