Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor

A grassroots coalition of activists in North America working for contingent faculty: adjunct, part-time, non-tenured, and graduate teaching faculty. We seek to bring greater awareness to the precarious situation for contingent faculty in higher education, organize for action, and build solidarity among our colleagues.


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COCAL Updates are regular e-mail bulletins that cover the latest news, editorials, and events concerning contingent academic labor.

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COCAL X Conference reports and photo galleries

The tenth annual COCAL Conference was held in Mexico City, on the campus of the National Autonomous University of Mexico from August 9 through August 12, 2012.
Click here to view the COCAL X Conference coverage.



COCAL XII in Canada
August 2016 (dates to be determined)
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta

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COCAL X Conference
(Photo by David Milroy)


Welcome to COCAL International

COCAL is a coalition of higher education activists from the North American continent. We are united in working to improve working conditions at colleges and universities for contingent faculty, including adjunct, part-time, and non-tenure track instructors, and graduate teaching assistants.

COCAL holds biennial conferences with presentations on organizing faculty, gaining equitable working conditions, legislative solutions, and the effects of globalization on higher education.

COCAL XI August 2014

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COCAL X Conference
(Photo by David Milroy)

The eleventh COCAL Conference was held Monday, August 4 through Wednesday, August 6 at John Jay College in New York City. ​Plenaries, ​forums ​and ​workshops dealt ​with ​problems ​faced ​by ​contingent ​faculty ​in ​higher ​education ​in ​the ​U.S., ​Canada ​and ​Mexico, ​as ​well ​well ​as ​around ​the ​globe. ​


More information on the Events page

COCAL draws contingent educators from all geographic regions of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., and also from all levels of higher education, from non-credit adult ed to community colleges to liberal arts colleges, to 4 year universities, with and without grad schools, from public to private non-profit and for-profit institutions, from all disciplines taught in higher ed, from all unions that represent us on campuses and from the those who have not unionized as yet. We gather because of what we have in common.

COCAL conferences are great fun! Ironically, coming together to talk about a massive problem that oppresses us all very directly results in an atmosphere full of hope, solidarity, personal affection, and tremendous learning. People who come always go home more committed to the struggle and better equipped to engage in it and organize others.

Activists in contingent academic labor from countries in North America joined together at the eleventh COCAL Conference in New York City to discuss, plan, and strategize on topics facing contingent educators and higher education:

• Struggles for equity
• New collaborations
• What models and strategies can we adapt to our situations?
• How have workers gained power?
• How can we network to our mutual advantage?
• Is there a way to consolidate our power, both locally and tri-nationally? Locally?


COCAL X Conference
(Photo by David Milroy)


COCAL X Conference
(Photo by Vinny Tirelli)