Notes from our April 23 Board meeting + takeaways from CAUT COVID-19 town halls

Here are the highlights from last week’s FAUW Board meeting. Feel free to reach out to a Board member or comment below if you have questions! This post also includes some takeaways from the two CAUT town hall meetings on COVID-19 and the Academic Job that have happened so far.

Non-COVID-19 related items

  1. The Federal Court of Appeal released their decision on the York Access Copyright case. Overturning the decision of the previous court, the decision protects universities’ ability to opt out of the Access Copyright licence; however, it also suggests that our current interpretation of “fair dealing” may be too liberal. 
  2. We filed an association grievance last week about access to post-retirement benefits, mostly affecting lecturers. If this grievance can’t be resolved internally, the next stage in the process is to go to an external Arbitrator. 
  3. We reviewed an update to the University’s employee accommodation guidelines. We have some concerns about both the process leading to this update and the content we saw and will discuss this at the next Faculty Relations Committee meeting. 
  4. Something we missed in our last update: We passed a rather normal-looking FAUW budget at the general meeting on April 7. The budget accounts for both normal functioning come fall and some work-from-home expenditures for staff and executive members so that we’ve got our bases covered. 
Continue reading “Notes from our April 23 Board meeting + takeaways from CAUT COVID-19 town halls”

What UWaterloo instructors need to know about copyright

Usually when we talk about intellectual property at the University of Waterloo we are talking about Policy 73 (Intellectual Property Rights) which provides that inventors own much of the IP they create. Today, however, we’re talking specifically about your use of copyright-protected materials in class (or on LEARN) as an instructor and the risks of violating copyright.

First, a (very brief!) primer on copyright. A copyright is fundamentally the right to restrict distribution of a creative work. Let’s say I take some pictures of cats. I am the copyright holder of these pictures, and other people cannot legally make copies of, or distribute, these photos without my permission, unless under the so-called fair dealing provision. Fair dealing allows others to use portions of my work for educational purposes.

How do you know what you can use?

As an instructor, you will often be using others’ copyrighted materials for legitimate reasons, and our copyright law permits you to do this without seeking permission from the copyright holder under certain circumstances:

Continue reading “What UWaterloo instructors need to know about copyright”

February at FAUW

Maybe it was the Valentine’s Day candy, or maybe it was the coming long weekend, but we got through the February 13 Board meeting in good time. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. We debriefed the recent Council of Representatives meeting. One topic at that meeting was the importance of Faculty Performance Evaluation Guidelines and departmental addenda. These documents are the place to look for information about what’s a “normal” workload in your department, how service is evaluated, or what counts as teaching. Right now is a good time to start working on updating those documents if they need it (new versions must be approved by October 15). Talk to your Council member for more information. Here are some suggestions for things to include:
    • An explicitly defined normal teaching load
    • The expected/normal supervision load
    • A statement acknowledging different types of teaching and teaching responsibilities
    • The ability to submit peer reviews of teaching and solicited comments or letters
    • That participation in CTE and other workshops counts toward teaching
    • The ability to use evidence not just from the classroom and qualitative evidence
    • Direction that student surveys should be considered with caution
  1. We noted some confusion among members about how benefits plan decisions are made. The Pension & Benefits Committee decides what’s covered in our health and dental plans, and that committee is made up of members from all the represented employee groups (FAUW, the Staff Association, and CUPE) and the Retirees Association, plus representatives from the University administration and Board of Governors. FAUW has three out of 13 votes on the committee.
  2. We heard updates from our rep on the Copyright Advisory Committee. If you have questions about copyright in your classes or your own work, read this interview with Lauren Byl, Copyright and Licensing Librarian, to find out how to get answers!
  3. We cleared up an issue about travel to Cuba. University Finance sent a memo last July stating that “international financial sanctions prevent the University from making or receiving payment for products or services related, either directly or indirectly” to certain countries including Cuba and Iran. We had serious concerns about how this might limit opportunities for research collaboration and questions about why the University was implementing American sanctions (Canada doesn’t have sanctions against Cuba). 
    We now have confirmation that the University can “reimburse an employee for travel expenses related to countries subject to sanctions, provided that the employee’s travel reimbursement is to a Canadian bank account and assuming that the travel to that particular country has not otherwise been prohibited under University of Waterloo Policy.” If you encounter any difficulties with claims for travel to countries subject to sanctions, let a FAUW Board or staff member so that we can follow up.”
  4. After hearing that definite term lecturers did not receive an email about nominations for University Senate, we reaffirmed, again, that, lecturers are regular faculty (and eligible to sit on Senate). “Regular faculty” almost exactly overlaps with “faculty represented by FAUW.” Here’s the short version: Regular faculty = lecturers and professors hired for at least one year, except research profs and adjuncts.
    • The slightly more complicated version, as defined in Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) is that regular faculty means all lecturer and professorial rank faculty with appointments one year or longer, including clinical faculty (e.g. a clinical lecturer or clinical associate professor), but not including any faculty who have some other qualifier in their title to designate a non-regular appointment, such as “research,” “adjunct,” “visiting,” or “special.” (Sessional instructors are not regular faculty; they aren’t defined anywhere, but they all have special or adjunct appointments and are hired on contracts shorter than one year.) We’ll have more on this in a blog post from the Lecturers Committee soon.
  5. As we reported in the fall, the Media Resources office and preview room closed when the person staffing the office retired. The resources are now available through the IST Service Desk located in the Davis Centre Library. We brought concerns about this to the University, and have now heard that things are staying essentially the same. There is a new viewing room available at the DC library. To request new materials, email media.loans@uwaterloo.ca. The Associate Vice President, Academic has promised to keep an eye on this, and we will too. Let us know if the office closure creates problems for you.

