October 14 FAUW Board of Directors meeting report

And we’re back! Here’s what we’ve been working on lately – please comment below or contact us to let us know what you think!

  1. The AODA Education Standard recommendations. There are 179 initial recommendations that would inform accessibility standards (regulations) for postsecondary education across Ontario, under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. FAUW’s representative on the University’s Accessibility Committee, Zara Rafferty, visited this meeting to discuss how the recommended standards might affect faculty, and to gather concerns to inform the University’s submission to the ministry. A thread throughout the discussion and the feedback Zara has received is that instructors will need significant support in order to meet the proposed requirements. The deadline to send feedback to Zara has passed, but you can submit comments individually until November 1. Your Council member has more information about this.
  2. Proposed changes to pension plan investment documents. The Pension Investment Committee has drafted changes to the Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures and introduced new Fund Implementation Procedures and a Responsible Investment Policy. The drafts are available in the agenda for the October 22 Pension & Benefits Committee meeting. We are concerned that the proposed changes introduce unnecessary risk, may be ineffective in implementing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria, and could reduce accountability to plan members. In addition, the administration at times appears to treat pension funds as university assets, which is inappropriate.
  3. Policies 76 and 77. After the latest drafting committee failed to submit substantial revisions for the Faculty Appointments and Tenure & Promotion policies, the Board directed your Faculty Relations Committee representatives to request mediation as a way to move forward. The Board also identified things we absolutely must achieve for our teaching-intensive members (there’s a longer list on our website), including:
    • Teaching-stream professorial ranks with defined progression through these ranks.
    • Time to do the work required to progress through the ranks, in a pedagogical/professional development term (one in every six terms).
  4. Our grievance related to Policy 14 – Pregnancy & Parental Leaves (including Adoption) and the Return to Work. Members who were already on pregnancy leave when the new policy passed (on April 6) were informed by the University that when their parental leave started (after April 6), they would not qualify for expanded benefits under the new policy because it’s all “one leave” that started before the policy came into effect, even though individuals who did not give birth and went on parental leave at the same time did qualify. We believe this is inequitable treatment and that these are two separate leaves in policy, and have filed an association grievance. We know of at least five members affected by this; please contact Lori Curtis if it affects you as well.
Continue reading “October 14 FAUW Board of Directors meeting report”

The anatomy of a FAUW general meeting: A recap of our 2021 Spring GM

In which we summarize the proceedings of our 2021 Spring General Meeting and explain how our general meetings work at the same time.

The logistics

General meetings are meetings of the voting membership of FAUW, at which members receive updates on FAUW’s work and vote on important issues such as our budget, constitutional amendments, or changes to the Memorandum of Agreement. General meetings are held in December and April each year.

Quorum for a general meeting is 30 members. Our in-person meetings typically drew about 60-80 members in recent years, but both the fall 2020 and spring 2021 meetings had over 130 members attend online. We’re investing in equipment to be able to livestream our general meetings once we’re back to in-person events so we can continue being accessible to more members, especially those working at satellite campuses.

The meeting chair changes frequently, and must be someone other than a member of the Board of Directors. (If you’re really good at chairing meetings, let us know!)

The consent agenda: Committee and officer reports

Our general meetings have always had an asynchronous component: written reports from our committees and, in recent years, from our representatives on University committees. All voting members receive these reports by email in advance of the meeting. Other members can request the reports.

Some reports are delivered during the meeting itself, particularly those from FAUW executive officers.

The president’s report

At this meeting, Dan Brown’s president’s report started with a few recent success stories:

  • Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave, including Adoption, and the Return to Work) has been approved by the Board of Governors and is now in effect for all eligible employees who start(ed) a pregnancy or parental leave after April 6 of this year. We tried to have it applied to employees already on leave, but the University hasn’t budged on that. [See all blog posts about Policy 14.]
  • Our negotiating team achieved a good salary settlement covering the next three years, including the statutory maximum for salary increases under current provincial law.
  • The 2020 salary anomaly review has completed its work and informed individuals who will receive adjustments. Co-chair Marios Ioannidis noted later in the meeting that no solely gender-based anomaly was found this time around, and that there are a number of possible anomalies that require further investigation by the deans because the statistical model may not be robust to properly predict salaries of early-career members or those with salaries above the thresholds in our salary structure.
  • A new committee has been set up to focus specifically on updating the policies on faculty appointments and tenure & promotion to improve conditions for teaching faculty. The FAUW reps are Kate Lawson and Su-Yin Tan. Visit uwaterloo.ca/fauw/p76 for the latest information.

Dan also talked about ongoing and forthcoming issues, including the current state of planning for fall 2021. Decisions are mostly being made at the faculty or department/program level, which means members have more of a say than the FAUW Board does at this point. Some faculties/units are doing this with more detail and consultation than others. We are advocating for individual faculty to be primarily responsible for choosing the mode of teaching for your courses and for fall planning in general to be discussed more publicly and openly. We are actively collecting information, so if there are interesting/challenging/problematic/great things happening in your unit, please let us know. Individuals who need help with accommodations for the fall, please see our AF&T team for help.

