Here’s what we talked about at the September 29 meeting—plus a couple other updates:
Adjourning meetings. You might find our parliamentarian’s ‘fun fact’ from this meeting useful for your own regular meetings. Because board meetings have a set end time, and a regular schedule, a motion to adjourn is not needed if the meeting has reached its scheduled end time. If there is pending business, it gets carried over automatically to the next scheduled meeting.
New Faculty Dinner. Lori Curtis (FAUW president) noted the success of this year’s New Faculty Dinner, which is co-sponsored by FAUW and the University. We also help coordinate New Faculty Orientation. It’s been great meeting new faculty members in person this year, and we look forward to continue seeing you all at FAUW events!
OCUFA Advocacy Day. The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations holds an annual “advocacy day,” when representatives from faculty associations meet with members of the provincial parliament to raise awareness about key issues in the postsecondary sector. This year’s Advocacy Day will be an important opportunity to raise faculty concerns with the newly elected members of the provincial parliament and make the case for meaningful investment in public university funding, supporting university research, addressing fairness for contract faculty, and protecting our public universities. This year’s Advocacy Day is November 15, and FAUW plans to send at least one member of the Board.
Six Nations scholarship funding. The second round of scholarship funding has been issued to the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office to support Waterloo students from the Six Nations of the Grand River.
UW’s draft Electronic Monitoring Guideline. The administration shared a draft of this new guideline with FAUW, asking for feedback from FAUW. This is not the first time that FAUW has pointed out that, had employee groups been involved earlier in the process, we could have raised concerns earlier so they could be addressed more easily. This is also not the first time we’ve pointed out that a guideline should probably be an FS-class policy because it very directly concerns our terms of employment. You can expect to see this guideline in place by the provincial deadline of October 11, 2022.
A note on masks: Research shows that providing free masks and giving reminders are effective ways of getting people to wear masks. If you want, you could have your department order free surgical masks, N95s, or cloth masks and filters from Central Stores, and then place a box at the front of your classroom.
Here are the non-confidential highlights of the November 12 Board of Directors meeting, and the president’s report.
Items of interest from the meeting
Anti-racism advisor. We’ve hired Kathy Hogarth as an anti-racism advisor to the FAUW Board. Kathy will be attending FAUW Board meetings for the remainder of this year as part of this role. There’s more about Kathy in Dan’s president’s report below.
The status of Policy 76 – Faculty Appointments. As we discussed at the Spring General Meeting, the P76 drafting process has shown us that the way we’ve always drafted and negotiated policy at Waterloo is no longer working. Here’s the latest: The drafting committee submitted a document to the Faculty Relations Committee co-chairs (the FAUW president and the provost) in late summer, which the Secretariat was unable to adapt into a usable policy without more work and guidance from FRC. Policy 76 was initially opened for revision largely to address lecturer titles and spousal appointments. FAUW’s Board and Lecturers Committee are currently working on identifying FAUW’s priorities for P76, specifically on the topic of teaching stream faculty. What happens next, we’re unfortunately still not sure, but we will keep you posted. We know this is frustrating and we appreciate your extreme patience with this.
1492 Land Back Lane. The OCUFA Board of Directors unanimously voted to support Haudenosaunee land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane by donating $5,000 to their legal defense fund. The Librarians and Archivists Association at UW has sent a letter in support of the organizers to federal and provincial ministers (and local representatives). The FAUW Board voted to issue a similar statement of support along with our Equity Committee and to donate $1,492 to the legal defense fund. We also discussed other potential avenues of support for the Six Nations of the Grand River and other Indigenous communities that we might pursue in the future (or to pressure the university to implement), such as scholarships or paying taxes to the Indigenous nations whose land we work on. For example, FAUW reps are hoping the University will financially support local Indigenous students (e.g. from Six Nations of the Grand River).
Copyright. There will soon be a new notice appearing once a term on LEARN to remind you about some of the legalities related to uploading content. If you have questions about copyright related to your course material or your own work, email firstname.lastname@example.org — that email goes to a team of copyright specialists across campus.
Declaring a climate emergency. The Climate Justice Working Group has prepared a draft climate emergency declaration for FAUW. This will go to the Fall General Meeting for discussion. If you’re a voting member, you’ll receive the draft in your agenda package by December 1.
Keep reading for Dan’s president’s report, including a Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave) update and more about Kathy Hogarth.
Something was also a little off about the FAUW executive officers that day…
But hey, there was candy!
The actual meeting
Reports from visitors
After this bizarre delay, the meeting began with an update from Fatma Gzara on the progress of the the Complementary Teaching Assessment Project Team (CTAPT). CTAPT was tasked with “researching and developing methods of assessing teaching and learning complementary to Student Course Perception surveys.” Fatma told us that CTAPT has hired a researcher to review the literature and how teaching is assessed at other universities, the U15 in particular.
