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.
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A Lost Opportunity: Report from the FAUW Representatives on the Policy 76/77 Drafting Committee

– By Su-Yin Tan and Kate Lawson

We are very disappointed to report that the latest effort to improve terms and conditions of employment for Definite Term and Continuing Lecturers has failed.

We are the FAUW appointees on the Policy Drafting Committee (PDC) that began work in March to revise Policies 76 Faculty Appointments and 77 Promotion and Tenure with regard to teaching stream faculty members; the administration appointees were David DeVidi (committee chair) and Kevin Hare.

We report here on the PDC procedures, FAUW objectives, and what happened over the past six months. (Note that confidentiality provisions in the Terms of Reference for the PDC mean that we can report only on public documents and on our own activities.)

We began the process believing that Lecturers at Waterloo deserve working conditions near or equal to those of teaching stream colleagues at other large non-certified Ontario universities (University of Toronto and McMaster University). UWaterloo is in very good financial shape and UW’s Lecturers are just as qualified as Toronto’s “teaching-stream professors” and McMaster’s “teaching-track professors.”

We entered into the PDC process having studied relevant policies at these “comparator institutions,” willing to prioritize our goals, and prepared for good faith and collegial discussions with the representatives of the administration. We are thus very disheartened that no agreement on any revised policies was reached.

Continue reading “A Lost Opportunity: Report from the FAUW Representatives on the Policy 76/77 Drafting Committee”

Real academics don’t take vacations?

Our recent post “Help Dr. X take their vacation” received many spirited replies.

Some offered practical suggestions for Lecturers like Dr. X who teach three terms a year:

  • Post online content instead of class instruction for two weeks. How would chairs feel about this? What about students who listen to the online content and then email with a question or ask for help? Would the answer “I’m on vacation and will get back to you” be satisfactory?
  • Get someone else to cover your classes for two weeks. This sounds great, except … who would that be? Would you regularly take on extra work to “cover” for a colleague on vacation?
  • Take a holiday during fall break and reading week. Since many faculty use the “break” to mark or to prepare, a holiday at this time would take very careful planning. And some faculty have been called out for not being available to students or for not answering work emails during these times.

It’s also worth noting that Lecturers are far more likely than Professors to be held to the requirements of Memorandum of Agreement 11.2.3: “Vacation shall be scheduled at a time or times which are mutually satisfactory to the Member and the Department Chair.”

But some replies to the blog, both in the comments and elsewhere, hinted that vacations weren’t really the “done thing.”

Do academics even take vacations?

A recent meme suggests that eschewing vacations is a particularly North American phenomenon.

Could the “American” attitude also be the normal academic one? Do we dismiss the very idea of taking time away from our jobs?

If so, what are the costs of an academic culture that values, not just work, but overwork? What, for example, are we modelling for (and expecting from) our graduate students if “no vacations” is the accepted norm? Is this healthy—physically, socially, psychologically?

Continue reading “Real academics don’t take vacations?”

How much would a true non-teaching term cost?

One of the issues that the FAUW team hopes to address in the revision process for Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) and Policy 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members) is workload, one component of which is a regular non-teaching term for teaching-intensive faculty.

The current Policy 76 includes a provision for non-teaching terms: “…Lecturers shall have the option to have at least one term in six be a non-teaching term.” The interpretation of this clause, however, varies across faculties and even departments. In the faculty of Environment and in several departments in Engineering and Science, the non-teaching term is taken to be a reduction in load in that academic year; other faculties such as Arts, Health, and Math interpret the non-teaching term as a redistribution of load. In this case, lecturers teach their normal annual course load in two terms rather than three.

What lecturers say

Results from the recent FAUW Lecturers Committee survey, which had a response rate of 80%, show that 61% of the 192 respondents had had at least one non-teaching term during their employment at the University. Among these lecturers, 37% had what we’ll call a “true” non-teaching term (i.e., their teaching load was reduced not redistributed) while the remaining 63% had their load redistributed. For the 39% of lecturers who have never taken a non-teaching term, the redistribution of workload was cited as the most common barrier.

