Board meeting report: September 15, 2022

The FAUW Board of Directors met for the first time in the 2022–23 academic year on September 15. For those new to the blog, we (try to) provide updates after (most) board meetings, to keep members up to date on what we’re working on.

At this meeting:

The board welcomed new directors and FAUW’s new executive manager, Matthew Root. If you missed it in our latest newsletter, Matt’s background is in labour relations, specifically in the broader public sector and post-secondary education fields, and he started in August. New directors this year are Nancy Worth (Geography), Shannon Majowicz (School of Public Health Sciences), and Paul Wehr (Psychology). See the full list of directors here.

Parliamentarian Katy Fulfer gave a refresher on what a parliamentarian is:

A parliamentarian is an advisor to an organization, including but not limited to the president, a meeting chair, officers, committees, and members, on rules of order (47:46). Their advice is non-binding. The president or (in a meeting) the meeting chair gets to make the final decision about procedure.

I imagine the parliamentarian like an angel on your shoulder, whispering advice. In the lingo of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, this angel is lawful neutral. The lawful part is probably obvious. The neutrality speaks to the parliamentarian’s role as a consultant. They do not participate in debate, and Robert’s Rules of Order goes as far to say they should abstain from voting unless ballots are used, where their vote will not be seen by members (47.55). 

Policy updates

FAUW President Lori Curtis expanded on some updates delivered at the August general meeting about the status of some policy issues. While we hear a lot about Policy 76/77, Policy 57 (Accommodations), Policy 12 (Compassionate Care Leave), and Policy 33 (Ethical behaviour) also remain incomplete. Our FAUW reps are pushing for movement on P57 and P12 at their PDCs. It is our understanding that Policy 33 is with the Secretariat. Lori also noted that FAUW brought up the Salary Anomaly Review again at the last Faculty Relations Committee meeting. While administration states they are fully supportive of the process beginning, we will keep pushing for this to actually move it forward. We also reminded the administration about the letters from the Equity and Lecturers committees with recommendations for improving the review process.

COVID and masks on campus

The Board also, of course, talked about COVID and what the University is (or isn’t) doing to reduce the risk of transmission on campus. FAUW representatives raised concerns with the administration about the University’s posters about masking on campus, namely that they undermine the University’s position about ‘strongly encouraging’ everyone to wear a mask. The administration agreed, and we’ve since been told that new posters are in the works.

FAUW’s position earlier this year was in favour of continuing a mask requirement on campus. The Board revisited this issue in light of the current status of the pandemic. We’re very happy to have Board members with relevant expertise in microbiology and epidemiology, who are going to consult with colleagues and bring more information back for further discussion at the next meeting. In the meantime, the Board voted in favour of running a campaign promoting the University’s own language of “strongly recommending” masks, though the more recent news about the University’s posters may change these plans.

Policies 76/77

Finally, the board discussed, as usual, the status of policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members).

Following some discussion about the current “path forward” being worked out with administration, the board supported the latest draft path forward and agreed to take the path forward to the membership at a general meeting this fall, followed by a poll of lecturers, as per the motion passed at the August general meeting.

The board noted an important clarification about the path forward: while the “steps”—policy drafting committee meetings, mediation, arbitration—are numbered in the drafts of the path forward that have been shared so far, they are not actually separate—or separable—parts of the process. The path forward is all one process that automatically proceeds to each stage, triggered by the failure of the previous stage.

This is necessary in part because, as we’ve been advised, a mediator is not likely to agree to a mediation/arbitration process if either side can opt out of said process before arbitration. It is also not at all in our best interests—and indeed the process breaks down—if either side can say “well, we probably won’t win at arbitration, so we’ll just stop now,” because then there’s no incentive to negotiate earnestly. The administration could simply stonewall us and then back out before arbitration. And we don’t imagine that the administration would agree to give us an “out” without them getting one as well.

Importantly, the board also agreed with President Lori Curtis’s plan that the majority of FAUW appointees to the policy drafting committee (and therefore any potential mediation/arbitration) will be lecturers.

Update on the AODA Education Standard

As you may recall, FAUW was invited to provide feedback on the draft of the new Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) education standard in October 2021. The draft outlined 179 recommendations proposed to inform accessibility standards for education across Ontario under the AODA.