How You Can Support Fair Copyright and Federal Investment in Basic Research

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is a national organization representing 70,000 academic staff across Canada, including you! All faculty at Waterloo who are represented by FAUW are part of CAUT.

CAUT serves as a resource for faculty associations and members through research, legal support, workshops, and conferences, and lobbies governments on behalf of Canadian academic staff. It also provides ways for individual members to take action on issues affecting academic work.

This month, CAUT is asking members to participate in two major campaigns: Get Science Right, and the Fair Copyright campaign. Read on to find out how you can support these initiatives.

Get Science Right

Thanks to a concerted push by the academic community, the government is hearing the importance of acting on the Advisory Panel on Federal Support for Fundamental Science recommendation to deepen federal investment in basic research.

We need to keep up the pressure.

Here are some simple actions you can take to help propel fundamental research to the top of the government’s agenda for Budget 2018.

1. Meet your Member of Parliament.

Kick off the winter semester by meeting with your Member of Parliament (MP) to talk about important research underway or that could be at your institution, and the role this research will have in improving Canadians’ lives. MPs will be in their ridings until January 26, 2018.

CAUT has prepared some tips and templates to support you as reach out to your MP. Bring this flyer with you to leave with the MP.

2. Write letters to Cabinet Ministers.

Cabinet is where government priorities are set and funding decisions are made. In order to prioritize fundamental science, Honourable Kirsty Duncan, the Minister of Science, needs support at the Cabinet table.

Write letters to Cabinet Ministers to share how increased federal investment in fundamental research is essential to fulfilling their mandate. Use CAUT’s letter template to get started.

3. Sign and share CAUT’s petition.

Add your name to CAUT’s petition calling on the government to increase base funding to research granting councils by $1.3 billion over four years.

Once you sign it, share the petition on social media or via email.

4. Tell the federal government what’s in #YourBudget2018.

Visit #YourBudget2018 to take four short surveys and send an email to the Finance Committee with your priority for the upcoming federal budget – funding for fundamental research. Join the conversation online using the hashtag #YourBudget2018.


Fair Copyright

The federal Copyright Act is under legislative review. The review may roll back important rights, including fair dealing that the education community fought for decades to achieve.

Here are some things you can do right now to help defend these past victories, and advance new rights.

1. Read a Public Service Announcement in class on the importance of fair copyright.

2. Take a selfie with your publications or other creations and share it on social media using the message: I am a creator and I support fair dealing. #fairdealingworks #faircopyright

3. Encourage students to take a picture of their textbook receipts and share on social media with the message using the hashtags #fairdealingworks #faircopyright

4. Show this video at a meeting and in the classroom, put up a poster, and distribute information to colleagues and students to help them learn more about what is at stake.

5. Encourage everyone you know to sign CAUT’s petition calling for the protection of the fair dealing rights of academic staff and students.

To learn more about the Copyright Act review and what it means for academic staff, read our latest Education Review.

CAUT Discussion List on the Copyright Act Review

In anticipation of the upcoming parliamentary review of the Copyright Act, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has created and is hosting a listerv called copy2017a.

The purpose of the list is to facilitate communication among individuals in the education community about the 2017 review.

If you would like to join the list, please contact Paul Jones (jones@caut.ca), CAUT’s Education officer.

By way of background, the purpose of copy2017a is to facilitate discussion of topics of interest to individuals in the education community about the 2017 Review of the Canadian Copyright Act. List members share information about what is happening at the local, provincial, national and international level, and participate in developing advocacy strategies to ensure copyright law respects and furthers the interests of the education community.

copy2017a is a bilingual discussion group and correspondence is encouraged in French or English. copy2017a is not to be used for the posting of job advertisements.