In recent faculty consultation sessions organized by the Lecturers Committee, lecturers shared that that having time and resources to fulfil professional development and scholarly work is a high priority. Many lecturers commented that a true non-teaching term would allow them to engage in scholarly activities including curriculum development, professional development, pedagogical research, and staying up to date in their field. There was also discussion around the mental health benefits of a non-teaching term during which lecturers could also take their annual vacation entitlement and recharge.

We should also recall that the University’s current Strategic Plan states that Waterloo strives to be “a people-centered institution committed to genuine care, concern, respect, inclusivity and well-being for all.” These values include commitments “to embed and promote sustainability and foster personal development and supportive environments for mental health and resilience, physical health, social inclusion, belonging and spiritual well-being in campus culture.”

Ensuring that teaching faculty have adequate time to engage in foundational academic activities—such as staying up to date in their fields and planning new courses—as well as much needed personal activities—such as taking vacations— is necessary for UW to fulfil these commitments.

The numbers

So, how much would it cost the University to implement a true non-teaching term for lecturers? Relying on FAUW membership data on lecturers and on data collected from the FAUW Lecturers Committee survey, we’ve come up with an upper-bound cost estimate.

Continue reading “How much would a true non-teaching term cost?”

June 3 report from the Board

Here are the updates from the June 3, 2021, FAUW Board of Directors meeting.

Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) change

On June 1, the University Board of Governors approved an update to Policy 76 that changes the threshold for which appointments need to go through UARC—it will now review appointments “longer than two years,” rather than “two years or longer.” As we reported last time, this will remove the primary reason for two-years-minus-one-day appointments. We asked the deans to add an extra day to all two-years-minus-one-day appointments and have heard from three that they are doing so. Two faculties don’t have any such appointments, and the sixth is discussing the issue further but we expect that to be resolved soon.

This extra day comes with significantly improved benefits, including dental coverage, better sick leave, long-term disability coverage, access to the Employee & Family Assistance Program, eligibility for the new pregnancy and parental leave policy, and tuition benefits under Policy 4 (for employees) and Policy 24 (for employees’ children). It can also have implications for retirement benefits eligibility.

Other work on Policy 76/77 will continue through the summer.

Equity data survey

We’re excited that the University equity survey will be going out soon. We encourage you to participate in it. This survey is what will provide the Salary Anomaly Working Group with the data needed to run the race-based salary anomaly review that we negotiated in our latest salary settlement. There is a lot of information about the survey and how the data will be used on the Equity Office website.

Response to FAUW position on fall 2021

Mario Ioannidis is representing FAUW on the new return-to-campus working group. This group has representatives from the Staff Association, Occupational Health, the Safety Office, Human Resources, and Plant Operations, among other units, and meets every other week. They are informing institutional guidelines (e.g. classroom capacity) for a staged return from now through January 2022, and applying a change management framework to this return. The group recognizes that returning to campus significantly affects faculty members.

Mario and Johanna Wandel met with Plant Operations. Plant Ops started upgrading HVAC systems (of which there are more than 300) as soon as campus emptied out last year. They are using MERV 13 standard air filters throughout campus and we’re working with them on getting detailed data to members about the rooms they use.

Tenure and promotion 2021

We are asking the University to ensure that departmental and faculty tenure & promotion committees (and external referees) take the effects of the pandemic on teaching and research into account when reviewing tenure and promotion files this year.

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Hot topics from the May 20 FAUW Board of Directors meeting

Pandemic issues

The FAUW Board has issued a statement on fall 2021 decision making relating to teaching and faculty working conditions.

We briefly discussed some potential approaches to 2021 performance reviews, including re-weighting (e.g., to reduce the impact of your research score). We know there is also a continued need for pandemic considerations for tenure and promotion and will be returning to that topic with the administration soon.

Faculty members who need accommodations for fall (or any) teaching should contact our Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee for advice and referrals.

