‘December 2015’

Year-end roundup

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Year-end roundup | Filed in December 2015, President's Message

– By Sandra Hoenle, Faculty Association President –

As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to take stock of a number of serious issues we are facing in our institution. I find I am deeply concerned about a number of trends and patterns I have been observing from my perspective as President of the Association and as a member of various university-level committees.

Increasing secrecy: While President Cannon has repeatedly proclaimed the University’s commitment to transparency, in fact a pattern of opacity and secrecy in governance has been developing. In the past, prior to Board of Governors meetings, the agenda and materials for open sessions were posted on their website. As of recently, only the agenda is posted. This raises a number of concerns. Firstly, stakeholder representatives (such as AUPE, Management and Professional Staff, the Students’ Union and the Faculty Association) are unable to consult with their groups prior to the meetings in order to bring up issues for discussion. This means that Board of Governors’ decisions are made with very little or no input from the groups that understand the issues and who are able to provide a perspective beyond that of the Board of Governors members. In effect, the various groups of people who make up the university and are directly affected by those decisions are silenced. Secondly, the public is excluded from information about a publicly-funded institution. It is of great concern that the governing body of this publicly-funded institution is becoming increasingly secretive in how it is conducting its business. Further, the Board of Governors’ recent decision to remove the Students’ Union (SU) President from future discussions in sub-committees is a questionable move, which appears to be not only a tactic to remove stakeholders who question or dissent, but also retaliation against the SU for its legal action regarding their ownership of MacHall. Is the Board of Governors attempting to stifle free speech and independent thought?

Administrative domination: The Association is increasingly concerned about the academic processes designed to ensure bi-cameral collegial governance being progressively more controlled by the Senior Administration. GFC, the main body of academic decision-making, has had its authority gutted. Its key powers have given to committees whose membership appointments are, in effect, controlled by the Administration in the form of nominations made primarily by the President or the Provost. The GFC Executive is chaired by the President; the membership is nominated by the Administration. In effect, only issues approved or chosen by the President or Provost ever reach the agenda of the GFC Executive. Further, it is the Executive that sets the agenda for GFC; making it also subject to the approval of the President and/or Provost. Can independent, democratic processes concerning the academic decisions of the institution function under these conditions?

Secretariat overreach: The University Secretariat recently discovered that the GFC quorum rule was not consistent with the provincial Interpretations Act: a document that sets out rules of interpretation of all government acts, including the Post-Secondary Learning Act. In addition, the University Secretary claims that Faculty Council quorum rules are subject to the Interpretations Act, and are in violation of its 50% quorum rule. There is an argument that the Interpretations Act does not apply to Faculty Councils. Rather than seeking clarification from the government on this issue, the Secretariat and Administration developed a new template for all Faculty Council Terms of Reference, which was then approved by Deans’ Council, a body of administrators with no student or faculty representation. In the past, these kinds of discussions concerning academic bodies were done by GFC committees, and rightly so, as Faculty Council Terms of Reference fall under the authority of GFC. However, currently, this administratively-developed template is, in many cases, being rushed through approval at Faculty Councils with the argument/opinion that the changes must be approved to conform to the Interpretations Act. Further, this is generally being done without any reference to the existing Terms of Reference. Without that comparison, Councils are, one could argue unknowingly, voting to remove SU representation and reduce the proportion of academic staff members of Council. Where Councils are (supposedly) unable to meet quorum, the template allows for expedited decisions on academic matters by a committee where academic staff may not be a majority; or potentially not be represented at all. The final approval authority of these new Terms of Reference rests with GFC, which, however, has delegated this authority to the GFC Executive, which is dominated by the Administration. And thus we come full circle to the earlier points regarding my perception of administrative domination.

Enbridge: Currently an independent review established by the Board of Governors is being conducted, as well as an investigation by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) into allegations of President Cannon’s inappropriate conduct on behalf of donors. As I have stated in the media, even a perceived conflict of interest is harmful to the institution and to all of us who work and learn here. I reserve further comment until the results of both investigations are announced.

