Double Recap: General Meeting and December 6 Board Meeting

December 4 general meeting

Missed the general meeting? Here’s a quick recap, excluding items covered in previous blog posts. See the general meeting slides (PDF) and the agenda package (PDF) for more details.

  1. We had an inquisitive group of about 60 faculty members who ate a lot of pizza and not a lot of raw veggies (not judging; we love pizza).
  2. We’ve had a few changes to the budget since you saw it in April. Some of the new expenses are: giving the Renison Association of Academic Staff an interest-free loan and startup funding, helping fund a bike cage on campus, and upping our sponsorship of the Centre for Teaching Excellence conference breakfast. We’re still expecting a decent surplus.
  3. Members approved our audited financial statements for May–April 2018 (the mini-fiscal year that got us onto the same fiscal year as the University) and adopted RLB as our auditors for next year.
  4. The Elections Committee announced winter 2019 elections: four at-large representatives, one representative from AHS, and one lecturer representative. As per our new elections procedures (announced on the blog and posted online in September), members can only run for one seat at a time. Remember that you need to be a voting member to run or vote in FAUW elections.
  5. Members approved the service agreement with the Renison Association of Academic Staff, making their members affiliate members of FAUW.
  6. George Freeman gave his take on the themes that emerged at the University’s strategic plan consultations. Check out the slides for a list.
  7. We heard your feedback on the Freedom of Speech policy. We’ve summarized and forwarded this to the Secretariat and they are incorporating at least some of it. If you want to give more feedback or see a revised draft, you can meet with the University President and representatives from the Secretariat in the Senate room (NH 3407) at 3:30 on Monday, December 17.

December 6 board meeting

At our last board meeting of 2018, we talked about:

  1. How graduate teaching is counted. To no one’s surprise, there’s some inconsistency across campus on this front. But we just confirmed at FRC that teaching a stand-alone lecture-based graduate course counts toward your workload. Make sure you’re getting teaching credit for these courses! And if you’re teaching overload, make sure that’s being tracked and made up for later. In other words: Don’t teach for free.
  2. Appointment letters. Again. Ninety percent of faculty associations receive copies of their members’ appointment letters. This helps them advise members on negotiating a starting salary, startup funds, and anything else that’s negotiable. We can’t advise prospective faculty right now, because we don’t have any data. We don’t even know what’s negotiable in every department. While we’re working on getting at least some of that information, we’re going to start asking new faculty directly if they’re willing to share copies of their letters, and we will also send a request to all new faculty from the last five years. If you’re willing to share your own, we’d be happy to add it to our data set! You can send it to Erin Windibank at windibae@uwaterloo.ca. We will of course keep your letter confidential.
  3. Lecturer eligibility for DTPC and FTPC. The Lecturers Committee is wondering why Policy 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members) excludes lecturers from serving on and even voting on the makeup of departmental and faculty tenure and promotion committees, considering that these committees grant/deny continuing status to lecturers. Our take on this is that the policy pre-dates the existence of modern lecturer appointments and is out of date. We know that some departments and Faculties are following the spirit, rather than the letter, of the policy, and do include lecturers. We are hopeful that Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments, which is nearing the end of its review process) can provide an interim solution to this problem.

News From Your Board: June 21 Meeting Recap

The FAUW board gathered on June 21 for a special lunch meeting to acknowledge the service of those members who are finishing their terms and to welcome new representatives before breaking for the summer.

Of special note is that Sally Gunz, long-time board member and past FAUW president, is ending her term and embarking on a well-deserved sabbatical. Sally provided inspired leadership for FAUW over many years and was always ready with a witty anecdote, sage advice, or occasional salty barb. We also noted the departure of three fine board members, Craig Hardiman (Arts), Peter Johnson (Environment and scribe of these summaries though not these particular compliments!) and Heather Mair (AHS). They have all contributed much to FAUW and we hope to retain close links with them. We are very grateful for all their work.

We look forward to working with your new Board members, Daniel Cockayne (Geography), Clark Dickerson (Kinesiology), and Alice Kuzniar (Germanic and Slavic Studies), when meetings start up again in September. Continue reading “News From Your Board: June 21 Meeting Recap”

News From Your Board: May 24 Meeting Recap

Returning from the Victoria Day long weekend, a rowdy and energized board assembled to review many in-progress issues. We began with the implementation of the President’s Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health (PAC-SMH) report, specifically how FAUW can support the recommendations on training for faculty. The Board expressed support for these recommendations, and suggests that faculty voluntarily engage in additional mental health training as provided on campus. We’ll have more on this in another post soon.

