Lecturer eligibility for department committees

From the Lecturers Committee

Are you a Lecturer and wondering if you are eligible to serve on a particular committee (e.g. DTPC, DACA)?

Committees play an important role in decision making on campus. A democratic approach to decision making leads to good governance and proper management of the university as a whole. Lecturers can contribute to the democratization of university administration by serving on committees for which they are eligible at all levels.

If you have been denied membership on a committee as a lecturer, or would simply like your eligibility status clarified, FAUW can help. Inquiries regarding eligibility can be sent to Erin Windibank (windibae@uwaterloo.ca).

Report from December 2016 Lecturers’ Town Hall Meetings

FAUW created a Lecturers Committee in spring 2015. Discussions about a review of Policy 76, which deals with appointment categories and promotion, highlighted the need for FAUW to better understand the unique needs of lecturers. Going forward, this committee will continue to advise the FAUW Board on matters pertaining to all aspects of the working lives of lecturers.

The Lecturers Committee hosted town hall meetings in December 2016. The committee provided context on the relationship of the Lecturers Committee to the FAUW Board, the issues raised via a 2014 meeting of lecturers and 2015 Lecturers Survey, and the current activities of the committee. The floor was then opened for discussion. Some of the highlights were:

  • Career path: The process for promotion to Continuing status is poorly defined and inconsistent across units. There is a need to clearly define ranks and the expectations for progression, and communicate this to all levels of administration.
  • Professional development: Both an expectation for lecturers to remain current in their field and provision for time to do this (‘one non-teaching term in six’) are enshrined in Policy 76. However, inconsistencies across and within units on how and whether this clause is applied are widespread.
  • Workload: Assignment of weightings for teaching tasks is inconsistent across units. Particularly with online teaching, values assigned to the development and delivery of online courses varies both across and within units. 
  • Service roles: Wording in policy surrounding lecturer eligibility for service tasks is ambiguous. Both lecturers and administrators are often uncertain if lecturers are eligible to serve in certain roles. 
  • Annual performance reviews: The process and the associated document template is designed for research faculty and therefore inappropriate for lecturers. 
  • Terminal degree: Similar to tenure-track positions, a PhD may not be the appropriate qualification for teaching-stream faculty in some disciplines (Pharmacy, Optometry, Accounting, Architecture, math, languages). This should be considered when revising policies governing the appointment and career progression of lecturers.”

A full report of the town hall meetings is available on the FAUW website, along with the slides used at these sessions.

Lecturers Survey Report Released

FAUW’s Lecturers Committee has just released its final report on the results of last year’s survey of all lecturers at Waterloo.

The Lecturers Committee advises the FAUW Board on the development and revision of University policies pertaining to Lecturers. In November 2015, the committee sent a survey to the 180 lecturers of UW to capture the diversity of their working conditions. The response rate was impressively high (83%), and the respondents also shared copious comments which are extremely valuable to this portrait of lecturers across campus.

The survey results cover five main topics:

  1. Questions about terms of appointment gathered data on length of employment at Waterloo; the ratio of research, teaching, and service; and the possibility of promotion.
  2. Comparing teaching loads can prove to be challenging given the diversity of disciplines taught at Waterloo. The report highlights that lecturers are being tasked with a wide range of teaching loads.
  3. 70% of lecturers teach in all three terms. Lecturers are entitled to take one out of every six terms as a non-teaching term, yet only one-third of lecturers have ever had a non-teaching term. As for the others, it seems that the possibility, the conditions, and the perception of requesting a non-teaching term are not clear.
  4. There is also a lack of clarity around what is expected of lecturers in terms of service roles. The survey demonstrates great involvement of lecturers in their units, but uncertainty about their eligibility for a number of roles.
  5. The suggested options for new titles to replace the terms “Lecturer” and “Continuing Lecturer.” The preferred set of titles was Assistant Professor / Associate Professor / Professor, Teaching Stream.

The Committee shared some highlights of this report at FAUW’s Fall General Meeting in 2015. This final report synthesizes additional comments from the respondents in these five areas, and also on topics not covered in the survey, such as short-term and “less-a-day” contracts, respect for lecturers among other faculty, and compensation.

The full report is available on the FAUW website.

FAUW is very grateful to the Lecturers Committee for this insightful report.

