Report from the November 26 Board meeting

Here’s what we discussed:

  1. Salary negotiations. We held a confidential session on our priorities, which include some of the typical items around salary and benefits, a couple of key equity-oriented items, and a few things that we believe will make life easier for our members and your families, particularly during difficult times. The negotiating team is optimistic and assures us they will be “tough and fair” as they head into bargaining next week. We will report back when we have news we can share, probably in the new year. Good luck, team!
  2. Redistribution of unspent professional expense (FPER) funds. Members will receive two-thirds of this money on December 4 and can use it as part of this year’s FPER; the remaining third will be added to the 2021-2022 FPER amount. There is also a new chart from Finance that explains which work-from-home expenses are eligible for FPER, a tax deduction, or both. 
  3. Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leaves). The Policy 14 consultation website is now live. Please share your feedback, both positive and negative. We’re very excited about the changes in this policy and need your help to make sure it’s approved. 
  4. Our 2020-21 budget. We passed a ‘business as usual’ budget at our April general meeting and business has not proceeded as usual. Some of our committees have submitted proposals to repurpose some of their funds in light of not having in-person events. We also have a couple of new, unexpected expenses, and a lot of event money that isn’t going to be used this year. We’ll have a more detailed update for voting members at our general meeting on December 8. 
  5. framework for teaching statements for 2020 performance reviews. Ian VanderBurgh created a document to help members contextualize and describe what their teaching has looked like over the last year. Teaching statements aren’t required; good ones take substantial time to write, and you can opt out of being evaluated on your teaching for 2020 altogether, but we think this is a useful guide for those who do choose to submit a statement. 
  6. Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments). We discussed candidate key changes that we want to see in this policy with regard to teaching faculty. This is essentially a list of bargaining priorities, so we won’t be sharing it publicly. We also discussed a tentative plan for moving forward with the policy 76 revision process, and we hope to have an announcement about this at the general meeting.  
  7. Winter and spring term dates. We haven’t heard anything about spring term starting late or having a reading week, but for the record, we aren’t in support of any such changes to spring term dates. Among other things, pushing back the end of spring term would limit the time available for faculty teaching in both spring and fall (let along all three terms) to take any time off next year. We have heard that the deadline for submitting your winter term grades is not changing. More on the changes to winter term in Dan’s president’s report below.
Continue reading “Report from the November 26 Board meeting”

FAUW supports Indigenous land protectors

In 2017, prompted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, University of Waterloo President Hamdullahpur announced the creation of an Indigenization strategy for the University. In the few years before, land acknowledgements had started to become a common practice across the University at public gatherings, on websites, and in email signatures.

On November 2, 2020, the University participated in Treaty Recognition Week for the first time by hosting a series of virtual events that covered, among other things, historical perspectives on treaty rights in Canada, and treaty rights from the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples including the Six Nations and the Mississauga of the Credit. 

These initiatives—the still-to-be-developed Indigenization strategy, land acknowledgements, and virtual education events—are not enough if the University does not follow through with concrete action.

The need for action and support for Indigenous Peoples is increasingly clear. Right now, land protectors on the territory of the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River and across Canada, are under attack not only in the courts but also by local governments, settler residents, and the RCMP as they assert their treaty rights. The FAUW Indigenization Working Group recently marked the 236th anniversary of the Haldimand Proclamation with a blog post sharing the history of the Haldimand Tract as well as information about ongoing struggles for treaty recognition now taking place in Caledonia, ON, in Waterloo Park in Waterloo, ON, and in Mi’kMaq territory in Nova Scotia. The FAUW Board recently voted to support the land defenders asserting their treaty rights at 1492 Land Back Lane in Caledonia. The Librarians and Archivists Association of the University of Waterloo has also written a letter in support, and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, of which FAUW is a member, has made a donation to the legal fund.

FAUW’s Equity Committee and Indigenization Working Group invite all University of Waterloo faculty to join in a fundraise-and-tweet effort to support the protectors of the Six Nations lands upon which the University is situated. We urge faculty to make contributions to both the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp now occupying Waterloo Park and to the 1492 Land Back Lane – Legal Fund. You may also choose to contribute to a supplies drive for 1492 Land Back Lane. We further urge faculty to ask the University to donate as well—if you’re comfortable doing so, you could even tweet the amount of your donation and a call for the University to match it. 

