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.

Welcome new faculty!

The New Faculty Orientation LEARN site launches this week, and it features a new video from FAUW that explains who we are and what we do.

If you’ve joined Waterloo in the last year and you haven’t received your invitation (from the Provost’s Office) to the LEARN site and New Faculty Orientation by Tuesday, please let us know!

Video transcript

dan brown, FAUW President / School of Computer Science: Hello! Welcome to Waterloo. I’m the president of FAUW, the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo, which is the official representative of members of the Waterloo faculty. I’m here with a bunch of our committee chairs and Board members to tell you a little bit about what FAUW does for its members.

Bryan Tolson, FAUW’s Past President / Civil and Environmental Engineering: FAUW is not a union, but we do collectively bargain for our members’ salaries.

Johanna Wandel, FAUW Vice President / Geography and Environmental Management: We also negotiate fair and equitable university policies and make sure faculty voices are represented on dozens of University committees.

Lori Curtis, Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee Chair / Economics: We have a team of colleagues ready to assist our members with the tenure & promotion process or any workplace issues that may arise.

Kate Lawson, FAUW Director (Arts) / English Language and Literature: FAUW also represents Waterloo at provincial and national bodies that advocate for university faculty.

Narveen Jandu, FAUW Director-at-large / School of Public Health and Health Systems: We host events throughout the year to bring faculty together. At these events, we share information and offer advice on everything from taking leaves to work-life balance.

Alfred Yu, FAUW Director (Engineering) / Electrical and Computer Engineering: We make sure you hear about things happening on campus that affect our faculty through our blog, social media, and email.

Jay Dolmage, Equity Committee Chair / English Language and Literature: FAUW’s Equity Committee advocates for faculty from underrepresented groups and we’re working to build a more equitable university.

Su-Yin Tan, Lecturers Committee Chair / Geography and Environmental Management: Our Lecturer Committee is the voice for Lecturers on campus, advocating for this large group of Waterloo’s faculty.

Allison Kelly, Climate Justice Working Group Co-chair / Psychology: Our new Climate Justice Working Group is advocating for ways that the university can ethically respond to the climate crisis.

Nancy Worth, Indigenization Working Group member / Geography and Environmental Management: FAUW’s Indigenization Working Group helps faculty members better understand and act on Indigenization and reconciliation efforts.

Heidi Engelhardt, FAUW Director (Science) / Biology: You can contact any of us on the FAUW Board or FAUW staff member if you need help with anything as you settle into your role at Waterloo.

dan brown, FAUW President: We’re looking forward to welcoming you more fully at either the new faculty orientation in September or at one of our events this year. Again, welcome.

Learn more or join FAUW at uwaterloo.ca/fauw.

FAUW Celebrates Three Campus Champions and Six Decades of Collegial Governance

On October 26, FAUW held a 60th anniversary discussion exploring the unique relationship between faculty and the administration at Waterloo, and presented our first Awards of Appreciation to honour members of the University community who have made real differences in the lives of faculty members.

Left to right: David DeVidi, Roman Dubinski, Lynne Taylor, Ian Goulden, Bryan Tolson (FAUW president).

Panelists Roman Dubinski (FAUW president 1970–71), David DeVidi (FAUW president 2007–09), Lynne Taylor (chief negotiator and board member 2014–16), and Ian Goulden (dean of mathematics 2010–15) described the evolution of faculty representation at Waterloo, from the early relationship characterized by the University’s “benign paternalism” (in Dubinski’s words), through three attempts to unionize in the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s, to the “honest conversation” of the current arrangement.

Continue reading “FAUW Celebrates Three Campus Champions and Six Decades of Collegial Governance”

President’s Report to Members

<![CDATA[Sally Gunz, FAUW President

As I write this, those of you who are teaching this term will be enjoying the winter term break. I wish you well. May you have a good holiday, catch up, or achieve whatever goals you set yourself for the week. I last wrote in November so it is time for a short update on matters relating to FAUW.

New president

First, and most importantly, congratulations to Bryan Tolson for his election as the incoming president of FAUW. I suspect every former FAUW president shares my sentiments; it is a real pleasure to know that there are always members of our academy willing to take over leadership roles on FAUW. Bryan is particularly dedicated to FAUW and its members and will make an excellent president. He is formally on sabbatical from March 1 until August 31st so I will continue on as acting president through July and August, with Bryan beginning his term in September.

Elections for members-at-large of the board

Elections for four (4) member-at-large positions and one (1) lecturer position on the FAUW board will be held ahead of the April general meeting. I encourage anyone interested in running for such a position to discuss what it entails with any current or former board member. Nomination forms will be available on the FAUW website from March 1 with a closing date for nominations of March 13. The election itself (an online ballot) will be conducted March 21 through April 3.

Hagey Lecture

The Hagey Lecture is the premier event in the university speaker calendar. Typically it is held in the fall but this year it was shifted to March 2017 in order to accommodate the speaker’s schedule. The committee (chaired by Jasmin Habib) has selected an outstanding speaker. Dr. Carol Barnes (University of Arizona) will discuss how memory and the brain change during aging, highlighting some of the current thinking about how to optimize brain and mental functions throughout life. Please join us at the Humanities Theatre (HH) on 22nd March. Visit the event page to secure your free ticket.