A First Attempt

by: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

Three weeks into our new Board term and we at FAUW are all starting to sort out our new roles. Fortunately there is some breathing space while we orient ourselves. The living might not be exactly ‘easy’ in the summer but at least for those who teach, many committees go into hibernation. Now that August approaches, may grading be swift and holidays start. The good weather awaits.
Welcome to all new faculty who joined UW on July 1. We will meet in early September more formally but good luck with all the initial stages of settling in. Please consider FAUW a good source for information, advice, and general assistance at a time when university processes, etiquette and guidelines may appear to be more than a little bit of a mystery. Call any one of us with your questions.
Also welcome to new Board members Shannon Dea, Heidi Engelhardt, Elise Lepage and Paul Wehr. A very big thanks to our departing Board members Roydon Fraser, George Freeman, Jasmin Habib, and Frank Zorzitto. We are losing an immense amount of experience at FAUW. Turnover is always part of a healthy renewal process in any organization but we will certainly miss our departing colleagues. 
With the vast experience of three weeks in the job of FAUW president, I can make some general and brief observations. FAUW works on a very wide range of issues on behalf of all regular faculty with contracts one year or longer. David Porreca (past-president) handed me a list, many pages long, of tasks. I have been attempting to group tasks into some semblance of an organizational chart that ultimately will be posted on this site. To date we have no less than ten sub-committees, more than 40 representatives to university-wide bodies, and on and on.  The work load is extensive and increasingly we will be turning to faculty outside of the Board structure to work on tasks. The Council of Representatives will be a very important resource.
One glaring deficit at the Board level is voting member representation from Math, AHS, and Environment. This can and should be remedied quickly and one of the important changes to the constitution of FAUW that we shortly will propose is a mandated minimum of one representative from each Faculty. Meantime, once more we will turn to those outside of our Board structure in order to ensure that local issues are fully represented.
Over this next year I propose to write here on different Board functions. FAUW is very mindful that it is a representative body. It does not take positions without solid consultation. The first stage of that is ensuring the community understands issues even exist. In this blog I will discuss important discussions taking place about the role of lecturers at UW.
A number of people have noted recent name-changes to the lecturer position at the University of Toronto. Despite the prominence in the press, this is not a particularly new move and nor is it unique to U of T. Several other universities already have such changes in place. Where do things stand at UW?
Policy 76 defines all faculty appointments and much of the basic language around, in particular, what it means to be a lecturer member at UW. This is complemented by the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement (for new faculty, this is the basic agreement between FAUW and the University that defines our terms of employment). Currently Policy 76 is one of several major policies under review at the University. A committee was struck some time ago chaired by John Burbidge (Economics) with Kelly Anthony, Shannon Dea, George Freeman, Gerry Schneider, and myself as members. If you are familiar with Policy 76 you will know it covers a broad range of issues only some of which relate to lecturers. Policy review is inevitably a cautious process and for good reason. It is really, really easy to get things wrong.
Those of us on the committee who are also FAUW Board members were very mindful of the need to ensure that we get full input from those most affected by change to the policy. The policy itself will be subject to a university-wide review process when a draft is complete, but it is important to gather input in the earlier stages where alternatives should be considered. In order to ensure that the interests of lecturers are fully represented, recently FAUW established a sub-committee chaired by Heidi Engelhardt. This committee will be active in gathering input from the lecturer community in general and examining options that might find their way into Policy 76. It will make recommendations to the FAUW Board that will, assuming it supports them, in turn be represented in the review process. Inevitably there is a good deal of back and forth to these processes.
In the interim, we urge lecturers in particular to consider issues such as:
  • what should the lecturer career path look like;
  •  if there is the equivalent of tenure (the continuing lecturer position today), how does that come about and what should be the qualifications;
  • should there be a finite contractual period for lecturer positions that are not leading to what is presently labelled the ‘continuing’ lectureship;
  •  what are appropriate names for lecturer positions should they change;
  • should there be a role for research and if so, how might that be defined; should the one term in six as non-teaching continue and, in any event, how should it be interpreted;
  •  is there a role for sabbaticals (not strictly Policy 76 but related pos
    sibly to the previous issue);
  • what is the appropriate balance between teaching only (or primarily) and teaching and research positions; etc.

Overall, FAUW sees its responsibility as ensuring that the outcomes of any changes are such that those in teaching positions are treated fairly. This includes taking great care to avoid the potential for ‘work-arounds’ that allow for decent employment practices to be avoided – such as the unfair one year less a day contracts.
We would urge all faculty to pay close attention to these issues and feed comments particularly to the Lecturer Sub-committee. You may find it useful to refer to policies at other universities to see how issues are addressed elsewhere. There is the opportunity now to have strong and well-considered policies that reflect all aspects of the teaching faculty member’s career.

Enjoy the rest of the summer. 

Are lecturers at Waterloo professors?

by Bryan Tolson, FAUW Vice President

As FAUW’s new vice-president this year, I have volunteered to advocate for Lecturers on our campus. I recognize the inherent difficulty associated with FAUW representing both tenure/tenure-track faculty members and lecturers, as the interests of both groups are not always the same.  I plan to write about this issue more in a future blog.  Today’s blog is about the titles we give (or should be giving) to those who are currently lecturers on campus. 

