Notes from our June Board meetings

In absolutely no particular order, here are some of the things we’ve been working on or talking about this month. As always, feel free to comment below or otherwise get in touch with a Board member to share your input.

  1. The library begins pickup service starting June 26!
  2. Major win: The Registrar’s Office (RO) will schedule synchronous course activities on request this fall (as usual). We also got confirmation that for the RO to not provide this service would require a decision at Senate. Thank you to everyone who helped advocate for this at Senate and through other channels. We’ve since released a statement to all members about the decision by three Faculties (Arts, Math, and Engineering) to not use RO scheduling services for fall term.
  3. There are new remote teaching guidelines regarding privacy and intellectual property—give them a read if you haven’t yet. We were not consulted about these guidelines and don’t have official opinions on them yet.
  4. HR has been prorating merit increases for faculty on paid sick leave. We believe this contravenes the Memorandum of Agreement (while there are provisions in the MoA for prorating merit, they are for unpaid leaves) and we are discussing this at Faculty Relations Committee.
  5. The end is in sight: The Policy 76 drafting committee has sent a draft to FRC. FRC is advising on next steps for consultation.
  6. We are sorting out what we will do in place of our usual new faculty social events in July and August. The University’s new faculty orientation (in which we play a supporting role) will be fully online.
  7. The Equity Office postponed its Pride celebrations in light of the Black Lives Matter protests and the vast increase in disclosures of racism from members of the UW community. The Gender and Sexual Diversity Working Group, on which FAUW is represented, has issued a statement in support of this decision.

[Stretch break; we’re halfway through!]

  1. We’ve connected with Christopher Taylor, FAUW member and the University’s newly-appointed advisor on anti-Black racism; our Equity Committee is working on next steps for FAUW on this front.
  2. The Equity Committee is also working on recommendations regarding gender, productivity, and performance during COVID-19.
  3. Mario Ioannidis will replace Shannon Dea on the FAUW Board August 1. Shannon is leaving Waterloo to become Dean of Arts at the University of Regina. We’re sad to see her go but pleased to have Mario join the Board. Mario is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering with extensive governance experience, including as a UW Senator, a member of UARC, and Academic Colleague to the Council of Ontario Universities. [Reminder: The other new Board members start next week.]
  4. There are some changes on the FAUW Executive Committee, which doubles as the FAUW side of Faculty Relations Committee (FRC). On July 1, Bryan Tolson will become acting president while incoming president Dan Brown finishes up his sabbatical (until September 1, when Bryan will become past president). Johanna Wandel will be your new vice president, Brent Matheson moves into the role of treasurer, and Kate Lawson will join the executive team. Lori Curtis will continue as the fifth executive and FRC member until Dan returns.
  5. The administration wants to handle spring 2020 student course perception (SCP) surveys and 2020 performance reviews as “normal,” despite the concerns we’ve repeatedly raised. At this point, it’s clear we can’t avoid the usual student course perception surveys this term, so we are asking for analysis later, comparing this term’s SCP scores with those of the same courses last spring term. 
  6. We’re asking the administration to clarify the terminology around the kind of remote teaching most of us are doing now, versus CEL-supported online courses (for use in performance reviews, for example, to distinguish between different types of teaching and expectations).
  7. We struck a small working group to explore options for what to do with unspent FPER funds from the last three years. According to our current salary settlement, the funds are to be used to support faculty service, scholarship, research, and teaching.

Elsewhere in Ontario…

In case you’re curious how things are going in the rest of the province, here are a few highlights from recent OCUFA meetings:

  1. The Bill 124 challenge is delayed, possibly by up to a year, because courts are on hold.
  2. Concerned that a mental health crisis will likely follow the current physical health crisis, OCUFA is setting up a faculty mental health working group and will be seeking representatives this summer. 
  3. Top-down decisions that circumvent collegial governance bodies (such as university senates) are happening across the province.
  4. Equity issues are coming to the fore in workload and remote teaching discussions: e.g., Indigenous faculty are unable to teach their land-based courses, women are doing most of the family care at home, and many faculty with disabilities are not being given proper accommodation. Contract faculty (sessionals in UW speak) are also particularly struggling.

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