The second issue brought to us directly from members is the lack of secure bicycle parking on campus. The Board wants to support improved bike parking and hopes to see Parking Services commit more resources to this in the future. Discussions will continue on this topic.

Next, everyone’s favourite topic—the Fall Break pilot—made a reappearance, specifically preferred semester start dates after Labour day, and how changes would affect faculty who teach in the spring term and sessional or contract faculty who are only paid as of the first day of class.

On a related note: We recently sent a reminder to our members that the Registrar’s Office will schedule exams earlier in the spring block for faculty who teach in both the spring and fall terms, in order to provide adequate time between terms. The response was positive (mostly), and we hope that those of you teaching in both of these terms take advantage of this scheduling flexibility in the future.

We have been hearing from members whose professional expense (FPER) claims have been rejected despite meeting the April 30 submission deadline. From FAUW’s perspective, these claims should be reimbursed to our members as soon as possible. This position has been brought to the administration and more information is coming!

Members in Applied Health Sciences will be happy to hear that they now have a representative on the Board for the 2018–19 year. While the position was vacant following our elections in March, Clark Dickerson from Kinesiology has since stepped up to the plate and was appointed by the Board for a one-year term (as per the FAUW constitution).

Lastly, the Board passed terms of reference for the newly renamed Equity Committee. Information about all of our committees is available on our website.

—Peter Johnson, director for the Faculty of Environment

News From Your Board: April 19 Meeting Recap

There has been a long gap between our normal two-weekly Board meetings because we had our Spring General meeting on the 5 April and about that, you already know.

Not surprisingly, there was a lot to discuss, much of which was routine: recommendations for appointments to the University Tenure & Promotion Committee (UTPC), debriefing the Spring General Meeting and Bryan Tolson’s presentation to Senate about faculty hiring data (see the slides on our website), discussing representation from AHS on the Board, etc.

The interesting new topic was cycling on campus. There are some key people who have been strong advocates for biking and safe storage of bikes in particular. Johanna Wandel provided a summary of the current situation and a new pilot project that the FAUW will be supporting—we will share more about that soon. You’re also welcome to contact Johanna—and Parking Services!—with your thoughts on improving cycling on campus.

FAUW also agreed to provide financial support for an all-candidates debate (for the Kitchener-Waterloo riding only) that WLU has organized for May 16. Registration details will be posted on our website as soon as they’re available, and we encourage those interested to attend.

Finally, we are making progress on language in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) about performance rating histograms. Our original goal for these proved unduly complex and we are working on revisions that will balance transparency, privacy, and feasibility. Recommendations are forthcoming. On a related note, it seems as if some departments still do not have addenda to their Faculty performance review guidelines as per the requirements of the MoA. Even the decision to defer to faculty-wide guidelines needs to be made by the department on a biennial basis (this time ’round, before October 15, 2018) and yet this does not necessarily always occur. Again, we’ll have more on this soon.

—Sally Gunz, past president

CAUT Gets Science Right, and Other FAUW News

David Porreca, FAUW President

Welcome back!  In this inaugural FAUW blog post for the 2013-14 academic year, I would like first to send out a keen welcome to all 70+ new faculty members who have joined UW over the last hiring cycle.  FAUW now represents ~1,150 faculty members.  I also plan to bring this blog’s readership up to date on the wide assortment of issues both new and ongoing from last year.


CAUT: “Get Science Right”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is holding its inaugural Town Hall meeting that is part of its “Get Science Right” campaign, 17 September 3-5pm at the Waterloo Public Library.  This cross-country series of gatherings are intended to alert the Canadian citizenry about the federal government’s attitudes and policies toward a number of imbricated issues: the importance of primary, curiosity-driven research in general; the funding formulae for the Tri-Agencies; the muzzling of government-funded Canadian scientists; and the active discouragement and closure of scientific research when its results prove politically inconvenient.  The CBC will be filming an episode of The Fifth Estate at this event, and all faculty members who do research are encouraged in the strongest possible terms to attend.

Upcoming Hagey Lecture

The 2013 Hagey Lecture will be presented by historian Margaret MacMillan on Thursday, 19 September at 8pm in the Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall. Admission is free. The topic of the lecture will be “Choice or Accident: The Outbreak of World War One”. Margaret MacMillan is regarded as a leading historian of the British Empire at the turn of the 20th century. She is an officer of the Order of Canada, a member of the Royal Society of Literature, and a professor of history at Oxford University.

