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The Crisis of Academic Labor: Grad Students, Adjuncts and the Making of the Low-Wage University

Maxwell Auditorium and 220 Eggers Hall

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A day-long symposium organized by the Labor Studies Group of PARCC and the Future Professoriate Program

Over the last four decades, American universities have increasingly shifted their academic labor force toward a pool of part-time and underpaid adjuncts, graduate students, and a whole variety of hybrid non-tenure track faculty. Today, according to the American Association of University Professors, nearly 70% of faculty members are non-tenure track – characterized by low wages, difficult working conditions and negligible job security. Meanwhile, universities continue to raise student tuition while spending exorbitant amounts on administration salaries and building construction. How has this happened? How do the eroding conditions for academic labor mirror wider trends in American capitalism toward low-wage job growth and increasing inequality? How have these trends affected Syracuse University? How are technological trends and new teaching platforms transforming the conditions of academic labor? What are the prospects for graduate students working toward a career in academia? What is the future of tenure? Finally, and most importantly, how have these trends been resisted through adjunct and grad student unionization and other forms of labor struggle? How does Syracuse University’s status as a private institution structure the legal environment of such struggles? This workshop and event on academic labor will explore such questions and provide a venue at Syracuse for discussion and debate by all those concerned with the state of academic labor.

COFFEE & OPENING REMARKS (9:30am-10:00am)Maxwell Auditorium

PANEL 1: THE STATE OF ACADEMIC LABOR TODAY (10am-1145) Maxwell Auditorium

Max Haiven, Member of the edu-factory collective and postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Art and Public Policy at NYU
Maria Maisto, President of New Faculty Majority and adjunct instructor of English at Cuyahoga Community College
Terry Weiner, Provost at Russell Sage College
Rana Jaleel, PhD candidate in American Studies at NYU and organizer with GSOC/UAW Local 2110

LUNCH (12noon-1pm)Eggers 220

Don Mitchell, Distinguished Professor of Geography
Eileen Schell, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric
Laurel Morton, President of Adjuncts United
Emily Mitchell-Eaton, Ph.D. student in Geography

BREAKOUT-SESSION (315pm-415pm)

To register:  REPLY TO THIS EMAIL, indicating your name, academic department or program, and status (faculty, grad student, administration). Lunch is included at no cost to the first 60 registrants! (You will receive confirmation of your lunch reservation by email.) Additional support for this event is provided the GSO, the Maxwell School, the College of Arts & Sciences, and the Departments of Geography and Sociology.

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Exterior of Maxwell in black and white when there was no Eggers building

We’re Turning 100!

To mark our centennial in the fall of 2024, the Maxwell School will hold special events and engagement opportunities to celebrate the many ways—across disciplines and borders—our community ever strives to, as the Oath says, “transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us.”

Throughout the year leading up to the centennial, engagement opportunities will be held for our diverse, highly accomplished community that now boasts more than 38,500 alumni across the globe.