Vote on Memorandum of Agreement Changes

This topic has been updated on the FAUW website.

Dear FAUW Colleagues,

After a year-long discussion with UW administration, the Faculty Association is holding an electronic ratification vote on proposed changes to the MoA.
The vote will be in two parts:

  1. To approve the addition of a formal modification clause (new Article 12.10) to the MoA that creates procedures for housekeeping changes that need to be made from time to time. 
  2. To approve minor changes to Article 8 and significant changes to Article 14 in order to abide by the “Tri-Agency Framework for Responsible Conduct of Research”. These changes reflect the mandatory changes in procedure that are being imposed upon all universities that receive Tri-Agency (CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC) research funding. The objective of the changes is not to have a wholescale revision of the article, but rather to preserve as much as possible of the wording from the current version while still abiding by the regulations being imposed. 

Here is a concordance indicating where the wording from the current MoA has been maintained:

MOA – Proposed amendments concordance with current version
(updated 20-Jun-13)

Proposed Current/Comment
8.1 (change is underlined) 8.1 – addition indicates that Article 14 applies to situations dealing with research
8.4 8.4
8.4(e) 14.4.5– the provision that a statement is discipline should be listed with the other disciplinary measures; “public” added for clarity
12.10 New – need process to handle amendments
14.1.1 14.1.1
14.1.6 Drawn from 8.2 to make right to have a colleague clear in Article 14
14.1.7 14.4.9
14.2.2 Most are directly from the Framework (sections 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3, 3.1.4)
(m) – current 14.2.2 (j) slightly reworded
(n) – current 14.2.2 (c) slightly reworded
14.3.1 14.3.1
14.3.2 14.3.2
14.3.3 14.3.3
14.4.3 14.4.1
14.4.6 Drawn from the practice used under Policy 77, Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members to form appeal tribunals
14.5 The reporting requirements as set out in the Framework (section 4.4)
14.6.1 14.4.7
14.6.2 14.4.10
14.6.3 14.4.4

All other provisions are to fulfil the requirements of the Tri-Agency Framework: Responsible Conduct of Research.

The vote will open on Tuesday 25 June at 9:00 a.m. and close on Friday 28 June at 12:00 noon. A reminder will be sent to members when the vote opens.

Please note that only signed-up members of the Faculty Association can vote on these changes. If you are not yet a member and are interested in having your voice heard, please fill in the membership form by Friday 21 June at noon. It is quick and easy!

The Faculty Association is cognizant of the short notice of a vote that this message entails. While it is far from ideal, we hope you can give due consideration to the proposed changes.

If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to contact the Faculty Association President.

The FAUW Forum

The Forum is our print newsletter, and its latest issue is forthcoming. It’s gone through a lot of changes since it began in 1964, when we were the UWFA and it was merely called “NL”. Here’s an excerpt from our fourth issue, edited by A. M. MacQuarrie.

Burning Issues Update & Introducing the New Board of Directors 2013-14

David Porreca, FAUW President

This week’s post will accomplish two things: bring you up to date on some of the outstanding issues that have been of concern to our members this year, and also to introduce the members of the Faculty Association board for next year.

Burning Issues Update

Covered, secure bicycle parking

As a pilot project, UW is looking into and costing out the installation of secure, covered bicycle parking in the vicinity of several buildings on campus. Any suggestions for good examples of existing secure, covered bicycle storage would be greatly appreciated.

FORE Research Accounts access

Dennis Huber informed us that a new user interface would be installed on the FORE accounting system to increase useability and user-friendliness. This process will take some time, however, so we are not to expect improvements before the end of the new academic year.

Advanced Doctoral Dissertation Supervisor (ADDS) Status

UW administration has accepted FAUW’s suggestion and agreed to set up a task force involving faculty members and graduate students, and chaired by the Associate Provost, Graduate Studies. The purpose of this task force will be to determine what the current ADDS regulations are intended to accomplish, and then to provide recommendations on how to accomplish those things without the drawbacks of the current arrangement. Faculty members hired in the last three years have been informed individually about their ADDS status and supervisory privileges. Sorting out the inconsistencies on the various faculty websites is still an unresolved task.

Short-Term / Long-Term Disability

This question of the improper collection and transfer of personal, confidential medical information has been a major concern for FAUW for almost a full year now, yet a resolution is still a work in progress. We can expect an official response to FAUW’s 8-point plan either before the end of this month or, more likely, sometime early in the Fall term.

Bright Starts: Amalgamated Daycare at UW

At long last, construction on the amalgamated daycare facility, known as Bright Starts, is well under way, and I understand that it is still on schedule for completion in November this year. I am the fourth Faculty Association president to be involved in shepherding this project through concept to implementation, so the relief at it reaching this advanced stage is spread quite widely. Many thanks are owed to all those who have been involved throughout the process. Future generations of UW faculty, staff and students will carry on being grateful for all the effort deployed.