The FAUW Board has pledged the first $1,492.

Continue reading “FAUW supports Indigenous land protectors”

November 12 update from the FAUW Board

Here are the non-confidential highlights of the November 12 Board of Directors meeting, and the president’s report.

Items of interest from the meeting

  1. Anti-racism advisor. We’ve hired Kathy Hogarth as an anti-racism advisor to the FAUW Board. Kathy will be attending FAUW Board meetings for the remainder of this year as part of this role. There’s more about Kathy in Dan’s president’s report below.
  2. The status of Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments. As we discussed at the Spring General Meeting, the P76 drafting process has shown us that the way we’ve always drafted and negotiated policy at Waterloo is no longer working. Here’s the latest: The drafting committee submitted a document to the Faculty Relations Committee co-chairs (the FAUW president and the provost) in late summer, which the Secretariat was unable to adapt into a usable policy without more work and guidance from FRC. Policy 76 was initially opened for revision largely to address lecturer titles and spousal appointments. FAUW’s Board and Lecturers Committee are currently working on identifying FAUW’s priorities for P76, specifically on the topic of teaching stream faculty. What happens next, we’re unfortunately still not sure, but we will keep you posted. We know this is frustrating and we appreciate your extreme patience with this.
  3. 1492 Land Back Lane. The OCUFA Board of Directors unanimously voted to support Haudenosaunee land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane by donating $5,000 to their legal defense fund. The Librarians and Archivists Association at UW has sent a letter in support of the organizers to federal and provincial ministers (and local representatives). The FAUW Board voted to issue a similar statement of support along with our Equity Committee and to donate $1,492 to the legal defense fund. We also discussed other potential avenues of support for the Six Nations of the Grand River and other Indigenous communities that we might pursue in the future (or to pressure the university to implement), such as scholarships or paying taxes to the Indigenous nations whose land we work on. For example, FAUW reps are hoping the University will financially support local Indigenous students (e.g. from Six Nations of the Grand River).
  4. Copyright. There will soon be a new notice appearing once a term on LEARN to remind you about some of the legalities related to uploading content. If you have questions about copyright related to your course material or your own work, email copyright@uwaterloo.ca — that email goes to a team of copyright specialists across campus.
  5. Declaring a climate emergency. The Climate Justice Working Group has prepared a draft climate emergency declaration for FAUW. This will go to the Fall General Meeting for discussion. If you’re a voting member, you’ll receive the draft in your agenda package by December 1.

Keep reading for Dan’s president’s report, including a Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) update and more about Kathy Hogarth.

Continue reading “November 12 update from the FAUW Board”

Update from the October 29 Board meeting

After every Board of Directors meeting, we share the non-confidential highlights of the meeting, and now the president’s report, too.

President’s report 

dan brown, 27 October, 2020 

I love autumn, and on a recent workday afternoon, I took the advice of a friend and skipped out on some writing and went for a hike in a regional forest. I hope you’re all also taking the time to enjoy the outdoors and not just be cooped up in your home.

We say this all the time, but this time may actually be different: I think that Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) will go out for consultation in the next couple of weeks. Many thanks to my predecessor Bryan Tolson, who is a member of the drafting committee. We are learning a ton from this process, about how we have to establish clear mandates for our representatives on policy drafting committees, put in place a reporting process so that they can check in with us about what they’re doing, and give committees clear timelines.

One project moving forward with FAUW support and representation is the Equity Data Advisory Group, which will advise some UW offices on how to keep good statistics about employees and students who are members of a variety of equity-seeking groups (racial minorities, people with disabilities, LGBTQ folk, Indigenous people and others), and what concerns they’ll need to be mindful of so that the resultant data are useful for projects that will hold the university to account. FAUW’s representative on this group is Nancy Worth, from Geography.

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A more equitable approach to lecturer career progression

A post from the FAUW Lecturers Committee.

A slow path to policy development

Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments refers to continuing lecturers as “unusual.” This might have been justified in 2011, when the policy was last updated, but we now have two-and-a-half times the number of lecturers we did then. Lecturers are a critical component of the Waterloo faculty, and we need an updated policy to ensure lecturer career progression and allow lecturers to reach their full potential as valued members of the UW community.