Some other ongoing items on FAUW’s agenda include a few more policy committees underway or beginning soon and recruitment for FAUW committees—you can put your name forward via our website. We’re hosting a lunch & learn with Laura Mae Lindo on May 19 about how faculty can counteract anti-Black racism at universities, and last fall’s cancelled Hagey Lecture is being rescheduled for fall 2021—stay tuned for an announcement soon.

Continue reading “The anatomy of a FAUW general meeting: A recap of our 2021 Spring GM”

March 18 Update from the FAUW Board

President’s report to FAUW board

– dan brown, March 16, 2021 [updated March 22]

This was our last meeting in winter; the equinox on March 20 marked the beginning of spring. I hope you’re appreciating the longer days.

I am very pleased that the President announced his support for Policy 14 at the March Senate meeting. The only remaining step is the policy’s approval at April’s Board of Governors meeting. This policy marks a milestone in moving Waterloo into being a better employer of parents of small children. When combined with the bereavement and compassionate leave improvements announced as part of our salary settlement last month, we will have a proper suite of such benefits for our members. Thank you to the drafting committee for their steadfast work on this project.

Jay Dolmage (chair of FAUW’s Equity Committee), Laura McDonald (FAUW’s Communications Officer) and I met with the team of external reviewers of the Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion office. The review team will be working on this project for the next couple of months, and my expectation is that their eventual report will primarily be advisory to Waterloo’s new president. With equity and inclusion being so much a focus of FAUW’s work right now, we’ll be watching very closely to see what comes from this review.

FAUW elections are going to begin soon! I’m so excited to see who will run and be elected to our board. The Elections Committee hosted a well-attended volunteer recruiting event on March 9. We will also have openings on all of our working groups and committees this spring as well.

This is the first FAUW board meeting in seven years without Bryan Tolson on our board; he’s stepped down as Past President after so many years of service as President, Past President, Vice President, Chief Negotiator, FRC member, and board member. Bryan has led FAUW through a tumultuous time, with humour, grace, and excellent strategy, and I’m going to miss him very much. In particular, I’m grateful for his work on both Policy 14 and as Chief Negotiator, and I wish it had not turned out that both of those issues had come to a peak of work at the same time.

This isn’t really FAUW-related, per se, but I was recently interviewed on Instagram Live by The Glow Centre, Waterloo’s LGBTQ student centre, about what it’s like to be an older (oh, dear) LGBTQ professional. I enjoyed everything about spending time with the students, but it especially reminded me just how much I learn from students whenever I spend time with them. Even with the challenge of this (endless!) pandemic, I hope you’re all getting reminded of just how lovely, and thought provoking, our students all are.

Notes from the Board discussion

  1. Fall term planning. We talked about what we know so far about how each Faculty is approaching the fall and returning to more in-person teaching. We’ll be getting into this more at the next meeting, so now is a good time to talk to a Board member about this! So far, most of the discussions about fall term are happening either in the Faculties or at Dean’s Council, neither of which we participate in. We’ve asked for the committee on timetabling, which we do participate in, to be restarted.

    Some best practices you could consider taking back to your unit that would ease the burden on everyone this fall include not assigning new course preps, and not demanding that instructors with a heavy teaching load teach a mix of in-person and online courses.

    It is our understanding that the usual accommodation process will apply, so if you anticipate needing an accommodation related to teaching in person, we recommend talking to your health-care provider about documentation soon. Accommodations do not have to be limited to having no teaching.  
Continue reading “March 18 Update from the FAUW Board”

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”

Policy 14: The unbelievably long history of revising our pregnancy and parental leave policy

This is the second in a series of posts by Bryan Tolson about the revised pregnancy and parental leave policy (P14). Bryan was a FAUW representative on the drafting committee for P14 and is FAUW’s Past President.

In Friday’s post, I made the business case for the revised Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leave).

Today I want to make a more fundamental point about policies and policy revision here at the University of Waterloo and ask: Can it work?

Waterloo, like McMaster and (to a lesser degree) Toronto,1 uses policy to govern many of the terms and conditions of our employment: appointments, tenure, promotion, ethical behaviour, intellectual property, etc. Some policies relate to faculty only (F policies); some apply to faculty and staff (FS); some apply to everyone (G). FAUW only has a formal role in F and FS policy revision—even though faculty might have a special interest in the application of some G policies (e.g. Policy 73 Intellectual Property Rights).

How this policy development structure works in practice

The bad news is that Waterloo has failed to successfully revise any F or FS Policy (there are 21 such Policies) since 2012. Delay—unconscionable delay—has made policy development grind to a halt for many years now. 

I’m going to tell you my story of revising Policy 14, Pregnancy and Parental Leave. I call it my story because I have dedicated almost 1000 hours to Policy 14 improvements from as far back as 2013 with FAUW (and even in 2007 & 2008 as Co-Chair of the Women in Engineering Committee), and because I’m writing from my own perspective as a participant in the process (as FRC member and Policy Drafting Committee member).

