April 29 FAUW Board meeting recap

Here’s what happened at our latest Board of Directors meeting:

  1. Our newly elected directors start their terms July 1 but we’ve invited them to start attending meetings now to get familiar with the issues and how things work. In a round of introductions, both new and current directors expressed a lot of interest in equity and diversity issues, lecturer working conditions, and exploring how we can improve our relationship with the University administration.
  2. We noted a few developments related to the discussion at our spring general meeting about fall term. Senate had a long and thorough discussion about fall planning last week, which is reassuring. We’re glad to see some shifting from the administration assuming the best-case scenario to more fulsome planning for a range of scenarios. The University has scheduled a town hall for May 11 and we encourage you to attend that and ask your questions! We’ve established our own working group to explore issues related to the pandemic and planning for fall term. It will start meeting next week and involves many of the people who raised concerns and offered to help with this at the general meeting, so thank you to those members for participating!
  3. CAUT has censured the administration of the University of Toronto, on the basis that the university violated academic freedom when they rescinded a job offer in 2020. Censure is a very rare action for CAUT to take (the last two times this occurred were in 2008 and 1979). Censuring the University of Toronto administration means that, until the situation is satisfactorily resolved, members are asked:
    • not to accept appointments at the University;
    • not to accept invitations to speak or participate in academic conferences held or hosted by the University; and,
    • not to accept any distinction or honour that may be offered by the University.
  4. In his president’s report, Dan Brown noted that the University announced a plan for cluster hires of 10 Indigenous faculty and 10 Black faculty at a recent town hall on antiracism projects on campus. Some of our members present at the town hall commented, rightly so, that hiring is only a first step to making the University more inclusive and equitable, and that attention also needs to be paid to retention, promotion, and leadership development. These hires will bring the University’s faculty complement up to 2% Black faculty and not quite 2% Indigenous faculty.
Continue reading “April 29 FAUW Board meeting recap”

The anatomy of a FAUW general meeting: A recap of our 2021 Spring GM

In which we summarize the proceedings of our 2021 Spring General Meeting and explain how our general meetings work at the same time.

The logistics

General meetings are meetings of the voting membership of FAUW, at which members receive updates on FAUW’s work and vote on important issues such as our budget, constitutional amendments, or changes to the Memorandum of Agreement. General meetings are held in December and April each year.

Quorum for a general meeting is 30 members. Our in-person meetings typically drew about 60-80 members in recent years, but both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 meetings had over 130 members attend online. We’re investing in equipment to be able to livestream our general meetings once we’re back to in-person events so we can continue being accessible to more members, especially those working at satellite campuses.

The meeting chair changes frequently, and must be someone other than a member of the Board of Directors. (If you’re really good at chairing meetings, let us know!)

The consent agenda: Committee and officer reports

Our general meetings have always had an asynchronous component: written reports from our committees and, in recent years, from our representatives on University committees. All voting members receive these reports by email in advance of the meeting. Other members can request the reports.

Some reports are delivered during the meeting itself, particularly those from FAUW executive officers.

The president’s report

At this meeting, Dan Brown’s president’s report started with a few recent success stories:

  • Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave, including Adoption, and the Return to Work) has been approved by the Board of Governors and is now in effect for all eligible employees who start(ed) a pregnancy or parental leave after April 6 of this year. We tried to have it applied to employees already on leave, but the University hasn’t budged on that. [See all blog posts about Policy 14.]
  • Our negotiating team achieved a good salary settlement covering the next three years, including the statutory maximum for salary increases under current provincial law.
  • The 2020 salary anomaly review has completed its work and informed individuals who will receive adjustments. Co-chair Marios Ioannidis noted later in the meeting that no solely gender-based anomaly was found this time around, and that there are a number of possible anomalies that require further investigation by the deans because the statistical model may not be robust to properly predict salaries of early-career members or those with salaries above the thresholds in our salary structure.
  • A new committee has been set up to focus specifically on updating the policies on faculty appointments and tenure & promotion to improve conditions for teaching faculty. The FAUW reps are Kate Lawson and Su-Yin Tan. Visit uwaterloo.ca/fauw/p76 for the latest information.

Dan also talked about ongoing and forthcoming issues, including the current state of planning for fall 2021. Decisions are mostly being made at the faculty or department/program level, which means members have more of a say than the FAUW Board does at this point. Some faculties/units are doing this with more detail and consultation than others. We are advocating for individual faculty to be primarily responsible for choosing the mode of teaching for your courses and for fall planning in general to be discussed more publicly and openly. We are actively collecting information, so if there are interesting/challenging/problematic/great things happening in your unit, please let us know. Individuals who need help with accommodations for the fall, please see our AF&T team for help.

Some other ongoing items on FAUW’s agenda include a few more policy committees underway or beginning soon and recruitment for FAUW committees—you can put your name forward via our website. We’re hosting a lunch & learn with Laura Mae Lindo on May 19 about how faculty can counteract anti-Black racism at universities, and last fall’s cancelled Hagey Lecture is being rescheduled for fall 2021—stay tuned for an announcement soon.

