Your Dental Benefits are Increasing in January

The Board is pleased to announce upcoming changes to your benefits. Here’s Alan Macnaughton, Pension and Benefits Committee liaison to the FAUW Board with the details. 

The University Board of Governors has approved dental plan enhancements effective January 1, 2019.

The 2018–21 salary settlement between the University and FAUW provided funds for an approximately 15% increase in the amount the University spends on health and dental plans combined for non-retired faculty members. The negotiations for other employee groups provided for a similar increase. This was a precedent-setting negotiations outcome; we’ve never negotiated an increase in benefits funding before.

Following procedure, the University’s Pension and Benefits Committee was responsible for deciding how to spend the money. The settlement provided only that the funds should be directed to areas with “broad participation.” The Committee decided on dental plan enhancements, and on October 30, the Board of Governors ratified this decision. The new rules apply to anyone covered by the dental plan, not just faculty (UW has the same pension and benefits plan for all employees).

What’s changing

The most important component of our dental plan is the coverage of basic costs—preventative treatments such as regular oral examinations, x-rays, fillings, extractions, root canals, and periodontal scaling. Presently, the plan reimburses 80% of the cost of these expenses as set out in the Ontario Dental Association (ODA) fee guide from two years ago (to a maximum of $2,193 per covered person). With the plan enhancement, coverage will be based on 95% of the ODA’s current fee guide. This is effective for treatments starting in January 2019. Continue reading “Your Dental Benefits are Increasing in January”

Ryerson Arbitration Decision Regarding Use of Student Evaluations of Teaching

A decision has come in regarding the use of Student Evaluations of Teaching at Ryerson University.

Below is a summary excerpted from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) blog.

Read the full decision: Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association, 2018 CanLII 58446 (ON LA) Continue reading “Ryerson Arbitration Decision Regarding Use of Student Evaluations of Teaching”

Responsible Investing Working Group Report Going to Board of Governors on June 5

The Responsible Investing Working Group (RIWG) released its report to the University community for the first time on Thursday, May 31, as part of the agenda package of the Board of Governors (BoG) meeting happening in only a few days (Tuesday, June 5). The agenda contains a motion to endorse and implement the report recommendations.

This working group was formed in response to the strong interest and advocacy of some UW community delegations. It was tasked with making recommendations on whether and how to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into decision making for the investment of the university’s endowments and your pension funds.

Our members are keenly interested in how their pensions are managed. In a March 28 blog post, we said we would “seek input from members and formulate a response” when the report was released.

As I hope you will understand, FAUW is unable to keep our commitment to you. Four working days is not enough time for the FAUW Board to read and understand the report and then gather feedback on it from our members. As such, we requested that this agenda item be for information only at the June 5 BoG meeting, thereby delaying the vote until the next meeting, in October. This request was denied.
Continue reading “Responsible Investing Working Group Report Going to Board of Governors on June 5”

Missed the Waterloo Debate on Post-Secondary Education? Watch it Here

On Wednesday, May 16, a coalition of student and employee groups at Laurier, Waterloo, and Conestoga hosted a debate on post-secondary education issues with provincial candidates in the Waterloo riding. We’d like to thank Kimberly Ellis-Hale from the Laurier faculty association in particular for her leadership in organizing this event.

The participating candidates were:

  • Green Party: Zdravko Gunjevic
  • Liberal Party: Dorothy McCabe
  • New Democratic Party (NDP): Catherine Fife
  • Progressive Conservative (PC) Party: Dan Weber

You can watch a recording of the debate on the Laurier Students’ Union Facebook page (even without a Facebook account).

Don’t have time to watch? Here are a few highlights of what each candidate said about their party’s stance on key PSE issues. Note that this is hardly an exhaustive summary of the conversation.
Continue reading “Missed the Waterloo Debate on Post-Secondary Education? Watch it Here”

A (Huge) Thank-you and an Update on our #multiculturalUW Campaign

Dear community,

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of the hundreds of donors who are making clear that they support a #multiculturalUW. [If you don’t know what this is about, see the post “FAUW Supports a Multicultural UW. Will You Help?“]

We created the campaign quickly because we did not want to delay in telling Indigenous and racialized campus members that we have their backs. And, to be honest, we had no idea how quickly this campaign would grow and outstrip the modest goal we had set for it. We should have known that thousands of University of Waterloo students, staff, faculty and alumni, and friends across the country would share our positive message and help us to wildly exceed our fundraising goal.

