Update on UCOI class sizes memo

FAUW wishes to update the membership about a matter that is currently in progress. On February 20, the Provost issued a memo to various administrators about increasing class sizes from 25 to 40 for Undergraduate Communications Outcomes Initiative (UCOI) courses taught by English or Communication Arts as stand-alone courses, effective as soon as possible. That’s a 60% increase.  

For those unfamiliar with UCOI, these are the courses that were recently created to replace the English Language Proficiency Exam (ELPE).

FAUW has heard from its members in affected units (both those offering the courses and those in other Faculties whose students take them) that they are deeply concerned about the following, among other, issues:

  • the lack of consultation with academic units and instructors prior to issuing the memo;
  • the increase in workload that instructors will experience as a consequence of the increased class sizes;
  • the risk that some definite-term positions created for the purpose of offering these courses will not be renewed;
  • pedagogically, the impossibility of delivering the courses’ intended learning outcomes with larger class sizes.

FAUW is concerned about unilateral changes to faculty terms and conditions of employment. We are also concerned that the process in this case seems to violate some aspects of Policy 40 (“The Chair”) and Policy 45 (“The Dean of a Faculty”).

FAUW has had several frank discussions with the Provost and other senior administrators about this matter. We are satisfied that the Provost is sensitive to the above concerns, and we understand that he is currently engaging in various conversations with colleagues affected by the memo, with the aim of resolving the situation. However, we don’t yet know what form this resolution will take. We will continue to lobby for a fair outcome, and will update members as we are able.

As of this this morning, FAUW became aware the Provost sent an update to the original recipients of the February 20 memo, indicating that consultations are underway and clarifying that no final decisions have been made related to UCOI.

In the meantime, please contact our Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (AF&T) if you have concerns.

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