Board meeting report: February 3, 2022

Here’s some of what we talked about at the last FAUW Board of Directors meeting:

Teaching assessment. The new student course perception (SCP) survey tool is launching this term, and FAUW (still) has concerns about implementing the new survey tool. In particular, we’re concerned that it’s being rolled out without training on how results will affect APR scores and before complementary teaching assessment methods are in place.

There is a large body of research that demonstrates unavoidable bias in SCPs and consequently argues they should never be used for summative assessment. The Renison Association of Academic Staff has reached agreement in its Collective Agreement that course evaluations will not be a required part of annual reviews nor tenure and promotion processes. In 2018, the arbitrator in a case at Ryerson ruled that student evaluations of teaching can’t be used to measure teaching effectiveness for promotion or tenure, based on expert opinions that student evaluations cannot be used to assess teaching effectiveness.

Return to campus. The Board discussed the administration’s response to our list of demands for a safe return and better consultation with employees, and debriefed the January 31 FAUW town hall meeting, which more than 320 faculty members attended. You can find answers to many questions on our updated COVID-19 page, along with new questions we’ve posed to the administration following the town hall. We also noted OCUFA’s recent news release, “Faculty and academic librarian voices ignored as universities rush return to in-person learning.”

FAUW staff. Katie Damphouse is back from leave and is once again your go-to person for help with navigating workplace policies and procedures! Hiring for the Executive Manager position is under way. We ask for your continued patience as Katie ramps up to full time and we complete the hiring process for the Executive Manager.

Council of Representatives. We set the agenda for the February 14 Council of Reps meeting, focusing on the return to campus, the state of collegial governance at UW, and the vacancies our Nominating and Elections Committee is currently working to fill. Talk to your Council member for more details!

Board meeting report for October 28, 2021

Here’s what was on the latest Board meeting agenda:

  1. Nominating Committee. We are still looking for people to help create this committee! Read about what the Nominating Committee will do and how to get involved on our website.
  2. Audited financial statements. Our auditor went over the draft audited financial statements for the year ending April 30, 2021, noting that we were under budget on a number of items, mostly due to cancelled events and travel. The Board approved the statements, which will be presented for approval by the membership at the Fall General Meeting on December 8.
  3. Policy 76/77 progress. At Faculty Relations Committee, we and the administration representatives shared our respective visions for teaching-intensive faculty, to see if they are close enough to continue discussions. Based on these statements, the Board has supported continuing discussions at FRC with an update expected at the next Board meeting. Two essential items for us are creating teaching-stream professorial ranks with defined progression through these ranks, and time to do the work required to progress through these ranks, in a pedagogical/professional development (PPD) term, one in every six terms. Importantly, this PPD time cannot be achieved by redistributing courses and causing overload teaching in other terms, as this would result in an overall higher workload than lecturers currently have. A PPD term must be achieved through a commensurate reduction in teaching load and/or service duties. Let us know if you agree in the comments below!
  4. Council of Representatives. We had great turnout at the October 18 Council meeting, where we talked about the AODA Education Standard recommendations, returning to campus, how the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee works. At this Board meeting, we discussed ways to increase communication between the Board and Council, and between Council and other members. Let us know if you have suggestions about the Council of Representatives!

And here are some highlights from the written reports:

  • Equity Committee activities. The Equity Committee (EC) is planning to run a workshop on unconscious bias in recommendation letter writing in November and host a town hall to understand faculty concerns about equity in January 2022. Aimee Morrison attended the feedback session hosted by OCUFA on the provincial government guidelines on accessibility on October 20. Interested members can reach out to her directly for her report. The EC hosted soup lunch at Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre on October 28. Members of colour on the EC and beyond participated in offering feedback to facilitators Aimee Morrison and Frankie Condon to the HREI Equity Faculty Recruitment and Retention Workshop on October 22, in preparation for November workshops for the Black and Indigenous cluster hiring committees.
  • Compassionate Care and Bereavement Leave policy. Aimée Morrison and Lori Curtis will be the FAUW reps on the drafting committee for the new policy on compassionate care and bereavement leave benefits. Don’t worry: we won’t be waiting years for these. The minimum benefits are already guaranteed in our latest salary settlement and will be effective May 1, 2022, no matter what. The committee could write a policy that further clarifies and/or adds to those benefits.
  • Pension & Benefits committee. Most meetings of the Pension and Benefits Committee are open to the public and we encourage members to attend, especially when major (read: contentious) decisions are being made. We’ll keep you updated about when those are happening.