We had two visitors to start this meeting. First, Jasmin Habib provided an update on the Course Evaluation Project Team’s implementation phase (CEPT2), in light of the recent Ryerson decision on the use of student evaluations in tenure and promotion decisions. Given that there is another project team exploring other ways of measuring teaching quality and performance (e.g., peer evaluation), CEPT2’s position, as reported at Senate on September 17, is that Waterloo is ahead of the curve and is already working to ameliorate some of the concerns raised by the decision at Ryerson. The issue of addressing bias remains contentious. The group has nearly completed a prototype and are preparing to test it. FAUW will keep an eye on the test process to ensure it doesn’t disadvantage any vulnerable faculty.
Sebastian Siebel-Achenbach then joined us to give an update from the OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations) Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee. He wants to raise some awareness and support for CAUT’s upcoming Fair Employment Week and OCUFA’s Fairness for Contract Faculty campaign, in light of the growing informalization of teaching and other kinds of professorial work in Canada. So check those links out.
We had a short discussion about the timeline and communication around proposed changes to our dues structure. These changes, if adopted by the membership, will bring FAUW in line with the conventions of other faculty associations, and alleviate some of the existing inequalities in the existing structure. More information about the proposal is available on our website. Voting members will receive an email with the details next week and a link to the online ballot on October 15. Voting will be open from October 15 to 19.
We spent some time reviewing responses from our members to the Faith Goldy event that did not go ahead earlier this year, in light of the Ontario government’s recent mandate that universities issue a free speech policy. Most responses supported our position on the event, which was issued on April 23rd and emphasized the association’s support of immigrant and non-Canadian members.
The Board appointed Mathieu Doucet as the new FAUW representative on the University Advisory Committee on Traffic Violations and Parking. We would like to see the committee expand its mandate to include active transportation and are confident that Mathieu will be a passionate advocate for this.
We ended, as always, with a review of upcoming events, including the campus tour on Thursday, the Council of Representatives meeting on October 17, a workshop on university governance November 9, and a talk by Mary Hardy on November 16 about the joint university pension plan being developed for University of Toronto, University of Guelph, and Queen’s University employees.
Marcel Pinheiro delivered the Elections Committee report: The successful candidates from Arts, Engineering, Environment, Mathematics, and Science are, respectively: Alice Kuzniar, Paul Ward, Daniel Cockayne, Dan Brown, and Vivian Choh (read more about the directors-elect). Voter turnout was 33% in Arts, 26% in Engineering, and 29% in Science.
We received no nominations from members in Applied Health Sciences, so this position will be vacant until the Board can fill it by appointment.
Members approved the budget for 2018–19 and changes to the constitution regarding the role of past president, the executive committee, and the name and mandate of the Status of Women and Equity Committee—now the Equity Committee. The updated constitution is on our website.
Dan Brown, one of our representatives to the fall break working group, gave an update on the fall break pilot project. Thank you to the 506 faculty members who participated in the survey that closed on March 30. We are reviewing the results now.
We introduced a couple of waste-reduction initiatives at this meeting: Thank you to everyone who brought their own plate and/or coffee mug, and to everyone for composting their pizza crusts and paper plates!
FAUW President Bryan Tolson (Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Treasurer Dan Brown (Computer Science) lobbied at Queen’s Park on March 20, advocating for investment in the university sector, renewal of faculty ranks, and better working conditions for short-term and contract faculty.
Tolson and Brown met with several MPPs from Waterloo Region and neighbouring Wellington County: Hon. Daiene Vernile (Kitchener Centre), Hon. Kathryn McGarry (Cambridge), Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga), and Ted Arnott (Wellington-Halton Hills); they also met with legislative staff for Catherine Fife (Kitchener-Waterloo). Continue reading “FAUW Execs Appeal to MPPs at OCUFA Queen’s Park Lobby Day”→
Adapted from a message from Ontario College and University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)
February 28 is OCUFA’s annual social media day of action. The day provides an opportunity for faculty, students, staff, and supporters across Ontario to get the issues of precarious work and fairness for contract faculty (sessionals and definite term lecturers, in Waterloo terms) trending on various social media platforms.
This year’s day of action will be use the momentum generated by Bill 148 to build more support for contract faculty in the lead-up to the provincial election in June.
The goal of the day will be to get as many people as possible to tweet and post Facebook messages to their provincial election candidates. The messages will highlight priorities for contract faculty at our institutions, the need to close gaps in Bill 148, how precarity for contract faculty can affect the quality of education, and where we go from here. Continue reading “February 28 is OCUFA’s Bill 148 Social Media Day of Action”→
Reposted from OCUFA, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, of which FAUW is a member.