Regular tenure/tenure-track faculty members typically have a 40/40/20 job responsibility split among the research, teaching and service components of their job.  Policy 76 suggests that the faculty appointment rank can include the word “professor” for faculty hired as research professors who are focused only on research (“Duties will be primarily research-oriented, but in some cases may include some service, teaching and/or student supervision”).  Note that research is only 40% of what most tenure/tenure-track faculty do.  On the other hand, according to Policy 76, the suggestion is that lecturers’ “duties are primarily limited to teaching and service”, which is 60% of what most tenure/tenure-track faculty do.  Further, consider that our Memorandum of Agreement (Article13, part 13.5.5b) allows tenure/tenure-track faculty to reduce their research component to only 20% of their duties.  This means that lecturers could have an 80% overlap of duties with some tenure/tenure-track faculty.  Based on the above policy interpretation, the argument to designate lecturers as professors clearly has some merit.

Looking for further rationale, let’s consider what it means, according to UW policy, to be a professor.  Whether one has a research appointment or a regular appointment in the professorial ranks (and thus is designated as a professor), the only common thread I see in Policy 76 is that such a person “normally has a doctorate or terminal professional degree, as well as experience or strong potential in teaching and scholarship”.  How many of our lecturers on campus meet these criteria?  I am confident this number is significantly larger than zero.  For such individuals, what other reason is there to suggest that they are not worthy of using the word “professor” in their title?

Beyond policy interpretations, I tend to think of professors as having, or working towards, some form of robust job security.  In contrast, research professors have no form of job security and are limited to definite-term appointment types.  So it seems odd to me that some colleagues with no prospect of job security get to use the word “professor” in their title while others who actually have job security (Continuing Lecturers) do not. 

At the end of the day, I believe that any colleague of mine that has the same terminal degree as I do, has effectively the same level of job security as I do, and can do 60% of my job (often much better than me) deserves to have a title that includes the word “professor”.  The biggest question I see moving forward with such a change is the word “scholarship” in the Policy 76 statement.  For lecturers, what is it precisely and is it fundamentally required?

Do you think this campus should move forward and give some or all lecturers titles that include the word “professor”?  Please do comment below.

FAUW Updates – Part 1 of 2

David Porreca, FAUW President


Geese watch the science construction crane
Photo by George Freeman

Welcome back! Although this blog went dormant over the summer months, this does not mean that FAUW has been idle. In fact, so many things have kept us busy of the past couple of months that this inaugural 2014-15 update blog post needs to be divided in two. The first five of the following topics are posted today, while the rest will be posted on Monday.

The topics:

  1. Continuity in UW administration
  2. Meeting with lecturers
  3. Negotiations
  4. Scheduling
  5. Electronic expense claims
  6. Pharmacy Building
  7. Fall Break?
  8. FAUW Staffing
  9. Re-vamped Course Evaluations
  10. FAUW Retreat and Priorities for 2014-15

1. Continuity in UW administration

This topic practically deserves its own blog post. The concerns arise from the following observations:

  • UW has had no fewer than six Vice-Presidents Academic & Provost since 2009: Chakma, Hamdullahpur, McBoyle, Keller, McBoyle, Orchard.
  • UW’s Executive Council can be considered a good proxy list for the main decision-makers on our campus. Of the 27 people on the list, only 6 or 7 have been in their positions more than 5 years.
  • We are witnessing a change in 4 of the 6 deans within a 12-month period. By July 2015, Doug Peers will be the senior dean on our campus, with 3 years of experience under his belt by that point.

Consequently, UW runs the risk of losing a lot of institutional cultural memory. Precisely those things that make UW work better than most other places hang in the balance: informal networks of people who have developed relationships over time and therefore can be relied upon to get things done.
FAUW suggests that the decanal hiring committees give serious consideration to internal candidates for these open positions. In order to tackle this problem from another direction, FAUW is aware that the new provost plans to arrange for more robust onboarding of new senior administrators so as to share UW’s culture and practices more effectively, especially with those hired externally.

