Policy 76/77 progress report as we head into mediation

Su-Yin Tan, Paul Wehr, and Mary Hardy (FAUW representatives on the 2022–23 Policy 76/77 drafting committee)

In late 2022, a new “path forward” for updating policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members) was agreed with the university administration at the Faculty Relations Committee (FRC), in an attempt to bring to a conclusion the prolonged efforts to improve and regularize terms and conditions of employment for Lecturers, through the creation of a Teaching Stream professoriate.

The “path forward” outlined a four-step path, summarized here:

  1. The administration and FAUW will exchange policy drafts at the Faculty Relations Committee (FRC), beginning October 20, 2022.
  2. A Policy Drafting Committee (PDC) will convene for four meetings, co-chaired by representatives from the administration and FAUW.
  3. If there are outstanding matters that cannot be expeditiously addressed at FRC, an external mediator will assist in reaching an agreement at the PDC.
  4. Any matters still without agreement will be sent to interest arbitration with the mediator.

The FAUW PDC reps are Su-Yin Tan (Continuing Lecturer, and Chair of the Lecturers Committee since 2019), Paul Wehr (Continuing Lecturer, Chair of the Lecturers Committee Chair 2017–2019), and Mary Hardy (Professor, FAUW President). All three are elected members of the FAUW Board of Directors.

Policy drafts were exchanged in October, and the PDC completed its meetings in early January. The FRC has now agreed to proceed to step #3, in which an external mediator will assist both parties in reaching an agreement. As a result, we are now able to report back to the FAUW membership the results of steps #1 and #2, as we proceed into mediation sessions.

Although the “path forward” and recent PDC are relatively new, we have been waiting for a very long time (since 2014/15) for Policy 76 revisions. FAUW’s P76/77 goals have been based on membership consultation largely driven by the FAUW Lecturers Committee (LC), which has representatives from all faculties, advises the FAUW Board, and advocates for lecturer interests and working conditions. The LC has continuously engaged with the lecturer community via surveys (the 2021 Lecturers Survey (PDF) achieved a 80% response rate) and meetings with lecturers (town halls, coffee/fireside chats, faculty and departmental/school consultation meetings, etc.). Based on this input, the FAUW Board makes the final decisions on FAUW bargaining decisions and strategy.

FAUW’s approach and guiding principles

We approached the four PDC meetings in good faith and made every reasonable effort to reach an agreement with the University administration. The PDC met approximately once a week over approximately four weeks (excluding the holiday period). From the outset, the FAUW side stated our guiding principles for P76/77 negotiations, as follows:

Principle #1: Teaching quality, and the contribution of the Teaching Stream faculty to raising teaching quality, should be recognized and respected as central to the University’s mission.

There was broad agreement with this principle from both FAUW and the administration. Our intention was to highlight common ground and goals that are mutually agreeable to both sides as a starting point.

Principle #2: There should be a recognized, feasible career progression path for Teaching Stream faculty that is parallel to that of general stream faculty (i.e., the current tenure/tenure-track professoriate).

Here, there was also broad agreement from both sides on appointment ranks and nomenclature, including the creation of Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream; Associate Professor, Teaching Stream; and Professor, Teaching Stream appointments, which are similar to comparator institutions, such as Toronto and McMaster.

Both sides agreed that promotion and tenure/permanence status procedures on how to progress through Teaching Stream faculty ranks should be parallel with the existing professorial ranks. Progression through the ranks and evaluation will be based on a list of professional and pedagogical development (PPD) and educational leadership activities, as well as classroom teaching performance.

The disagreement lies in how much PPD will be expected for performance review, tenure/permanence, and promotion. The administration side argues that all current Lecturers already conduct PPD activities and would easily achieve such requirements. In contrast, FAUW argues that such PPD requirements translate into new and additional workload and expectations. There is currently no standard requirement for PPD in the annual appraisal of most Lecturers, although it may be taken into consideration. We agreed that in the future, a record of PPD will be required for a performance review grade of ‘satisfactory’ or higher. A ‘strong’ record of achievement in PPD will be required for tenure/permanence.

