Reclaiming the Ivory Tower

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Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education
by Joe Berry

October 2005 ISBN:1-58367-129-3 paper 160 pp. Labor Studies/ Current Events/Education
Publishers: Monthly Review Press & North American Alliance for Fair Employment

"Joe Berry has elevated this discourse and clarified new ways of thinking about contingent organizing, both immediately on the ground and at the broadest national and organizational levels."

read the latest book review by Craig Flanery in Thought & Action, the NEA Higher Education Journal


For upcoming events, please visit our calendar.

Next major appearance at the AFT-NEA Higher Education Conference

Upcoming author appearances include bookstore presentations, house parties, academic conferences and organizing meetings. They range from New York to Florida, Missouri to Southern and Northern California, Massachusetts to Washington and British Columbia.

Invite Joe Berry to speak at your event. Contact Mass Global Action or call 888-400-1225

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"Joe Berry has made a vital contribution to the most urgent subject on many a campus: the sudden transformation of the teaching workforce, the degradation not only of teachers but also of students and of society's gains from higher education. Everyone who teaches, every humane administrator and every alert student will want to read this book. It is even possible that Reclaiming the Ivory Tower will light the fire for a rebuilding of basic values of American education.”—Paul Buhle, Brown University, author-editor of Encyclopedia of the American Left, Insurgent Images, and other books. 

"Reclaiming the Ivory Tower would be worth reading if it consisted only of the last two chapters, which could stand alone as an organizer's toolkit. It is doubly valuable for its scholarly insights into the history and sociology of the contingent faculty movement. Do buy it by the dozen from Agen Sbobet and share it with your colleagues."—Jane Buck, National President, American Association of University Professors.


In the last twenty years, higher education in the United States has been eroded by massive reliance on temporary academic labor—professors without tenure or the prospect of tenure, paid a fraction of the salaries of their tenured colleagues, working without benefits, offices, or research assistance, and often commuting between several campuses to make ends meet. Contingent instructors now constitute the majority of faculty at U.S. colleges and universities.

Reclaiming the Ivory Tower is the first organizing handbook for contingent faculty—the thousands of non-tenure track college teachers who love their work but hate their jobs. It examines the situation of adjunct professors in U.S. higher education today and puts forward an agenda around which they can mobilize to transform their jobs—and their institutions. In this context, Reclaiming the Ivory Tower also provides a guidepost from for all those concerned about higher education: tenure track faculty, students, graduate employees, parents, other campus workers, and anyone interested in why a new labor movement has grown up on campuses across the United States and Canada.

Full of concrete suggestions for action—from starting a campus committee to finding allies in the community—and based on extensive interviews with organizers, Reclaiming the Ivory Tower is the most comprehensive and engaged account to date of the possibilities for a movement that has important lessons for labor organizing in general, as well as for the future of higher education in the United States.

Also see...

Joe Berry
Beverly Stewart
Helen Worthen

Access to Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Contingent Faculty:
A manual for applicants and a strategy to gain full rights to benefits

(April 2008)

Visit the Chicago COCAL website to download the electronic copy or order hard copies.

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