The highlight of the fall general meeting on December 7 was definitely Jay Dolmage’s audio glitching and getting stuck in a loop of him saying “bleak, but” as he tried to provide an update on the employee accommodations policy. (Jay later summarized in the chat: “PDC 57 has some reason to be optimistic that we can move this along in the new year.”)
“Bleak, but…” turns out to be a good summary of how members seem to be feeling about the role of faculty in governance at Waterloo. Policy development keeps stalling, faculty feel like senate meetings are rubber stamping sessions, and we don’t really get a say in a lot of university guidelines and academic processes that affect our work.
But there’s cause for hope. The administration agrees that the policy development process isn’t working, and we’ll be talking about how to fix that as soon as we see how the new Policy 76 process works out. There’s some real desire and momentum right now among members to find better ways of doing things, whether that’s a revised Policy 1 (the policy on policies), moving more items into the Memorandum of Agreement, or considering certification. And, most importantly, a whole lot of faculty members are interested and engaged with these issues and offering some great suggestions. Now we just need to make them happen. Some ideas we’ve heard recently—at this meeting or otherwise—include:
Regular open discussions about hot issues
Mobilizing faculty senators—maybe meeting in advance of senate meetings
Better tracking of member suggestions and Board follow up
Negotiating a workload policy
Solidarity with other employee and student groups at UW
Improving APRs (the process for these is governed by the MoA, but standards are currently set by each Faculty and department)
A member engagement committee to build networks and identify opportunities for members to work on issues
And, of course, the internal governance review that will be starting soon
Here’s what the FAUW Board of Directors talked about at its last meeting.
The Nominating and Elections Committee. This committee is officially up and running! The committee will collect submissions from people interested in representing faculty on UW and joint committees to help the Board and President make selections, with the aim of casting a wider net from now on. The committee will also continue the work of the Elections Committee, overseeing and recruiting members to run in Board elections. If you’d like to join this committee, or get involved in any way, get in touch!
The FAUW Parliamentarian role. The description for this position is now finalized and we are looking for someone to fill it! A Parliamentarian advises meeting chairs, committees, and members on matters of meeting procedure and helps to ensure that meetings are conducted in a manner that abides by the rules of the organization while enabling members to participate equitably in deliberations. The parliamentarian will need to be, or become, familiar with Roberts Rules of Order and the FAUW constitution. You can learn more about this role on the FAUW website, and get instructions for how you can put your name forward or suggest someone you think would make a good parliamentarian!
Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour). A new draft of this policy went out for consultation a couple of years ago and the Staff and Faculty Relations Committees (SRC and FRC) directed the policy drafting committee to make changes based on the comments received at that time. Since then, it has gone out for further consultation to the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce. FAUW is bringing its final questions and concerns to a special meeting of FRC and SRC on January 31. The Equity Committee chair noted at Thursday’s Board meeting that concerns the committee had in 2019 have not been addressed.
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 email@example.com — 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.
The FAUW Board of Directors meets every two weeks (except during July and August). After most meetings, we share a summary of the non-confidential parts of the meetings, to make sure our members know what we’re working on. If you subscribe to our blog, you’ll get these updates by email.
Here are some of the things we talked about at our last two meetings:
Negotiations. We spent the first part of both meetings with our new negotiating team, discussing possible goals and preparing for the town hall meeting on Tuesday, September 22.
Policy 14 – Pregnancy & Parental Leaves (Including Adoption). The Board had a first look at the new Policy 14 draft. Members will have an opportunity to review the proposed new policy soon!
2020 Performance Reviews. As announced by FAUW and the Provost recently, FAUW is finalizing an agreement to allow members to skip having their performance evaluated in categories they choose in 2020. We are working out details with the administration now.
Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour. The new draft of this policy is currently being revised based on feedback from stakeholders, including FAUW.
Winter term. It turns out this has kind of been announced, at least in some faculties, so in case you haven’t heard: winter term will look pretty much like fall term.
Masks on campus. We had some concerns about the initial announcement (on July 21) about where and when masks are required on campus, and those concerns were addressed. (The University issued a follow-up statement on July 31 that masks would be required in classrooms and teaching labs in addition to the other common areas previously announced.)
Every two weeks or so, we give you a run-down of the major non-confidential topics discussed at our Board of Directors meetings. Here are the latest items:
A new Board member. Patrick Lam (Electrical and Computer Engineering/Computer Science, Director-at-large elected in 2019) has stepped down and gone on sabbatical. Alfred Yu (also ECE) is stepping in until June 30. Nominations for this seat and the six Faculty-specific seats on the Board are open now and due in March.
Climate Justice Working Group. The Board approved a proposal from members to form a FAUW Climate Justice Working Group. Its objectives include building climate justice awareness on campus, creating a community of practice for faculty, and sharing climate justice research with the regional community. You’ll hear more about this new group soon!
Graduate Students Association unionization vote. The GSA Council (similar to our Council of Reps) has voted in favour of “the formation of a union of graduate TAs, RAs, and sessional instructors.” This is a green light for the GSA to explore the option of unionization. There is a detailed explanation on the GSA website. The Imprint has also published a statement from GSA VP David Billedeau.
Our teaching workload project. We’ve collected some information about teaching workload norms and practices from our Council of Representatives. Unsurprisingly, we found wide variation across campus. This is back on the agenda at the Council of Reps meeting on February 5 as we work on narrowing our focus and filling in gaps in the data.
Departmental addenda. Every Faculty has guidelines for performance reviews. Every department has (or is supposed to have) departmental addenda to those guidelines with department-specific criteria (teaching workload norms, for example). These are mandated by the Memorandum of Agreement and they’re important because they set out what the expectations are for your evaluation. We’ll be talking about what to include in these addenda—and why now is the time to update them—at the Council meeting on Wednesday.
