[Sust-mar] Submission for Sustainable Maritimes Mailing List

Janice McKendrick janicemckendrick at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 20 21:12:55 EST 2011

 If you are a sessional instructor, adjunct, contract part-time faculty member or an independent scholar (not affiliated with a post-secondary institution), the following information concerning a newly formed national cooperative may be of interest to you. For further information, please contact Janice McKendrick at janice at percolatecentral.com or 902-370-2426. New National Cooperative Establishes R&D Resource Centre for Business & Communities Seeking R&D Tangibles
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (February 2011) – A national innovative project is currently underway to support and facilitate research and development in both the business and community sectors. Up until this time, the research initiatives of sessional instructors who teach within universities and independent scholars working outside of post-secondary institutions had to seek collaborations and partnerships for the advancement of their research projects independently. 
Today, a group of sessional instructors from Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick filed papers with Ottawa to establish a national worker cooperative that would facilitate connecting their independent research and development projects with the interests of governments, communities, and the corporate sector. 
“The difficulty that sessionals have experienced up until now is two-fold. On the one hand, sessional instructors are not compensated well for their teaching expertise at the institutional level, and yet, if they plan to continue their academic career, these same academics are expected to produce solid research tangibles within the academy,” said Janice McKendrick, a sessional instructor at the University of Prince Edward Island.
McKendrick believes that a national cooperative that promotes the research interests of its membership will facilitate the establishment of collaborative partnerships in addition to providing direct economic benefits to its members. Building on the success of The Invisible Scholars Speaker Series established at UPEI last fall, McKendrick believes it is time to take the multitude of research projects that sessionals are undertaking independently and combine them into a collaborative national organization that promotes solid R&D projects. 
“By establishing a worker cooperative, sessionals will now be able to pool their resources together and work on projects specific to the corporate and government sectors and community interests. Sessionals collectively have a breadth and depth of knowledge in a broad range of areas and disciplines.  Through partnerships, they will now be able to bring their ideas and research outcomes to the workplace.”
She said that often industry looks at R&D but envisions the cost of hiring research experts in the field to be outside of the organization’s ability, particularly in these difficult economic times. “If we look at specific projects, like renewable energy planning for example, a business has to hire someone to perform the background research and become versed in the multiplicity of stakeholder issues before a consensus on commercializing a product within the business can be reached. The Worker Cooperative is saying, we have the expertise in-house that industry and governments are looking for and we can satisfy the sector’s R&D needs quickly in terms of product commercialization.” McKendrick states that a further advantage for business is that because of the nature of solid, evidence-based scholarly research, the viewpoints and perspectives of all stakeholders including conservationists, industry, policy makers and concerned citizens would already have been documented. This, in turn, reduces wait times for decisions on whether commercialization of a product is a viable option for the business.
“In today’s economy, we need to recognize that there are many excellent and innovative ideas not being pursued because industry has not been able to collaborate with experts in the field. The establishment of a national worker cooperative is a first step to recognizing that there is a tremendous resource of knowledge, skills and expertise among sessional instructors and independent scholars waiting to be utilized.”
“Obviously, we’re very excited. Nationally, this project provides a starting point for sessionals to achieve their full potential both in the classroom and beyond. If we add the economic benefits for sessionals who have, up until now, been performing their research on minimal wages, the dialogue in Canada will no longer be about whether governments are investing stimulus dollars in the right place but rather why didn’t they access this incredible knowledge resource earlier.”
The Percolate Central for Sessionals and Independent Scholars Worker Cooperative website can be viewed at www.percolatecentral.com. To pursue a project or R&D initiative, McKendrick can be reached at 902-370-2426.



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