FAUW maintains that there should be dedicated time for PPD activities, counted as approximately equivalent to two courses over two years (or one course equivalent per year). This would allow Teaching Stream faculty to benefit from the one-in-six non-teaching term that already exists in Policy 76 without the need for teaching an overload in the two other terms, providing adequate time and resources for Lecturers to achieve such requirements for tenure/permanence and promotion through the ranks.

Read the FAUW position statement on course reductions and the 1-in-6 PPD term (PDF).

Principle #3: A hallmark of university teaching is that “instruction is provided by scholars who are expected to remain current in their field and to maintain their scholarly competence” (Policy 76). Teaching workload consists of not only in-classroom teaching, but also substantial activities outside of the classroom, designed to improve the quality of instruction.

Again, the administration side believes that Lecturers currently have ample time and opportunity to remain current in their fields and to conduct the PPD and educational leadership activities required for tenure/permanence and promotion to progress through the new Teaching Stream faculty ranks. The administration considers teaching workload only as in-classroom teaching. FAUW believes that dedicated time outside of the classroom is required for Lecturers to achieve teaching excellence and to explore and improve new pedagogical techniques, revamp courses, engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning, etc., which are all part of PPD activities and the request for a PPD term.

Principle #4: Teaching Stream faculty should have the same academic freedom as general stream faculty, including the freedom to teach, study, pursue knowledge, and engage in scholarly activities without unreasonable interference or restrictions.

The administration is adamant that future Teaching Stream faculty appointments will be teaching-and-service-only positions. Although current Lecturers with a scholarship/research component would be ‘grandfathered’ into the new system, future Teaching Stream hires would no longer be eligible to negotiate any scholarship/research component in their workload/duties.

Based on the 2021 Lecturer Survey results, almost 15% of current Lecturers have a formal scholarship/research weight defined in their workload. Moreover, having the ability to negotiate a change in scholarship/research weights is important for qualifying for external grant applications (e.g., tri-council funding) and support from the Office of Research. With the new PPD requirements for tenure/permanence and promotion in the Teaching Stream, opening more opportunities for engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning is desirable, rather than narrowing/limiting opportunities.

There are also fundamental differences between the administration and FAUW perspectives on tenure for the Teaching Stream. The administration believes that tenure should be reserved for current professorial faculty only. FAUW believes that tenure is not only important for protecting the academic freedom of research, but is especially important for protecting academic freedom and rights in classroom teaching and for the quality of student experience when strengthening pedagogical practices. We note that other universities that have undergone recent changes to their teaching stream faculty appointments, including York University and the University of British Columbia, which have adopted tenure for both faculty streams. Moreover, “permanence” is not defined in policy, and its implications for lay-offs and severance arrangements (MoA Section 17), and for other terms and conditions laid out in the MoA and in policies, are unknown. There is no financial cost to adopting tenure, which, furthermore, would bring tangible benefits and advantages in competitive hiring to the University.

Read the FAUW position statement on tenure versus permanence (PDF).

Principle #5: Teaching and scholarship are not mutually exclusive, but are synergistic in nature.

There was strong disagreement on this principle. The University administration views teaching and scholarship as mutually exclusive activities and that scholarship duties should be restricted to current tenure stream faculty only. We have cited “Boyer’s model of scholarship” amongst others, which recognizes that faculty scholarship can occur across the four domains of teaching and learning, discovery, integration, and application. The administration adopts a narrow view of scholarship and cites this as a way to keep faculty streams perpetually separate. The administration is very insistent that any time allocated to research for faculty hired to teach is a waste. They are also concerned that a research component might lead to a Teaching Stream faculty member being eligible to apply for sabbatical leave, something they regard as unacceptable.

Principle #6: PPD requirements for tenure/permanence and promotion will be a new and additional expectation and workload for most Teaching Stream faculty positions on a full (e.g., 12 course per 2-year) load.

Again, there was strong disagreement on this principle; refer to comments under Principle #2. FAUW believes that if PPD is to be a formal and expected duty of Teaching Stream faculty members, adequate time and resources must be made available. PPD is an addition to Teaching Stream faculty’s current duties and workload. The University administration believes that PPD requirements can be easily met by Teaching Stream faculty members concurrently while teaching a full course load.

