It’s been a while since we’ve provided an update from the Board of Directors. Here’s a run-down of (almost) everything we’ve been working on since January. Our committees have also been very active this year and we’ll report on more of their work soon. Feel free to ask for more details in the comments or by email.
In no particular order:
1. We announced the lecturer salary threshold increase. This was a big win for lecturers. In case you missed it, here’s the gist: When your salary passes each threshold, your merit increase is reduced by a certain amount to slow down your rate of increase once you’re in that higher salary bracket. [Learn more about how this works.] The lecturer thresholds were too low, so lecturers were hitting them earlier in their careers than intended. Last year, we negotiated for a Working Group on Salary Structure to fix that, and they did. The Lecturers Committee held a packed celebration at the Grad House on June 11.
2. We cleared up a vacation issue for lecturers (and other faculty, but mostly lecturers) with a small change to the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA). Any member engaged in classroom teaching in all three terms is now entitled to carry over one week of vacation, for one year. You just have to notify your chair. Carrying forward one week or more of vacation was already (and still is) allowed for all members “in exceptional circumstances.” A formal announcement of the precise change is coming later this month.
3. We approved a change to the MoA that addresses issues with expense deadlines. Namely, we added more clarity on deadlines and Faculty Professional Expense Reimbursement Plan in general and the submission cycle is essentially shifted earlier to provide a reasonable amount of time for processing and approvals. A formal announcement of the precise change is coming later this month.
4. We participated in two separate provincial government consultations about 1) a cap on public sector wage increases and then 2) faculty simultaneously collecting a salary and pension. We are developing another formal response document for the end of the month to an additional government consultation session in late June on the potential for the Minister to write a regulation prohibiting collecting a salary and pension. We will share in some way with members after it is submitted. Thanks to all members who have engaged with us in providing useful feedback.
5. We supported faculty who teach Undergraduate Communication Outcomes Initiative (UCOI) courses in pushing back against an announcement about class sizes that contradicted Policy 40 (on the role of chairs). FAUW wanted to see appropriate (and required) levels of consultation and now believes such consultations are occurring.
6. We met with members at the Stratford campus. FAUW President Bryan Tolson also visited Pharmacy. We’ll visit the Architecture campus again next.
7. We made donations to the FUNSCAD strike fund, Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre’s National Indigenous Peoples Day event, and the CTE Teaching and Learning Conference breakfast.
8. We are advocating for continued email security. We’ve been keeping an eye on the proposal to switch from locally-hosted to cloud-hosted email servers. Now that IST is at the consultation stage, we’re telling them that we don’t want this for our members, but if it goes ahead, we want to see a secure option available for people conducting particularly sensitive research.
9. We advocated for progress on policies. Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments is of interest to a large number of members and we are working to push things along. We’ve talked with the Secretariat about concrete ways to speed up all policy drafting committees.
Other current drafting committees include Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leave (Including Adoption), Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour, and the new Policy 57 – Accommodations for Faculty and Staff, but these have (also) yet to submit drafts for review. We have commented on a draft of Policy 42 – Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence, even though it no longer covers faculty.
10. We’re weighing in on graduate supervision. We’re participating in a Graduate Supervision Taskforce focus group this summer; broader consultations that you can participate in will follow.
11. We found out that employee pension contributions are likely to be increasing. Later this year, consultations via our Pensions and Benefits (P&B) committee will commence to share all the details. For now, if you are interested, there is a report in the June Pension & Benefits Committee agenda. At this point, based on the evidence presented by our P&B representatives, FAUW does not have concerns with the P&B proposal to increase the contribution rate of our members.
12. We appointed (or helped to appoint) new representatives to some University and joint committees. You can find a list of all the representatives appointed by FAUW on our website (we can’t guarantee it’s 100% accurate 100% of the time, but we try to keep up!). There are more coming soon.
- Wellness Collaborative: Jay Dolmage
- Pension & Benefits Committee: Ken Vetzal
- Fall Break Steering Committee: Dan Brown and Johanna Wandel
- Graduate Supervision Task Force: Shannon Dea
- Compassionate Care issues point person: Dan Brown
Our own Equity and Lecturers committees also have new members and new chairs. The Equity Committee also updated its Terms of Reference to include a representative from the Renison Association of Academic Staff’s Equity Committee.
13. We set the FAUW Executive Committee (and therefore our Faculty Relations Committee reps) for 2019-2020. It’ll be the same team as last year: Bryan Tolson as President, Shannon Dea as Vice-President, Dan Brown as Treasurer, and Johanna Wandel and Brent Matheson.
14. We’re working on clarifying some conflict of interest questions. A subgroup on the Faculty Relations Committee is nearing completion of a draft on more detailed Conflict of Interest guidelines for all types of committees (hiring, promotion, merit, and graduate supervision) meant to balance collegial governance with the need to avoid real or perceived conflicts.
15. We provided feedback on new draft Student Academic Accommodation Guidelines. Prompted by these guidelines, we have asked that administration make clear who (member, department, Faculty, central administration, and/or AccessAbility Services) is responsible for what when it comes to fulfilling student accommodations requiring significant time and/or financial support.
16. We are learning more about unrepresented faculty on campus. This includes tracking data about appointments and activities, exploring needs, and considering models available for representation. We are developing a proposal for FAUW to represent Research Professors, and presented data on sessional teaching to the April Senate meeting.
17. We looked at how our members can ease into retirement under Policy 59 – Reduced Workload to Retirement. We specifically contrasted this Policy with U of T’s phased-in retirement provisions. We are planning to soon communicate some of the benefits of Policy 59 to members.
18. We’re planning new faculty events for the summer and fall. If you have new members in your department, tell them about us, and encourage them to come out to Molly Bloom’s Irish Pub (in University Plaza) between 2:30 and 4:00 on July 24! If you are a new member, we hope to see you there!
This year’s dinner for new faculty and their families/guests will be Friday, September 20. New faculty members will receive an invitation in August. It is also worth noting that we are working with administrators as they change their approach to new faculty orientation. Please contact Laura McDonald if you have any questions about this.