The Final Recommendations Report was released on April 22, 2022 and is comprised of 183 recommendations for government, educational governing bodies, and post-secondary education institutions. The standard is extensive and will have direct and significant implications for the University’s current governance and infrastructure, teaching and learning practices, research and funding principles, and student experience operations. While the standard is not yet enacted into legislation, it is expected that it will be within the next year.

Waterloo’s workplace accessibility specialist, Joyce Barlow, has created a summary of the final recommendations, “Upcoming to Changes to Accessibility for the AODA.” You can download a copy of the summary here (PDF).

There is currently no formal plan for gathering feedback from individual stakeholders (e.g., faculty members) as the standard is being discussed at administrative levels. We will share further updates as we have them. If you have questions or feedback to share in the meantime, please contact me: zara.rafferty@uwaterloo.ca 


Zara Rafferty is a continuing lecturer in Recreation and Leisure Studies, and the faculty representative on the UW Accessibility Committee.

What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?

We have heard concerns from some current lecturers about what we are calling “Pedagogical and Professional Development activities,” or “PPD.” They are worried that, in the Policy 76/77 revision process, FAUW is pushing for research to be a required part of the job for lecturers who move into the new professorial teaching-stream ranks.

This is not the case.

What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?

FAUW and the administration have not agreed to specific lists of activities yet. Here is just a sample of some activities that FAUW believes should count as PPD:*

Pedagogical development activities:

  • Exploring, developing, and/or implementing new teaching practices;
  • Designing or redesigning a course;
  • Participating in curriculum development or review;
  • Participating in teaching initiatives in your department or faculty; at the university; or at other universities;
  • Attending or participating in workshops and conferences on pedagogy;
  • Taking on internal or external educational leadership roles (e.g. teaching fellowships or invited teaching at other universities);
  • Performing disciplinary or pedagogical research/scholarly work (see “Where traditional research fits in” below).

Professional development activities:

  • If applicable, maintaining professional licences or accreditations (e.g. in engineering, pharmacy, accounting);
  • Other activities required to maintain professional standing in a field.

Where traditional research fits in

Policy 77 currently states about both professors and lecturers:

University teaching is informed and enriched by the research and scholarship of the professoriate. The University expects its regular faculty members to be active participants in the evolution of their disciplines and professions, to keep academic programs and courses current with developments in their fields, and to communicate both their discoveries and their commitment to scholarship and research.

FAUW believes that, to be “active participants in the evolution” of their fields, teaching-stream faculty should be encouraged to, for example, attend disciplinary conferences. And, if teaching-stream faculty want to engage in traditional forms of dissemination of research/scholarly work—either in their discipline or in the scholarship of teaching and learning—it too should “count” as pedagogical development.

But, to be clear, FAUW is not advocating that teaching-stream faculty must do research.

Continue reading “What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?”

A Lost Opportunity: Report from the FAUW Representatives on the Policy 76/77 Drafting Committee

– By Su-Yin Tan and Kate Lawson

We are very disappointed to report that the latest effort to improve terms and conditions of employment for Definite Term and Continuing Lecturers has failed.

We are the FAUW appointees on the Policy Drafting Committee (PDC) that began work in March to revise Policies 76 Faculty Appointments and 77 Promotion and Tenure with regard to teaching stream faculty members; the administration appointees were David DeVidi (committee chair) and Kevin Hare.

We report here on the PDC procedures, FAUW objectives, and what happened over the past six months. (Note that confidentiality provisions in the Terms of Reference for the PDC mean that we can report only on public documents and on our own activities.)

We began the process believing that Lecturers at Waterloo deserve working conditions near or equal to those of teaching stream colleagues at other large non-certified Ontario universities (University of Toronto and McMaster University). UWaterloo is in very good financial shape and UW’s Lecturers are just as qualified as Toronto’s “teaching-stream professors” and McMaster’s “teaching-track professors.”

We entered into the PDC process having studied relevant policies at these “comparator institutions,” willing to prioritize our goals, and prepared for good faith and collegial discussions with the representatives of the administration. We are thus very disheartened that no agreement on any revised policies was reached.

Continue reading “A Lost Opportunity: Report from the FAUW Representatives on the Policy 76/77 Drafting Committee”

How much would a true non-teaching term cost?

