Professors of Teaching at UBC

We’ve told you about teaching stream professors at the University of Toronto and McMaster University. This week, we head west, to the University of British Columbia. UBC appoints tenure-track and tenured professors of teaching.

UBC’s model of teaching faculty, along with Toronto’s and McMaster’s, is being considered by the policy drafting committee that is updating Policy 76 Faculty Appointments and Policy 77 Tenure and Promotion.

Here are some details from the 2020 UBC Collective Agreement.

  • There are three ranks: Assistant Professor of Teaching, Associate Professor of Teaching, and Professor of Teaching.
  • Tenure-track Assistant Professors of Teaching are normally evaluated for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching in the fifth year of their appointment.
  • Associate Professors of Teaching and Professors of Teaching have the same rights to “study leave” as other professorial faculty. Study leaves allow faculty “to pursue study or research, of benefit to the individual and the University.”
  • Tenure and promotion to Associate Professor of Teaching “requires evidence of excellence in teaching, demonstrated educational leadership, involvement in curriculum development and innovation, and other teaching and learning initiatives. It is expected that Associate Professors of Teaching will keep abreast of current developments in their respective disciplines, and in the field of teaching and learning.”
  • Promotion to Professor of Teaching requires “evidence of outstanding achievement in teaching and educational leadership, distinction in the field of teaching and learning, sustained and innovative contributions to curriculum development, course design and other initiatives that advance the University’s ability to excel in its teaching and learning mandate. … Promotion to this rank is neither automatic nor based on years of service and it is expected that some persons will not attain this rank.”
  • “Educational leadership,” a key category for teaching faculty at UBC, includes many activities, such as the scholarship of teaching and learning; curriculum development and renewal, new assessment models, pedagogical innovation; teaching, mentorship and inspiration of colleagues; formal leadership responsibilities in a department, program, or faculty; and other activities that support evidence-based educational excellence, leadership and impact within and beyond the University.

As you can see, UBC has created a distinct career path for teaching faculty that runs in parallel to that of existing professorial stream faculty.

The FAUW representatives on the P76/77 Policy Drafting Committee are working to ensure that teaching faculty members at the University of Waterloo are fairly and rigorously evaluated and their contributions recognised and rewarded. Head to the FAUW website to learn about the committee’s work to recommend new terms and conditions of employment for UW’s teaching faculty members.

Meet the lecturers: Elena Neiterman

As we work on securing improvements to the working conditions of teaching-focused faculty at the University of Waterloo, FAUW is interviewing lecturers across campus to find out more about their experiences at Waterloo—and how potential policy changes might affect their work.

First in our series is Elena Neiterman, a continuing lecturer in the Faculty of Health, at the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SHPPS). She came to Waterloo in 2015 from a contract teaching position at McMaster University. Let’s meet Elena!

Elena Neiterman from the School of Public Health and Health Systems

The work of lecturers varies across campus. What does it include for you?

I normally teach six courses per year, including undergraduate courses in Health Promotion, Public Health Ethics, Canadian Health Systems, and Sociology of Aging, and graduate courses in Qualitative Research Methods. I also supervise undergraduate and MSc students.

I do a lot of service activities. I serve on the SPHHS Undergraduate Studies Committee, Recruitment Taskforce, and Annual Performance Review Committee. I also supervise Online Learning Assistants. At the Faculty level, I represent our School as a Teaching Fellow, serve on the Online Teaching Taskforce, and am part of the working group for the Faculty of Health Strategic Plan. At the University level, I am on the CTAPT committee, which aims to provide recommendations on how the university should assess teaching effectiveness in a way that truly captures the amazing work many of our UW instructors do in classrooms and beyond. 

Since COVID, I am also casually working as a tech assistant at home, trying to fix the internet and solve Zoom problems. I have five children, and, as any other parent in Ontario, I am navigating my online work and children learning from home.

While my work assignment does not include research, I do quite a lot of it because I find it engaging and fascinating. Currently, I am involved in two big pan-Canadian projects. One examines work experiences of Canadian midwives to identify factors that improve their workplace retention. The other explores mental health-related leaves of absence and subsequent return to work among knowledge workers (academics, accountants, dentists, midwives, nurses, physicians, and teachers).

I also have long-standing interest in women’s reproductive health and work on a number of pedagogy-related smaller research projects, including a textbook on health promotion.      

What parts of your work are you most passionate about? 

Teaching is my passion. I like being in a classroom and interacting with students. Since COVID, this has become more challenging – I mostly spend my teaching time staring at a camera and I miss seeing my students, but I make do.

Since I teach some required courses in our program, I usually know most of our students. It is really exciting to see “my” first-year students graduating! 

Being hired permanently meant that I could finally sleep at night – it is nerve-racking not knowing if you have a job next term.

