For the first 27 years of her career, Marie Blair felt voiceless, disengaged. She would teach as many as three Spanish courses a day at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and then go to her second job as a junior high Spanish teacher.
She rarely stopped to talk to other lecturers or professors. She rarely spoke to her superiors about her job, and she didn't get involved in efforts to improve faculty contracts.
This year, that all changed when she and other lecturers in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures formed a support organization. The group met with department chairs and deans to talk about their work as part-time educators for the university, including their paychecks.