OCUFA is part of the Fight for $15 & Fairness, a broad group that is advocating for better labour laws and a $15 minimum wage across Ontario. On September 15 and 16, the first ever $15 & Fairness Provincial Campus Assembly will take place at the University of Toronto. Faculty from universities across the province are invited to attend, and you can register here.
The assembly comes at a crucial time because Bill 148 will be considered in the legislature this fall. There will be discussions and workshops about how to win the strongest possible labour legislation, as well as how to advance the $15 and Fairness agenda on campus through collective bargaining and by uniting students, staff, and faculty. Achieving fairness for contract faculty will be a key focus throughout the agenda.
Presentation: Sally Gunz, President Faculty Association, University of Waterloo to Committee, Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, Kitchener, 18 July, 2017
My name is Sally Gunz. I am president of the Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW). FAUW represents all faculty members at the university except those who are hired to teach by course only. I am a professor of business law and professional ethics in the School of Accounting and Finance, and have worked at the university since 1981. I speak in my capacity as president of FAUW.
Members of the public often think of university professors as well paid, privileged employees. And indeed many are. But few are aware of the prevalence of precarious work on university campuses. My focus is on Bill 148 as it affects the many faculty teaching at the University of Waterloo who are employed solely on the basis of limited term contracts. I note that the university is presently revising its faculty hiring policies and issues around precarious employment are the subject of formal examination.
As background: it is important to understand that there is wide variance in terms and conditions of employment for contract faculty. For example, at the University of Waterloo:
Lecturers are mostly hired on one to five-year contracts, but a limited number are hired on an ongoing basis. I focus here on the former.
Sessional Instructors are hired by individual course. A distinction here is between those who teach in order to complement another, often professional, career, or to provide post-retirement part time work; and those for whom it is their full-time employment. The goal for many is to become full-time professors. In the meantime, they piece together contracts at Waterloo and often elsewhere, in some cases over very extended lengths of time.
While unstable employment may be used to meet legitimate short term university needs, increasingly such positions are created and sustained in response to real or perceived funding constraints. As university costing models become more sophisticated and transparent, the pressure to maintain flexibility by using temporary positions for high-level teaching tasks appears to be increasing. Let me give you two examples from Waterloo.
Case 1: a lecturer hired on one-year contracts for approximately 10 years teaches a range of courses in one discipline. He has received a high-level teaching award and provides strong service to his department, yet his employment remains year-to-year and dominated by no security.
Case 2: in a professional program, instructors are hired to teach multiple sections of courses, sometimes far exceeding a full-time load, but without the benefit of full-time contracts. This denies them a reasonable income, pension, or benefits. The university is reluctant to commit to full-time appointments despite the obvious teaching need in a program in which students pay significantly enhanced fees.
The use of exploitive hiring exists across universities. The case examples I cite are common. Highly qualified instructors have no employment security, comparatively low pay, and in many cases no pension or benefits. Where educational institutions face funding pressures, the increased use of ‘flexible’ hiring options is virtually inevitable. And while Bill 148 says that no employee shall be paid a rate lower than a comparable full-time employee of the same employer, there are broad exemptions to this rule. What Bill 148 can do, and what I, on behalf of FAUW urge you to do, is to make exploitive hiring options economically unattractive at universities.
To summarize: FAUW is pleased by much of what is in Bill 148. It strongly supports the recommendations OCUFA has made for improvements. In particular it would ask this committee to consider:
Extending the equal pay for equal work provisions to include access to benefits.
Amending Bill 148 to prevent the use of discontinuous contracts as a means of avoiding stable employment.
Extending the notice period for scheduling of employment to at least two weeks in recognition of the extensive prior preparation needed for assuming a teaching position.
 This rule would not apply where there is a difference in treatment between employees on the basis of: (a) a seniority system; (b) a merit system; (c) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (d) another factor justifying the difference on objective grounds.
OCUFA regularly conducts research, produces papers and briefs, and hosts conversations on targeted policy issues affecting higher education in Ontario. However, the 2017 Policy Exchange conference provided a unique opportunity to have a broad and interactive discussion.
Over the course of the two-day consultation, participants explored issues relating to precarious academic employment, university funding, and university governance and accountability. Through a series of group discussions, they established a clearer understanding of these issues and the steps they believe should be taken to strengthen Ontario’s university sector.
The recommendations collected in the final report of the OCUFA Policy Exchange encapsulate the discussions from the two-day consultation and provide the basis for a policy vision for Ontario’s universities that reflect the goals of the 17,000 faculty members OCUFA represents. What stands out in these recommendations is the clear commitment that faculty share to preserve and protect the core teaching and research mission of universities, and the centrality of this mission to ensuring that our universities and province thrive.
Moving forward, OCUFA will use these recommendations as the basis for further policy work and advocacy. It is hoped that OCUFA members and policymakers alike will see these recommendations as a useful starting point and valuable contribution to policy discussions regarding Ontario’s universities.