In addition to these weighty concerns, the Association continues to manage the heavy load of its core functions of bargaining, as well as advising and representing members.

The coming year promises to be challenging on many fronts. In closing this year, my wish is that everyone is able to take some time to spend with family and loved ones; time to regain some balance between work obligations and the rest of our lives.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Eid Milad-un-Nabi Mubarak, and Happy New Year.


CAUT investigation launched into U of C academic freedom controversy

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on CAUT investigation launched into U of C academic freedom controversy | Filed in December 2015

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) is undertaking a formal investigation into alleged academic freedom violations at the University of Calgary. The decision follows a CBC investigation into the Enbridge Centre for Corporate Sustainability that raised concerns about inappropriate corporate influence. The Faculty Association supports this investigation, which we understand will be broader in scope than the investigation announced by the Board of Governors as it will look at systemic issues beyond the Enbridge Centre.

The CAUT investigatory committee will be asked to look into charges of conflict of interest, violations of academic freedom, and donor interference surrounding the establishment and operation of the Enbridge Centre.

The committee will also investigate the circumstances involving the departure of the first Director of the Centre to determine if academic freedom was infringed, and consider other issues related to the management of donations at the University of Calgary.

The investigatory committee will be chaired by Dr. Len Findlay, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Professor in the College of Arts and Science at the University of Saskatchewan.  Other members of the committee are Dr. Alison Hearn, Associate Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario; and Dr. Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.

CAUT has conducted more than 40 academic freedom investigations since 1958.

Urgent Appeal: CAUT Refugee Foundation

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Urgent Appeal: CAUT Refugee Foundation | Filed in December 2015

The current Syrian refugee crisis has prompted the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Executive Committee to reactivate the CAUT Refugee Foundation. The Foundation was initially created in the 1970s to offer support to refugees fleeing Vietnam for Canada. The Foundation is a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency, allowing it to issue tax receipts.

The CAUT Executive Committee is encouraging academic staff associations and their members to donate to the Foundation to support refugee relief and resettlement efforts. Funds collected on behalf of the Foundation will be provided to the Canadian Red Cross. The Red Cross and Red Crescent are supplying, food, water and first aid to refugees across Southern Europe and the Middle East. At its meeting on December 15, the Faculty Association Board of Directors passed a motion to donate $10,000 to the Foundation.

The Canadian government has pledged to match dollar-for-dollar, every contribution that individual Canadians make to a registered Canadian charity for Syrian refugees, until Dec. 31, 2015.

More information on how to make individual donations to the Foundation, should you choose, can be found on the CAUT website here.

Faculty Association supports local food banks

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Faculty Association supports local food banks | Filed in December 2015

In lieu of holiday gifts, the Faculty Association has a tradition of donating to local food banks. This year, the Campus Food Bank and the Calgary Food Bank received a donation of $2,500 each in recognition of the valuable support they provide during the holiday season.

(Pictured) Faculty Association President Sandra Hoenle (far right) presents a cheque to Students’ Union Campus Food Bank Co-coordinators, Allison Iriye (left) and Amy LeBlanc (right).

Department Representatives 2015-16

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Department Representatives 2015-16 | Filed in December 2015

Each department (and in the case of non-departmentalized Faculties, each Faculty) has the opportunity to appoint an individual to be a Faculty Association Department Representative. The role of the Department Representative is as liaison between the Faculty Association Board of Directors and the department or Faculty.

In order to maintain effective communication, both from and to members, the Association has established regular Department Representative meetings. Through these meetings, discussion can take place on the current issues facing the Association, its members, and the University community.

The Association encourages Department Representatives to be diligent in gathering and relaying information in both directions. Department Representatives communicate their academic colleagues’ views to the Association, and reciprocally inform academic staff in their area of the Board of Directors’ priorities, positions and activities. The Department Representatives are encouraged to attend the scheduled meetings whenever possible.

