What one professor learned while applying for promotion with an emphasis on teaching.
—James Skidmore, Professor and Director, Waterloo Centre for German Studies
I recently applied for and received promotion to full professor. People have asked why I didn’t do this earlier, and I usually gave one of two responses. I would either say that I was under the impression that at UW, you first had to win the Nobel Prize in Physics to be promoted, or I would point out that I’ve been full of myself for years and didn’t think I needed a letter from the President of the University to tell me something I already knew.
The thing is, I’ve always been more interested in my work than in my career; fixating on “rank” was a distraction I’ve tried hard to avoid. Besides, I assumed my somewhat nonconformist academic path might prevent committees from supporting the submission. My work at universities shows a stronger-than-usual commitment to teaching and service than is the norm, and I wondered if that wouldn’t prove to be a dealbreaker.
After attending the FAUW workshop on applying for promotion, and then seeking out the advice and guidance of Lori Curtis (at the time chair of the Academic Freedom and Tenure committee) and Katie Damphouse (the AF&T and Policy officer), I was able to confirm that putting forward a promotion dossier where the emphasis would be on teaching was actually possible under Policy 77. But it’s certainly not the conventional approach, and it required some careful handling.
Thankfully, it seems to have worked. The application went through without a hitch. There were no requests for further information, no off-the-record discussions about holding off on applying, no security personnel arriving at my office to escort me off campus (though I’ve been working from home since the pandemic started, so perhaps they did come by but couldn’t find me). And since I kind of had to figure this out on my own—I didn’t know anyone who had emphasized teaching when applying for promotion—I’d like to share what I learned about the process and how I went about it. Perhaps it will prove useful to you if your situation is similar to mine, but also to anyone putting together a promotion dossier.
Continue reading “The Full Promotion of Teaching￼”
We have heard concerns from some current lecturers about what we are calling “Pedagogical and Professional Development activities,” or “PPD.” They are worried that, in the Policy 76/77 revision process, FAUW is pushing for research to be a required part of the job for lecturers who move into the new professorial teaching-stream ranks.
This is not the case.
What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?
FAUW and the administration have not agreed to specific lists of activities yet. Here is just a sample of some activities that FAUW believes should count as PPD:*
Pedagogical development activities:
- Exploring, developing, and/or implementing new teaching practices;
- Designing or redesigning a course;
- Participating in curriculum development or review;
- Participating in teaching initiatives in your department or faculty; at the university; or at other universities;
- Attending or participating in workshops and conferences on pedagogy;
- Taking on internal or external educational leadership roles (e.g. teaching fellowships or invited teaching at other universities);
- Performing disciplinary or pedagogical research/scholarly work (see “Where traditional research fits in” below).
Professional development activities:
- If applicable, maintaining professional licences or accreditations (e.g. in engineering, pharmacy, accounting);
- Other activities required to maintain professional standing in a field.
Where traditional research fits in
Policy 77 currently states about both professors and lecturers:
University teaching is informed and enriched by the research and scholarship of the professoriate. The University expects its regular faculty members to be active participants in the evolution of their disciplines and professions, to keep academic programs and courses current with developments in their fields, and to communicate both their discoveries and their commitment to scholarship and research.
FAUW believes that, to be “active participants in the evolution” of their fields, teaching-stream faculty should be encouraged to, for example, attend disciplinary conferences. And, if teaching-stream faculty want to engage in traditional forms of dissemination of research/scholarly work—either in their discipline or in the scholarship of teaching and learning—it too should “count” as pedagogical development.
But, to be clear, FAUW is not advocating that teaching-stream faculty must do research.
Continue reading “What are Pedagogical and Professional Development activities?￼”
Here’s what was on the latest Board meeting agenda:
- Nominating Committee. We are still looking for people to help create this committee! Read about what the Nominating Committee will do and how to get involved on our website.
