Friday, February 27, 2009

Call for Manuscripts: Academic Labor and Law

CFP: Academic Labor and Law
Special Section of Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor
Workplace Blog

Guest Editor: Jennifer Wingard, University of Houston

[Note: Articles on Academic Labor and Law issues in contexts beyond the USA are welcomed]

The historical connections between legislation, the courts, and the academy have been complex and multi-layered. This has been evident from early federal economic policies, such as the Morell Act and the GI Bill, through national and state legislation that protected student and faculty rights, such as the First Amendment and affirmative action clauses. These connections continue into our current moment of state and national efforts to define the work of the university, such as The Academic Bill of Rights and court cases regarding distance learning. The question, then, becomes whether and to what extent the impact of legislation and litigation reveals or masks the shifting mission of the academy. Have these shifts been primarily economic, with scarcities of funding leading many to want to legislate what is considered a university education, how it should be financed, and who should benefit from it? Are the shifts primarily ideological, with political interests working to change access, funding, and the intellectual project of higher education? Or are the shifts a combination of both political and economic influences? One thing does become clear from these discussions: at their core, the legal battles surrounding higher education are about the changing nature of the university –the use of managerial/corporate language; the desire to professionalize students rather than liberally educate them; the need to create transparent structures of evaluation for both students and faculty; and the attempt to define the types of knowledge produced and disseminated in the classroom. These are changes for which faculty, students, administrators, as well as citizens who feel they have a stake in higher education, seek legal redress. This special section of Workplace aims to explore the ways in which legislation and court cases impact the work of students, professors, contingent faculty, and graduate students in the university. Potential topics include but are not limited to:

* Academic Freedom for students and/or faculty

o Horowitz’s Academic Bill of Rights
o Missouri’s Emily Booker Intellectual Diversity Act
o First Amendment court cases concerning faculty and student’s rights to freely express themselves in the classroom and on campuses
o Facebook/Myspace/Blog court cases
o Current legislative and budgetary “attacks” on area studies (i.e. Queer Studies in Georgia, Women’s Studies in Florida)
* Affirmative Action
o The implementation of state and university diversity initiatives in the 1970s
o The current repeal of affirmative action law across the country
* Benefits, including Health Benefits, Domestic Partner Benefits
o How universities in states with same-sex marriage bans deal with domestic partner benefits
* Collective Bargaining
o The recent rulings at NYU and Brown about the status of graduate students as employees
o State anti-unionization measures and how they impact contingent faculty
* Copyright/Intellectual Property
o In Distance Learning
o In corporate sponsored science research
o In government sponsored research
* Disability Rights and Higher Education
o How the ADA impacts the university
* Sexual Harassment and Consensual Relationships
o How diversity laws and sexual harassment policies impact the university
* Tenure
o The Bennington Case
o Post 9/11 court cases

Contributions for Workplace should be 4000-6000 words in length and should conform to MLA style. If interested, please send an abstract via word attachment to Jennifer Wingard ( by Friday, May 22, 2009. Completed essays will be due via email by Monday, August 24, 2009.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Update on Rouge Forum 2009: Education, Empire, Economy, & Ethics at a Crossroads

Update on Rouge Forum 2009

Education, Empire, Economy, & Ethics at a Crossroads
May 15-17, 2009
Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI

(Ypsilanti is located in southeast Michigan, 15 minutes from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, 35 miles west of Detroit, and 8 miles east of Ann Arbor, which is home to the University of Michigan.)

Keynote Speakers/Performances:

Staughton Lynd has agreed to be a keynote speaker at the conference. Staughton Lynd is a legendary peace and civil rights activist, historian, lawyer, and organizer. Lynd directed the Mississippi Freedom Schools in the summer of 1964, taught history at Yale University and Spellman College and has been an organizer and worker rights attorney in Youngstown, OH for over thirty years. His books include Rank and File, Lucasville, and the recently published memoir Stepping Stones.

Greg Queen, 2008 recipient of the NCSS Defense of Academic Freedom Award will also provide a keynote address and we expect to identify another keynote speaker soon.

We anticipate an exciting "Adventures in Live Art" public performance from artist Billy X. Curmano. Curmano will also conduct a workshop at the conference ("Changing Culture with Art: Creativity of the people, for the people and the planet").

As you can see, the conference is shaping up well and promises to be an excellent experience by providing a space to examine, critique, and outline future directions in response to the dismal times we currently face. We have a number of great proposals already and will be accepting more for another few weeks.