One small change for P76, one giant leap for lecturer benefits

From Dan Brown’s president’s report: This month at Senate we approved the first small step in the Policy 76/77 revisions, a surgical change to the mandate of the University Appointments Review Committee (UARC), so that it will now no longer be required to consider appointments of exactly two years (it will now review appointments longer than two years). This seemingly tiny change will matter, as it will remove the primary argument for deans to make two-years-minus-one-day appointments, which unfortunately come with fewer benefits than appointments just one day longer. [Editor’s note: This change was approved by the Board of Governors on June 1, making it official. We are asking deans to consider extending relevant appointments by one day.] The P76/77 Policy Drafting Committee will continue their work through the end of the summer, aiming for the August 31 deadline approved by Senate in March.

New travel and expenses policy

From Dan’s president’s report: The university’s president approved a substantial rewrite of Policy 31, the Travel policy, which has been renamed to University Expenses; this results in substantial improvements to reimbursement rates and also (hopefully!) a reduction in documentation required of travellers. It also details how research expenses like working lunches and hospitality will work. UW Finance consulted with FAUW (via Faculty Relations Committee) as part of their discussions of this policy.

Indigenous student scholarships

We have been looking into establishing a scholarship for students from Six Nations of the Grand River, on whose land the Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge campuses are situated. At this meeting, we got into some details about what the award(s) could look like in practice to inform conversations with the Grand River Post Secondary Education Office and the university’s Student Awards & Financial Aid office.

Benefits eligibility grievance outcomes

Adapted from Ken Vetzal’s Pension & Benefits report: In response to grievances filed by FAUW, a subcommittee of the Pension and Benefits Committee (including the P&B liaison to the FAUW Board, Ken Vetzal) was formed last fall with a mandate to provide precise definitions of “continuous University of Waterloo service” (Policy 23 – Eligibility for Pension and Insured Benefits) and “uninterrupted regular full-time service” (Policy 59 – Reduced Workload to Retirement).

Continue reading “Hot topics from the May 20 FAUW Board of Directors meeting”

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.

April 29 FAUW Board meeting recap

Here’s what happened at our latest Board of Directors meeting:

  1. Our newly elected directors start their terms July 1 but we’ve invited them to start attending meetings now to get familiar with the issues and how things work. In a round of introductions, both new and current directors expressed a lot of interest in equity and diversity issues, lecturer working conditions, and exploring how we can improve our relationship with the University administration.
  2. We noted a few developments related to the discussion at our spring general meeting about fall term. Senate had a long and thorough discussion about fall planning last week, which is reassuring. We’re glad to see some shifting from the administration assuming the best-case scenario to more fulsome planning for a range of scenarios. The University has scheduled a town hall for May 11 and we encourage you to attend that and ask your questions! We’ve established our own working group to explore issues related to the pandemic and planning for fall term. It will start meeting next week and involves many of the people who raised concerns and offered to help with this at the general meeting, so thank you to those members for participating!
  3. CAUT has censured the administration of the University of Toronto, on the basis that the university violated academic freedom when they rescinded a job offer in 2020. Censure is a very rare action for CAUT to take (the last two times this occurred were in 2008 and 1979). Censuring the University of Toronto administration means that, until the situation is satisfactorily resolved, members are asked:
    • not to accept appointments at the University;
    • not to accept invitations to speak or participate in academic conferences held or hosted by the University; and,
    • not to accept any distinction or honour that may be offered by the University.
  4. In his president’s report, Dan Brown noted that the University announced a plan for cluster hires of 10 Indigenous faculty and 10 Black faculty at a recent town hall on antiracism projects on campus. Some of our members present at the town hall commented, rightly so, that hiring is only a first step to making the University more inclusive and equitable, and that attention also needs to be paid to retention, promotion, and leadership development. These hires will bring the University’s faculty complement up to 2% Black faculty and not quite 2% Indigenous faculty.
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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”

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.