12 questions to help you thrive in your mid-career years

The “mid-career slump” is a well-documented dip in job satisfaction and direction that is common among recently tenured faculty members. You can read about the phenomenon in this collection of articles we’ve gathered for FAUW workshop participants over the last few years.

With some reflection and planning—and by using your new job security to take some risks and try new things—you can avoid, or at least mitigate, the mid-career slump. The articles in the folder linked above provide some practical suggestions, and the National Center for Faculty Development & Diversity, which UW just joined, has a one-hour webinar on “Getting to Mid-career and Beyond” coming up on March 23. (To activate your NCFDD membership, visit www.facultydiversity.org/join and follow the prompts.)

FAUW also offers a workshop on this topic. At the most recent session in December 2020, five mid-career faculty members shared advice for avoiding the mid-career slump and mapping out the years following tenure (or the lecturer equivalent at UW: a continuing appointment).

Based on the experiences and advice of these panelists, here are 12 questions to help you design and make the most of the next few (or many) years of your career by looking at where you are now, identifying new opportunities, and planning with the end in mind.

Continue reading “12 questions to help you thrive in your mid-career years”

Compensation negotiations proceeding to mediation

Yesterday, after two months of negotiations, the FAUW negotiating team presented a final good faith offer to the UW administration, hoping to reach an agreement on compensation negotiations by the deadline of midnight, February 1. We are disappointed to report that the offer was not accepted. The final offer from the University was also unacceptable. As a result, our negotiations will continue, first going to a mediator and then, if an agreement is still not reached, to arbitration. All these proceedings are set out in section 10 of the Memorandum of Agreement

We know you will be as disappointed as we are. So, let us explain how we got here.

We didn’t enter negotiations to maximize our pay cheques. We wanted—we believed you deserved—fairer benefits and better equity provisions. Bill 124 already restricts us to a 1% scale increase, so we worked instead, for example, to try to make it possible for lecturers teaching all three terms in a year to take their vacation entitlement. We also tried to get agreement on a cost-neutral compassionate care supplemental benefit plan, so that you can take time away from work to provide care or support to a critically ill or injured person or someone needing end-of-life care. We argued for better bereavement benefits. Currently, if your child or partner or parent were to die, the University would offer you one to four days’ paid leave of absence. This seems cruelly inadequate. 

Continue reading “Compensation negotiations proceeding to mediation”

Let’s do more than talk

Canadians are beginning to recognize January 28 as an important day. Not only do we begin seeing the advertisements for Bell Let’s Talk day well in advance of the 28th; not only do a lot of us share their messages promoting help-seeking and mental health initiatives; but we also have begun to see a clear pattern of opinion pieces and news stories challenging Bell. It might be worth putting together some of the criticism here:

Michael Spratt reminded us that the millions of dollars Bell donates to mental health is “peanuts compared to its $23.45-billion annual revenue.” Even more disturbingly, he investigated Bell’s exclusive contract with the Ontario government to provide telephone services in jails. Under the Bell contract, Ontario inmates could only call landline telephone numbers and paid exorbitant collect-call rates. As he says, “Bell has never disclosed its profits from this exclusive and predatory phone racket, though it could amount to more money than it charitably donates during its “Bell Let’s Talk” campaign each year.” While Ontario has changed providers, Bell still holds the contract for federal prisons.

Maria McLean revealed that when she asked for a mental health leave from her job at Bell, they fired her.

Mandy Pipher argued that “during the worst years of my own mental health struggles — rough, often debilitating years — I’d dread the annual Bell mental-health-themed advertising blitz. Because that’s how it seemed: like advertising for a corporation dripping in the money desperately needed by many of those suffering from mental illness, with genuine concern for mental health sufferers a distant second.”

Continue reading “Let’s do more than talk”

A Q&A about how the Tri-agencies are “modernizing” the grant management process

The Tri-agencies are developing a new, centralized portal to manage grants and applications. Professor James Danckert attended a stakeholder workshop in December. We talked to him about the plans for the TGMS and how FAUW members can provide feedback.