Postings to the list should be addressed to copy2017a@lists.caut.ca

All postings must include the identification of the sender (name, institution and email address).

Participation in this list is open to individuals. The list is not moderated. Any messages inappropriate for general distribution should not be posted. Participants should be aware that any messages posted or replies to messages posted are automatically distributed to all those on the list. Anyone wishing to communicate to individuals on the list is encouraged to send a private message, rather than utilizing copy2017a. Any participants who post material found to be defamatory or who violate any list rules will be removed from the list.

Open Access

Christine Jewell, University of Waterloo Library

Do you follow developments in the Open Access (OA) movement? If so, you’ll have heard the exciting news on the Canadian front.  This past October, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) together launched a consultation on a harmonized open access policy.

The agencies are aiming for a policy that is in tune with global trends toward open access of scholarly literature, specifically, peer-reviewed journal publications arising from publicly funded research. The consultation document, entitled the Draft Tri-Agency Open Access Policy, is modeled after the CIHR Open Access Policy that has been in place since 2008.  The CIHR policy states that peer-reviewed journal articles must be freely accessible within 12 months of publication. The CIHR policy remains in effect throughout the consultation process. The proposed policy would apply to CIHR grants as well as SSHRC and NSERC grants awarded after September 1, 2014. More information and answers to frequently asked questions are posted on the NSERC website.

The consultation stage of the proposal will end on December 13th.  NSERCC and SSHRC are calling for individual as well as collective responses to be sent to openaccess@nserc-crsng.gc.ca.

Continue reading “Open Access”

FAUW News Flashes

David Porreca, FAUW President

Today’s blog post aims to bring our readership up to speed on a number of different issues that FAUW is working on at the moment.

FAUW elections

All of the open positions on the FAUW Board of Directors have been filled by acclamation this year.  I am very pleased to welcome the following new faces for the 2013-14 academic year: Vivian Choh (Optometry and Vision Science), Jasmin Habib (Political Science) and Bryan Tolson (Civil Engineering). We also have an experienced hand with Frank Zorzitto (Pure Mathematics) returning to the Board, and I will be continuing as President.

MoA changes

Expect an electronic vote imminently on two separate questions, both of critical importance:

  1. Adding a modification clause to our MoA, which had been absent before; and 
  2. Re-configuring Article 14 on Research Integrity in order to abide by the Framework established by the Tri-Agencies and imposed upon all institutions receiving Tri-Council monies.

In principle, UW has until the end of the month to sort out the latter.  We are still collaborating with the Secretariat to establish mutually agreeable wording before presenting the final draft to a membership vote.

Scheduling

Discussions are ongoing with the Registrar’s Office to improve communications and procedures surrounding the testing of the new scheduling software.  FAUW has been informed that a communications professional has been hired by the Registrar’s Office in an attempt to remedy a long-recognized problem.  We wait to see whether this welcome development will make a positive difference.  FAUW is well aware that this issue rankles faculty members like few others can, so we are keeping a sharp eye on it.

Daycare

Construction is underway on Columbia just north and east of the optometry building.  Since we have a significant financial stake in the operation, FAUW is helping Bright Starts Inc. (the amalgamated daycare operator) negotiate a lease agreement with UW.  Discussions are ongoing – this very morning, in fact. Stay tuned.

Access Copyright

Access Copyright has decided to press a lawsuit against York University for copyright infringement.  This will be a test case for the viability of that enterprise’s approach to academic users of copyrighted materials.  CAUT is paying very close attention to this issue, as is FAUW.

Fallout from our Spring General Meeting

The following items were raised at FAUW’s Spring General Meeting that we plan to tackle over the next weeks and months, in addition to all of the rest of what we are pursuing:

  • We need user-friendly software that allows faculty members to track their research funds in real time.
  • We need to push for the modification of the provisions for choosing membership on university-level committees such that regular faculty members are not placed in a position to run for election against their own Dean.
  • UW needs covered, secure, well-lit bike parking, and/or the ability to park one’s bike in one’s office, while acknowledging that the latter doesn’t work for students.
  • The net effect of full-cost programs has been exactly what FAUW feared it would be: the diversion of the teaching efforts of the full-time professorate to those programs, while leaving our regular students to be taught by sessionals and TAs, thereby de facto relegating them to a second-class student status.  This is a serious problem that will need careful attention, since it arises at the intersection of pedagogy and university finances.

Do you know of anything we need to add to this list? Please leave a comment below!