Continue reading “The anatomy of a FAUW general meeting: A recap of our 2021 Spring GM”

This April 1 Board meeting report is no joke

Here’s the latest from the FAUW president and Board of Directors, based on our April 1 meeting, which did not involve any April Fools pranks, but did feature a brief birthday celebration!

President’s report to FAUW board 

-dan brown, March 29, 2021

I am somewhat hopeful that we’re entering a somewhat smoother time in the next few weeks than we had in what has to be one of the longest winter terms in history. Whatever your spring activity is, whether it’s gardening or cycling or just sitting outside watching the sun set, I hope you’ll get a chance to enjoy it in April.

FAUW board elections are under way! At the AGM on April 16, we’ll find out which four candidates have won election to the At-Large seats, and which one candidate has won election to the Lecturer seat on our board. I’m delighted to see the large slate of excellent candidates that have come forward, and look forward to working with all of them, either on our board or in other FAUW service. My thanks to the FAUW Elections Committee (Peter Johnson, Heidi Engelhardt, Amanda Garcia, Nomair Naeem, Laura McDonald) for their excellent work in recruiting candidates!

FAUW’s Lecturers Committee hosts a town hall on March 30 (I’m writing this on March 29). I’m expecting in particular to hear a lot about Lecturers’ concerns regarding Policy 76 and Policy 77, which will be useful for the members of the committee developing the changes to that policy.

The issue of the day continues to be planning for fall term. I encourage FAUW members who will need accommodations for that term (including because their health conditions might require them to avoid in-person teaching) to contact our AF+T committee and work with them to get those accommodations put in place. The administration has said some good things about ensuring a safe workplace for all employees for that term, but there are few details. That said, the whole situation around the end of the pandemic is deeply complicated, and is not helped by there still being shortages of the vaccines needed.

Of course, spring term instructors are just as exercised by planning for that term as well, and I hope you’ll at least have some of a gap before spring term starts. 

LAAUW, the Librarians and Archivists Association of UW, held a vote in March to identify whether its members wanted to join FAUW. Their members decided that they prefer their current status [as staff members]. FAUW will continue to liaise with LAAUW on matters of shared interest (academic freedom, scholarly publishing and open access, research metrics, to name a few). I’m delighted to know that they’ve made a decision about their preferred futures. As I said back in the fall when Erin Windibank and I met with them, time with librarians is always time well spent.

Highlights from the Board discussion

Here’s what we talked about during the meeting:

Continue reading “This April 1 Board meeting report is no joke”

March 18 Update from the FAUW Board

President’s report to FAUW board

– dan brown, March 16, 2021 [updated March 22]

This was our last meeting in winter; the equinox on March 20 marked the beginning of spring. I hope you’re appreciating the longer days.

I am very pleased that the President announced his support for Policy 14 at the March Senate meeting. The only remaining step is the policy’s approval at April’s Board of Governors meeting. This policy marks a milestone in moving Waterloo into being a better employer of parents of small children. When combined with the bereavement and compassionate leave improvements announced as part of our salary settlement last month, we will have a proper suite of such benefits for our members. Thank you to the drafting committee for their steadfast work on this project.

Jay Dolmage (chair of FAUW’s Equity Committee), Laura McDonald (FAUW’s Communications Officer) and I met with the team of external reviewers of the Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion office. The review team will be working on this project for the next couple of months, and my expectation is that their eventual report will primarily be advisory to Waterloo’s new president. With equity and inclusion being so much a focus of FAUW’s work right now, we’ll be watching very closely to see what comes from this review.

FAUW elections are going to begin soon! I’m so excited to see who will run and be elected to our board. The Elections Committee hosted a well-attended volunteer recruiting event on March 9. We will also have openings on all of our working groups and committees this spring as well.

This is the first FAUW board meeting in seven years without Bryan Tolson on our board; he’s stepped down as Past President after so many years of service as President, Past President, Vice President, Chief Negotiator, FRC member, and board member. Bryan has led FAUW through a tumultuous time, with humour, grace, and excellent strategy, and I’m going to miss him very much. In particular, I’m grateful for his work on both Policy 14 and as Chief Negotiator, and I wish it had not turned out that both of those issues had come to a peak of work at the same time.

This isn’t really FAUW-related, per se, but I was recently interviewed on Instagram Live by The Glow Centre, Waterloo’s LGBTQ student centre, about what it’s like to be an older (oh, dear) LGBTQ professional. I enjoyed everything about spending time with the students, but it especially reminded me just how much I learn from students whenever I spend time with them. Even with the challenge of this (endless!) pandemic, I hope you’re all getting reminded of just how lovely, and thought provoking, our students all are.

