June 3 report from the Board

Here are the updates from the June 3, 2021, FAUW Board of Directors meeting.

Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) change

On June 1, the University Board of Governors approved an update to Policy 76 that changes the threshold for which appointments need to go through UARC—it will now review appointments “longer than two years,” rather than “two years or longer.” As we reported last time, this will remove the primary reason for two-years-minus-one-day appointments. We asked the deans to add an extra day to all two-years-minus-one-day appointments and have heard from three that they are doing so. Two faculties don’t have any such appointments, and the sixth is discussing the issue further but we expect that to be resolved soon.

This extra day comes with significantly improved benefits, including dental coverage, better sick leave, long-term disability coverage, access to the Employee & Family Assistance Program, eligibility for the new pregnancy and parental leave policy, and tuition benefits under Policy 4 (for employees) and Policy 24 (for employees’ children). It can also have implications for retirement benefits eligibility.

Other work on Policy 76/77 will continue through the summer.

Equity data survey

We’re excited that the University equity survey will be going out soon. We encourage you to participate in it. This survey is what will provide the Salary Anomaly Working Group with the data needed to run the race-based salary anomaly review that we negotiated in our latest salary settlement. There is a lot of information about the survey and how the data will be used on the Equity Office website.

Response to FAUW position on fall 2021

Mario Ioannidis is representing FAUW on the new return-to-campus working group. This group has representatives from the Staff Association, Occupational Health, the Safety Office, Human Resources, and Plant Operations, among other units, and meets every other week. They are informing institutional guidelines (e.g. classroom capacity) for a staged return from now through January 2022, and applying a change management framework to this return. The group recognizes that returning to campus significantly affects faculty members.

Mario and Johanna Wandel met with Plant Operations. Plant Ops started upgrading HVAC systems (of which there are more than 300) as soon as campus emptied out last year. They are using MERV 13 standard air filters throughout campus and we’re working with them on getting detailed data to members about the rooms they use.

Tenure and promotion 2021

We are asking the University to ensure that departmental and faculty tenure & promotion committees (and external referees) take the effects of the pandemic on teaching and research into account when reviewing tenure and promotion files this year.

Climate emergency declaration

Before anyone knew the University would be making its own declaration, FAUW’s Climate Justice Working Group (CJWG) proposed that FAUW declare a climate emergency and commit to a climate action plan. Initially, one goal of doing so was to encourage the university to follow suit. With the University declaration (and responsible investing commitments) now in place—and given that much of FAUW’s environmental impact is determined by University infrastructure and processes—our declaration will focus on our own finances and activities, specifically with regards to travel and catering decisions, as well as educating and supporting members in their own actions.

The Board voted to bring the CJWG declaration forward to the next general meeting, which is in December. The work of creating the action plan is still to come, so specific changes to FAUW operations and policies have not yet been identified.

Lecturers and vacation

A memo to the Board from Lecturers Committee chair Su-Yin Tan and our recent blog post both asked: Is it possible for lecturers to take their vacation entitlement in any given year? If you haven’t read that post or its many comments yet, here’s a summary:

Once you remove reading weeks (during which faculty are expected, by both students and the administration,* to be available), paid holidays (which don’t count toward vacation time), and days on which classes or exams might be scheduled, there are about 20 potential vacation days for a faculty member teaching all three terms (as most lecturers do), give or take a day depending on the year.

This happens to be the exactly minimum number of days of vacation to which faculty are entitled, which removes any element of choice in the matter. And for anyone who’s been here for at least 10 years (and thus gets 5 weeks of vacation) or who has carried forward vacation from a previous year (up to two weeks for those teaching three terms), there are often simply not enough days available—even if you do count a reading week or two, or take off the occasional single day during a regular week.

And taking those 20 days is only possible if you don’t need to do any grading or course preparation in the days between terms. So, taking one’s vacation depends on lucking out with all early exams, in all terms.

Some of the Board discussion about this considered the potential legal risk for the university if it is indeed impossible for lecturers to take their vacation.

What can we do about this? A non‐teaching term every two years with a commensurate reduction in teaching that year would enable lecturers to take their vacation, at least every other year. Right now, though, taking a non-teaching term is infeasible for many lecturers because they must redistribute their course load to other terms and find that unworkable.**

Other suggestions from comments on the blog include enforcing the principle that instructors teaching all three terms get early exams, normalizing taking vacation mid-term, supported by teaching swaps or supply teaching, and having lecturers teach two terms a year instead of three.

Once again, the Board noted that this issue is exacerbated by the lack of a consistent, negotiated workload policy for faculty.

*As per notices from the Registrar’s Office.

**63% of respondents to the 2021 Lecturers Survey who have taken a non-teaching term had their workload redistributed rather than reduced. Almost 40% of the 194 respondents have never had a non-teaching term and “difficulty redistributing workload” was the most common reason given for not taking a non-teaching term.

Provincial updates

From Dan Brown’s OCUFA director report:

Pandemic planning for fall teaching is messy across the province. Many universities are going to be teaching many courses online in fall 2021, but “as much in person delivery as possible” is a common stance from administrations. OCUFA is collecting updates as they are available. At the present time, the pandemic is going to prevent any OCUFA meetings from happening in person in fall 2021.

On the Laurentian University file, the terrible news has continued; many faculty jobs have been lost, and the university has now brought in a restructuring officer. The head of LUFA/APPUL (the Laurentian faculty union) said that a particular challenge has been that the CCAA process required that all active grievances (and there were over 100 at the time the university went into bankruptcy!) be resolved by the end of May. OCUFA is advocating at the federal level for the removal of public institutions from those that can go into insolvency under the CCAA or bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

Another concerning situation discussed was the restructuring of the OCADU library and the ensuing layoff of four senior librarians. The administration of that university claims to be building a “less hierarchical” university, but the restructuring was done with almost no consultation. Librarians at OCADU are not faculty, but are represented by OPSEU Local 576. More detail on the situation is available from http://weloveocadulibrarians.ca/, which has been built by OPSEU 576 and OCAD’s faculty association.

Finally, spurred by Ryerson’s Faculty Association, which won an arbitration about student questionnaires a couple years ago, OCUFA approved a motion to neither request nor accept results of these questionnaires as a measure of teaching proficiency for the purpose of any OCUFA award.

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