2. Meeting with lecturers

In July, FAUW called a special 3-hour meeting specifically inviting our Lecturer and Continuing Lecturer colleagues to voice their concerns. The meeting was very well attended (~1/3 of lecturers attended!), and the bulk of the problems fall into one of the following categories:

    Words: Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Teaching Professor

  • Compensation: Dave Tompkins (Computer Science) gave an enlightening presentation comparing the lifetime incomes of lecturers vs. tenure-track faculty with an eye to the effects of their (very different) salary thresholds. Dave will summarize his findings for a future blog post that will appear in this space. Stay tuned!
  • Nomenclature: A broad consensus emerged at the meeting suggesting that FAUW push for the revision the designations “Lecturer” and “Continuing Lecturer” to “Assistant Teaching Professor” and “Associate Teaching Professor,” respectively.
  • Lecturers’ leaves: According to the current reading of Policy 76, “lecturers shall have the option to have at least one term in six be a non-teaching term.” This wording has not been interpreted consistently across campus, with some units granting this leave without question, while others insist that any lecturer availing themselves of this leave must ‘make up’ for the teaching not done during the term of leave during the other teaching terms s/he is on campus.
  • Clarity of promotion: One of the principal complaints raised at the meeting was the lack of clarity and transparency involved in attaining the status of Continuing Lecturer. Ideally, revisions to Policy 76 will create a parallel and equally transparent process for Lecturers as there is for the progression along the tenure track.
  • Departmental contributions: There also appears to be unevenness across campus in the extent to which Lecturers and Continuing Lecturers are allowed to contribute fully to departmental activities such as hiring committees, curriculum development, performance evaluation, student advising etc.

Over the course of the 2014-15 academic year, FAUW will be working with the Secretariat and Office of General Counsel to give Policy 76 a full revision, which will provide an excellent opportunity for resolving points b. through e. above. Such major revisions must receive the assent of the Faculty Association at the Faculty Relations Committee before being considered at Senate.

3. Negotiations

Math building distorted reflection in windows of EIT building
Photo by George Freeman

FAUW is coming to the bargaining table this fall to begin work on our new compensation agreement with the university. FAUW’s negotiating team is made up of Lynne Taylor (History, Chief Negotiator), Lori Curtis (Economics) and Shelley Hulan (English). The university, for its part, has put together the following team: Ian Goulden (Dean of Mathematics, Chief Negotiator), Jean Andrey (Acting Dean of Environment) and Doug Peers (Dean of Arts). On account of the precedents being set by other recently concluded collective bargaining sessions within our sector in the province and across the country, we have reason to be both extremely vigilant (witness the example of the University of Windsor) and cautiously optimistic (see recent settlements at Carleton University, Brock University and the University of Saskatchewan).
As a reminder, at UW, our negotiators onl
y deal with issues of compensation
. The rest of our terms and conditions of employment are set out in the Memorandum of Agreement (major changes to which require a full membership vote) and assorted Class F and FS numbered university policies (changes to these are subject to Faculty Association vetting and approval through the Faculty Relations Committee). Pensions and benefits are governed by the Pension & Benefits Committee, which has representation from all employee groups on campus. Currently, the faculty representatives are Lori Curtis (Economics), Peter Forsyth (Computer Science) and Mary Hardy (Statistics and Actuarial Science).

4. Scheduling

The build for the winter schedule is being done as I write, while we are experiencing the effects of the first on-the-ground run of the scheduling system this fall. How is it working out for you? Please send comments to the Faculty Association President or leave a comment on this blog post.
FAUW is aware that the problem we had foreseen of a deluge of scheduling constraint requests is overwhelming the coping capacities in the Registrar’s Office. We’ve been recommending since last winter term that the successor of the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Timetabling be formed in order to address some of the problems that have come to light in the meantime. Our aim is to have clearer guidelines for chairs to assign levels of priority to scheduling constraint requests, as well as establishing appropriate appeals mechanisms for when scheduling goes seriously awry for a colleague.

5. Electronic expense claims

Pilot testing of the new Concur expense claims system has been going ahead in a number of units within the Faculty of Mathematics. As of this writing, approximately 20 claims have been successfully shepherded through the system without any major glitches. The pilot testing and training of administrative staff on the new system is ongoing (~150 have been trained so far), and will include the undergraduate recruitment team in the Registrar’s Office as well as ~60 co-op coordinators from CECA. Based on the result of these extensive trials, the Steering Committee will be meeting in November to determine the final go-ahead (or not) for this system. The consultation process for the implementation of this system has been exemplary, especially when compared to other large-scale electronic systems that have been deployed on campus over the past several years.

One of the key advantages of the new system will be that it will allow for the processing of per diem expense claims for those accounts that do not involve provincial monies (e.g., Tri-Council grants). Faculty members have been clamoring for the return of per diems ever since UW was forced to do away with them as a result of the tightening of broader public-sector expense regulations at the provincial level.

One lacuna from FAUW’s perspective is that the privacy and security assessment that was made on the system by IST has not yet been made public. We are working to make that happen such that is will be accessible on the university’s website.

A Final, Important Note

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Faculty Association, I would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the family of the student who died tragically on the last day of Orientation Week during a powerful lightning storm. No words can make up for the tragedy.

Come back on Monday to read about the next five topics in David’s FAUW update.