Notes from the Board discussion

  1. Fall term planning. We talked about what we know so far about how each Faculty is approaching the fall and returning to more in-person teaching. We’ll be getting into this more at the next meeting, so now is a good time to talk to a Board member about this! So far, most of the discussions about fall term are happening either in the Faculties or at Dean’s Council, neither of which we participate in. We’ve asked for the committee on timetabling, which we do participate in, to be restarted.

    Some best practices you could consider taking back to your unit that would ease the burden on everyone this fall include not assigning new course preps, and not demanding that instructors with a heavy teaching load teach a mix of in-person and online courses.

    It is our understanding that the usual accommodation process will apply, so if you anticipate needing an accommodation related to teaching in person, we recommend talking to your health-care provider about documentation soon. Accommodations do not have to be limited to having no teaching.  
Continue reading “March 18 Update from the FAUW Board”

March updates from the FAUW president and Board

Here’s the news from the March 4 Board meeting, starting with the pre-meeting president’s report and then an overview of the discussion at the meeting.

President’s report to FAUW board, March 2, 2021

– dan brown

There is so much to talk about from the past few weeks!

Our negotiating team has achieved a settlement with the university administration, including the 1% scale raises that are the maximum possible under Bill 124, an eye exam benefit, an expansion of bereavement leave and establishment of paid compassionate care leave, and more. One particular advance is that the administration has committed to using equity group membership data to assess whether there is a structural inequity in salaries for racialized and Indigenous faculty, and if so, correct it. I’m very grateful to our negotiating team: Bryan Tolson (chief negotiator), Mary Hardy, and Linda Robinson, for their steadfast efforts.

At February Senate, the make-up of the new committee to redraft Policies 76 and 77 to focus on teaching-stream faculty was approved. The committee will take advantage of the many years of work of the previous Policy 76 committee, while specifically examining working conditions, advancement, and hiring of teaching-stream faculty. FAUW’s representatives on that committee will be Su-Yin Tan and Kate Lawson.

We continue to work hard on the approval of Policy 14, the policy on parental and pregnancy leaves. We are still looking forward to it being presented for information at the March Senate meeting, and finally approved at the April Board of Governors meeting.

FAUW elections are underway! We are electing four at-large board members and one board position for a Lecturer. I’m hopeful we’ll have a diverse and competitive slate of candidates. The FAUW elections committee consists of Peter Johnson (chair), Heidi Engelhardt, Amanda Garcia, Laura McDonald, and Nomair Naeem. If you’d like more information about FAUW service opportunities, please contact one of them.

The UW issue over which I am most concerned these days is how fall 2021 teaching will work. Between concerns about the pace of vaccination for COVID-19 and worries about how many international students will be able to make it to Canada in September, I worry that we will have both a lot of on-campus teaching and a lot of remote teaching, in what will be the sixth term in a row disrupted by COVID-19. As I look toward the rest of 2021, I hope we can help build a compassionate workplace for our employees and a caring university for our students, but I am troubled by the degree to which we just don’t know what will happen. Obviously, most of the worst parts of this are outside the administration’s control!

Outside UW, I have been alarmed by the insolvency filing of Laurentian University on February 1. After years of what appear to have been remarkable financial mismanagement, that university filed for creditor protection. FAUW (in concert with OCUFA) has been lobbying provincial officials to pull Laurentian out of insolvency, or pull the provincial government into the proceedings. Several of us from FAUW, Renison and WLU met last week with MPPs from all parties to try to stress that this filing can’t be the first step in widespread bankruptcies of public institutions. I can’t predict whether that message is heard and acted upon, unfortunately.

What we discussed at the meeting

Continue reading “March updates from the FAUW president and Board”

So far in 2021

With only two Board meetings so far this year, both largely focused on confidential negotiations, and no president’s report due to Dan Brown having been on leave, we haven’t had a whole lot to report on yet. But here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening so far this year:

  1. The drafting committee is working on minor edits to the updated Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leaves), directed by FRC and SRC. Once those have final approval, it will go to the University president for approval, Senate for information, and Board of Governors for approval. We anticipate that it will be on the agenda of the April Board of Governors meeting. Once passed by the Board, it is effective immediately.
  2. We have new terms of reference for a new committee to look specifically at teaching stream appointments and draft the necessary changes in policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion). The committee will be given a clear timeline and priorities. These terms of reference will be on the consent agenda at Senate this month and we expect to announce the members of this committee next week.
  3. We are updating our elections procedures, to support efforts to diversify the Board of Directors. In addition to changes at FAUW, we’re also talking about the need for increased representation of equity-seeking groups among faculty in general, in order to make increased representation within FAUW more realistic and sustainable. Nominations will open in March for five seats on the FAUW Board of Directors: four at-large positions, for which any voting member can run, and one seat reserved for a member with a lecturer appointment. If you are interested in running, or know someone who would make a great Board member, please contact Laura McDonald at laura.mcdonald@uwaterloo.ca or Peter Johnson (Elections Committee chair) at peter.johnson@uwaterloo.ca.
Continue reading “So far in 2021”

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”