‘July 2014’

The TUCFA President is “Dead” – Long Live the TUCFA President

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on The TUCFA President is “Dead” – Long Live the TUCFA President | Filed in July 2014, President's Message

 – By Paul Rogers, Faculty Association President –

Well, I’m not “dead” but I have departed.  As you likely know by now, I have stepped down after serving as TUCFA President for the last three years, and your new President is Sandra Hoenle from the Faculty of Arts.  It has been both an honour and a pleasure to serve in this role, and I must thank the many individuals who have helped me and the Association during my period as President.  The effective functioning of the Association relies on its highly-capable full-time staff and on the very many dedicated academic staff members who willingly volunteer to contribute by serving on its Board, its Executive, its Department Representatives group, or in many other important roles (e.g. Association representatives on Faculty Promotion Committees).

Beyond the subset of you that has formally served the Association, I’d also like to acknowledge the support that many of you provided during the 2013-2014 academic year in opposing the plan to outsource teaching of for-credit courses for international students; it is only due to the very significant academic staff opposition that the opportunity to identify a better plan was created.  Please remember what you were able to achieve on this significant issue through concerted action, so that when other important issues emerge in the future you know that you have the power to influence things for the better.  It is likely that President Sandra Hoenle will need you to mobilize again during her term, and I encourage you to give her your full support.

There are three additional items that I’d like to bring to your attention before I close this final President’s message:

1.  On 1st July 2014 academic staff saw no across-the-board increase in base salary.  This is the third time in the last five years (July 2010 and July 2013 being the other two years) that a “zero percent increase” has been applied, with the increases in the other two years (July 2011 and July 2012) being just 2%.  The most recent Statistics Canada data on Alberta inflation shows that the “all items consumer price index” increased by 9.4% over the five year period from May 2009 to May 2014.  On 30th May the University’s Board of Governors approved the audited financial statements for the year ended 31st March 2014 and it is interesting to note that these statements include an operating surplus on the fiscal year of $65.7M (despite a cut in the government grant of $21.3M).  This most recent surplus comes on top of significant surpluses in the three prior of $94.5M in 2012-2013, $98.0M in 2011-2012, and $69.8M in 2010-2011.

2.  One of the fundamental concerns for academic staff that I highlighted in my first President’s message back in September 2011 was collegial governance.  The Association believes that academic staff should have a strong voice in all important university decisions, but there is at least one area where the academic staff voice has been significantly reduced in the last couple of years – this concerns the university budgeting process.  Up until (and through) the 2011-2012 academic year there was a Board of Governors’ standing committee called “The University Budget Committee” (TUBC) that played a significant role in preparing the annual capital and operating budgets, meeting frequently during the year.  TUBC’s voting membership included six academic staff members, one of whom was appointed as TUBC chair.  There was also an almost total overlap between the membership of TUBC and of the University Planning Committee (the predecessor to the current Academic Planning and Priorities Committee), helping to ensure that academic priorities were driving budgeting decisions.  Beginning in the 2012-2013 academic year, the Board of Governors decided to replace TUBC with something called the “Budget Committee” whose composition includes but one voting academic staff member, and which meets infrequently.  This change has meant that the ability of academic staff to influence operating and capital budget decisions has been significantly diminished.

3.  The Association remains deeply concerned about the Government of Alberta’s commitment to research universities, and the implications of this for academic staff at the University of Calgary.  The 2014-2015 operating grant from the Government to the U of C was increased somewhat from the prior year, but this new funding was tied to increased enrolment.  While the Association welcomes Government attempts to increase access to post-secondary education (Alberta has the lowest post-secondary participation rate of any province), the funding provided per new student is significantly less than that provided for existing students.  This raises concerns on class sizes, the overall student-to-faculty ratio, and the workload of academic staff.  As the 2013 Engagement Survey results for academic staff showed, the top two concerns amongst TUCFA members were the funding being provided to meet department needs and being able to achieve a reasonable work/life balance (and remember, the survey closed prior to the disastrous Government of Alberta 7th March 2013 budget).

Finally, let me again thank you for your support during my term as President of TUCFA, and encourage you to give similarly strong support to my successor, Sandra Hoenle.

Letter of understanding on independent study courses

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Letter of understanding on independent study courses | Filed in July 2014

As per the Collective Agreement, there is an opportunity for ongoing academic staff in most undergraduate and graduate programs to offer one-on-one independent study courses, such as reading or research or thesis supervision courses. In a number of cases, no credit is given for such courses as part of the workload of the academic staff member, yet they are clearly part of the academic program offered by the Faculty. The Collective Agreement contains a letter of understanding (LOU) for these independent study courses. As per the Collective Agreement an independent study course can be deemed optional or mandatory. Whether the course is considered optional or mandatory will affect whether it is calculated as part of an academic staff member’s teaching load. A link to the full text of the “Letter of Understanding: Independent Study Courses” can be found below. Included in the LOU is more information on determining optional versus mandatory courses and how these courses are reported and counted.

Letter of Understanding: Independent Study Courses

A copy of the Collective Agreement can be found by clicking here.

New Board of Directors member

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on New Board of Directors member | Filed in July 2014

The Faculty Association would like to welcome Professor Daniel Wulff from the Faculty of Social Work to the Board of Directors. Professor Wulff has been appointed for a one-year pro-tem position ending June 30, 2015.  For a full list of Board of Directors members click here.

CAUT dues changes

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on CAUT dues changes | Filed in July 2014

A minor change in CAUT dues took effect on July 1, 2014. These dues are calculated by applying a mil rate to the national average salary at each rank. While the mil rate remains unchanged at 1.50, variations in the national average salary result in slight changes to the dues amounts.

The monthly amounts are as follows:

CAUT Membership Fees 2014-15 (2013-14)

Professor $17.35 ($17.09)
Associate $13.75 ($13.54)
Assistant  $11.15 ($10.98)
Part-time/Sessional  $3.63 ($3.57)