Work-Life Balance Report

FAUW has been asked to provide a prioritized list from the recommendations contained in the Work-Life Balance Report (full text available in the Senate materials from March) that UW is to tackle first for implementation.  If any of you have strong feelings on this question, please do not hesitate to provide a comment below, or contact the FAUW President.

In conclusion

There are a number of other issues we are dealing with at the moment where discussion is ongoing but there isn’t any concrete progress to report in this forum.  These include:

  • Our concerns over ADDS status.
  • Finding alternatives to the Registrar’s Office restricting student access to LEARN when their fees aren’t arranged on time.
  • Information collection from Short-Term and Long-Term Disability claims.
  • Parental leave salary top-up for families with both parents being university employees.
  • Compassionate care and bereavement leave.
  • Ongoing concerns over scheduling.

All this to say that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes for FAUW on behalf of our membership, and we’re far from idle!

To Provost or Not to Provost?

David Porreca, FAUW President

Well, as many of you already know, our institution had a heart attack last week. Dr. Sallie Ann Keller resigned from the position of Vice-President Academic and Provost (VPAP) after nine months on the job.

Quite understandably, this topic dominated the discussion at the Faculty Association Board of Directors’ meeting this past Thursday. This sort of development tends to lead to speculation about what might have gone wrong. In this post, however, I would like to highlight some of the significantly positive developments – from the Faculty Association’s perspective – that have occurred under Dr. Keller’s leadership:

  • UW did the right thing in not signing on to Access Copyright’s framework. Instead, we have developed our own set of copyright guidelines that are described in full in the UW Copyright FAQ.
UW Dubai Campus
UW Dubai Campus
  • UW’s satellite campus in Dubai is closing. The opening of this campus was actively opposed by the Faculty Association from the get-go for a variety of good reasons, including the lack of a credible business plan for the project, and the impossibility for all UW policies to apply on that campus (e.g., an openly gay faculty member would be committing a capital offence the moment they set foot off the plane in the United Arab Emirates).

Although the manner in which the closure has proceeded has generated no small amount of controversy, the facts that a) enrolment never met expectations; b) resources were deployed whose opportunity cost for main campus operations were recognized to be deleterious; and c) concerns over equity for participants in activities at the Dubai campus were never adequately addressed, have all made the Faculty Association cheer its closure. In fact, it has been difficult to resist loud shouts of “We told you so!!”

  • Inequities surrounding benefits for couples who are both UW employees have been resolved.
  • The railroading of a new scheduling system with inadequate communication and inadequate consultation with key stakeholders had been slowed, such that all interested parties can get their concerns integrated into the deployment of the new system over the next year or so.
  • After unconscionable delays and consequent mushrooming of costs, the construction of a consolidated daycare facility for the university community is finally going ahead.
There are other files around which we have seen significant progress:
  • The approaching resolution of issues around the collection and retention of confidential medical information from those applying for Short-Term and/or Long-Term Disability benefits.
  • Implementing regular, systematic checks for faculty salary anomalies and their adequate resolution.
  • The oversight and governance of Senate-approved centres and institutes, so as to avoid in the future the controversy surrounding the governance of the Balsillie School of International Affairs

All of the above being said, we recognize that there are still some issues that are the source of significant concern for our membership that we still need to push forward:

  • Per diems. Reports keep coming in that other institutions (e.g., the University of Toronto and McMaster University) have managed to retain their per diem systems for expense claims despite the apparent imposition of provincial regulations. Investigations are ongoing on the applicability of the systems deployed at those institutions to UW.
  • Senate Long-Range Planning Committee oversight of satellite campuses. We are aiming to set in place regulations that will prevent the occurrence of future debacles such as our Dubai campus. Defining satellite campuses is a key component of this issue.
  • Pensions: Not everyone is happy with the changes to our pension plan that were put forward last year for implementation in 2014. Efforts are ongoing to improve the situation through broader consultation.
  • The Work-Life Balance Report authored by DeVidi, Parry, Collington, Clapp and Brown contains a number of sensible recommendations to improve our working conditions. The exact mechanisms for the implementation of the Report’s recommendations are still under discussion.
  • Concerns over the inadequacy of UW’s provisions for compassionate care and bereavement leave have been raised and distilled into a report for FAUW’s Status of Women and Equity Committee. The implementation of this report’s recommendations is also under discussion.
  • Having biennial evaluations for tenured faculty members is an issue that has been raised many times over the years which we will be looking into more closely.

Well, there you have it: the good, the “in progress” and the “yet-to-do” lists. The length and significance of the first two are a testimony to the good working relationship the Faculty Association had with Dr. Keller. We look forward to having an equally productive relationship with Dr. Geoff McBoyle who will be returning as the interim VPAP, as well as with his eventual permanent successor.