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Academic Views

Role of Department Representatives

We would like to acknowledge and thank the members of the Faculty Association who served as Department Representatives for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. This year has been a particularly challenging and uncertain time, and we appreciate the valuable insights that Department Representatives provide. They have played an essential part in collecting feedback from their academic colleagues and distributing important information to their units.

The role of the Department Representative is to maintain two-way communication between the Faculty Association Board of Directors and their respective departments. Given the complexity of the University, the opinions and concerns of members vary widely among Faculties and Departments. Gaining insight from members across the institution is essential for the Faculty Association to operate.

The primary mode for this communication is the monthly meetings during the academic term when the Department Representatives meet with the Association President and/or other Officers. These meetings are essential for a briefing on Association initiatives and important areas of activity, but equally important is the opportunity for Department Representatives to bring forward concerns that are arising from their respective areas.

Department Representatives are NOT shop stewards. They do not represent the members in their area in matters related to grievances or any other processes. In fact, should a member of a department come forward to the Faculty Association, the Department Representative would never be informed.

Department Representatives are often approached by members of their departments or units with questions or problems in relation to Collective Agreement matters and asked for advice. Since answers to such questions and problems have complexities, ramifications, and implications – legal and otherwise – of which the Department Representative may not be aware, the Department Representative is asked to always refer such questions, problems, and requests for advice to the Faculty Association office.

Department Representatives are members of the Association who are elected annually from each department (or, in the case of non-departmentalized Faculties, each Faculty). Members who have questions or are interested in learning more about the role of Department Representatives can reach out the Faculty Association office for more information at [email protected].

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