What’s on our agenda for 2020

Happy new year! Our big priority for this term is to keep moving forward on policy development and research professor representation. Here are some of the smaller (and not-so-small) things we talked about at the January 16 board meeting:

  1. OCUFA’s court challenge. OCUFA has voted to join ten unions representing more than 250,000 Ontario workers to launch a coordinated Charter challenge against the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act—formerly Bill 124—this is the legislation that forces our pay raises to be small for three years.
  2. The FAUW Appreciation Award. We’re starting to consider suggestions for this year’s recipient(s) of the FAUW Appreciation Award, which recognizes people from across the University who have gone above and beyond to improve the lives of faculty members.
  3. Professional licensing fees. We’re doing an environmental scan about how professional licenses are handled across campus. Unsurprisingly, there is a lot of variation in terms of who needs to be licensed, how many people in a unit need to maintain their license, and who pays for it. For anyone who doesn’t know what we’re talking about, professional programs (e.g. planning, optometry, engineering) typically need a minimum number of faculty members to hold professional licenses in order to maintain the accreditation for their school/department/program.
  4. The switch from Scantron to Akindi. You have at least three options for digital grading solutions, including Akindi, UW’s new go-to “multiple-choice exam processing service.” One of our board members recommends Crowdmark as a way to reduce your workload. We’re exploring the possibility of hosting a lunch & learn on digital grading systems—let us know in the comments if you’d be interested. Learn more and register for Akindi training on the IST website.
Continue reading “What’s on our agenda for 2020”

The hot topics at FAUW and OCUFA this month

What FAUW is talking about

  1. We’re working on identifying standard teaching workload expectations in each department so we can better advise members. We started gathering data on this at the October 29 Council of Reps meeting.
  2. Speaking of which, we are still missing Council members for: Accounting & Finance, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, and Systems Design Engineering. If you’d like to be your unit’s rep, send us an email.
  3. The Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour) drafting committee finished its public consultation on October 18. FRC will review all the feedback and give direction to the drafting committee about changes to make by November 11. We expect a final version back to FRC for approval on December 19. In particular, FAUW heard impassioned feedback about the policy’s silence on student-supervisor relationships. This was instead covered in draft guidelines. The Board voted on October 24 to ask that this be included in the policy itself.
  4. The Lecturers Committee had an insightful meeting with David Rose, new chair of the Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) drafting committee and Benoit Charbonneau (chief negotiator for FAUW) about policy 76 and implications for lecturer salary equity.
  5. FAUW President Bryan Tolson met with the faculty reps on the joint health and safety committees about how those committees can advocate more explicitly for faculty safety issues.
  6. Ranjini Jha was appointed to the Pension Investment Committee.
  7. We’re starting to plan events for next term. Some topics we’re looking at include preparing for retirement, definite term contracts, the teaching scheduling process, and meet-ups for early-career faculty and out-of-town and bike commuters.
  8. The University is currently negotiating its third Strategic Mandate Agreement with the province. Currently, 92% of UW’s operating funding is based on enrolment, but the new performance-based funding model will bring this number down to about 33%, with the rest dictated by to-be-determined performance indicators. FAUW is more concerned with rejecting this funding model as a whole than getting into the details about which indicators UW should be using. If you want to learn more about how the model works, here’s a presentation from OCUFA (PDF) that breaks it down.

What OCUFA is talking about

OCUFA = Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

  1. Now that the provincial legislature has reconvened, Bill 124 (the one that will cap salary increases at 1%) will likely pass in November, and then there likely will be a court challenge, likely by CUPE (the Canadian Union of Public Employees). It’s still unclear if the legislation will apply to anything outside of base salary (e.g. benefits spending, merit increases).
  2. Bill 100 (the one that allows the government to reduce/eliminate the salary of faculty members collecting a pension) is already law; we’re just waiting to see if they will use it. OCUFA will file a charter challenge if needed.

OCUFA’s advocacy day at Queen’s Park is coming up on November 6. We can’t make it this year, but you can follow along on their Twitter account when the time comes.

