Friday, 07 January. 8:30–9:45 a.m. Modern Language Association Convention 2011, Los Angeles. Plaza 3, Marriott. Program arranged by the Division on Teaching as a Profession.

Format: published discussion materials; 5-minute prepared remarks; discussion between panelists and audience.

1. A Split in the PMC? Rising Managers, Falling Professionals. Marc Bousquet, presiding. Tenure and Teaching Intensive Appointments Occupy and Escalate We Work

2. Solidarity v. Professionalism:  Abetting Wayward Labor. Kim Emery, University of Florida. Deprofessionalization requires a more radical solution than re-professionalization. Academic Freedom Requires Constant Vigilance The University and the Undercommons Professionalism as the Basis

3. Precarity, Itinerancy, and Professionalism. Lisa Jeanne Fluet, Boston College. Precarious faculty professionalize themselves without many of the usual compensations. What are You Going to Do With That? The Ph.D. Problem Things I Learned From Grading AP Essays

4. What Rolls Down Hill: 'Professionalization' and Graduate Student Administrators. Monica F. Jacobe, Princeton University. Consequences for graduate students who provide or even donate administrative labor. Play PhD Casino! Graduate Students Hearing Voices Higher Exploitation

5. Busting Faculty Labor For Fun and Profit. William Lyne, Western Washington University. Faculty work is being devalued to cut costs, increase profits and reinforce class barriers for students. Power Concedes Nothing Without Demand Public Benefits, Private Costs

6. Internal Stratifications. Jeffrey J. Williams, Carnegie Mellon Univ. As doctors farm out some tasks to nurses, practitioners and physicians' assistants, the professoriate is shifting some tasks to sub- or tertiary professions. Remaking the University The System of Professions

7. Untitled. Bruce W. Robbins, Columbia University. Secular Vocations




Some additional panels on Thursday, January 6:

73. Governance Matters 1:45–3:00 p.m., 409B, LA Convention Center Program arranged by the Division on Teaching as a Profession Presiding: Vincent Barry Leitch, Univ. of Oklahoma

ers: Mary McAleer Balkun, Seton Hall Univ.; Gregory S. Jay, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Elizabeth Jean Langland, Arizona State Univ. West; William Lyne, Western Washington Univ.; Nancy Welch, Univ. of Vermont

What is the faculty share in governance? How do we define “faculty”? Related topics: workload; service; activist trustees, alumni, donors; transparency; academic freedom; faculty lobbying; unions; corporate managerial university; professional autonomy. The main premises of the session are that there is a growing list of vocal stakeholders in higher ed, the concept of shared governance is worth defending, and there is a crisis or set of shifts recently in academic governance.

150. New Tools, Hard Times: Social Networking and the Academic Crisis 5:15–6:30 p.m., 406A, LA Convention Center A special session. Presiding: Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Speakers: Rosemary G. Feal, MLA, Marc Bousquet, Santa Clara Univ., Brian Croxall, Emory Univ., Christopher John Newfield, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, Marilee Lindemann, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

This roundtable will examine what role the tools of social networking (e.g., blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) have played in organizing and communicating about the economic crisis in higher education. One of the goals of the panel will be practical: to share tips and strategies about what works and what doesn’t (and to think critically about how we judge the effectiveness of any particular tool or strategy). Another will be reflective: to provide an opportunity for weighing the benefits and the risks of scholars using these tools to perform work that is often more in the mode of public or professional advocacy than scholarship in the traditional sense.

Can't make the MLA?

Join Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Dick Ohmann and many others at Left Forum 2011 (March 18-20), Pace University, NYC.

Interested in joining Ohmann for a panel on working in commercialized higher ed? Drop him or Susan O'Malley a line by January 5, 2011. Have an article for Radical Teacher's issue of the same theme? Send a proposal by May 15, 2011.

Introduction. Across the professional-managerial class (PMC), there has been a sea change in the fortunes of management in the past forty years. Management has steadily professsionalized--it used to be the neglected stepchild of the PMC, and real professionals like college professors, doctors and lawyers only reluctantly invited business executives to their bridge parties.

Now it's the reverse: management is dominant, and the professions are being steadily deprofessionalized.

In the words of Gary Rhoades, the faculty have become "managed professionals." That means that we've lost control of the working conditions of our profession. Now professionals--young lawyers and young doctors too--take scraps from the management table.

That's true for workers across the economy--the rapaciousness of the executive class has been literally unbounded since Reagan's election. But it's caught professionals off guard: they were used to thinking of management as their servants, the folks keeping the books and hiring the staff while they made the decisions.

One interesting thing about the deprofessionalization of the faculty is that it has been accompanied by steady unionization in the public sector, inspired and enabled by the prior militance of other public employees, especially schoolteachers. If this had been a militant unionism, one might say--deprofessionalized, and a good thing, too!

Unfortunately the move to collective bargaining has commonly taken the form of some of the worst, most generationally selfish and crude forms of trade unionism.

Generally speaking, for forty years most faculty unions have protected the interests of current members at the expense of future faculty by either ignoring or actively bargaining the creation of ever more lower-paid and insecure positions.

Anyone who thinks that the current generations of tenured faculty will "use their power" to resist permatemping is, in my opinion, sweetly delusional.

We have spent most of the past several decades hiring people who think that tenure is a badge of their personal merit: the smaller the group with the merit badge, the more exclusive the club!

However you analyze the facts, the inescapable core datum is this:

Even where the tenured have some influence-in their unions, in disciplinary associations like this one--they consistently have failed to use that influence to do more than gesture helplessly.

As a result the cutting edge of academic unionism is the self-organization of the graduate students, undergraduates, moonlighters, part-time and nontenurable faculty who make up nearly eighty percent of the college teaching force.

These would-be professionals, para-professionals, and proletarianized sub-professionals may be the source of the more radical solidarity for which Kim Emery is calling. I certainly hope so.

--Marc Bousquet




Also see:The MLA Counter-Conference Saturday 8 January 1-5 pm

1:00-1:45 - Remaking the University of California, (after Chris Newfield's similarly named blog, Remaking the University)Catharine Liu, UC Irvine; Chris Newfield (author of Unmaking the Public University), Joshua Clover, UC Davis

1:45-2:30 - Defending the Humanities and Shared Governance: Cary Nelson, President AAUP; Jeffrey Williams, Carnegie Mellon; Michelle Masse, LSU

2:30-3:15 - Organizing Labor and the Academic Class War: Jenn Nichols, AAUP, Maria Maisto, New Faculty MajorityJoe Berry, Chicago COCAL, School of Labor and Employment Relations at UI Urbana-Champaign

3:15-4:00 - Graduate Students and Precarious Labor: 
Annie McClanahan, Harvard (UAW bargaining unit); 
Jasper Bernes, GSOC, UC Berkeley; 
Stephanie Seawell, UIGEO, Champaign-Urbana; 
UI Champaign-Urbana

4:00-4:30 - Quality, Access, and Affordability: Murray Sperber, Professor Emiritus, IU Bloomington; Bob Samuels, UCLAPresident UC-AFT

4:30-4:55 - Open Discussion on Strategies for Changing Higher Education

RSVP for the Counter-Conference:  by emailing or at the Counter-Conference Facebook Event page if you plan to come. $10 donation suggested but not required. You do not have to be a member of MLA to attend.