- Audited financial statements. Our auditor went over the draft audited financial statements for the year ending April 30, 2021, noting that we were under budget on a number of items, mostly due to cancelled events and travel. The Board approved the statements, which will be presented for approval by the membership at the Fall General Meeting on December 8.
- Policy 76/77 progress. At Faculty Relations Committee, we and the administration representatives shared our respective visions for teaching-intensive faculty, to see if they are close enough to continue discussions. Based on these statements, the Board has supported continuing discussions at FRC with an update expected at the next Board meeting. Two essential items for us are creating teaching-stream professorial ranks with defined progression through these ranks, and time to do the work required to progress through these ranks, in a pedagogical/professional development (PPD) term, one in every six terms. Importantly, this PPD time cannot be achieved by redistributing courses and causing overload teaching in other terms, as this would result in an overall higher workload than lecturers currently have. A PPD term must be achieved through a commensurate reduction in teaching load and/or service duties. Let us know if you agree in the comments below!
- Council of Representatives. We had great turnout at the October 18 Council meeting, where we talked about the AODA Education Standard recommendations, returning to campus, how the Academic Freedom & Tenure Committee works. At this Board meeting, we discussed ways to increase communication between the Board and Council, and between Council and other members. Let us know if you have suggestions about the Council of Representatives!
And here are some highlights from the written reports:
- Equity Committee activities. The Equity Committee (EC) is planning to run a workshop on unconscious bias in recommendation letter writing in November and host a town hall to understand faculty concerns about equity in January 2022. Aimee Morrison attended the feedback session hosted by OCUFA on the provincial government guidelines on accessibility on October 20. Interested members can reach out to her directly for her report. The EC hosted soup lunch at Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre on October 28. Members of colour on the EC and beyond participated in offering feedback to facilitators Aimee Morrison and Frankie Condon to the HREI Equity Faculty Recruitment and Retention Workshop on October 22, in preparation for November workshops for the Black and Indigenous cluster hiring committees.
- Compassionate Care and Bereavement Leave policy. Aimée Morrison and Lori Curtis will be the FAUW reps on the drafting committee for the new policy on compassionate care and bereavement leave benefits. Don’t worry: we won’t be waiting years for these. The minimum benefits are already guaranteed in our latest salary settlement and will be effective May 1, 2022, no matter what. The committee could write a policy that further clarifies and/or adds to those benefits.
- Pension & Benefits committee. Most meetings of the Pension and Benefits Committee are open to the public and we encourage members to attend, especially when major (read: contentious) decisions are being made. We’ll keep you updated about when those are happening.
– 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”
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.
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.
Did you know that the University of Toronto has teaching-stream Professors? This is unlike the University of Waterloo, where faculty members primarily engaged in teaching are appointed as Lecturers.
Here are some key facts about the teaching-stream professoriate at the University of Toronto (described in Toronto’s 2015 “Policy and Procedures on Academic Appointments” document):
- Faculty members in the teaching stream bring “a dimension of teaching excellence and educational innovation that enhances undergraduate or graduate education and adds significantly to the quality of the student experience.”
- The principal duties of faculty members in the teaching stream are teaching, “scholarship as evidenced in teaching and related pedagogical/professional activities,” and service.
- Assistant Professors, Teaching Stream, are evaluated for reappointment in the third year of their appointment and for continuing status in the sixth year. They may apply for promotion to Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, and (eventually) to Professor, Teaching Stream.
- The rank of Professor, Teaching Stream, is a recognition of “excellent teaching, educational leadership and/or achievement, and ongoing pedagogical/professional development, sustained over many years.”
- Promotion decisions are as serious in the teaching stream as in the regular professorial stream: “The awarding by the University of a given rank confers a status which, in a general way, is acknowledged and respected both inside and outside the academic community.”
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.
The University of Toronto’s policies recognise and reward the contributions of teaching-stream faculty. Its appointment structure and rigorous evaluation processes provide a model that is helping inform the Policy 76/77 updating process.