A Call For Papers: Confronting the For-Profit College Culture

It’s undeniable that adjunct faculty at for-profit colleges face a unique set of circumstances. I know this personally because I am an adjunct with over ten years of experience working at multiple institutions for low pay in poor working conditions. I understand how and why we work in fear and live in fear of not working. This fear is compounded by isolation, and what everyone should know is that a teacher cannot effectively instruct students from a place of fear.

The contingent academic labor crisis is a national crisis, and we have to confront the culture of fear and end this alarming trend in higher education. We know that teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions, and bell hooks challenges us to “educate students for the practice of freedom rather than the maintenance of existing structures of domination.” (bell hooks.Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. New York: Routledge, 2003, 46.)

Of course, because the deeply ingrained workplace culture of fear is designed to keep us quiet, overworked, and underpaid, these significant issues are under reported. And those who do report unethical behavior fear backlash.The message of job insecurity is loud and clear: they treat us as expendable labor. But we are worth more, and those who feel hamstrung within the institution will find a supportive community of vocal and active colleagues beyond the walls of the institution: we are not alone. Indeed, a national movement of poorly treated adjuncts and laborers on the fringe in many professions are taking a stand to right the disparities we face, and particular to us, those that have lowered the bar in higher education.

We need leaders in the crisis, and this is an open call for faculty to come forward and join the struggle against low-road practices in for-profit higher ed. We are turning the tide but it is far from over. Perhaps the biggest step we can take together is to listen, and dialogue for change. We have to confront the system that silences and separates us. Collective action is the only way forward, for us and our students.

We want the world to hear your story, so we invite you to submit a paper for review and publication on the Faculty Forward blog. We challenge bad actors in the for-profit sector who take advantage of students and faculty. In particular, this call for papers invites 500-700 word personal-experience narratives from faculty that highlight the crisis in higher ed, including, but not limited to, essays on:

  • lack of institutional and instructional support
  • workplace culture of fear and intimidation
  • fair faculty pay
  • academic freedom

Narratives should contextualize the flawed system with concrete examples, reflections, and ideas for progress. Ultimately, stories function as social artifacts and are powerful agents of change. Submit your paper with your contact details to tiffanyskraft@gmail.com. An editor will acknowledge your submission via email within 24 – 48 hours.

Acceptance of your submission does not guarantee publication on the blog, though we seek to publish those narratives that move the discussion forward. Your story matters and the world should hear it: we are listening … and winning.