How to Get the Most out of Your Faculty Association This Year

Whether you’re new to UW or have been ignoring FAUW for years, here’s how to tap into our services.

1. Get to know your representatives

Browse the board and staff member bios and the list of committee representatives and get to know who we are and what we do.

2. Stay informed 

Stay up-to-date on what FAUW is doing and issues affecting faculty by following our blog and social media accounts (we’re @FAUWaterloo on both Twitter and Facebook). We post summaries of our bi-weekly Board meetings so you’ll always know what we’re working on.

3. Make sure you’re a member

Become a voting FAUW member by signing up on our website. By default, we represent all faculty members with regular appointments, and you pay dues, but you need to fill out the membership form once in your career in order to vote on things.

4. Join the Council of Representatives

The Council is a key link between each department or school and FAUW, and a great introduction to how FAUW works. We ask departments for new reps every September (though repeat reps are okay too), so if you have are interested in representing your unit on the Council this year, talk to your chair or director.

5. Tell us what’s up

There are a number of ways you can let us know how we can help or what you’d like us to focus on:

  • Provide feedback in response to emails and blog posts about what we’re currently working on. Your comments will reach members of the Board and inform FAUW’s position on issues.
  • Bring new issues to our attention by talking to your Council member or any of our Board members.
  • If you’re dealing with an individual workplace problem, contact the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee for personalized support (it doesn’t have to be about academic freedom or tenure.)

6. Browse the archives

See what we’ve been up to over the last little while by browsing past blog posts, and the news items on our website.

Wishing you a productive and enjoyable year,

The FAUW Board of Directors

Last updated August 2019.

Council of Representatives

By: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

We had excellent discussions at the Council of Representatives meetings last Friday (November 6). This is a really important way for the FAUW Board to interact with the faculty community. If your department/school does not have a representative yet, please consider volunteering. We intend to make much more use of this group to get effective input, but for this to work we do need coverage from all units.

The easiest way to find out about this is to visit the FAUW Council of Representatives webpage. Please suggest to your chair/director that you are willing and able to fill this role. S/he will no doubt be pleased to be able to tick this box and we will be very pleased to have you join this group.

Upcoming Events

There’s much afoot in the Faculty Association, and we want to do our best to keep you informed. Over the next month there are a number of key meetings and workshops happening, Head past the jump to find out more about the Council of Representatives meeting, the Spring General Meeting, and the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee’s promotion workshops.

Council of Representatives

The Council of Representatives is designed to ensure clear communication between the FAUW board and our members. Traditionally meeting twice annually, the council discusses issues that come from the department level, and checks on how FAUW is addressing the concerns of the members directly.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, March 20th, so make sure to let your representative know about some of the challenges you’re facing here at UW.

Spring General Meeting

Our Spring General Meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 9th from 11am-1pm in MC 4059. The Faculty Associations financial statements will be presented, and each of our committees will report on how they’ve been carrying out their mandate since the Fall. There’ll be a report from David Porreca, the president, and plenty of opportunity to ask questions and get feedback on issues.

Academic Freedom & Tenure Workshops

Peter van Beek, chair of the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee, will be offering the following workshops around the Spring General Meeting.

For Tenure-track Faculty

The probationary contract period and applying for tenure can be intimidating! The biggest risks you face are those stemming from uncertainty on your part about the expectations of your peers and of university policy. These workshops are designed to provide critical information on how to succeed and to ensure you know where and how to get your questions answered. The workshops complement the Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure & Promotion workshop presented by the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

Faculty recently hired to their first probationary term
Tuesday, April 9, 2:00 to 4:00 pm – MC 4059

Faculty applying for probationary contract renewal in 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 9:00 to 11:00 am – QNC 1502

Faculty applying for tenure in 2013
Wednesday, April 10, 12:00 to 2:00 pm – QNC 1502

For Tenured Faculty

Applying for promotion to full professor
Tuesday, April 9, 9:00 to 10:30 am – MC 4059

Tenured faculty who are considering applying for promotion in 2013 or the near future should attend this workshop for advice on Policy 77 and clarification of what is expected from peers and from the university in the promotion process. This workshop will walk you through the process step by step and will provide explanations of formal policy as well as practical tips to help you succeed.