After each meeting, Department Representatives are urged to provide a summary to their colleagues by email. To facilitate this, the Association produces a Bulletin which includes the main points discussed at the meeting. The Bulletins are also posted on the Faculty Association’s website. Department Representatives can of course provide and solicit feedback in whatever form best fits their area.

Academic staff are encouraged to send their comments or feedback to their Department Representative or to forward it directly to the Faculty Association office.  Department Representatives are asked throughout the year to gather input from their colleagues and provide it to the Association.

Department Representatives are often approached by members of their departments or units with questions or problems in relation to academic staff matters and asked for advice. Since answers to many 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.

For similar reasons, if a Department Representative is approached by a colleague for advice and assistance on FTPC matters, they should refer the colleague to the Faculty Association office.

The following is a list of Department Representatives, by department, for the 2015-2016 academic year:

  • Anthropology & Archaeology – Julio Mercader
  • Art – Ronald Kostyniuk
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology  – Franciscus van der Hoorn
  • Civil Engineering – Angus Chu
  • Classics & Religion – David Bergen
  • Clinical Neurosciences – Minh Dang Nguyen
  • Communication, Media & Film – Lisa Stowe
  • Community Health Sciences – Bonnie Lashewicz
  • Comparative Biology & Experimental Medicine – Jason Anderson
  • Computer Science – Reda Alhajj
  • Economics – Peter Tracey
  • Ecosystem & Public Health – Sabine Gilch
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering – Abu-Barkarr Sesay
  • Emergency Medicine – Grant Innes
  • English – Jenny McKenney
  • Environmental Design – Jason Johnson
  • French Italian & Spanish – Elizabeth Montes Garces
  • Geomatics Engineering – Kyle O’Keefe
  • Geoscience – Dan Georgescu
  • Haskayne School of Business – Tom Cottrell/Edmund Gee (alternate)
  • History – David Wright
  • Law – Shaun Fluker
  • Libraries and Cultural Resources – Robert Tiessen
  • Linguistics, Languages & Cultures – Amanda Pounder
  • Mathematics & Statistics – Berndt Brenken
  • Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering – Luc Bauwens
  • Medicine – Norman Cambpell
  • Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases – Shan Liao
  • Nursing – Karen Then
  • Office of Diversity, Equity and Protected Disclosure – Shirley Voyna Wilson
  • Philosophy – Allen Habib
  • Physics & Astronomy – Denis Leahy
  • Physiology & Pharmacology – James Fewell
  • Political Science – Daniel Voth
  • Production Animal Health – John Kastelic (2015)/Michel Levy (2016)
  • Psychiatry – Anne Duffy
  • Psychology – Kristin von Ranson
  • Radiology – Jeffrey Dunn
  • School of Creative and Performing Arts – Ken Delong
  • Social Work – Mishka Lysack
  • Student & Enrolment Services – Lara Schultz
  • Surgery – Elizabeth Oddone Paolucci
  • Taylor Institute for Teaching & Learning – Robin Mueller
  • Vet Clinical & Diagnostic Science – Darlene Donzelmann
  • Werklund School of Education – Kaela Jubas

The following departments/Faculties have not notified the Association of a representative:

Biological Sciences
Cardiac Science
Cell Biology & Anatomy
Chemical & Petroleum Engineering
Community Rehabilitation & Disability Studies
Critical Care Medicine
Family Medicine
Medical Genetics
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Illegal provisions in contracts

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Illegal provisions in contracts | Filed in December 2015

The Faculty Association would like to alert its members (and any potential academic staff members) that the Association is aware of situations where the provisions of a contract are not consistent with the Collective Agreement. The result of including provisions which are in contravention of the Collective Agreement may be that the academic staff member could end up losing the provision. The Association would like to remind its members and academic administrators alike they cannot agree to anything that is not consistent with the Collective Agreement unless the deviation has been approved by both the Faculty Association and the Governors. If you have any concerns please contact Sheila Miller, Executive Director, at sheila.miller AT tucfa.com or call (403) 220-5722.

