Dr. X is a Lecturer at the University of Waterloo who teaches three terms a year. They are finding it difficult to take their four weeks of annual vacation entitlement, to be scheduled in blocks at least one week long.
- Can you help Dr. X find four one-week blocks of vacation time in the 2021-22 academic year? Share your results in the comments below.
Considerations and constraints
- Dr. X has an exam scheduled on April 23; marking the exam and submitting final grades will take approximately four days.
- Dr. X would like to attend their sister’s wedding in BC on July 3.
- Dr. X’s family has been offered a cottage rental from August 8–21; Dr. X would like to join their family.
- Dr. X has been assigned a new course in fall 2022 and needs time to prepare it.
- Statutory holidays don’t count toward vacation time.
- Dr. X’s chair needs to agree on the timing of each block of vacation ahead of time.
- Does Dr. X still have adequate time for marking and course prep, without doing any work during their vacation?
- Would Dr. X be able to take two weeks off at a time?
- What would make it easier for Dr. X to take their full vacation entitlement?
Share your results and reflections in the comments!
- For bonus points, help Dr. Y take their five weeks of vacation entitlement. Dr. Y is entitled to five weeks since they have been at Waterloo for more than 10 years.
- Extra bonus points: Help Dr. Z take seven weeks of vacation—their five-week entitlement, plus the two weeks they carried forward from the previous year.
What this is about
Workload for teaching faculty is one of the issues that the FAUW team hopes to discuss in the revision process for Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments and Policy 77 – Promotion and Tenure.
Workload is a complex issue. For Lecturers, it intersects with vacation access because—as you saw with Dr. X—teaching three terms a year leaves very little time for meaningful vacation.
It is true that Waterloo is a three-term university, unlike many of our comparator institutions. It is also true that UW has enjoyed the flexibility of assigning work to Lecturers in all three terms. But what if flexibility means a lack of access to vacations? Can teaching workload be assigned more fairly?
What is clear is that teaching-stream faculty members deserve to take the annual vacations that allow us all a chance to rest and relax, to connect with family and friends, and to come back to work refreshed. Work-life balance is something we hear a lot about these days. Teaching faculty at UW deserve this balance as well.