Posts from Kim McDonald -- University of New Orleans

With her permission, I have compiled Kim McDonald's posts to WPA-L. Posts are in reverse chronological order.
Shirley

Fri 9/16/2005 11:56 PM
University of New Orleans campus

Again, this is all from rumors:

From what we can find out (and we hear we may be able to get on campus, at least to get a few things out of our offices sometime next week, so we'll know more), only about 1/3 of the UNO campus flooded (I believe it's the portion nearest Leon C. Simon--Bienville Hall, maybe Engineering, Ben Franklin High School, and the old gym, maybe a few others). At one point it was reported that all buildings had been broken into--we originally thought it was looting, but have since heard that a large number of rescued people had been taken there with promises of being picked up soon, only to be left for a long time. After a length of time with no food or water, they broke into the buildings and then broke into vending machines and offices looking for necessities. I hear several people rescued seemed to be wearing new clothes with UNO logos. They had also taken furniture outside of some of the buildings because it was too hot to sit inside the buildings. So the break-ins were justifiable, and we hear for the most part, there wasn't gratuitous damage. Sounds like we were pretty lucky overall, and I for one hope those people enjoy their UNO togs. One more way to help the community.

Thanks for the additional off-list info about possible positions for displaced faculty--I've been forwarding these to a friend from Loyola as well.

Kim McDonald

Thu 9/15/2005 6:42 PM
Re: UNO and Hurricane Katrina and adjuncts
Here's what I can tell you about UNO:

All full-time regular faculty are being paid their regular salaries. Courses will be taught online and on remote campus locations beginning Oct. 10--course listing will be posted Monday at www.uno.edu and registration begins the next week. Faculty are being asked to teach and/or to serve the university or community in other ways during this semester. We hope to resume classes on campus in January and conduct a regular spring semester.

I do not know the situation for part-time/adjunct faculty in other disciplines, but I am sorry to confirm we were unable to continue to employ them in English. The UNO English department has worked hard to limit the use of part-time/adjunct faculty, and to treat those whom we do employ as fairly as we are able. I believe we had the highest pay per course for part time faculty in state institutions (we were competitive with Tulane for part-time salaries) and we had the lowest number of courses taught by part-time faculty until last year, when in anticipation of upcoming mandated admission standard increases and the indication that we might lose an alarmingly large number of incoming freshman, we had to rely more heavily on part-time positions. It is unfortunate that the rise in our employment of part-time facutly (so that we would not be promsing full-time positions we would lose if enrollment fell) came at the same time as Katrina.

From what I have been told, UNO is paying part-time faculty through Sept. 30--while I realize this isn't much, I have to say that I am extremely proud of the UNO administration for the work they have done to serve the UNO community--faculty, staff, and students--in a situation no one has been prepared to address.

If any of the above is incorrect, it is solely my error--I'm working from memory and sketchy information. I have been getting some information (mostly from WPA listserv--thanks to all who have sent this to me) of opportunities that might be available to our displaced adjuncts, and I have been trying to get this information disseminated (not an easy thing at this point). Please give my email (kmcdonal@uno.edu) to anyone you know who hasn't gotten such information from me and whom I might be able to help.

Thanks again for the support and concern so many of you have expressed during this time--I haven't had time to respond to everyone individually, but you can't believe how important it is to hear from you.

Kim McDonald

Sat 9/10/2005 9:27 AM
UNO and Hurricane Katrina
As reported in Jim McDonald's post, I am in Laredo, TX. I'm staying with my friend and fellow WPA, Ellen Barker, whom many of you met in Anchorage this summer.

I am very sorry to have to confirm that all of our adjunct faculty are without jobs. However, if any of you are in contact with adjuncts who were hired for our fall semester, be sure to have them log in at the website at www.uno.edu. It is my understanding they are on the payroll until September 30. If they had not set up direct deposit for their paychecks, information on how to get paychecks delivered is going to be given through that website.

Please give them my new email address and phone as well
(kim.mcdonald@hotmail.com, 208.280.2407), and tell them to get in touch with me if they have any questions or if I can help in any way, or especially if they don't get paid. I'm worried there may be a few for whom paperwork hadn't gone through--this may cause some delay, but I will try my best to see what can be done.

Also, some of my friends in various places through the country and some of Ellen's colleagues here have offered housing for displaced faculty or students, so please have anyone you know in need of housing contact me.

Ellen says TAMIU (Texas A & M International University) will have some adjunct positions in the spring, and the community college here hires full time instructors as well--faculty can work at both institutions (TAMIU does not currently offer full time instructor positions, but she is working on this). My department is trying to get this information out to our faculty whom we won't be able to employ; if you know of other opportunities, let me know. I will try to make those opportunities known to our adjuncts as well.

We are getting prepared to begin offering on-line courses for this fall; most will try to begin by Oct. 1st, a couple may actually even be available sooner. All will be complete by December 30--most will aim for before Christmas. It's hard to get the word out, so I appreciate anything you can do to help spread the information. The UNO webpage at www.uno.edu (which is pretty sparse at this point) is the best place for information. We're still trying to locate and confirm the safety of many of our faculty, although the majority have checked in and we seem to be very lucky so far. We are, however, very worried about our secretary, Rolanda Lacy, whom we haven't heard from and haven't been able to get word of. My English department colleagues who stayed (I was almost one of them) have horrific tales to tell of their arduous escape from a city under water and under siege, but so far all that we know of who stayed are now out.

I am now at work developing guidelines and general syllabi for online versions of all our freshman comp courses and the graduate seminar on composition theory and pedagogy. While I do not believe that online freshman comp courses are a good idea (and I would never choose to teach the teaching comp grad seminar online), we are in a unique situation at this point. I would appreciate any information you can share with me that might be helpful or reassuring about sound pedagogical guidelines for online courses. I will be asking some specific questions in the next few days, and I hope you'll have some great ideas to share with me.

I can't express how sad it is to see the wonderful, unique city of New Orleans under water, but I have great faith in the irrepressible spirit of New Orleanians. It may not be the same city when we're finished, but I have every hope it will still be different than anywhere else in the US. The most positive aspect of this experience has been the outpouring of support and the generosity I have experienced everywhere I have been (and I, like many others, had a rather round-about evacuation), and the genuine appreciation for New Orleans that so many people express.

Please feel free to contact me off list, either about professional matters or personal. If you're looking for or trying to contact someone from New Orleans and I can be of help, email or call.

It's good to be back in touch--

Kim