11 things we talked about at the November 8 Board meeting

We think it’s important that our members know what we’re doing on your behalf. So we report on the non-confidential business from every Board meeting here on our blog.

The November 8 meeting covered the status of policy 76, the free speech policy, weekend teaching, new faculty representatives on University committees, and more. Here are 11 things you might want to know about:

  1. The University will be creating a G-class policy to meet the Ontario government’s free speech requirements. FAUW does not have a role in the development of G policies, but we will keep you posted as much as we can.
  2. The Board and administration are talking about exceptional circumstances that might warrant hiring people specifically for weekend or overseas teaching, and how we might keep tabs on such hires.
  3. Members of the Renison Association of Academic Staff are voting this week on a service agreement between RAAS and FAUW, which outlines the membership dues that RAAS will pay to FAUW and the services and supports that RAAS and its members will receive in return. If they approve it, our members will vote on it at our general meeting on December 4.
  4. The Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) has been running for two years. High usage and largely positive feedback have confirmed the need for the program. We’re also hearing that people want more long-term services within the program, which is currently designed to offer short-term solutions. The utilization rate is almost 17%, which is considerably higher than the expected 10%. We have requested information about how this might affect the cost if the contract is extended next year (which it likely will be). If you would like to share feedback about the program, please comment below or send it to Katie Damphouse.
  5. We announced in our last post that we’re looking into arranging for new faculty members to access medical services on campus. We’ll be surveying members hired in the last few years soon to help us make the case for this.

Continue reading “11 things we talked about at the November 8 Board meeting”

A First Attempt

by: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

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

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

Enjoy the rest of the summer. 

Are lecturers at Waterloo professors?

by Bryan Tolson, FAUW Vice President

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

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

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

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

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

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