One of the issues that the FAUW team hopes to address in the revision process for Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) and Policy 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members) is workload, one component of which is a regular non-teaching term for teaching-intensive faculty.

The current Policy 76 includes a provision for non-teaching terms: “…Lecturers shall have the option to have at least one term in six be a non-teaching term.” The interpretation of this clause, however, varies across faculties and even departments. In the faculty of Environment and in several departments in Engineering and Science, the non-teaching term is taken to be a reduction in load in that academic year; other faculties such as Arts, Health, and Math interpret the non-teaching term as a redistribution of load. In this case, lecturers teach their normal annual course load in two terms rather than three.

What lecturers say

Results from the recent FAUW Lecturers Committee survey, which had a response rate of 80%, show that 61% of the 192 respondents had had at least one non-teaching term during their employment at the University. Among these lecturers, 37% had what we’ll call a “true” non-teaching term (i.e., their teaching load was reduced not redistributed) while the remaining 63% had their load redistributed. For the 39% of lecturers who have never taken a non-teaching term, the redistribution of workload was cited as the most common barrier.

In recent faculty consultation sessions organized by the Lecturers Committee, lecturers shared that that having time and resources to fulfil professional development and scholarly work is a high priority. Many lecturers commented that a true non-teaching term would allow them to engage in scholarly activities including curriculum development, professional development, pedagogical research, and staying up to date in their field. There was also discussion around the mental health benefits of a non-teaching term during which lecturers could also take their annual vacation entitlement and recharge.

We should also recall that the University’s current Strategic Plan states that Waterloo strives to be “a people-centered institution committed to genuine care, concern, respect, inclusivity and well-being for all.” These values include commitments “to embed and promote sustainability and foster personal development and supportive environments for mental health and resilience, physical health, social inclusion, belonging and spiritual well-being in campus culture.”

Ensuring that teaching faculty have adequate time to engage in foundational academic activities—such as staying up to date in their fields and planning new courses—as well as much needed personal activities—such as taking vacations— is necessary for UW to fulfil these commitments.

The numbers

So, how much would it cost the University to implement a true non-teaching term for lecturers? Relying on FAUW membership data on lecturers and on data collected from the FAUW Lecturers Committee survey, we’ve come up with an upper-bound cost estimate.

Continue reading “How much would a true non-teaching term cost?”

June 3 report from the Board

Here are the updates from the June 3, 2021, FAUW Board of Directors meeting.

Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) change

On June 1, the University Board of Governors approved an update to Policy 76 that changes the threshold for which appointments need to go through UARC—it will now review appointments “longer than two years,” rather than “two years or longer.” As we reported last time, this will remove the primary reason for two-years-minus-one-day appointments. We asked the deans to add an extra day to all two-years-minus-one-day appointments and have heard from three that they are doing so. Two faculties don’t have any such appointments, and the sixth is discussing the issue further but we expect that to be resolved soon.

This extra day comes with significantly improved benefits, including dental coverage, better sick leave, long-term disability coverage, access to the Employee & Family Assistance Program, eligibility for the new pregnancy and parental leave policy, and tuition benefits under Policy 4 (for employees) and Policy 24 (for employees’ children). It can also have implications for retirement benefits eligibility.

Other work on Policy 76/77 will continue through the summer.

Equity data survey

We’re excited that the University equity survey will be going out soon. We encourage you to participate in it. This survey is what will provide the Salary Anomaly Working Group with the data needed to run the race-based salary anomaly review that we negotiated in our latest salary settlement. There is a lot of information about the survey and how the data will be used on the Equity Office website.

Response to FAUW position on fall 2021

Mario Ioannidis is representing FAUW on the new return-to-campus working group. This group has representatives from the Staff Association, Occupational Health, the Safety Office, Human Resources, and Plant Operations, among other units, and meets every other week. They are informing institutional guidelines (e.g. classroom capacity) for a staged return from now through January 2022, and applying a change management framework to this return. The group recognizes that returning to campus significantly affects faculty members.

Mario and Johanna Wandel met with Plant Operations. Plant Ops started upgrading HVAC systems (of which there are more than 300) as soon as campus emptied out last year. They are using MERV 13 standard air filters throughout campus and we’re working with them on getting detailed data to members about the rooms they use.