Commercial course content web sites

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Commercial course content web sites | Filed in December 2015

Over the last few years course content aggregators such as OneClass and Course Hero have emerged, companies whose business consists largely of selling material related to specific courses to university and college students. OneClass, for example, has created an on-line database containing tests, lab reports, class notes and other documents. The material is collected by students who supply it to the company in exchange for gift cards (Starbucks, Amazon, etc.). Individuals who wish to access the material purchase a subscription to the site.

OneClass uploads and sells documents without the permission of, or payment to, the academic staff member responsible for the original creation of the material. In some circumstances, this activity could constitute copyright infringement. The OneClass model also raises academic issues associated with the mass, unauthorized recording and reproduction of classroom speech.

More information on this issue can be found in a Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) fact sheet available here.


Board of Directors nominations

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Board of Directors nominations | Filed in December 2015, Gazette

The Faculty Association is actively seeking nominees to the Board of Directors.

The term of the President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Sandra Hoenle, is expiring on June 30, 2016. Hoenle is eligible to stand for a one-year extension of her term, and nominations of other candidates are invited. As per the Association by-laws, any member nominated for President and Chair of the Board shall have been a member who has served on the Board of Directors for at least one year during the previous five years.

There are five (5) three-year terms open for election on the Board of Directors. The designated sessional seat, a one-year term, is also open for election. Nominees must be current members of the Association, or have held a sessional position at some point since May 1, 2015.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, February 8, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Nominations must be received at the Faculty Association office by that time.

Nominations must be received in writing. Also required on the nomination form are the signatures of at least three members of the Association, as well as the written consent of the nominee. Nominations should be accompanied by a statement from the nominee of a maximum 100 words, which will be circulated along with the ballots. No member may nominate more than two candidates.

Potential candidates should be aware that the Board of Directors meetings are regularly scheduled on Tuesday afternoons, approximately once per month from September to June. Additional meetings are scheduled as required. Directors are also regularly appointed to a variety of other Association, University, and external committees as representatives of the Association.

Click here to download a nomination form for President and Chair of the Board of Directors.

Click here to download a nomination form for Board of Directors member.

More information on these positions is available by contacting the Faculty Association by email, faculty.association@tucfa.com, or by phone, (403) 220-5722.

CAUT nominations open

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on CAUT nominations open | Filed in December 2015, Gazette

Nominations are being actively sought for election to the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) Executive Committee, namely: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Chair of the Collective Bargaining and Economic Benefits Committee, Chair of the Librarians’ and Archivists’ Committee, Co-Chair of the Equity Committee (1), Representative-at-Large (Aboriginal), Representative-at-Large (Francophone), Representative-at-Large (Quebec) and two Representatives-at-Large (General). The deadline for nominations is March 1, 2016.

Nominations are also being sought for election to positions on four CAUT Standing Committees: Academic Freedom and Tenure Committee (two vacancies); Collective Bargaining and Economic Benefits Committee (two or three vacancies, dependent on whether an incumbent member of the committee is elected Chair by CAUT Council); Contract Academic Staff Committee (two vacancies); Equity Committee (up to one vacancy, dependent on whether an incumbent member of the committee is elected Chair by CAUT Council); and Librarians’ and Archivists’ Committee (one or two vacancies, dependent on whether an incumbent member of the committee is elected Chair by CAUT Council). The deadline for these nominations is February 1, 2016.

Those seeking endorsement for their candidacy by the local Association Board of Directors should file their nomination forms with our office no later than January 20, 2016. For further information on any of the above positions, or for a nomination package, please contact the Faculty Association.

More information on CAUT Executive Positions and Standing Committee nominations can be found online at www.caut.ca.

Holiday closure

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Holiday closure | Filed in December 2015, Gazette

The Faculty Association office will be closed the afternoon of Friday, December 18 for the holiday season and will reopen on January 4. The Association’s voicemail will be checked regularly on days the University is open. Have a safe and happy holiday!