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.

What if my department doesn’t have any service opportunities available? 

If there are no obvious openings, consider what you might be able to offer the department that isn’t currently being done, and propose creating a new role that you can fill. For example, there is almost always more than can be done in outreach, recruitment, and communications or social media management.

Do all departments and Faculties offer the same service opportunities to lecturers?

Not entirely. Policies and practices around lecturer eligibility for service roles vary between departments and Faculties. If you’re not sure whether you’re eligible for a particular service role—even if you know a lecturer does similar work in another unit—ask your department chair or Faculty dean. It can sometimes help just to point out where discrepancies exist.

What kind of service can lecturers do at the department level?

We know that lecturers are engaged in these types of service in their departments:  

  • organizing student support services and events (e.g. tutorial centres, Orientation, awards)
  • advising (undergrad and grad)
  • coordinating multi-section courses or special programs
  • undergrad and grad curriculum committees
  • department-level committees related to faculty appointments and working conditions (e.g. hiring, chair nominating, faculty performance review, etc.)
  • alumni outreach and communications
  • associate chair, undergraduate

What kind of service can lecturers do at the Faculty level?

We know that lecturers are engaged in, or eligible for, these types of service for their Faculties: 

  • outreach and recruitment events (e.g. contests, school visits, university fairs and open houses)
  • Faculty councils
  • examinations and standings committees

What kind of service can lecturers do at the University level?

We know lecturers are engaged in, or eligible for, these types of service to the University: 

  • the FAUW Board of Directors, Council of Representatives, and Lecturers and Equity committees
  • University Senate
  • Centre for Teaching Excellence programs and initiatives

What about service opportunities off campus or in the community?

You can often make a case that active engagement with external associations or programs that significantly enhance the reputation of a department, Faculty, or the University as a whole, counts as service. For example, if you are asked to give a keynote talk at a meeting or serve on the board of an organization related to your discipline, find out how you can present that as part of your service activities. Many departments will particularly welcome external service opportunities that contribute to program internationalization objectives. You might also be able to tie external service to the University’s strategic plan.

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