FAUW Board Update

By: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

This is the first of what we hope will be regular summary updates of FAUW activities. It is a little long-winded as we are playing catch up after a summer hiatus from meetings. If you have any questions about any of the following, please contact any of the FAUW Board members or fauw@uwaterloo.ca.

Important dates/events

Get Science Right – Science & Democracy Under Threat: What You Can Do About It.

FAUW is collaborating with the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Evidence for Democracy, SJU-ASA and WLUFA to conduct this important pre-election event. Please join us on 1 October 7:00 pm at the Waterloo Inn, Heritage Room. Attendance is free and you all are welcome.

Hagey Lecture

The speaker will be announced shortly. Please save the evening of November 17th. The location this year is Fed Hall.

Meet Your FAUW Board

We will start up our FAUW monthly gatherings at the Grad House shortly. Please join us on Thursday 15th October, at 4:.45 pm at the Grad House. Again, you are all welcome.

Updates on recent issues that have attracted FAUW attention:

  1. Senate. The first meeting of this term was the 21st of September. A key thing to watch is one provision in the Terms of Reference for the Mid-Term Break (e.g., winter reading week). Included in the list of “shall not’s” for that week is TA-related work. How will this affect those who have tests just before the break, for example? It seems the consensus was that where students are assisting in grading and want to do this, it will simply be considered an exception. Exceptions are allowed, although this is not included in the list provided of examples in the Terms of Reference. You might want to get better informed about this issue and the roles of graduate students in particular during mid-term breaks. Senators associated with FAUW voted solidly against this provision mainly because it was far from clear what it covered. The majority of Senate supported it and it was therefore approved.
  2. Course Evaluations. The review of online student course evaluation tools continues. The elephant in the room remains issues of bias and how they are addressed in the use of these evaluations. FAUW has concerns. It has asked several colleagues with specific expertise in this field to provide both the Course Evaluation Project Taskforce and FAUW with advice on draft recommendations for the instrument, its application and the use of results.
  3. Lecturers. There are a number of issues concerning the terms and conditions of employment of lecturers arising in part from the Policy 76 review that is underway. FAUW now has a committee focusing specifically on lecturers’ concerns. Watch for a targeted survey that will be conducted in the next few weeks.
  4. Scheduling System. Scheduling remains on the FAUW agenda. Bryan Tolson has taken over from Roydon Fraser as our key person working on this.
  5. Electronic Keys and Parking Fobs. Are you worried about privacy issues arising out of key fobs (parking, locks) and other University activities? This is on both our and the University’s agenda. Until this is studied fully, those of you switching to the new parking fob system for H Lot can be assured that Parking Services has undertaken to retain no data about you or your use of the lot.
  6. ADDS Status. This is now “all done.” Faculty members should be eligible for solo PhD supervision within the first year of being hired into tenure-track positions. If you are experiencing any difficulties, please contact FAUW right away. A separate, more detailed email about this is going out shortly to all Assistant Professors.
  7. Employment and Family Assistance Program. It’s coming! Money has been assigned in the University budget for an external service provider, recognizing that Counselling Services is fully engaged with student demand, and cannot adequately meet the needs of faculty and staff. An EAP program typically covers counselling and related issues. We will be working with others in the University to see that the best plan is selected. Again, we are grateful to several faculty members who have agreed to provide expert advice.
  8. Fall Break. The associate vice-president academic is hoping to bring a proposal for instituting a Fall Break beginning in the fall of 2017 to Senate for discussion and a vote at the October meeting.
  9. Policy Reviews. Due to the excessive workload generated by the Secretariat and Office of General Counsel’s Policy Review initiative, we have agreed collectively that no more major reviews will be initiated until we have this crop done. The major reviews we are currently involved with are Policy 33 (ethical behaviour), 76 (faculty appointments), 14 (pregnancy and parental leaves), and Class A policies (appointment, promotion and removal of administrative officers).
  10. Salary Anomalies Review. This was one important outcome of the recent salary negotiations. The committee is now struck and we look forward to good progress. FAUW reps are Lynne Taylor (Arts), Cecilia Cotton (Math), and Benoit Charbonneau (Math). From the administration, Jean Andrey (Environment), Christianne Lemieux (Math), and Bill Power (Science). 

Ten seems a good number to end on. More to follow in the next update.

We know there is a lot more for us to do. For example, you may have concerns about the FAUW website. We’re working on it! We will be revitalizing and revising our Council of Representatives (one person from each department/school) shortly. Whether on the Council or not, if you are keen to volunteer your expertise in any area in which you see we are lacking, please contact us. We are always looking for more help.

Finally, if you are someone who has not yet been able to find a mentor, please contact us at fauw@uwaterloo.ca. If you are facing confusing practices, rulings, or conundrums, also contact us. FAUW is fortunate to have highly skilled staff and a large number of well-qualified volunteers. Let us know how we can be of assistance.

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