What we achieved

Despite some fundamental differences in guiding principles for the Teaching Stream, we have nevertheless achieved agreement on some notable points summarized as follows:

  • Teaching Stream faculty ranks and titles (as agreed in December 2021).
  • Criteria for Teaching Stream promotion (e.g., normally, tenure/permanence for TS would require Strong teaching and Satisfactory service).
  • Teaching Stream participation in DACAs, DTPCs, FTPCs, UTPAC, and APR committees, where feasible.
  • Where feasible, Teaching Stream faculty shall participate in graduate teaching and supervision.
  • Definite term appointments should normally start on the first of the month, and end on the last day of April, June, August, or December.
  • Discontinuation of Lecturer appointments in terms of future hires. The only two faculty streams will be Teaching and General/Tenure streams.
  • An agreed list of PPD/Educational Leadership activities that would count towards tenure/permanence and promotion.
  • No overload teaching permitted in the 1-in-6 PPD term for Teaching Stream faculty.
  • No specified maximum proportion of Teaching Stream faculty (in Policy).
  • Clarification on consequences for missing deadlines for giving notice of non-renewal of definite-term contracts.
  • Transition arrangements for UARC-appointed definite-term lecturers (as agreed in December 2021).

The sticking points

No agreement was reached on the following:

  • Biennial course reduction for the 1-in-6 PPD term.
  • Permanence/tenure nomenclature.
  • Transition arrangements for long-term definite-term lecturers with non-UARC appointments.
  • Ability of Teaching Stream faculty to negotiate a limited (10% or smaller) scholarship component.

Although the list of points of disagreement may appear small, it includes major items, and some have cost implications to the University. We believe that the University community will benefit greatly from the new Teaching Stream, which will enhance teaching excellence and student engagement. We also believe that such benefits require some investment; they should not come solely at the cost of an increased workload for current Lecturers. The differences that remain between FAUW and the administration, therefore, are not minor, but are intrinsic to FAUW’s Guiding Principles.

What’s next?

Substantial agreement has been reached for many aspects of P76/77, but the remaining points of contention are important and substantial, thus requiring external mediation. Should agreement not be achieved during mediation sessions, we will proceed to interest arbitration.

The road to resolving P76/77 revisions has been long and fraught, but an ending is now in sight. Nevertheless, we must recognize that mediation and arbitration inevitably involve compromise. We will not achieve everything that we need. We are very confident of our case on several issues, including the need for dedicated time for the PPD activities required for tenure/permanence and promotion. We want to mitigate unintended negative consequences for precarious faculty members, such as definite term lecturers with high teaching loads, who will now be subject to higher expectations. It is important that the introduction of the new teaching stream bring about net gains rather than net losses to our faculty membership.

Citing the administration’s January 12 memo, “we must get this right both for current and future faculty and for the University as a whole.” Once P76/77 revisions are resolved, we expect that these policies will not be open again for a very long time, as both sides have to agree to re-opening any issue. This means that items that we will inevitably compromise on will likely not be negotiable for years to come. This differs from a collective bargaining framework where any changes to a collective agreement can be revisited on a regular basis.

We urge FAUW members and other faculty to reflect on the overall policymaking process at UW that determines the quality of our working terms and conditions. Both the administration and FAUW have stated publicly that the policy updating process is broken. Policy changes that should be straightforward typically take 5–10 years to be agreed. The delays never benefit faculty; they only ever benefit the administration. The fact that we have no right to mediation and arbitration, and that even when we do go to arbitration, the results are not fully binding (since they are not subject to Ontario Labour Relations Board rules) is frustrating. The fact that demonstrated needs of faculty continue to be ignored is unacceptable. The often patronizing and disrespectful attitude of the administration to FAUW’s concerns is infuriating. There is substantial and increasing evidence that systemic failings exist in how our faculty relations are structured with the employer and our most precarious faculty members suffer the most.

—Su-Yin Tan, Paul Wehr, and Mary Hardy


Notice: The FAUW Lecturers Committee will be hosting a virtual panel event with the FAUW Representatives on the Policy 76/77 drafting committee at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, January 19. Event details will be distributed to FAUW members by email.

One thought on “Policy 76/77 progress report as we head into mediation

  1. By the administration’s logic, professors on sabbatical never use this time to develop their pedagogy/curriculum!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.