Work-Life Balance Report

FAUW is working on an implementation matrix for the recommendations of the Work-Life Balance Report. The matrix will include suggestions for allocating responsibility for each of the recommendations, as well as an aspirational timeline for implementing them. We hope to have this matrix submitted to UW administration before the end of this year’s cycle of FAUW Board and FRC meetings (i.e., the end of June). The recommendations of FAUW’s Compassionate Care and Bereavement Leave Report will be considered simultaneously in this exercise.


2013-14 FAUW Board of Directors, effective July 1, 2013

Voting Members
David Porreca (Classical Studies) president
George Freeman
(Electrical & Computer Engineering)
past president
Greta Kroeker (History) vice-president
Frank Zorzitto (Pure Mathematics) treasurer
Metin Renksizbulut
(Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering)
chief negotiator
Jasmin Habib (Political Science) OCUFA director
Vivian Choh (Optometry & Vision Science) director
Roydon Fraser
(Mechanical & Mechatronics Engineering)
Bryan Tolson
(Civil & Environmental Engineering)
Ex Officio, Non-Voting Members
Lori Curtis (Economics) Pension & Benefits Committee liaison
Carla Fehr (Philosophy) Status of Women and Equity Committee Chair
Christine Jewell (Library) Library Liaison
Cyntha Struthers
(St. Jerome’s/Statistics & Actuarial Science)
Peter van Beek (Computer Science) Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee Chair
FAUW representatives on the Faculty Relations Committee
George Freeman, Greta Kroeker, David Porreca, Metin Renksizbulut, Bryan Tolson

What is the Merit of Merit?

David Porreca, FAUW President
This post owes its origin to a discussion we had both at the last FAUW Board meeting and a subsequent e-mail conversation among Board members. Essentially, the question boils down to asking whether all of the effort expended on the annual assessment of merit for faculty members provides a net benefit of productivity for all the relevant stakeholders: individual faculty members, our university as an institution, and academia writ large? 
In other words, what purpose does our current scheme of merit evaluations serve?

Just a few years ago, FAUW and the university’s administration undertook a review of the faculty evaluation process, and decided to maintain the broad structure of our current scheme of performance evaluations while encouraging department chairs to use “the full dynamic range” of designations from 0 to 2, in 0.25 increments.  Data regarding the distribution of merit scores is provided in the appendices to the Work-Life Balance Report that was released earlier this year.  Salary increments based on merit are drawn from a different pool of money than the scale increase that FAUW negotiates on its members’ behalf. 
As we all know, this process of annual merit evaluations involves a substantial amount of effort from faculty members filling in forms and templates every January.  As anyone who has been department chair or who has contributed to a departmental evaluation committee knows all too well, those templates and CVs are only the beginning.  An unquantified number of very expensive hours gets invested annually in the evaluating, assessing, comparing and ranking of these materials once submitted, and the resulting evaluation rankings get yet another round of assessment and vetting at the various Deans’ offices across campus. 
As one might expect under circumstances where professionals are judged against each other, considerations of fairness on the one hand, and of inevitable professional jealousy on the other, create fertile ground for the questioning of the resulting evaluations.  A member must determine whether s/he has the wherewithal to challenge the chair’s decision, perhaps as far as an appeal to the Dean, and such an appeal would involve an investment of working hours for all concerned, faculty, academic administrators and staff. 
In addition to these resource-consuming mechanisms mandated by policy and the Memorandum of Agreement, there is also the human angle of productivity loss due to the mental anguish that fretting over this forest of procedures causes.
Considering all of the above, does the net difference between an evaluation score of 1.5 vs. 1.75 on a professor’s salary justify the investment of human capital into all the mechanisms described above?  In a nutshell, it would seem that never has so much time been invested for the sake of so small a net difference. 


If one compounds that difference over a professor’s whole career, the differences do add up.  Annual performance evaluations are essential for a university with high aspirations.
They serve the role of both carrot and stick.
In principle, they reward those faculty members who, by virtue of having more talent or working harder, accomplish more as teachers, researchers and administrative colleagues. These people expect and deserve better raises in recognition of their accomplishments.
At the same time, evaluations serve as a reminder to the lazier side of our nature that we
should be making strong contributions as researchers, teachers and administrative colleagues.  Despite what we like to believe about ourselves, we are not solely driven from within to be good professors. We need help from knowing that some sort of annual accounting has to be provided.
No system of performance evaluation can be perfect.  Given our human nature, a perfect system for doing such business is not possible.  All that an institution can do is try its best, and continue to seek improvements towards fair outcomes.  But “fair” is a tough target to hit in this endeavor, and there is no getting around it.