Continue reading “Meet the lecturers: Elena Neiterman”

Another professorial teaching stream model: McMaster University

The other day, we told you about the “teaching stream” professoriate at the University of Toronto. Today, we want to let you know about “teaching-track faculty” at McMaster University. Both universities provide models that are helping to guide ongoing discussions about the future of teaching faculty here at the University of Waterloo.

Here are some details from the 2012 McMaster University policy on “Academic appointment, tenure and promotion” (PDF).

  • At McMaster, teaching-track faculty are expected to be “excellent teachers” and “to keep abreast of developments in the discipline in which they teach.”
  • McMaster’s policy notes that teaching and scholarship are complementary activities in a “research-intensive institution.” 
  • Scholarship in the teaching track is to have a special focus on teaching and pedagogy, so that these faculty members are especially encouraged to engage in activities such as curriculum development and evaluation; mentoring; and research into the efficacy of different pedagogical approaches.
  • In the fifth year of their appointment, Teaching-track Assistant Professors are evaluated for permanence, and they may apply for promotion to Teaching-track Associate Professor and, eventually, to Teaching-track Professor.
  • For promotion to Associate Professor in the teaching track, candidates must demonstrate “significant external recognition” in such areas as: continuing excellence in teaching practice; having teaching innovations adopted by others; assisting or leading curriculum development; presentations and scholarship on teaching or pedagogy; mentoring of other teachers; research on pedagogical and related issues; and/or leadership in experiential learning beyond the classroom.
  • Promotion to Professor in the teaching track requires that candidates demonstrate “a national or international reputation” for specific teaching and teaching related contributions.

Here at Waterloo, the policies on faculty appointments (#76) and tenure and promotion (#77) are both being updated. For FAUW, the aim of this process is to create a career path and clear expectations for teaching faculty members at Waterloo.

McMaster’s and Toronto’s well established policies are helpful to the policy drafting committee since each recognises and rewards the contributions of teaching-track faculty members, while providing models for fair and rigorous evaluation processes.

Policy 14: A note about eligibility

Our final (we hope) pre-approval Policy 14 blog post is from FAUW President Dan Brown.

One structural element of the new Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) is that it describes different eligibility categories based on the estimated time that an employee will be employed at Waterloo. In particular, staff whose contracts do not have an end date, and faculty who are tenured, tenure-track, or continuing, are immediately eligible for top-ups to parental leaves, while all other employees are not: they must work one year at Waterloo before they are eligible, and their length of leave depends on the total number of years for which they have a contract to work at UW. This one-year up-front obligation is a revision to the existing policy, which required that the employee have worked for six months before taking the leave and have six months remaining on their contract after returning from the leave.

This latter group of contract employees includes definite-term lecturers and research professors, both of whom may not be eligible for top-ups to their leave during their first contracts, depending on the lengths of those contracts. It also includes a quite large number of contract staff members.

FAUW’s Equity Committee and Lecturers Committee raised a concern over the difference in eligibility timing and length of paid leave that early-career tenure-stream and definite-term faculty would face under this new policy, arguing that it formed an important inequity to address, and the FAUW board held a vigorous discussion of this issue at a meeting in January. The eventual board decision was that we would advocate for the current draft to be approved; a key concern was that Policy 14 be enacted before the end of this fiscal year, because of the strictures of Bill 124 on benefit expansion. We also noted at this meeting that the new policy does offer significantly higher overall benefits for definite-term lecturers, these differences notwithstanding.

One aspect of this issue is that it highlights the need for good revisions to Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments): Teaching-stream faculty identified as “tenure-track” after these revisions are completed would be immediately eligible for Policy 14 leaves upon employment, for example. (Or, if “tenure-track” is not language in the new Policy 76, a corresponding small revision to Policy 14 could be made.)

We are advocating for expansion of benefits for lecturer members on a number of fronts currently: trying to get rid of two-year-less-a-day contracts; arguing that, as “regular faculty” under Policy 76, all lecturers are “regular employees” so time spent in lecturer positions (including definite term) counts towards eligibility for policies 23 and 59; and through the Policy 76/77 revisions. It’s also worth noting that all FAUW members will be equally eligible for the expansion in bereavement and compassionate-care leave negotiated in the 2021 salary settlement.

One last comment about Policy 14 eligibility: At Senate yesterday, I urged President Hamdullahpur to make the new, extended Policy 14 leaves available to all eligible employees who are already on a P14 leave as of April 6, when the policy is approved. This seems the only logical and fair way to implement this policy: as employees eligible for these benefits, they should receive them. The president responded by saying that he’d follow up with HR, but that since policies are enacted upon approval, he doesn’t expect to see this extension of leaves.