We are proud to partner with Shatitsirótha’ (the Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre), and with the Collective Movement Award (on the recommendation of UW’s Black Association for Student Expression) for this campaign. But now, as the number continues to climb, we are cognizant of the concern that other campus diversity initiatives—and other racialized and new Canadian groups—in addition to these two could also benefit from the community’s generosity.

We have spoken with our Shatitsirótha’ and Collective Movement partners and they agree. So, in the coming days and weeks, we’ll be consulting with Waterloo’s two student governments and other campus partners for advice on where to direct the funds we have raised, and continue to raise, beyond our initial goal. We’ll take our time to make sure that the decision we make is fair. And then we’ll let you know what we’ve come up with. In the meantime, thank you again for proving that University of Waterloo supports its diverse, multicultural community!

FAUW Supports a Multicultural UW. Will You Help?

— Bryan Tolson, FAUW President

It has come to FAUW’s attention that an unofficial Laurier club has rented the Theatre of the Arts on April 30 for an event featuring Faith Goldy and Ricardo Duchesne. Goldy is a former commentator with The Rebel Media whose contract was terminated for her appearance on a white nationalist podcast. Duchesne is the author of Canada in Decay: Mass Immigration, Diversity, and the Ethnocide of Euro-Canadians. They will be discussing “multiculturalism, borders, and identity in Canada.”

I’ve checked, and the Theatre of the Arts is indeed available for public rentals whenever it isn’t being used for academic purposes (you might have noticed the dance competitions last week, for example). This is an external event, not supported or endorsed by the University of Waterloo. The speakers were not invited to campus by faculty, staff, or students. Their ideas do not reflect the views or the scholarship of our faculty, staff, or students. I personally don’t want to hear what these speakers have to say and won’t be on campus during this event.

But that’s not enough for me or FAUW because we want people who are marginalized by these messages to know that we support them. Continue reading “FAUW Supports a Multicultural UW. Will You Help?”

A View of Academic Freedom and Top-ten-ness

—George Freeman, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

The President’s Luncheon on Academic Freedom, held March 12, was the start of a great exploration, particularly if the university develops a serious interest in President Hamdullahpur’s vision around seeking to be a top-ten school, seen in his discussion document “Disrupting the 21st Century University, Imagining the University of Waterloo @2025” where it is expressed as the question “do we want to be recognized and respected as one of the best in the world?” [emphasis added].

This first meeting spoke to the general policies protecting academic freedom at Waterloo and focused mostly on aspects protecting our freedom to engage controversial ideas and disseminate controversial results. I take a much wider definition of academic freedom which includes all three of President Hamdullahpur’s “non-negotiable principles” around this topic: institutional autonomy, faculty independence, and academic freedom”. Although dismissable as just semantics, I believe it is important to not forget those institutional- and faculty-autonomy components. There’s a similar trap in the University of Waterloo Act, where our objects are “the pursuit of learning through scholarship, teaching and research within a spirit of free enquiry and expression.” It is too easy to group free enquiry and free expression under a common mental heading of “free talk” and forget that what it is we talk about has to come from someplace. Academic freedom in the large also protects that place (or spirit).

In my opinion, the history of scholarship demonstrates that it is extremely difficult to suppress ideas and their evidence-based evaluation forever. To me, academic freedom, in the freedom-of-expression sense, acts mostly to prevent long delays and prevent the messenger from being punished for the message. This protection of an environment free of recrimination and censorship is obviously important but not the whole story. In a policy sense, it admits to after-the-fact remedies for violations, something easy for us to contemplate.

Continue reading “A View of Academic Freedom and Top-ten-ness”