October 1 Board meeting recap & president’s report

In addition to our usual summary of key Board meeting agenda items, we’re now also sharing the non-confidential parts of dan brown’s president’s report to the Board in these biweekly(ish) updates. 

President’s report to FAUW board 

dan brown, 28 sept 2020 

I hope you have all enjoyed the warmth of the past two weeks. I am distressed to see the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in Waterloo Region, and hope that patio season can be extended as long as possible; it’s going to be a long winter. 

FAUW held a town hall for our members on September 22, both to talk about how people are doing in the pandemic (it’s a mixed bag!), and to talk about possible goals for our negotiating team. Members reported a lack of consultation at many levels of the university administration. 

We received a request for participation in the university’s new Equity Data Advisory Group. We will also be advocating for transparency in this key project. 

Faculty Relations Committee approved an agreement with the administration on how to handle performance reviews for 2020 in light of the pandemic. Members can choose to be evaluated on none, some, or all of the usual service, teaching, and scholarship categories for 2020, and the agreement spells out how scores for unevaluated categories will be calculated. [The details are in an email from Faculty Relations Committee sent by the University October 9]. My thanks to Johanna Wandel and Kate Lawson for serving as FAUW’s negotiators on this item. 

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving holiday and keep safe and well.  

Other things we talked about on October 1 

  1. Board of Directors elections. Though our next Board elections aren’t until March 2021, we started talking about who will constitute our elections committee, so we can get started working on breaking down barriers to participation for marginalized members. 
  2. Anti-racism. We approved a proposal for FAUW to hire an anti-racism advisor, so that we can get substantial help on this front without taking advantage of the free labour of our overtasked Black faculty members. 
  3. On-campus COVID testing. Though we recognize that the UW COVID assessment centre isn’t necessarily helpful for students and employees with children unless family members can also get tested there, it turns out there isn’t really anything we can do about that right now. Who can access on-campus testing is spelled out in an agreement with St. Mary’s Hospital and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, rather than being up to the University. But this is probably not the last you’ll hear about this.
  4. Supporting members during COVID. We turned our attention, instead, to what our members need to get through this difficult time. We’re hearing a lot from members about the stress of trying to teach with kids at home (again), and the stress of classes sizes being up to five times larger without concomitant teaching assistants or other supports. We know this is especially (though not only) falling on lecturers teaching 3–4 courses in back-to-back terms and on women. We are open to your ideas about how we can help and encourage you to reach out to your Council rep or a Board member.
  5. Negotiations. As at every meeting so far this year, we discussed suggestions for our upcoming salary negotiations raised at the town hall. You’re welcome to ask about the ideas we’re considering but we aren’t sharing them publicly at this point.

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