FAUW’s Priorities for 2018-19

—FAUW President Bryan Tolson with an update on what we’re working on right now and what’s coming up this year.

Welcome to a new academic year! I hope you all took some time off this summer. FAUW is gearing up for a new academic year and I want to quickly fill you in on the array of things we are working on—and to highlight two items that are timely for you to consider putting some thought into.

Performance evaluation addenda

First off, we are quickly approaching the deadline (October 15) for each department and school to update its Addendum to their Faculty Performance Evaluation Guidelines. One quick example of why this might be useful: FAUW thinks this is a reasonable place for departments to specify how teaching tasks are counted and/or what the normal teaching loads are for both tenured/ tenure-track faculty and lecturers in your department.

While you’re at it, make sure to change any reference to “course/teaching evaluations” to read “student course perception surveys” as per the decision of University Senate.

For more information, see section 13.5.1 of the Memorandum of Agreement, and the memo about updating these addenda that the provost and I sent to chairs and directors in June. I’ve included that at the end of this post for reference (jump to the memo).

Provincial campus free speech mandate

Secondly, it is worth mentioning the provincial government mandate regarding free speech on University campuses. Given that universities have a deadline of January 1, 2019, to respond, any campus discussions about Waterloo’s response will need to happen quickly. Those interested in sharing what they think with FAUW or administrators need to plan accordingly. We will have more to say on this very soon.

In the meantime, our VP Shannon Dea has assembled some interesting reading on the topic, including background, reactions from various organizations and opinions, on her personal blog, “Daily Academic Freedom.”

What we’re doing this year

We always like to hear from our members and so feel free to get in touch and let us know what you think about any of the items mentioned in this post or anything else you think we need to look into. You can comment below, email me, or come to my office hours (Mondays, 2–3 p.m. in MC 4001). Another FAUW executive will be there if I can’t. You can also stay local and get in touch with a board member you know better than you know me. We look forward to hearing from you and working on your behalf this year.

And now, the almost-but-not-quite exhaustive list of activities and issues FAUW is or will eventually be discussing this academic year. This doesn’t include the activities of the Equity and Lecturers committees—stay tuned for updates from those groups.

  1. We are exploring bringing research professors under FAUW membership.
  2. We are finalizing a service agreement with the Renison Association of Academic Staff.
  3. We’re doing a lot of policy drafting work: Policies 33 (ethical behaviour), 42 (sexual violence), 76 (faculty appointments), 14 (pregnancy/parental leaves), 43 (deans), and a new accommodations policy for faculty/staff are all being drafted or revised. Drafts will be made available for public comment.
  4. We are hearing and responding to concerns about contract/sessional instructors.
  5. Our internal Indigenization working group is planning an event about Indigenizing your syllabi/curricula.
  6. We expect a report in November from the working group tasked with addressing the lecturer pay equity issue.
  7. Your Pension & Benefits Committee representatives are working on implementing the benefits increase negotiated in the last salary settlement.
  8. We are weighing in on the fall break pilot and what it will look like moving forward.
  9. We are continuing to add pages to our online faculty guide.
  10. We are keeping an eye on the evolution of student course perception surveys and how they are used, and the development of complementary teaching assessment methods.
  11. We will be bringing forward a proposal to make our dues structure more equitable.
  12. We are working on securing access to faculty appointment letters (or key info contained within them) so that we can better advise new and prospective faculty (90% of Canadian faculty associations receive copies of appointment letters.)
  13. We are finalizing what exactly the merit histograms will look like.
  14. We’re considering developing and sharing performance review addenda best practices and sample language.
  15. We are considering proposing a phased retirement policy.
  16. We will be helping promote the University resources that are available to faculty regarding student mental health.
  17. Once Policy 76 (faculty appointments) is done, we will be adding a workshop for lecturers to our tenure & promotion workshop series.
  18. We are talking with the administration about a follow-up to last year’s academic freedom event.
  19. We will continue to deliver a range of events throughout the year, including a workshop on University governance and a talk on university pension plans.
  20. We are running elections for FAUW president (this term) and our at-large and lecturer Board positions (winter 2019).

Compulsory Addenda to Faculty Performance Evaluation Guidelines

The provost and I sent the following to chairs and directors in June:

Under section 13.5.1 of the Memorandum of Agreement between UW and FAUW, it is required that each department/school shall have an Addendum to the approved Faculty Performance Evaluation Guidelines that sets out performance expectations in the unit for scholarship, teaching and service; please note that the Faculty performance guidelines on their own are insufficient. Your department/school’s Addendum must also be made available to the public at large, e.g. on your Faculty’s website accessible on the internet, and not via a closed SharePoint site.

Your department/school is required to review your Addendum and consider whether any changes to your Addendum are needed. Any changes are required to be approved by both (i) a majority vote of members of the Department, and (ii) the Faculty Dean, no later than 15 October 2018.

For those units that do not currently have an Addendum, some potentially useful examples are provided for your convenience:


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