Fall term break

The fall term break is a three-year pilot. Results from a student survey conducted by the Student Success Office will be presented at the next senate meeting. FAUW was asked about the perspective of faculty members and we encourage you to respond to our request for input if you have specific thoughts. So far the main concerns we have heard expressed centre around the difficulty for lab-based courses as a result of the two day, post-Thanksgiving break. Suggestions have been made that these could be overcome either by using the two days ahead of Thanksgiving (Thursday, Friday) or to extend the break to one week, as per the winter break. Those responsible for this project seem to be aware of these concerns but they did not indicate they would be making any changes. We would appreciate your input either on this or other issues relating to the break. For example, what was your experience of class attendance for the two days of the week following the Fall Break?

Please provide feedback in the comments section or by emailing laura.mcdonald@uwaterloo.ca.

Memorandum of Agreement

If you are tenured or a continuing lecturer, you will have now completed your last evaluation process until 2019. At the risk of stating the obvious, you will still be reporting on your activities for 2017 and 2018 but you will not complete a report until January 2019. Some further MoA changes will be circulated before long. These are generally of a technical nature. The one that will most affect you relates to histograms of performance evaluation. In the future you will be receiving a breakdown by all three categories (teaching, research and service). Full explanations of the changes will be provided at the time of the vote.

University governance and policy projects

On December 21, an announcement was made by the University president that the combined function of university secretary and general counsel would be separated into two offices. A consequence of this has been some delay in the policy revision projects. Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour) work continues and it is expected that the review of Policy 42 (Sexual Violence) will begin soon. Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) will begin its work again in March as will, most likely, the Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental leaves (including Adoption)) committee.

Surveys of student experience

We were all recently advised that the Course Evaluation Project Taskforce (CEPT) is currently reviewing the responses received to its draft report. The FAUW response is available on the FAUW website as is one from SWEC and a number of faculty members in the department of psychology. It remains a concern to FAUW just how many departments rely primarily – and in some cases solely – on student evaluations for the evaluation of teaching for annual performance evaluations and promotion and tenure given the very real concerns about the validity of these as measures of actual quality of teaching. FAUW has plans to help support the implementation of better practices for evaluating teaching over the year ahead. Note that the header used in this section follows FAUW’s recommended description for these exercises. The conclusion of the psychology experts and others is that it is inappropriate to expect students to be able to assess the quality of the teaching itself.

Other issues

  • FAUW has continued to work with the administration at the Faculty Relations Committee (FRC). You have all been notified about the provost’s new conflict of interest guidelines for hiring which were drafted jointly by FAUW and the administration. They take the form of a provostial guideline; these documents can be found on the Provost’s Office website and FAUW’s site
  • I would like to note that FAUW had no role in the provost’s recent announcement about business class travel, although I remain deeply jealous of anyone who has managed to pull this one off up until now!
  • Several hiring committees have either recently been struck or are about to be struck. I am FAUW’s representative on the committee to hire the university secretary and Dan Brown will be FAUW’s representative on the committee to hire a new registrar.
  • The Lecturers Committee published its report on the findings of its survey of all lecturers at the University of Waterloo administered in November 2015. 
  • If you are a new faculty member, please join us at another gathering either at noon or 4:00 on March 9. These are informal events at which you can meet fellow newcomers to UW and exchange experiences. Details will be posted to the FAUW website and emailed to new members soon.
  • The FAUW tenure and promotion workshop series will be held once more on April 4 and 5. These offer critical advice to those of you who are either untenured or are considering applying for promotion to full professor (See the FAUW Events page for details). 
  • FAUW will be introducing a new workshop to its series this Fall. In September there will be a workshop for all faculty members who have recently been tenured. More information will be available about this soon.
  • FAUW’s grievance with the administration was resolved to the satisfaction of the parties.

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FAUW Welcomes New Staff Member

Please join FAUW in welcoming Katie Damphouse, our new Academic Freedom and Tenure and Policy Officer. We are delighted that Katie has joined our team and is ready to take on the challenges of her new role. She has been part of the University community for 10 years and brings experience in mediation, coaching and policy development. Her passion for advising others will ensure excellence while assisting faculty with a variety of issues.
Welcome, Katie! 

Why UW? Reflections on How UW Operates

David Porreca, FAUW President

In my 22 months’ experience as FAUW President, I have had the opportunity to attend a number of meetings with my counterpart colleagues from other institutions at the provincial level under the auspices of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA – of which our own Kate Lawson is President) and at the federal level under the Canadian Association of University Teachers(CAUT). At these meetings one thing inevitably stands out to me in the starkest possible terms: how differently UW operates as compared to other institutions.

Generally speaking, the tone of interaction between faculty representatives elsewhere and their institutions is one of chronic mistrust and by-default antagonism. By contrast, UW manages to operate smoothly, with open and constructive dialogue on issues and concerns happening through well-recognized, well-respected and effective channels (e.g., Faculty Relations Committee (FRC), FAUW’s Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (AF&T)).

In my experience observing other large organizations both academic and non-academic, institutions end up with the unions they deserve, initially as a result of poor management. UW somehow has avoided such pitfalls.

So, what makes UW operate so differently? I’ve been puzzling over this question and have the following speculations to offer, most at the intersection of faculty working conditions and financial considerations:

Continue reading “Why UW? Reflections on How UW Operates”

FAUW Video: Being President

In our first video, David Porreca discusses some of the triumphs and some of the trials of being president of FAUW. Look either here or on our YouTube channel for a new video every Friday, at least until summer. If you’re a faculty member and would like to talk about your teaching, research, service, or have another video idea, please let us know on Twitter!


We hope to see you next week on Tuesday, April 8, from 11:00 – 13:00 in DC 1302. Join us for lunch and a discussion of issues currently facing faculty members at Waterloo.