What is the Tri-agency Grant Management Solution (TGMS) Initiative trying to achieve?

The TGMS Initiative is a project to build a central grant portal for all three agencies, replacing the existing systems, with the aim of creating something more user friendly and modern. Importantly, with this system, you won’t need to re-enter the same information multiple times: for example, publications entered for a CV won’t have to be re-entered for a grant report, and information can be ported over from one agency to another.

What’s the timeline for rolling this out?

The Tri-agencies are in the process of finding a vendor to build the system, and simultaneously engaging in ongoing consultation with stakeholders. They are looking to have demonstrations of the proof of concept by early 2021. Once they start building it, they plan to roll things out pieces at a time, which they acknowledge could pose a communication challenge.

Continue reading “A Q&A about how the Tri-agencies are “modernizing” the grant management process”

Does policy drafting at UW still work? Policy 14 could tell us.

—Kate Lawson, English Language and Literature

The updated draft of Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (Including Adoption) is the product of UW’s unique collegial process and one that we can all be proud of.

FAUW members often ask how—and even if—their “terms and conditions of employment” can be updated and improved. They look at UW’s comparator institutions in Ontario and notice that colleagues there don’t just get salary increments in their collective agreements; they also get improvements in such areas as workload, benefits, and employment equity. And it is certainly true that faculty members who belong to unionized faculty associations have well-defined pathways to such improvements.

UW is different.  

Continue reading “Does policy drafting at UW still work? Policy 14 could tell us.”

(Staying) home for the Holidays: How FAUW reps are making the most of this winter break

If there’s one thing we know for sure right now, it’s that all of our members deserve a break! This has been a long, hard year for everyone and we hope you’re able to take some time for yourselves next week and get some much-needed rest. While the holidays will be different this year for many of us, we hope they’re still full of joy and peace—or whatever else you’re in need of right now.

Take it outside

If you’re thinking about adding in outdoor visits, here’s some great advice on How to Socialize in the Cold Without Being Miserable. NPR also has a great explanation of how to “dress like an onion” to stay warm: start with a sweat-wicking layer next to your skin, such as merino wool or polyester; add a heat-trapping layer, like a fleece; and top it with something wind-blocking. Cotton does not make for a good base layer, as it loses any insulating properties when you sweat. Don’t forget to apply this to your legs, too!

Need some inspiration?

From outdoor visits, to bingeing Netflix shows, to running in a Santa suit, here are some of the ways your FAUW Board, committee, and staff members are spending their time off this year:

I’m just planning to walk away from work for a week to ten days. Figuring out what shelves to clean out, what movies and shows to stream, and what routes to take on walks is about the amount of work I want to have on my plate over the break.  This term was a challenge, as it was for everyone, and January will be really tough on my end, so the rest of December is all about family time and downtime.

Joel Dubin, director

For the first time ever, we will be going on a drive around Kitchener/Waterloo to check out the light displays people have put up.

Nomair Naeem, director

I’m traveling to London, UK for theatre. Virtually, of course! I’ll be making some popcorn and tuning into a livestream production of A Christmas Carol (starring Andrew Lincoln as Scrooge) from the Old Vic Theatre. Anyone else watching? We can have a virtual coffee after!

Katy Fulfer, Indigenization Working Group
Continue reading “(Staying) home for the Holidays: How FAUW reps are making the most of this winter break”

8 things you missed at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting

FAUW holds general meetings twice a year, in December and April. They are open to all regular faculty who have opted in as voting members of the association. Here are some of the highlights from the December 8, 2020, meeting, at which we massively broke previous attendance records with 134 members in attendance!

