Here’s what we talked about at the last meeting of the FAUW Board of Directors:
New Equity Committee Terms of Reference were adopted. Changes include more detail about voting/decision making procedures, a new section on removal of committee members, the new role of equity advocate and facilitator, more detail regarding election of the chair, and further constraints around committee recruitment and selection to prioritize equity in selection.
Online Course Outline Repository. The Board discussed benefits and concerns about online course outline repositories. Look for a message from us about this soon, including examples of what actually needs to be submitted and examples from each faculty.
Vacation poll results. It became clear from the poll results that many faculty members are struggling to take the vacation time to which we are entitled (particularly faculty teaching in all three terms). We will be raising this at FRC, asking what they are doing to ensure our right to take our allocated vacation time, especially as a signatory to the Okanagan Charter.
Equity Data Advisory Group. This group has stopped meeting, yet work on the Equity Survey is incomplete and it is unclear what is happening with the data, when and how it will be shared with the University community, and how often the survey will re-open. Initial data collection was summer-fall 2021, with a brief re-opening in WorkDay in May 2022 to reach the 2/3 faculty response rate but nothing has come of the survey yet and the information online about results is out of date. The Board passed a motion to propose to the FRC that the Equity Data Advisory Group be restarted.
Governance review. The Board reviewed a project outline from CAUT and discussed the composition of the steering committee for the review. CAUT representatives will be invited to a future Board meeting to discuss further.
Graduate TA/RA certification. OrganizeUW, the grassroots campaign to form a union among TAs and RAs, is hoping to address graduate classes. In order to facilitate this, TAs and RAs will be contacting faculty members who teach grad classes with a request to address each class for 3-4 minutes. This is not a request for individual endorsements of OrganizeUW but simply a request to speak with grad students and we encourage you to consider the request.
Reopening the 2021 salary settlement. The administration has agreed to review our last 2021 salary settlement in light of Bill 124 being defeated in court (Bill 124 was the one that limited compensation increases to 1% annually across the Ontario public sector). A recent arbitration decision made it clear that organizations should not wait for the outcome of an appeal before re-opening the negotiations that were constrained by Bill 124.
Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour. There has been no movement on this very important policy since August 2021. A joint meeting of the Faculty Relations Committee and the Staff Relations Committee was held recently to discuss the 2021 draft, to consider outstanding issues, and to press for implementation of the revised policy as soon as possible.
Policy 12 – Compassionate Care & Bereavement Leave. The Faculty Relations Committee discussed a draft version of this new policy. We want to ensure that (a) there are no unnecessarily burdensome documentation requirements, (b) the definitions of family include all those that we might consider close family, even if the connections may not be conventional, and (c) applications to extend a period of compassionate leave beyond the minimum are consistently and fairly resolved. The Staff Relations Committee is also discussing this draft, and we believe we are close to agreement on all sides.
Policy 57 – Employee Accommodations. The key features of this new policy that we are advocating for are (a) the establishment of a Central Office for processing accommodation requests, and (b) the costs of accommodations should be met from central funding, not from department or faculty budgets. We think it’s essential that the central office, not the individual’s dean, determines the appropriate accommodations for each individual, and works with the individual’s department to avoid any negative impact on their colleagues.
Governance review. The Board reviewed a project proposal from CAUT and will be issuing a call for members for an ad hoc committee soon.
Research security. Collaborations with defense-related institutions in China are no longer eligible for NSERC and CFI funding. The University is aware of this and supporting researchers. Please reach out if you need additional support.
Appointments. David Mather has been appointed to the committee that oversees the Employee & Family Assistance Program, and Faisal Al-Faisal to the committee that evaluations nominations for the Online Teaching and Course Design Awards.
Mask mandate. There is an open letter circulating asking for masks to be required in classrooms. It references strong evidence about widespread long-term vascular damage resulting from COVID.
Air quality on campus. The University won’t provide the data to assure us that classrooms are safe in terms of air quality. At least one department has calculated air quality in its own classrooms and tried to set room capacity limits based on those calculations, but have not been allowed to do so. The Board is discussing the possibility of FAUW undertaking its own study of classroom and office air quality and risk of infection.