As Policy 14 finishes its approval, FAUW will be building materials about the effects of the changes, focusing on changes for both lecturers and professors; also, our Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee will be prepared to assist individual members with their individual circumstances.

March updates from the FAUW president and Board

Here’s the news from the March 4 Board meeting, starting with the pre-meeting president’s report and then an overview of the discussion at the meeting.

President’s report to FAUW board, March 2, 2021

– dan brown

There is so much to talk about from the past few weeks!

Our negotiating team has achieved a settlement with the university administration, including the 1% scale raises that are the maximum possible under Bill 124, an eye exam benefit, an expansion of bereavement leave and establishment of paid compassionate care leave, and more. One particular advance is that the administration has committed to using equity group membership data to assess whether there is a structural inequity in salaries for racialized and Indigenous faculty, and if so, correct it. I’m very grateful to our negotiating team: Bryan Tolson (chief negotiator), Mary Hardy, and Linda Robinson, for their steadfast efforts.

At February Senate, the make-up of the new committee to redraft Policies 76 and 77 to focus on teaching-stream faculty was approved. The committee will take advantage of the many years of work of the previous Policy 76 committee, while specifically examining working conditions, advancement, and hiring of teaching-stream faculty. FAUW’s representatives on that committee will be Su-Yin Tan and Kate Lawson.

We continue to work hard on the approval of Policy 14, the policy on parental and pregnancy leaves. We are still looking forward to it being presented for information at the March Senate meeting, and finally approved at the April Board of Governors meeting.

FAUW elections are underway! We are electing four at-large board members and one board position for a Lecturer. I’m hopeful we’ll have a diverse and competitive slate of candidates. The FAUW elections committee consists of Peter Johnson (chair), Heidi Engelhardt, Amanda Garcia, Laura McDonald, and Nomair Naeem. If you’d like more information about FAUW service opportunities, please contact one of them.

The UW issue over which I am most concerned these days is how fall 2021 teaching will work. Between concerns about the pace of vaccination for COVID-19 and worries about how many international students will be able to make it to Canada in September, I worry that we will have both a lot of on-campus teaching and a lot of remote teaching, in what will be the sixth term in a row disrupted by COVID-19. As I look toward the rest of 2021, I hope we can help build a compassionate workplace for our employees and a caring university for our students, but I am troubled by the degree to which we just don’t know what will happen. Obviously, most of the worst parts of this are outside the administration’s control!

Outside UW, I have been alarmed by the insolvency filing of Laurentian University on February 1. After years of what appear to have been remarkable financial mismanagement, that university filed for creditor protection. FAUW (in concert with OCUFA) has been lobbying provincial officials to pull Laurentian out of insolvency, or pull the provincial government into the proceedings. Several of us from FAUW, Renison and WLU met last week with MPPs from all parties to try to stress that this filing can’t be the first step in widespread bankruptcies of public institutions. I can’t predict whether that message is heard and acted upon, unfortunately.

What we discussed at the meeting

Continue reading “March updates from the FAUW president and Board”

Breaking down our 2021 Salary Settlement

To help clarify some of the implications and motivations of items in the new salary settlement, we’ve once again asked our chief negotiator (Bryan Tolson, this time) to provide some commentary. Below is the full text of the agreement with annotations, but first, here’s a quick, plain-language summary of the items in the agreement:

  • 1% scale increases each year for three years.
  • $85 for eye exams (for each person every two years).
  • A new compassionate care and bereavement leave policy that will provide:
    • A salary top-up (to 85%, for up to eight weeks) for members on a Critical Illness Leave or Family Medical Leave (minus Employment Insurance benefits received)
    • Four weeks of fully paid bereavement leave on the death of a spouse/partner, child, or step-child; one week on the death of any other immediate family member, such as a parent or sibling.
  • A deadline to start collecting faculty equity data, including on race and Indigeneity, and an update to the current salary anomaly review to identify and correct race-based anomalies once the data is ready. Corrections will be retroactive to May 1, 2021, and race and Indigeneity will be factors in future salary anomaly reviews.
  • A Memorandum of Agreement update so that faculty teaching all three terms in a year can now carry two weeks of vacation forward each year (up from one); for lecturers, these weeks will not expire until after their next non-teaching term.

Interpreting the agreement

Bill 124 limitations

Bill 124 limits public sector employee compensation increases to a maximum of 1% each year for a three-year period (our period is May 2021 – April 2024). Specifically, our average salary increase is capped at 1%, and our total “compensation entitlements” (total salary plus all benefits), is also capped at a 1% increase. (See the appendix at the end of this post for the language in the bill itself). Note that selective salary increases (merit) are not affected and will continue as usual.