REMEMBER: One of the main reasons people have cited for coming to previous conferences is the friendship and collegiality they have discovered in a group that draws together many different views, all of them critical and incisive—people worth meeting again and again.

There is still time to submit proposals for presentations/performances (deadline March 15).

For more details visit the conference web site or email conference coordinator Joe Bishop (

Monday, February 9, 2009

Changing Universities: Governance, Relevance, Performance

International Conference on
Changing Universities: Governance, Relevance, Performance
29 September – 2 October 2009
Istanbul, Turkey

Over the last couple of decades or so, higher education systems and, in particular, universities have become, notably in Europe as well as elsewhere, targets of attention and debate for change and reform. A host of external factors have been at play in shaping the discourses and actions with regard to changing universities. Within Europe, for example, policy statements such as the Bologna Accord, the Berlin Communiqué and the Lisbon Declaration have called for major reforms and re-orientations in higher education as a part of the broader vision of creating a European knowledge society. This has also been linked with expectations that universities should serve as engines of economic growth and national as well as regional competitiveness in the global marketplace. Concerns have therefore been expressed with regard to the relationships of universities with their external environments and the society at large. Business representatives have been demanding closer university-industry ties and research more relevant to their needs. Likewise, pressures have been mounting on providing education that is more responsive to the needs of the labour market. State authorities have joined in endorsing these demands. Moreover, these kinds of pressures have been coming at a time when public funding has been increasingly constrained and universities have been guided towards obtaining other sources of funds, leading, in some countries at least, to the encouragement of privately funded institutions. Concomitantly, there has been a greater concern with resource allocation to and within universities as well as their efficient use, resulting also in a broader discourse on and ensuing polices with respect to issues about accountability.

Altogether these kinds of pressures have resulted in the introduction of new policies and reform initiatives in the last two decades or so, though their timing, scale and pace has been variant across countries. National and organizational level governance systems have been altered, in some cases a number of times. New evaluation schemes have been introduced for assessing organizational, departmental and individual performance. Funding systems have been revisited, quite often in ways that not only attempt to make them performance-based but also to promote and encourage the acquisition of external funds. That these kinds of changes and the responses to them have and are being played out in institutionalized organizational fields has motivated not only practical but also academic interest in their implementation and outcomes. Likewise, that they have been internationally widespread, quite often with some reference to and justification based on North American models has generated debate around convergence as opposed to divergence sustained in many ways.

The above issues have been addressed for the last year or so within a project entitled MEHEM (Mapping European Higher Education Models), funded by the European Union and carried out by scholars from Sabanci University (Turkey), Oxford University (UK), University of Siena (Italy) and Uppsala University (Sweden) together with collaborators from Germany, France and Spain. The Istanbul Conference is organized as a part of this project and aims to bring together researchers from a broader range of institutions and countries with interests in the changes that have been taking place over the last couple of decades at universities, nationally, regionally and internationally. Papers are invited therefore on the following topics, though not exclusively limited to them, as submissions pertaining to related themes will also be considered:

• Changes in government regulation of higher education fields and universities.
• Changes in the composition of organizational level governing bodies and the selection of university leaders
• Changes in funding, particularly the degree to which market solutions is being introduced.
• Changes in the selection and promotion of faculty.
• The changing nature of university-industry relationships and their implications for the structuring and administration of universities.
• The implications of the increasing use of evaluations and rankings for higher education and universities.
• The implications of the changes that have been taking place on the structure of higher education fields and the role of universities with respect to the construction of national and international elites.

Both conceptual and empirical papers are invited. Empirical papers could be case studies of individual or a small number of organizations as well as larger scale quantitative investigations. Comparative research would be particularly welcome. One additional aim of the conference is to provide a platform for the production of an edited book.

Abstracts of around 500 words should be submitted through the MEHEM website ( latest by 31 May 2009. Authors will be notified about acceptance latest by the end of June. Some funds are available to cover travel and lodging expenses. Please do indicate any needs for funding when submitting your abstract.

Behlül Üsdiken, Sabanci University, Turkey
Lars Engwall, Uppsala University, Sweden
Carmelo Mazza, Grenoble EM, France
Paolo Quattrone, University of Oxford, UK
Angelo Riccaboni, University of Siena, Italy

See also this cfp here.