In order to better understand the strengths of the current system of career progression for lecturers, as well as the problems that lecturers face when working to achieve their professional potential, we looked at some current statistics about this group of faculty and interviewed three lecturers who succeeded in moving from definite-term to continuing status in three faculties: Arts, Environment, and Mathematics. Their experience highlights the need to develop clear formal procedures for lecturer career progression.

Inconsistent procedures

As a result of insufficient guidance from university policy, until recently, none of the faculties have had official documents outlining the steps for lectures to take, materials to prepare, and timelines to follow in the process of transitioning from a definite-term lecturer (DTL) position to that of a continuing lecturer (CL). Consequently, different CL candidates experience the transition to this position in different ways.

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Marking the 236th anniversary of the Haldimand Treaty

October 25 marks the 236th anniversary of the Haldimand Proclamation (1784). This treaty promised land to the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River in recognition of their service to the British Crown and the loss of their land in the American Revolutionary War. By 1798, non-Six Nations settlers moved onto the Haldimand Tract, violating the treaty after only fourteen years.

The University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge campuses) are located on the Haldimand Tract, which extends ten kilometers on either side of the Grand River. In addition to the Haudenosaunee, the land on which the University of Waterloo is situated is on the traditional territories of the Anishnaabeg and the Neutral peoples. Diseases brought by settlers swept through the Neutral people, and survivors have hence been adopted into the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. These are pieces of information you likely know, at least insofar as you have heard about them in the University’s land acknowledgement.

To mark the anniversary of the Haldimand Treaty, Members of the Faculty Association’s Indigenization Working Group want to share some of the resources they have found helpful.

Continue reading “Marking the 236th anniversary of the Haldimand Treaty”

October 1 Board meeting recap & president’s report

In addition to our usual summary of key Board meeting agenda items, we’re now also sharing the non-confidential parts of dan brown’s president’s report to the Board in these biweekly(ish) updates. 

President’s report to FAUW board 

dan brown, 28 sept 2020 

I hope you have all enjoyed the warmth of the past two weeks. I am distressed to see the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region, and hope that patio season can be extended as long as possible; it’s going to be a long winter. 

FAUW held a town hall for our members on September 22, both to talk about how people are doing in the pandemic (it’s a mixed bag!), and to talk about possible goals for our negotiating team. Members reported a lack of consultation at many levels of the university administration. 

We received a request for participation in the university’s new Equity Data Advisory Group. We will also be advocating for transparency in this key project. 

Faculty Relations Committee approved an agreement with the administration on how to handle performance reviews for 2020 in light of the pandemic. Members can choose to be evaluated on none, some, or all of the usual service, teaching, and scholarship categories for 2020, and the agreement spells out how scores for unevaluated categories will be calculated. [The details are in an email from Faculty Relations Committee sent by the University October 9]. My thanks to Johanna Wandel and Kate Lawson for serving as FAUW’s negotiators on this item. 

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and keep safe and well.  

Other things we talked about on October 1 

Continue reading “October 1 Board meeting recap & president’s report”

Updates from the August 6 & September 17 FAUW Board of Directors meetings

The FAUW Board of Directors meets every two weeks (except during July and August). After most meetings, we share a summary of the non-confidential parts of the meetings, to make sure our members know what we’re working on. If you subscribe to our blog, you’ll get these updates by email.

Here are some of the things we talked about at our last two meetings:

  1. Negotiations. We spent the first part of both meetings with our new negotiating team, discussing possible goals and preparing for the town hall meeting on Tuesday, September 22.
  2. Policy 14 – Pregnancy & Parental Leaves (Including Adoption). The Board had a first look at the new Policy 14 draft. Members will have an opportunity to review the proposed new policy soon!
  3. 2020 Performance Reviews. As announced by FAUW and the Provost recently, FAUW is finalizing an agreement to allow members to skip having their performance evaluated in categories they choose in 2020. We are working out details with the administration now.
  4. Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour. The new draft of this policy is currently being revised based on feedback from stakeholders, including FAUW.
  5. Winter term. It turns out this has kind of been announced, at least in some faculties, so in case you haven’t heard: winter term will look pretty much like fall term.
  6. Masks on campus. We had some concerns about the initial announcement (on July 21) about where and when masks are required on campus, and those concerns were addressed. (The University issued a follow-up statement on July 31 that masks would be required in classrooms and teaching labs in addition to the other common areas previously announced.)