Tenure and promotion 2021

We are asking the University to ensure that departmental and faculty tenure & promotion committees (and external referees) take the effects of the pandemic on teaching and research into account when reviewing tenure and promotion files this year.

Continue reading “June 3 report from the Board”

Help Dr. X take their vacation!

Dr. X is a Lecturer at the University of Waterloo who teaches three terms a year. They are finding it difficult to take their four weeks of annual vacation entitlement, to be scheduled in blocks at least one week long.

The challenge

  • Can you help Dr. X find four one-week blocks of vacation time in the 2021-22 academic year? Share your results in the comments below.
The 2021-22 academic calendar, with academic dates from the Registrar’s important dates tool and paid holidays from the Human Resources website.


The 2021-22 academic calendar, with academic dates from the Registrar’s important dates tool and paid holidays from the Human Resources website.

Considerations and constraints

  • Dr. X has an exam scheduled on April 23; marking the exam and submitting final grades will take approximately four days.
  • Dr. X would like to attend their sister’s wedding in BC on July 3.
  • Dr. X’s family has been offered a cottage rental from August 8–21; Dr. X would like to join their family.
  • Dr. X has been assigned a new course in fall 2022 and needs time to prepare it.
  • Statutory holidays don’t count toward vacation time.
  • Dr. X’s chair needs to agree on the timing of each block of vacation ahead of time.

Reflections

  • Does Dr. X still have adequate time for marking and course prep, without doing any work during their vacation?
  • Would Dr. X be able to take two weeks off at a time?
  • What would make it easier for Dr. X to take their full vacation entitlement?

Share your results and reflections in the comments!

Bonus round

  • For bonus points, help Dr. Y take their five weeks of vacation entitlement. Dr. Y is entitled to five weeks since they have been at Waterloo for more than 10 years.
  • Extra bonus points: Help Dr. Z take seven weeks of vacation—their five-week entitlement, plus the two weeks they carried forward from the previous year.

What this is about

Workload for teaching faculty is one of the issues that the FAUW team hopes to discuss in the revision process for Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments and Policy 77 – Promotion and Tenure.

Workload is a complex issue. For Lecturers, it intersects with vacation access because—as you saw with Dr. X—teaching three terms a year leaves very little time for meaningful vacation.

It is true that Waterloo is a three-term university, unlike many of our comparator institutions. It is also true that UW has enjoyed the flexibility of assigning work to Lecturers in all three terms. But what if flexibility means a lack of access to vacations? Can teaching workload be assigned more fairly?

What is clear is that teaching-stream faculty members deserve to take the annual vacations that allow us all a chance to rest and relax, to connect with family and friends, and to come back to work refreshed. Work-life balance is something we hear a lot about these days. Teaching faculty at UW deserve this balance as well.

Professors of Teaching at UBC

We’ve told you about teaching stream professors at the University of Toronto and McMaster University. This week, we head west, to the University of British Columbia. UBC appoints tenure-track and tenured professors of teaching.

UBC’s model of teaching faculty, along with Toronto’s and McMaster’s, is being considered by the policy drafting committee that is updating Policy 76 Faculty Appointments and Policy 77 Tenure and Promotion.

Here are some details from the 2020 UBC Collective Agreement.

  • There are three ranks: Assistant Professor of Teaching, Associate Professor of Teaching, and Professor of Teaching.
  • Tenure-track Assistant Professors of Teaching are normally evaluated for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching in the fifth year of their appointment.
  • Associate Professors of Teaching and Professors of Teaching have the same rights to “study leave” as other professorial faculty. Study leaves allow faculty “to pursue study or research, of benefit to the individual and the University.”
  • Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching “requires evidence of excellence in teaching, demonstrated educational leadership, involvement in curriculum development and innovation, and other teaching and learning initiatives. It is expected that Associate Professors of Teaching will keep abreast of current developments in their respective disciplines, and in the field of teaching and learning.”
  • Promotion to Professor of Teaching requires “evidence of outstanding achievement in teaching and educational leadership, distinction in the field of teaching and learning, sustained and innovative contributions to curriculum development, course design and other initiatives that advance the University’s ability to excel in its teaching and learning mandate. … Promotion to this rank is neither automatic nor based on years of service and it is expected that some persons will not attain this rank.”
  • “Educational leadership,” a key category for teaching faculty at UBC, includes many activities, such as the scholarship of teaching and learning; curriculum development and renewal, new assessment models, pedagogical innovation; teaching, mentorship and inspiration of colleagues; formal leadership responsibilities in a department, program, or faculty; and other activities that support evidence-based educational excellence, leadership and impact within and beyond the University.