Some of the members in attendance at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting, as seen using Microsoft Teams' "Together Mode".
Together Mode: It’s almost like being there… except not.
  1. We budgeted for “business as usual” this year and (obviously) things are playing out a little differently. Key changes are that we’re underspending on events (no surprise there) and have added some donations and advocacy related expenses.
  2. The Climate Justice Working Group has proposed that FAUW declare a climate emergency at our next general meeting in April. The Board of Directors and the working group will be looking into what exactly this would look like in the meantime. Doing so would involve applying a lens of climate justice to all of FAUW’s own operations and supporting our members in relevant teaching, research, and service efforts. The CJWG is holding a meeting about this on January 28 that all FAUW members are welcome to attend.
  3. We strongly support the proposed updates to the Pregnancy and Parental Leaves policy. We need your help to keep the pressure on the administration to pass the policy. Email your feedback (both things you like and things we can still improve further) to fauw@uwaterloo.ca and uw.policy@uwaterloo.ca by December 18—and ask your colleagues, chair, and dean to do so as well!
  4. We’re picking up the research professors file again after it was paused in March. We expect a formal vote of current research professors to happen in the new year.
Continue reading “8 things you missed at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting”

Report from the November 26 Board meeting

Here’s what we discussed:

  1. Salary negotiations. We held a confidential session on our priorities, which include some of the typical items around salary and benefits, a couple of key equity-oriented items, and a few things that we believe will make life easier for our members and your families, particularly during difficult times. The negotiating team is optimistic and assures us they will be “tough and fair” as they head into bargaining next week. We will report back when we have news we can share, probably in the new year. Good luck, team!
  2. Redistribution of unspent professional expense (FPER) funds. Members will receive two-thirds of this money on December 4 and can use it as part of this year’s FPER; the remaining third will be added to the 2021-2022 FPER amount. There is also a new chart from Finance that explains which work-from-home expenses are eligible for FPER, a tax deduction, or both. 
  3. Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leaves). The Policy 14 consultation website is now live. Please share your feedback, both positive and negative. We’re very excited about the changes in this policy and need your help to make sure it’s approved. 
  4. Our 2020-21 budget. We passed a ‘business as usual’ budget at our April general meeting and business has not proceeded as usual. Some of our committees have submitted proposals to repurpose some of their funds in light of not having in-person events. We also have a couple of new, unexpected expenses, and a lot of event money that isn’t going to be used this year. We’ll have a more detailed update for voting members at our general meeting on December 8. 
  5. framework for teaching statements for 2020 performance reviews. Ian VanderBurgh created a document to help members contextualize and describe what their teaching has looked like over the last year. Teaching statements aren’t required; good ones take substantial time to write, and you can opt out of being evaluated on your teaching for 2020 altogether, but we think this is a useful guide for those who do choose to submit a statement. 
  6. Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments). We discussed candidate key changes that we want to see in this policy with regard to teaching faculty. This is essentially a list of bargaining priorities, so we won’t be sharing it publicly. We also discussed a tentative plan for moving forward with the policy 76 revision process, and we hope to have an announcement about this at the general meeting.  
  7. Winter and spring term dates. We haven’t heard anything about spring term starting late or having a reading week, but for the record, we aren’t in support of any such changes to spring term dates. Among other things, pushing back the end of spring term would limit the time available for faculty teaching in both spring and fall (let along all three terms) to take any time off next year. We have heard that the deadline for submitting your winter term grades is not changing. More on the changes to winter term in Dan’s president’s report below.
Continue reading “Report from the November 26 Board meeting”

FAUW supports Indigenous land protectors

In 2017, prompted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, University of Waterloo President Hamdullahpur announced the creation of an Indigenization strategy for the University. In the few years before, land acknowledgements had started to become a common practice across the University at public gatherings, on websites, and in email signatures.

On November 2, 2020, the University participated in Treaty Recognition Week for the first time by hosting a series of virtual events that covered, among other things, historical perspectives on treaty rights in Canada, and treaty rights from the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples including the Six Nations and the Mississauga of the Credit. 

These initiatives—the still-to-be-developed Indigenization strategy, land acknowledgements, and virtual education events—are not enough if the University does not follow through with concrete action.