Indigenization in STEM Community of Practice Kicks Off with “absolutely great” session

On July 16, over 150 people attended an inaugural webinar organized by the Indigenization in STEM Community of Practice (CoP). It featured Veselin Jungic sharing his experiences collaborating with First Nations communities across British Columbia and Alberta to create an innovative, community-based program to engage First Nations children and youth in studying mathematics.

Who is Veselin Jungic?

Dr. Jungic, a mathematics professor from Simon Fraser University, is a 3M National Teaching Fellow and a recipient of several teaching awards including the Canadian Mathematical Society Teaching Award and the Pacific Institute for Mathematical Sciences Educational Award.

What is Math Catchers?

Beginning in 2011, Math Catchers is a program to interest Indigenous elementary and high school students in studying mathematics. Adopting Indigenous ways of knowing, Math Catchers uses storytelling, puzzles, pictures and a variety of hands-on activities to make math relevant and fun. Characters like Small Number and Big Circle are featured in a series of stories showcasing how math is everywhere, a vital part of everyday life.

What was the response to Dr. Jungic’s presentation?

This quote, taken directly from the session chat captures the feeling in the room. “Your presentation was very moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Your heart and passion for this is clear.” Dr. Jungic’s passion for mathematics, his students and his role as an educator was inspiring and motivates us all to consider what more we can do to become Indigenous allies.

Key take-aways

Be patient! Veselin reminded us that when he started, he was “just another white man asking for something.” He advised us to take the time to build trusting relationships and understand the needs of the Indigenous communities we hope to work with.

Veselin also talked about how his work with First Nations peoples has made him a better teacher, more attuned to students and how their stories frame their learning.

What is the Indigenization in STEM Community of Practice?

Established just this year, the STEM Indigenization CoP aims to create a vehicle for sharing ideas of how to Indigenize courses, decolonize teaching practices, promote two-eyed seeing and engage meaningfully and respectfully with Indigenous communities.

What’s next?

The group will be hosting more sessions and hope to share helpful resources. If you have an idea for a speaker whose experience would benefit the group, just let any of the organizers know. They are:

Anti-Black racism: An apology and a commitment

I have been President of FAUW for almost three years now. In this time, I have not done enough advocacy and work on behalf of Black faculty colleagues to eliminate the systemic racism they face at our University and even within FAUW. For this I am truly sorry. The FAUW Board also apologizes for not doing more on this front.

FAUW is committed to joining the fight against systemic anti-Black racism on our campuses. In addition to this apology, we commit ourselves to:

  1. Listening to Black faculty colleagues.
  2. Learning about the systemic racism Black faculty colleagues face to help inform our next steps.
  3. Better enabling and encouraging Black faculty members to participate in FAUW decision making and reducing barriers to full consultation.
  4. Identifying possible ways to address anti-Black racism, including changing problematic policies and practices that reinforce the racism Black faculty colleagues face.
  5. Continuing to consult with Black faculty colleagues on any actions we identify before implementing them.
  6. Taking meaningful actions that go beyond talking or blogging like this, so that changes in policy and practice actually happen—both within FAUW and at the University.
  7. Advocating for change for Black faculty colleagues.

Although we have not done nearly enough yet, we started this work in earnest after the last Senate meeting. As part of this effort, we have met with the Black Faculty Collective (BFC) three times since then. The BFC informally represent the small number of Black faculty on the Waterloo, Renison, St. Paul’s, St. Jerome’s and Conrad Grebel campuses (they count 8 faculty). Discussions at these meetings informed the steps outlined above.

Our discussions so far have also made clear to me the fundamental importance of white people like me stepping forward to do most of this work, because underrepresented Black faculty can’t possibly do it on their own—nor should they have to. Let’s not forget, Black faculty are here to do teaching and research. So FAUW’s learning, work, actions, and advocacy need to move forward based primarily on significant investments of our own time and energy. But neither should FAUW fail to listen and fully consult.

The process will take much longer than my few weeks left as FAUW President, and longer than the one year I will serve as Past President starting in September. Despite this, I pledge to be in this fight against anti-Black racism for the long haul and I will do my best to equip FAUW to continue this work after I step away from the organization.  

Bryan Tolson,
FAUW President