Dear Members,

Please join RAFO leadership and fellow adjuncts for the Fall Membership Meeting, to be held THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8, from 3:30 - 5:30 pm in room 1315 of the Wabash Building. Light refreshments will be served.

The meeting will feature readings by adjuncts Alexander Luft (fiction) and Frank Rogaczewski (poetry), and include questions, answers, and announcements important to the membership for the Spring meeting and 2019-2020.

Alex Luft is a Ph.D candidate in creative writing at UIC and in media and cultural studies at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His creative work has been published in more than a dozen literary journals, including Midwestern Gothic, Chicago Literati, and the Marathon Literary Review. He serves on the editorial staff at Quarterly West and is currently at work on his debut novel. You can read more at alexanderluft.com. This afternoon, Alex will be reading a story titled "Nights and Weekends," originally published in Pioneertown magazine.

Frank Rogaczewski lives with his wife and comrade Beverly Stewart in beautiful Berwyn with their dear dog Seamus and their lovely literary cats, Gertrude and Virginia. Frank is now responsible for two books of prose poetry, The Fate of Humanity in Verse and the forthcoming Jeepers and Criminy! Are You Following This? A Helpful if Inexact Proletarian/ Smart Ars Poetic Manifesto.

We hope to see you Thursday!

The Executive Committee

President Ali Malekzadeh updated members of the university Senate on the progress and the numbers of the current Roosevelt University enrollment. With a total student enrollment of 4,329, the university has a higher retention from the projected number of 4,276 as the semester opened. Because of this increase, the university has higher total credit hours at 48,407 and more classes running than previously projected from the spring enrollment numbers. The projected numbers for Spring 2019 are 4,785 and 54,577 credit hours.

As far as the Schaumburg campus, predictions this year depict the second increase in the 16 year history of the campus with 715 students up from 654 from last year. Online learning (defined as both online/hybrid) increased from 13.6% in the fall 2014 to 17.2% this fall term. First year retention has increased from 57% as reported two years ago to 74% this fall.

For more information about student retention, enrollment and the state of the university, please consider attending the Roosevelt University Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, November 8, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. (location to be announced).

On Thursday, October 11, representatives from the RAFO Executive Committee sat down with President Ali, Provost Lois Becker, and Toyia Stewart of HR to discuss the direction and goals of Roosevelt University as the union enters its second year of our three-year contract. The most positive announcement comes from the Board of Trustees who have approved a 2% raise for all faculty and staff if the university meets its economic goals for this academic year, including additional cuts from the salary bottom line. While these factors will be watched carefully over the next semester and raises put on hold until the enrollment numbers are finalized from the spring term, RAFO expects members will receive the 2% raise in the spring term. Also note, the raise will be retroactive for fall 2018.

During the fall semester, adjuncts can expect professional development training for the new Core Curriculum. Provost Lois Becker and Amanda Wornhoff have secured the budget to offer trainings to the adjunct faculty in November at the union hourly compensation (listed in the RAFO contract 2018-2020). Dates and times will be announced as the trainings are finalized by the Provost’s office.

Other topics covered during our meeting included campus security measures, the sale of the Gage Building, and graduate student orientations. As crime surrounding the university appears to have increased, President Ali stated that the administration is working with other colleges and universities within our zip code to address safety for the students and the instructors. He confirmed that RU is coordinating with the campus security and the City of Chicago to increase a police presence for the safety of the faculty, staff, and student body. The sale of the Gage Building is close to completion with funds going to decrease the current debt. Provost Becker addressed student orientations for the various graduate programs to ready incoming students and prepare them for the rigor and academic setting of Roosevelt’s experiential classroom learning. Provost Becker described the initiatives for creating 4+1 certificate programs where undergraduate students take graduate level courses as to encourage their continued educational commitment to Roosevelt University.

Finally, I asked our membership to submit requests for the President and the Provost to consider during this non-negotiation year. Several adjunct faculty members responded with tangible items to improve working conditions like locked file cabinets and a full size refrigerator for AUD 256 and intangible requests like additional professional development, more notice for class assignments, and increased flexibility with adjunct scheduling. All of the requests that adjunct members made were passed along to President Ali and Provost Becker.

RAFO is committed to serving our membership, protecting workers’ rights, engaging the adjunct faculty in labor discourse, organizing professional development opportunities, and increasing job security. Your feedback is always welcome.

Here to serve.

Jen Wilson, President
RAFO

Dear RAFO Members,

We still have room for attendees to the Writing on the Edge 2018 conference taking place at the College of DuPage on Saturday, October 20.

We will reimburse the $35 conference fee for ten attendees. All you need to do is email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know that you intend to attend the conference and, after attending, submit a one paragraph summary and response about your conference experience. Because we are funding a limited number of participants, it is essential that you email us to reserve your space as soon as possible.

Feel free to contact us with questions. You can also visit the Writing on the Edge 2018 website for more information: http://www.writingontheedge.org/.

In solidarity,
The Executive Committee

By Joseph Fedorko

Southern leaves, southern trees we hung from
Barren souls, heroic songs unsung
Forgive them father they know this knot is undone
Tied with the rope that my grandmother died
Pride of the pilgrims affect lives of millions
Since slave days separating, fathers from children
Institution ain't just a building
But a method, of having black and brown bodies fill them
We ain't seen as human beings with feelings
Will the U.S. Ever be us? Lord willing!
 

A few people at the Auditorium may have been wondering if Common wouldn’t do some rhyming. Speaking at the final event of the 2018 American Dream Reconsidered conference, Common spent a lot of time talking about his background as the son of an accomplished educator, the risk he took ending his college career to try to create a hip-hop career (he promised he’d return to school if in a year he didn’t have a recording contract), and how that career helped him create other careers as an actor, winning an Oscar for the song “Glory” (from the movie Selma), and creating the Common Ground Foundation, a Chicago-based organization that brings a variety of mentorship programs to underserved Chicago kids. It was a warm story of giving back and paying his good fortune forward.

And then he busted out the rhyme you see above. The song is “Land of the Free,” and he wrote it for 13th, the Ava Duvernay-directed documentary about mass incarceration of African-American men that Netflix produced. The rap opened up the conversation and brought Common into his element of art and music and social justice, merging his love of 1970s R&B with the socially conscious rap of the late 1980s, as well as issues raised by Duvernay and Ta Nehesi Coates. Whether talking about his fear of leaping into a music career or his awe at being the first rapper who actually rapped at the White House, Common talked with a sense of humor and a true modesty about his career.

The talk ended with two other guests: new Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson, and After School Matters CEO Mary Ellen Canon. Together, the trio (moderated by Tom Phylion of RU) talked with idealistic hope about the power of education, the need to bring the best services to students who needed them most, and how artists like Common can inspire kids to keep striving and, well, achieve their dreams. The students in the Auditorium Theatre were enthusiastic about it all, which was as good a way to end the American Dream conference as any song could.