The need for action and support for Indigenous Peoples is increasingly clear. Right now, land protectors on the territory of the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River and across Canada, are under attack not only in the courts but also by local governments, settler residents, and the RCMP as they assert their treaty rights. The FAUW Indigenization Working Group recently marked the 236th anniversary of the Haldimand Proclamation with a blog post sharing the history of the Haldimand Tract as well as information about ongoing struggles for treaty recognition now taking place in Caledonia, ON, in Waterloo Park in Waterloo, ON, and in Mi’kMaq territory in Nova Scotia. The FAUW Board recently voted to support the land defenders asserting their treaty rights at 1492 Land Back Lane in Caledonia. The Librarians and Archivists Association of the University of Waterloo has also written a letter in support, and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, of which FAUW is a member, has made a donation to the legal fund.

FAUW’s Equity Committee and Indigenization Working Group invite all University of Waterloo faculty to join in a fundraise-and-tweet effort to support the protectors of the Six Nations lands upon which the University is situated. We urge faculty to make contributions to both the O:se Kenhionhata:tie Land Back Camp now occupying Waterloo Park and to the 1492 Land Back Lane – Legal Fund. You may also choose to contribute to a supplies drive for 1492 Land Back Lane. We further urge faculty to ask the University to donate as well—if you’re comfortable doing so, you could even tweet the amount of your donation and a call for the University to match it. 

The FAUW Board has pledged the first $1,492.

Continue reading “FAUW supports Indigenous land protectors”

November 12 update from the FAUW Board

Here are the non-confidential highlights of the November 12 Board of Directors meeting, and the president’s report.

Items of interest from the meeting

  1. Anti-racism advisor. We’ve hired Kathy Hogarth as an anti-racism advisor to the FAUW Board. Kathy will be attending FAUW Board meetings for the remainder of this year as part of this role. There’s more about Kathy in Dan’s president’s report below.
  2. The status of Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments. As we discussed at the Spring General Meeting, the P76 drafting process has shown us that the way we’ve always drafted and negotiated policy at Waterloo is no longer working. Here’s the latest: The drafting committee submitted a document to the Faculty Relations Committee co-chairs (the FAUW president and the provost) in late summer, which the Secretariat was unable to adapt into a usable policy without more work and guidance from FRC. Policy 76 was initially opened for revision largely to address lecturer titles and spousal appointments. FAUW’s Board and Lecturers Committee are currently working on identifying FAUW’s priorities for P76, specifically on the topic of teaching stream faculty. What happens next, we’re unfortunately still not sure, but we will keep you posted. We know this is frustrating and we appreciate your extreme patience with this.
  3. 1492 Land Back Lane. The OCUFA Board of Directors unanimously voted to support Haudenosaunee land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane by donating $5,000 to their legal defense fund. The Librarians and Archivists Association at UW has sent a letter in support of the organizers to federal and provincial ministers (and local representatives). The FAUW Board voted to issue a similar statement of support along with our Equity Committee and to donate $1,492 to the legal defense fund. We also discussed other potential avenues of support for the Six Nations of the Grand River and other Indigenous communities that we might pursue in the future (or to pressure the university to implement), such as scholarships or paying taxes to the Indigenous nations whose land we work on. For example, FAUW reps are hoping the University will financially support local Indigenous students (e.g. from Six Nations of the Grand River).
  4. Copyright. There will soon be a new notice appearing once a term on LEARN to remind you about some of the legalities related to uploading content. If you have questions about copyright related to your course material or your own work, email copyright@uwaterloo.ca — that email goes to a team of copyright specialists across campus.
  5. Declaring a climate emergency. The Climate Justice Working Group has prepared a draft climate emergency declaration for FAUW. This will go to the Fall General Meeting for discussion. If you’re a voting member, you’ll receive the draft in your agenda package by December 1.

Keep reading for Dan’s president’s report, including a Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) update and more about Kathy Hogarth.

Continue reading “November 12 update from the FAUW Board”