April 29 FAUW Board meeting recap

Here’s what happened at our latest Board of Directors meeting:

  1. Our newly elected directors start their terms July 1 but we’ve invited them to start attending meetings now to get familiar with the issues and how things work. In a round of introductions, both new and current directors expressed a lot of interest in equity and diversity issues, lecturer working conditions, and exploring how we can improve our relationship with the University administration.
  2. We noted a few developments related to the discussion at our spring general meeting about fall term. Senate had a long and thorough discussion about fall planning last week, which is reassuring. We’re glad to see some shifting from the administration assuming the best-case scenario to more fulsome planning for a range of scenarios. The University has scheduled a town hall for May 11 and we encourage you to attend that and ask your questions! We’ve established our own working group to explore issues related to the pandemic and planning for fall term. It will start meeting next week and involves many of the people who raised concerns and offered to help with this at the general meeting, so thank you to those members for participating!
  3. CAUT has censured the administration of the University of Toronto, on the basis that the university violated academic freedom when they rescinded a job offer in 2020. Censure is a very rare action for CAUT to take (the last two times this occurred were in 2008 and 1979). Censuring the University of Toronto administration means that, until the situation is satisfactorily resolved, members are asked:
    • not to accept appointments at the University;
    • not to accept invitations to speak or participate in academic conferences held or hosted by the University; and,
    • not to accept any distinction or honour that may be offered by the University.
  4. In his president’s report, Dan Brown noted that the University announced a plan for cluster hires of 10 Indigenous faculty and 10 Black faculty at a recent town hall on antiracism projects on campus. Some of our members present at the town hall commented, rightly so, that hiring is only a first step to making the University more inclusive and equitable, and that attention also needs to be paid to retention, promotion, and leadership development. These hires will bring the University’s faculty complement up to 2% Black faculty and not quite 2% Indigenous faculty.
  1. We got an update from Kate Lawson and Su-Yin Tan about the progress on policies 76 and 77 (which cover faculty appointments, tenure, and promotion). We can’t talk publicly about the details of those negotiations, but the committee is definitely making progress. One way you can participate at this stage is by ensuring your colleagues are familiar with the issues we’re trying to fix in these policies. We noted during the meeting that it is a priority for FAUW to ensure that current lecturers’ roles are protected by a transition process. We also briefly discussed the fact that we don’t negotiate faculty teaching workload at Waterloo, which is both unusual and a challenge to improving terms of employment that relate to workload. (In fact, even trying to figure out what the standard teaching workload is in any given department has proved difficult.)
  2. We also heard an update on the Graduate Supervision Task Force, which originates from a senate meeting in 2017 and began work in 2018 with an aim to make recommendations for better graduate supervision practices. It is resuming work after a pandemic-induced hiatus. Our new representative, Kate Lawson, has received draft recommendations to review and ran some of them by the board for input.