Continue reading “Policy 14: The unbelievably long history of revising our pregnancy and parental leave policy”

Policy 14: The business case for a new pregnancy and parental leave policy

This is the first in a series of posts by Bryan Tolson about the revised pregnancy and parental leave policy (P14). Bryan was a FAUW representative on the drafting committee for P14 and is FAUW’s Past President.

After years of work, the Policy 14 Drafting Committee has delivered a revised policy that substantially improves pregnancy and parental leave benefits for UW employees. FAUW expects that the President will bring it for information to Senate on March 22 and for approval to the Board of Governors on April 6. Once approved, it will be in effect immediately.

The business case for improved pregnancy and parental leave is clear

On Monday, I will make the policy case for the new Policy 14. Today, I want to make the business case.

The revised Policy 14 can help the University of Waterloo with the huge challenge that it faces in recruiting and retaining female faculty members in general and female Canada Research Chairs (CRCs) in particular.

  • Waterloo has the lowest percentage of faculty who identify as female in the U15 universities (based on 2019 data)—31.3% (see Figure 1 below). The next lowest university is almost 5% higher than UW. We are also last among all Ontario universities.
  • This dismal showing is in spite of UW’s recent efforts, such as He4She, to increase female faculty representation. For example, in 2014, UW’s percentage was 29.4%—that’s a very small increase over five years.
  • In only eight years, by 2029, the federal government has mandated that UW must have 51% female representation in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 CRCs. We are currently at 27%. That is a huge gap to fill.
Continue reading “Policy 14: The business case for a new pregnancy and parental leave policy”

So far in 2021

With only two Board meetings so far this year, both largely focused on confidential negotiations, and no president’s report due to Dan Brown having been on leave, we haven’t had a whole lot to report on yet. But here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening so far this year:

  1. The drafting committee is working on minor edits to the updated Policy 14 (Pregnancy and Parental Leaves), directed by FRC and SRC. Once those have final approval, it will go to the University president for approval, Senate for information, and Board of Governors for approval. We anticipate that it will be on the agenda of the April Board of Governors meeting. Once passed by the Board, it is effective immediately.
  2. We have new terms of reference for a new committee to look specifically at teaching stream appointments and draft the necessary changes in policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion). The committee will be given a clear timeline and priorities. These terms of reference will be on the consent agenda at Senate this month and we expect to announce the members of this committee next week.
  3. We are updating our elections procedures, to support efforts to diversify the Board of Directors. In addition to changes at FAUW, we’re also talking about the need for increased representation of equity-seeking groups among faculty in general, in order to make increased representation within FAUW more realistic and sustainable. Nominations will open in March for five seats on the FAUW Board of Directors: four at-large positions, for which any voting member can run, and one seat reserved for a member with a lecturer appointment. If you are interested in running, or know someone who would make a great Board member, please contact Laura McDonald at laura.mcdonald@uwaterloo.ca or Peter Johnson (Elections Committee chair) at peter.johnson@uwaterloo.ca.
Continue reading “So far in 2021”

Does policy drafting at UW still work? Policy 14 could tell us.

—Kate Lawson, English Language and Literature

The updated draft of Policy 14 – Pregnancy and Parental Leaves (Including Adoption) is the product of UW’s unique collegial process and one that we can all be proud of.

FAUW members often ask how—and even if—their “terms and conditions of employment” can be updated and improved. They look at UW’s comparator institutions in Ontario and notice that colleagues there don’t just get salary increments in their collective agreements; they also get improvements in such areas as workload, benefits, and employment equity. And it is certainly true that faculty members who belong to unionized faculty associations have well-defined pathways to such improvements.

UW is different.  

Continue reading “Does policy drafting at UW still work? Policy 14 could tell us.”

8 things you missed at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting

FAUW holds general meetings twice a year, in December and April. They are open to all regular faculty who have opted in as voting members of the association. Here are some of the highlights from the December 8, 2020, meeting, at which we massively broke previous attendance records with 134 members in attendance!

Some of the members in attendance at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting, as seen using Microsoft Teams' "Together Mode".
Together Mode: It’s almost like being there… except not.
  1. We budgeted for “business as usual” this year and (obviously) things are playing out a little differently. Key changes are that we’re underspending on events (no surprise there) and have added some donations and advocacy related expenses.
  2. The Climate Justice Working Group has proposed that FAUW declare a climate emergency at our next general meeting in April. The Board of Directors and the working group will be looking into what exactly this would look like in the meantime. Doing so would involve applying a lens of climate justice to all of FAUW’s own operations and supporting our members in relevant teaching, research, and service efforts. The CJWG is holding a meeting about this on January 28 that all FAUW members are welcome to attend.
  3. We strongly support the proposed updates to the Pregnancy and Parental Leaves policy. We need your help to keep the pressure on the administration to pass the policy. Email your feedback (both things you like and things we can still improve further) to fauw@uwaterloo.ca and uw.policy@uwaterloo.ca by December 18—and ask your colleagues, chair, and dean to do so as well!
  4. We’re picking up the research professors file again after it was paused in March. We expect a formal vote of current research professors to happen in the new year.
Continue reading “8 things you missed at the 2020 FAUW Fall General Meeting”