Hot topics from the May 20 FAUW Board of Directors meeting

Pandemic issues

The FAUW Board has issued a statement on fall 2021 decision making relating to teaching and faculty working conditions.

We briefly discussed some potential approaches to 2021 performance reviews, including re-weighting (e.g., to reduce the impact of your research score). We know there is also a continued need for pandemic considerations for tenure and promotion and will be returning to that topic with the administration soon.

Faculty members who need accommodations for fall (or any) teaching should contact our Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee for advice and referrals.

One small change for P76, one giant leap for lecturer benefits

From Dan Brown’s president’s report: This month at Senate we approved the first small step in the Policy 76/77 revisions, a surgical change to the mandate of the University Appointments Review Committee (UARC), so that it will now no longer be required to consider appointments of exactly two years (it will now review appointments longer than two years). This seemingly tiny change will matter, as it will remove the primary argument for deans to make two-years-minus-one-day appointments, which unfortunately come with fewer benefits than appointments just one day longer. [Editor’s note: This change was approved by the Board of Governors on June 1, making it official. We are asking deans to consider extending relevant appointments by one day.] The P76/77 Policy Drafting Committee will continue their work through the end of the summer, aiming for the August 31 deadline approved by Senate in March.

New travel and expenses policy

From Dan’s president’s report: The university’s president approved a substantial rewrite of Policy 31, the Travel policy, which has been renamed to University Expenses; this results in substantial improvements to reimbursement rates and also (hopefully!) a reduction in documentation required of travellers. It also details how research expenses like working lunches and hospitality will work. UW Finance consulted with FAUW (via Faculty Relations Committee) as part of their discussions of this policy.

Indigenous student scholarships

We have been looking into establishing a scholarship for students from Six Nations of the Grand River, on whose land the Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge campuses are situated. At this meeting, we got into some details about what the award(s) could look like in practice to inform conversations with the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office and the university’s Student Awards & Financial Aid office.

Benefits eligibility grievance outcomes

Adapted from Ken Vetzal’s Pension & Benefits report: In response to grievances filed by FAUW, a subcommittee of the Pension and Benefits Committee (including the P&B liaison to the FAUW Board, Ken Vetzal) was formed last fall with a mandate to provide precise definitions of “continuous University of Waterloo service” (Policy 23 – Eligibility for Pension and Insured Benefits) and “uninterrupted regular full-time service” (Policy 59 – Reduced Workload to Retirement).

The subcommittee recommended that the ten-year eligibility requirement for post-retirement benefits be deemed to have begun on the earlier of:

  • the start date of a regular ongoing appointment, or
  • the start date of participation in the temporary benefits program.

In addition, eligibility for full benefits is achieved:

  • at the start date for regular ongoing positions,
  • at the start date of a contract with an initial appointment of two years, or
  • once two years of service has been accumulated for consecutive contracts with a minimum duration of one year.

This recommendation is contingent on a confirmation from Legal and Immigration Services that these changes will not violate Bill 124 [editor’s note: FAUW does not think it should], as well as approval by the Board of Governors.

The subcommittee also noted that UW policies have confusing and inconsistent terminology, which is further inconsistent with HR administrative practices, the Memorandum of Agreement with FAUW, etc. The committee suggested several potential changes to Policy 23 that should be considered, but perhaps a more comprehensive review would be a better idea.

FAUW elections

In his president’s report, Dan Brown noted the ongoing election process to find his replacement and a director from Engineering (filling the second year of Alfred Yu’s term). Nominations close May 31.

Up next

At the next meeting, we’ll talk about FAUW’s potential declaration of a climate emergency and what that would mean for FAUW on an operational level, and how to fix the problem of lecturers being unable to take their vacation entitlement.