Bright Starts Daycare

Good news: the construction of the Bright Starts amalgamated daycare building (between the train tracks and the Optometry building on Columbia) is still on schedule, to be ready for occupancy in mid-November. Barring unforeseen impediments, only delays in provincial inspection and licensing will keep this new facility from beginning its operations on schedule in January 2014.

Replacing Per Diems: Online Expense Claims?

UW is considering the purchase of an automated online expense claims system intended to replace the now-abandoned system of per diem expense claims. This process has raised a number of concerns regarding the security of faculty members’ private financial transactions if a non-Canadian cloud-based provider is selected to supply the software package. Consequently, in collaboration with the Secretariat and the Dean of Mathematics, FAUW is helping to organize a half-day colloquium on electronic security issues so as to inform the university’s decision when it comes to this critical software purchase. Stay tuned to this space for more information about this important event!

Changeover in Administration

UW is undergoing a massive changeover in the individuals occupying the upper levels of administration.  The following high-profile positions are currently awaiting permanent occupants:

  • University Registrar
  • Vice-President Academic and Provost
  • Associate Provost, Human Resources
  • Equity Officer (brand-new position created to address ongoing concerns about equity in hiring at UW, among other things)
  • Director of Institutional Analysis and Planning (Allan Starr has recently been hired into this position)

Scheduling

FAUW will be watching very carefully the progress of the testing being done on the proposed new scheduling system this fall.  FAUW is holding firm to its position that the new scheduling system will not be allowed to go live until it is shown to be better than the current system for all constituents (i.e., faculty members, students, administrative staff) and for room allocation.

With respect to faculty members, FAUW aims to have each colleague receive two schedules: one hypothetical created using the new system, and the real one arrived at using the current scheme and that is actually the live schedule for the term. FAUW is volunteering to coordinate the compilation of faculty members’ preferences for one schedule or the other.  Stay tuned!

No Faculty/Staff Change Room in PAC?

Over the summer, it has come to FAUW’s attention that the separate, dedicated change room for faculty and staff has been closed without a replacement planned until further notice.  Faculty members and staff are now meant to share change rooms and shower space with students.  This is an unacceptable situation for a number of very good reasons – the ease of use of camera phones and the potential for sexual harassment lawsuits come to mind.  An informal survey conducted by FAUW over the summer showed that the overwhelming majority of faculty members responding (38 of 40) were upset at the change in PAC facilities. This change also affects UW staff, and I am pleased to report that both FAUW and the Staff Association will be encouraging a return to the status quo ante (or some acceptable alternative) in the strongest possible terms.

Secure, Covered Bike Parking

Thanks to FAUW’s suggestion, four spots for covered, secure bike parking have been installed outside of Rod Coutts Hall with a view to assessing how much demand for these there actually is. While this is a commendable start, it is FAUW’s view that such secure facilities fall under the category of “build it, and they will come.” The cost-to-benefit ratio for this initiative should make its spread across campus both inevitable and a no-brainer. Further deployment of these facilities is a priority for FAUW, and we will continue to encourage the university administration to see its merits and virtues for the entire community – students, faculty and staff (e.g., greater fitness and work-life balance; improving security of UW community transportation infrastructure; stemming the flow of incessant reports of bicycle thefts to UW Police; encouraging the reduction in fossil fuel use).

Short-Term / Long-Term Disability Claims

The concerns that FAUW had raised in the summer of 2012 about the improper collection and transfer of information between Short-Term and Long-Term disability claims between UW and its insurance provider, Great-West Life, have largely been resolved to FAUW’s satisfaction.  Many thanks to all those who contributed to its eventual resolution, both from within FAUW and from UW’s staff in Human Resources.

Et Cetera

Other items on FAUW’s to-do list for this year:

  • The prioritization of the implementation of the Work-Life Balance Report’s recommendations, as well a
    s those contained in the Status of Women and Equity Committee’s Compassionate Care and Bereavement Leave Report.
  • Defining the relationship between FUAC faculty members and their main-campus departmental counterparts.
  • Discussions surrounding the definition of ADDS status are ongoing, and the working group in charge of revisiting this set of regulations aims to report to Faculty Relations Committee and the Graduate Relations Committee this term.

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!