Our bargaining team estimated that after the 1% scale increase, we had over $600 per member remaining for other items over the three-year deal. Our certified forensic accountant, Linda Robinson, led these calculations. Our actuarial costing, led by Mary Hardy from the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, shows the settlement items have a projected total increase in compensation entitlements of only $160 (items 5 through 8 generate no increase at all). This leaves room for additional benefit enhancements, particularly in the third year of the agreement, in which there is no additional spending as a result of this agreement beyond the scale increase.

Continue reading “Breaking down our 2021 Salary Settlement”

A more equitable approach to lecturer career progression

A post from the FAUW Lecturers Committee.

A slow path to policy development

Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments refers to continuing lecturers as “unusual.” This might have been justified in 2011, when the policy was last updated, but we now have two-and-a-half times the number of lecturers we did then. Lecturers are a critical component of the Waterloo faculty, and we need an updated policy to ensure lecturer career progression and allow lecturers to reach their full potential as valued members of the UW community.

In order to better understand the strengths of the current system of career progression for lecturers, as well as the problems that lecturers face when working to achieve their professional potential, we looked at some current statistics about this group of faculty and interviewed three lecturers who succeeded in moving from definite-term to continuing status in three faculties: Arts, Environment, and Mathematics. Their experience highlights the need to develop clear formal procedures for lecturer career progression.

Inconsistent procedures

As a result of insufficient guidance from university policy, until recently, none of the faculties have had official documents outlining the steps for lectures to take, materials to prepare, and timelines to follow in the process of transitioning from a definite-term lecturer (DTL) position to that of a continuing lecturer (CL). Consequently, different CL candidates experience the transition to this position in different ways.

Continue reading “A more equitable approach to lecturer career progression”

8 myths about UW lecturers

A post from the FAUW Lecturers Committee.

FAUW first started holding events specifically for Waterloo lecturers in 2014, but there have been lecturers on campus since at least the early ‘90s. With a distinct uptick in lecturer hiring over the last decade or two, there are now lecturers in every one of the University’s six faculties and they make up 18% of the FAUW membership. For many chairs, directors, deans—or just faculty colleagues—who are new to dealing with lecturer-rank faculty, there may be some uncertainty about who these people are and how they fit into their departments and schools. To help explain what lecturer faculty are—and aren’t—here are (in no particular order) eight myths about lecturers at Waterloo.

Myth #1: A lecturer is a lecturer is a lecturer

Fact: The term “lecturer” is often indiscriminately applied to everyone from sessional instructors hired by the course or term to permanent teaching faculty. At Waterloo, “lecturer” is one of the four faculty hiring ranks (the others are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor; see Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments). While sessional instructors are also hired at the rank of lecturer, they’re more correctly called adjunct or special lecturers and are administratively very different from the lecturer-rank regular faculty members (just “lecturers” from here on) that we’re talking about in this post.

Lecturers can have “definite term” or “continuing” appointments. Most lecturer-rank faculty are initially hired on definite-term contracts, which can be repeatedly renewed when they expire, although there is never any guarantee of renewal (see myth #7). Continuing lecturers have permanent, ongoing appointments that don’t have expiry dates. FAUW represents both definite-term and continuing lecturers (but not sessional instructors). About 40% of UW’s lecturers have continuing appointments.

Getting the terminology straight is just half the battle. The specifics of lecturer positions—how teaching loads are defined, what kinds of service and administrative tasks they do—can vary widely between faculties, and even between departments in the same faculty. According to our 2015 lecturers survey, about half of UW’s lecturers have an 80/20 teaching/service ratio; the other half reported a broad variety of teaching/research/service weightings.

Continue reading “8 myths about UW lecturers”

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.

What’s on the FAUW agenda for 2019-20

Our Board meeting summary posts are back! Tune in every two weeks to find out what the FAUW Board of Directors is doing for you. Subscribe to get the posts right away.

FAUW’s priorities for 2019-2020

These are the key items we’re aiming to get through this year, in addition to preparing for negotiations at the end of 2020 and inevitably weighing in on more proposals from the provincial government.

  • Policy development: Improvements and clarity around the policy drafting process, better supporting our representatives on policy drafting committees, and getting a few policies into (if not through) the approval process. Candidates are the policies on ethical behaviour (33), parental leave (14), accommodations (57, new), and faculty appointments (76).
  • Conflict of interest guidelines: See item #3 from the September 12 Board meeting below. 
  • Workload: We want to see clear and consistent definitions (and monitoring) of how teaching and other faculty work is counted across campus.
  • Representation: We plan to issue position statements on our relationship with research professors and sessional instructors.

September 12 Board of Directors meeting

Here’s what was on the agenda on September 12, the first meeting of the 2019–20 academic year. We welcome your input on any of these topics! 

Continue reading “What’s on the FAUW agenda for 2019-20”