Service Opportunities for Lecturers

Brought to you by the FAUW Lecturers Committee.

Lecturer appointments at Waterloo usually include a service component of anywhere from 20% to 60%. This blog post will address some of the questions lecturers have about navigating this element of their job.

Why should I bother with service?

Service is assessed in your performance review. It is important to seek service opportunities not only because the service you do is directly related to the merit score you receive at the end of the year, but also because it is directly related to the success of the shared governance of the University. In order to be fairly represented, lecturers must be part of the decision-making process. The best way to do that is by serving not only within your department but across your Faculty and the University.

How do I find out what service opportunities are available?

If you’re not sure where to start in finding service opportunities, we recommend you speak to your chair, who may be able to identify needs at least at the department level.

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Meet the Faculty: Kim Hong Nguyen

Our “Meet the Faculty” interviews provide a window into the work lives of faculty across the University of Waterloo. Faculty members talk about the day-to-day joys and struggles, and share tips for getting the work done and staying mentally and physically healthy in academia.

We’re starting with Kim Hong Nguyen. Kim Hong is an assistant professor in Communication Arts and a faculty representative for Waterloo Women’s Wednesdays.

Kim, what do you teach and research?

My research and teaching explore the relationship between equity, power, and identity in public controversies related to communication practices. I teach students how our communicative practices and interpretative frameworks intersect with race, gender/sexuality, class, and other visible identity markers. I write about controversies that raise new questions about how to perform and talk about identity. Controversies that interest me are ones that focus on the use of one word, a trope, an expression, or a cultural practice and create questions about who can say, do, and perform them.

What are you passionate about in your work?

Though I might not be the best public speaker, I am passionate about communicating well and all that that entails. This means I want all of my students to communicate well, but also learn how to be good, forgiving listeners. I hope my teaching provides them a space to explore what that means and a space to practice. This also means that my research explores how the public communication practices of visible minorities are interpreted and tries to identify the different frameworks that allow for that public communication to be seen as effective and not effective.

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People You Should Know: Mat Thijssen, Sustainability Office

Our “People You Should Know” blog series interviews key people and offices at the University of Waterloo so you can make the most of their services. 

Mat Thijssen is the University of Waterloo’s Sustainability Manager. We interviewed him last fall to get to know the Sustainability Office better and talk about how faculty can contribute to sustainability at Waterloo.

Mat, what does the Sustainability Office do?

The Sustainability Office strives to implement Waterloo’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy, working in partnership with offices across campus to build sustainability into how the University operates, our daily actions, and our academic mission. We provide expertise and training, support engagement efforts and collaboration around sustainability, and monitor and report on our progress. As Sustainability Manager, I oversee these efforts.

How do faculty fit in?

I often work with faculty members to give class lectures relevant to a course, provide data to or be interviewed by students for course projects, and even identify large class or group projects through the Living Lab, which is under development. Faculty also often ask us about actions they can take personally and professionally to be more sustainable on a day-to-day basis. Editor’s note: you can find such actions in the Sustainability Guide (PDF) released by the Sustainability Office in 2018.

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6 Things FAUW is Working on Right Now

We’ve got a lot more going on, but here are six items we discussed at the January 15 Board of Directors meeting.

1. Explaining the salary changes for lecturers

Our first meeting of 2019 kicked off with an update from Benoit Charbonneau regarding the report of the Working Group on Salary Structure. As announced in December, the working group recommended changes to the salary thresholds for lecturers. We’re working on a public report explaining the changes and how they affect you.

2. An important reminder: Mental health training counts as professional development

In light of the PAC-SMH Report and Recommendations on mental health and wellness, we want reiterate that mental health training for faculty counts as professional development and can be reported on annual performance reviews in the same way as other professional development activities.

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What Indigenous students want faculty to know

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with three Indigenous students at the University of Waterloo to hear what they would like faculty members to know about their experiences as Indigenous students in higher education.

Kiel Harris (Gitxsan/Gitanyow) is a third-year student in Planning who grew up in northern British Columbia on two different reserves. Kiel had already completed a college diploma before coming to Waterloo and is, therefore, older than many in his cohort. Kelsey Hewitt (Anishnaabe/Lac Seul First Nation) is a third-year student in Geography and Environmental Management who grew up in Kitchener-Waterloo. Kelsey also identifies as a mature student, having not started university straight out of high school. Finally, Anika McAlpine (Cree/Moose Cree First Nation) is a first-year student in Medicinal Chemistry who grew up off-reserve in northern Ontario, in a community that has a large Indigenous population.

Our conversation was broad and far-reaching, touching on challenges related to creating a visible Indigenous space on campus, concerns about implicit bias if students declare their Indigeneity to their professors, and the transitional issues Indigenous students from remote communities might face.

In this blog post, I focus on the students’ ideas about what faculty members can do right now to support Indigenization and Indigenous students in their classrooms. I’ve organized their thoughts chronologically, beginning with the first day of class and carrying through to final assessments.

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People You Should Know: Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee

This is Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee chair

Our “People You Should Know” blog series interviews key people and offices at the University of Waterloo so you can make the most of their services. 

We’re kicking off this series with Lori Curtis. Lori is the new chair of the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee (AF&T), which helps faculty members at Waterloo with a wide range of workplace questions and problems. We sat down for an interview in her office in November.

This is Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee chair

FAUW: Lori, What is the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee?

Lori: It’s senior faculty members who can act as an academic colleague for other faculty—a peer who knows the academic situation that you’re in. They can attend meetings with you, help you work through issues, or just listen.

We get a lot of questions on tenure, promotion, and contract renewal. We also, unfortunately, talk to faculty who are having issues with other faculty members.

What do you bring to this role?

I have an eclectic background. I used to be a nurse, I’ve worked in government, and in a couple of universities. I’ve worked in both unionized and non-unionized environments so I can talk people through the difference between us and a unionized organization.

I think I bring a bit of logic to academia. Sometimes academics haven’t worked outside the university environment, and I don’t want to say they don’t quite understand the real world, but sometimes they don’t quite understand the real world. I also bring a bit of experience with mental health work.

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