As you can see, UBC has created a distinct career path for teaching faculty that runs in parallel to that of existing professorial stream faculty.

The FAUW representatives on the P76/77 Policy Drafting Committee are working to ensure that teaching faculty members at the University of Waterloo are fairly and rigorously evaluated and their contributions recognised and rewarded. Head to the FAUW website to learn about the committee’s work to recommend new terms and conditions of employment for UW’s teaching faculty members.

Another professorial teaching stream model: McMaster University

The other day, we told you about the “teaching stream” professoriate at the University of Toronto. Today, we want to let you know about “teaching-track faculty” at McMaster University. Both universities provide models that are helping to guide ongoing discussions about the future of teaching faculty here at the University of Waterloo.

Here are some details from the 2012 McMaster University policy on “Academic appointment, tenure and promotion” (PDF).

  • At McMaster, teaching-track faculty are expected to be “excellent teachers” and “to keep abreast of developments in the discipline in which they teach.”
  • McMaster’s policy notes that teaching and scholarship are complementary activities in a “research-intensive institution.” 
  • Scholarship in the teaching track is to have a special focus on teaching and pedagogy, so that these faculty members are especially encouraged to engage in activities such as curriculum development and evaluation; mentoring; and research into the efficacy of different pedagogical approaches.
  • In the fifth year of their appointment, Teaching-track Assistant Professors are evaluated for permanence, and they may apply for promotion to Teaching-track Associate Professor and, eventually, to Teaching-track Professor.
  • For promotion to Associate Professor in the teaching track, candidates must demonstrate “significant external recognition” in such areas as: continuing excellence in teaching practice; having teaching innovations adopted by others; assisting or leading curriculum development; presentations and scholarship on teaching or pedagogy; mentoring of other teachers; research on pedagogical and related issues; and/or leadership in experiential learning beyond the classroom.
  • Promotion to Professor in the teaching track requires that candidates demonstrate “a national or international reputation” for specific teaching and teaching related contributions.

Here at Waterloo, the policies on faculty appointments (#76) and tenure and promotion (#77) are both being updated. For FAUW, the aim of this process is to create a career path and clear expectations for teaching faculty members at Waterloo.

McMaster’s and Toronto’s well established policies are helpful to the policy drafting committee since each recognises and rewards the contributions of teaching-track faculty members, while providing models for fair and rigorous evaluation processes.

University of Toronto’s teaching stream professoriate

Did you know that the University of Toronto has teaching-stream Professors? This is unlike the University of Waterloo, where faculty members primarily engaged in teaching are appointed as Lecturers.

Here are some key facts about the teaching-stream professoriate at the University of Toronto (described in Toronto’s 2015 “Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments” document):

  • Faculty members in the teaching stream bring “a dimension of teaching excellence and educational innovation that enhances undergraduate or graduate education and adds significantly to the quality of the student experience.”
  • The principal duties of faculty members in the teaching stream are teaching, “scholarship as evidenced in teaching and related pedagogical/professional activities,” and service.
  • Assistant Professors, Teaching Stream, are evaluated for reappointment in the third year of their appointment and for continuing status in the sixth year. They may apply for promotion to Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, and (eventually) to Professor, Teaching Stream.
  • The rank of Professor, Teaching Stream, is a recognition of “excellent teaching, educational leadership and/or achievement, and ongoing pedagogical/professional development, sustained over many years.”
  • Promotion decisions are as serious in the teaching stream as in the regular professorial stream: “The awarding by the University of a given rank confers a status which, in a general way, is acknowledged and respected both inside and outside the academic community.”

Here at Waterloo, the policies on faculty appointments (#76) and tenure and promotion (#77) are both being updated. For FAUW, the aim of this process is to create a career path and clear expectations for teaching faculty members.

The University of Toronto’s policies recognise and reward the contributions of teaching-stream faculty. Its appointment structure and rigorous evaluation processes provide a model that is helping inform the Policy 76/77 updating process.