Policy 33 – Ethical Behaviour. A subcommittee of the Faculty Relations and Staff Relations committees is reviewing the feedback from the Policy 33 consultations.
Before everyone disappears for the holidays (who are we kidding, most of you won’t see this until January), here’s a quick re-cap of what we’ve been doing this term, including an update on our priorities for 2019–20.
How we’re doing on our 2019–20 goals so far
Policy development: We are in the midst of some big discussions about how to improve our policy development process as a whole. Policy 33 (ethical behaviour) is moving along—FRC is processing 100 pages of feedback from the University community and will give direction on changes in the new year. Bryan is still hoping to get this approved before his term is up! Policies 14 (parental leave), 57 (accommodations), and 76 (faculty appointments) are still in progress.
Conflict of interest guidelines: Faculty Relations Committee is finalizing these.
Workload: We distributed a questionnaire to our Council of Representatives and are finishing up gathering the last of those and starting to analyze the information. We will share the results with our members next term.
We’re working on identifying standard teaching workload expectations in each department so we can better advise members. We started gathering data on this at the October 29 Council of Reps meeting.
Speaking of which, we are still missing Council members for: Accounting & Finance, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Physics & Astronomy, and Systems Design Engineering. If you’d like to be your unit’s rep, send us an email.
The Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour) drafting committee finished its public consultation on October 18. FRC will review all the feedback and give direction to the drafting committee about changes to make by November 11. We expect a final version back to FRC for approval on December 19. In particular, FAUW heard impassioned feedback about the policy’s silence on student-supervisor relationships. This was instead covered in draft guidelines. The Board voted on October 24 to ask that this be included in the policy itself.
The Lecturers Committee had an insightful meeting with David Rose, new chair of the Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) drafting committee and Benoit Charbonneau (chief negotiator for FAUW) about policy 76 and implications for lecturer salary equity.
FAUW President Bryan Tolson met with the faculty reps on the joint health and safety committees about how those committees can advocate more explicitly for faculty safety issues.
Ranjini Jha was appointed to the Pension Investment Committee.
We’re starting to plan events for next term. Some topics we’re looking at include preparing for retirement, definite term contracts, the teaching scheduling process, and meet-ups for early-career faculty and out-of-town and bike commuters.
The University is currently negotiating its third Strategic Mandate Agreement with the province. Currently, 92% of UW’s operating funding is based on enrolment, but the new performance-based funding model will bring this number down to about 33%, with the rest dictated by to-be-determined performance indicators. FAUW is more concerned with rejecting this funding model as a whole than getting into the details about which indicators UW should be using. If you want to learn more about how the model works, here’s a presentation from OCUFA (PDF) that breaks it down.
What OCUFA is talking about
OCUFA = Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
Now that the provincial legislature has reconvened, Bill 124 (the one that will cap salary increases at 1%) will likely pass in November, and then there likely will be a court challenge, likely by CUPE (the Canadian Union of Public Employees). It’s still unclear if the legislation will apply to anything outside of base salary (e.g. benefits spending, merit increases).
Bill 100 (the one that allows the government to reduce/eliminate the salary of faculty members collecting a pension) is already law; we’re just waiting to see if they will use it. OCUFA will file a charter challenge if needed.
OCUFA’s advocacy day at Queen’s Park is coming up on November 6. We can’t make it this year, but you can follow along on their Twitter account when the time comes.
A draft of Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour) is out for consultation. Since this is the first policy that’s made its way to Faculty Relations Committee (FRC) for approval in a while, let’s review how this will work:
Policy 33 is an “FS” policy, meaning that it affects both faculty and staff working conditions. FRC (that’s the group of FAUW Board members and admin that meets every two weeks to hash out working conditions, fix problems, and approve policies) and the Staff Relations Committee (SRC) jointly strike drafting committees for and then approve FS policies.
FRC and SRC will send the draft policy out for consultation to other groups. They will review all the feedback and tell the drafting committee what changes to make.
The updated draft policy then goes back to FRC and SRC for approval. Approval at FRC requires a double majority, which means both FAUW and admin have a veto.
After FRC and SRC approve the policy, it goes on to be approved by the Board of Governors.
In the case of Policy 33, faculty and staff members will get a draft of the policy soon. We encourage you to provide feedback through the soon-to-be-announced process set up by the Secretariat. If necessary, we will also collect anonymous input through our FRC reps and Lori Curtis, AF&T Committee chair.
What else is going on right now?
The Holistic Benefits Review is moving along—you’ll get a survey soon, asking for your input about University employee benefits.
As we reported last time, Finance (incorrectly) used a new Consumer Price Index (CPI) source for indexing the 2018-2019 Faculty Professional Expense Reimbursement (FPER) amount, which led to each member getting $8.00 less than you should have last year. We’ve worked collegially with Finance to find a solution: reverting back to the previous CPI source moving forward and also making a one-time addition of $8.00 to your 2019-2020 FPER. This was the Board’s preferred solution. Special thanks to the member who investigated this thoroughly and brought it to our attention!
We gave feedback on draft conflict of interest guidelines that FRC is working on. These apply to faculty hiring, performance review, tenure and promotion, and chair search committees. You can expect to see those later this term.
We had a quick debrief about the New Faculty and Family Dinner that we co-hosted with the University on September 20. (The gist: it was great; everyone had fun; we’re looking forward to next year.)
The Lecturers Committee held its first meeting of the year and is working on setting goals for the next few months. Let them know if you have suggestions.
The Board approved FAUW’s audited financial statements for the fiscal year 2018–19.