It’s possible: Despite their long history, universities aren’t immune to change. Digital technologies have fundamentally altered how people relate to factual information. Being resistant to commoditization, our teaching and research costs are mostly in personnel. Increasingly, research spans disciplinary boundaries and is collaborative. Global problems, especially with the environment, are becoming local and urgent. Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission charges us to better include Indigenous scholars and ways of knowing. The ever-growing body of scholarship on teaching and learning gives evidence as to how university teaching should evolve.
The university is always adapting and responding to challenges like these. Participation in the distinctive university apparatus called collegial governance affords faculty members influence in that process.
How collegial governance works at Waterloo
The University of Waterloo is organized on a
bicameral model. Loosely, this means that our Board of Governors looks after
the institution as a nonprofit corporation with an annual cash flow of about a billion
dollars, and our Senate looks after the institution as an educational community
of about 40,000 scholars (faculty, students, many staff).
It’s not a total separation of interests,
however. To manage finances and risk, our Board must know the higher-education
sector, its value and values, its trends, and Waterloo’s distinctive roles in
it. To manage academic programs and policies, our Senate must promote academic
initiatives that show an attractive cost-benefit and risk-reward tradeoff.
Tensions are part of the model: autonomy versus dependence, academic freedom
versus responsibility, individual versus group ambitions, etc.
Something was also a little off about the FAUW executive officers that day…
But hey, there was candy!
The actual meeting
Reports from visitors
After this bizarre delay, the meeting began with an update from Fatma Gzara on the progress of the the Complementary Teaching Assessment Project Team (CTAPT). CTAPT was tasked with “researching and developing methods of assessing teaching and learning complementary to Student Course Perception surveys.” Fatma told us that CTAPT has hired a researcher to review the literature and how teaching is assessed at other universities, the U15 in particular.
We had two visitors to start this meeting. First, Jasmin Habib provided an update on the Course Evaluation Project Team’s implementation phase (CEPT2), in light of the recent Ryerson decision on the use of student evaluations in tenure and promotion decisions. Given that there is another project team exploring other ways of measuring teaching quality and performance (e.g., peer evaluation), CEPT2’s position, as reported at Senate on September 17, is that Waterloo is ahead of the curve and is already working to ameliorate some of the concerns raised by the decision at Ryerson. The issue of addressing bias remains contentious. The group has nearly completed a prototype and are preparing to test it. FAUW will keep an eye on the test process to ensure it doesn’t disadvantage any vulnerable faculty.
Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach then joined us to give an update from the OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee. He wants to raise some awareness and support for CAUT’s upcoming Fair Employment Week and OCUFA’s Fairness for Contract Faculty campaign, in light of the growing informalization of teaching and other kinds of professorial work in Canada. So check those links out.
We had a short discussion about the timeline and communication around proposed changes to our dues structure. These changes, if adopted by the membership, will bring FAUW in line with the conventions of other faculty associations, and alleviate some of the existing inequalities in the existing structure. More information about the proposal is available on our website. Voting members will receive an email with the details next week and a link to the online ballot on October 15. Voting will be open from October 15 to 19.
We spent some time reviewing responses from our members to the Faith Goldy event that did not go ahead earlier this year, in light of the Ontario government’s recent mandate that universities issue a free speech policy. Most responses supported our position on the event, which was issued on April 23rd and emphasized the association’s support of immigrant and non-Canadian members.
The Board appointed Mathieu Doucet as the new FAUW representative on the University Advisory Committee on Traffic Violations and Parking. We would like to see the committee expand its mandate to include active transportation and are confident that Mathieu will be a passionate advocate for this.
We ended, as always, with a review of upcoming events, including the campus tour on Thursday, the Council of Representatives meeting on October 17, a workshop on university governance November 9, and a talk by Mary Hardy on November 16 about the joint university pension plan being developed for University of Toronto, University of Guelph, and Queen’s University employees.
—FAUW President Bryan Tolson with an update on what we’re working on right now and what’s coming up this year.
Welcome to a new academic year! I hope you all took some time off this summer. FAUW is gearing up for a new academic year and I want to quickly fill you in on the array of things we are working on—and to highlight two items that are timely for you to consider putting some thought into.
Performance evaluation addenda
First off, we are quickly approaching the deadline (October 15) for each department and school to update its Addendum to their Faculty Performance Evaluation Guidelines. One quick example of why this might be useful: FAUW thinks this is a reasonable place for departments to specify how teaching tasks are counted and/or what the normal teaching loads are for both tenured/ tenure-track faculty and lecturers in your department.
The Faculty Association invites nominations for directors of the board – four at-large and one representing lecturers – for the term July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019.
Only members as set out in the Faculty Association Constitution are eligible for nomination. Participating members are those regular and non-regular faculty and professional librarians who have opted in to FAUW membership. Learn more about becoming a member of FAUW.
Eligibility for directors-at-large All members, including lecturers, are eligible to run and vote on these positions.
Eligibility for director representing lecturers Only members holding lecturer appointments are eligible to run and vote on this position.
Hint: Check the Call for Nominations announcement in your email if you need a reminder as to whether you’ve opted in or not. If you can’t locate the email, or you think it’s wrong, please contact Laura McDonald. The Faculty Association is strongly committed to representing the interests and concerns of its diverse constituency and membership. We especially welcome those who would contribute to the diversification of the association’s leadership.
Collect the required three signatures from members of FAUW.
Drop off or mail your complete form to the Faculty Association office (MC 4001) no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 13, 2017.
The role of the Board of Directors
The Board considers all matters concerning faculty relations with the University administration, University governance as it affects the association membership, and the Memorandum of Agreement. It also advises association representatives serving on the Faculty Relations Committee, where a wide range of issues related to employment and policy are considered. The Board normally meets biweekly on Thursday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., September through June.
Service to the association is considered service to the University for the purposes of annual performance reviews, tenure, and promotion.
It’s that time of year again. The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo is putting out their 2015 Call for Nominations.
The Faculty Association invites nominations for:
President: term 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016
Director (5): term 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017
Who is eligible?
All faculty members and librarians who have opted to join the Association as official members are eligible. If you are not yet a member and would like to become one, all you have to do is submit a form.
What is the time commitment?
The Board of Directors meets bi-weekly on Thursday afternoons from 2:30-4:30pm, September through June.
Nomination forms are due Tuesday, March 10, 2014by 4:30pm and are to be submitted to Erin Windibank, FAUW Executive Manager in MC 4002.
Do you have a voice that wants to be heard? This is your chance. Sit on the Board of Directors and discuss issues you want resolved, be part of the Faculty Relations Committee, and help make your workplace a better community. Service to FAUW is considered service to the University of Waterloo.