‘June 2012’

Arts Instructor review outcome oblivious to workload realities

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Arts Instructor review outcome oblivious to workload realities | Filed in June 2012, President's Message

– By Paul Rogers, Faculty Association President –

You may recall that one of the components of the June 2011 agreement between the Faculty Association and the Board of Governors was a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) regarding the Association’s grievance against the Dean of Arts over his unilateral decision to increase the workload of academic staff in the instructor stream in Arts.  In the MOA the Association agreed to hold the grievance in abeyance provided that a number of conditions were met, one of which included the University administration completing a review of the Dean’s decision and the process followed in reaching it.

University administration provided the Association with the results of the review at the beginning of June and I am writing, with regret, to let you know that the MOA condition concerning the review, in our opinion, has not been adequately met because of the following fundamental flaw in the review itself:
•    The review did not consider the process followed by the Dean in reaching his decision, in particular whether or not this is in violation of Article 12 of the Collective Agreement (on Assignment of Duties).
In addition to the fundamental flaw above, the Association has identified a number of other significant concerns with the review, summarized as follows:
•    The review outcome, that an 8 half-course equivalent workload norm across the entire Faculty of Arts is considered to be reasonable, is based on what appears to be a rather dubious analysis of course load data.  Concerns here include: (i) how complete and accurate were the data; (ii) did the data show legitimate differences in instructor course loads across departments; and (iii) did the data analysis assume that the workload of instructors carrying course overloads should simply be considered as regular load?
•    Further, the review outcome appears to be based on a fundamental error of reasoning.  The argument for the faculty-wide norm appears to be that since over half of the academic staff in the instructor stream are already carrying a load of 8 half-course equivalents (including overload!), therefore the other instructors should be doing the same (without any overload compensation).  This reasoning completely ignores a key argument in our grievance, specifically that all courses across the diverse departments within Arts do not present the same workload.
•    The review appears to give no weight to comments provided to it by instructors in Arts concerning the negative impact on the quality of instruction (and the experience of students) if instructor workloads are raised in the manner that is being recommended.
•    The review outcome includes the statement that “… we expect that the Dean and the Department Heads will have further [note: emphasis added here] discussions about how a faculty-wide guideline for the assignment of course load will be applied …”.  This appears to be oblivious to another of the concerns in the original grievance, this being that the Dean imposed this workload increase unilaterally.

With the review “complete”, the Dean of Arts has written (by email) to all Department Heads informing them that “the course load for Instructors and Senior Instructors in the Faculty of Arts, beginning with this 2012-13 academic year, will be 8 HCE” and encouraging them “to review the duties that are being assigned to Instructors and Senior Instructors in teaching and service”.  Your Association views this as an entirely inappropriate action, given the significant flaws in the review as highlighted earlier.  Consequently, we will be reactivating the grievance on this matter at the earliest opportunity and, in addition, we will be filing a new grievance regarding the conduct of the administration’s review.

The actions of the Dean of Arts following the review, unilaterally increasing instructor workloads at a time when teaching assignments have already been made for 2012-13, have created significant turmoil in Arts.  The Faculty Association is being deluged by questions and comments from members from all ranks within the Faculty of Arts as to what this means for everything from sessional contracts to preparations for courses.  The new Dean of Arts, who starts work on the 1st of August, will be walking into a mess.  We will be inviting him to consult and work with his Department Heads as well as the Faculty Association in order to resolve these issues for the future.

Looking more broadly, you may also recall that the June 2011 agreement between the Association and the Governors included a Letter of Understanding  (LOU) regarding the creation of a committee to examine Article 12 of the Collective Agreement (Assignment of Duties), and to prepare recommendations on the process/procedure for implementing it across the institution.  The actions of university administration on the Arts Instructor Workload MOA raise significant concerns as to how interested administration is in making fair decisions through proper processes, how seriously it takes the agreements it signs with the Association, and to what extent the Association can trust the administration.  All of this suggests that the committee to examine Article 12 under this LOU will be starting its work in the fall under a dark and ominous cloud.  Furthermore, this does not bode well for the upcoming Collective Agreement negotiations that will take place during the 2012-13 academic year.

>> There’s more… President’s additional items of interest

<< CAUT dues changes

There’s more… President’s additional items of interest

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on There’s more… President’s additional items of interest | Filed in June 2012, President's Message

– By Paul Rogers, Faculty Association President –

Not wishing to take away anything from the importance of my main article (on the workload of instructor-stream academic staff in the Faculty of Arts), I also want to share some thoughts on two additional areas of concern for members of the Association:

1)      Access Copyright: it’s been a couple of weeks since I emailed you regarding this topic, and I want to share with you something interesting that was brought to my attention by CAUT.  Ariel Katz, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, is maintaining a webpage that keeps track of the institutions that have made public their decisions regarding the Access Copyright-AUCC model license.  Click here for the most recent information as to which institutions qualify for Ariel’s “Hall of Fame” or “Hall of Shame”. More information about Access Copyright, AUCC and the University of Calgary can be found here.

2)      Funding to support department needs: since the Association released the engagement survey results for academic staff in March (click here for the March article), I’ve had a chance to look at the survey results for the AUPE and MaPS staff groups too.  It appears that both of these groups share in the serious concern of academic staff as to the adequacy of the funding the university is providing to departments to meet their needs.  It is not clear how the university administration intends to address this top concern of staff overall, but many are worried as to the implications of the new performance-based budget model that administration will be introducing in April 2013 for their departments.

As always, if you have any thoughts that you wish to share with me on the above topics, or on any others that you think ought to be concerns of the Faculty Association, please do not hesitate to contact me (e.g. I’d certainly be interested to hear your thoughts on the current kerfuffle around university political contributions).

>>Principal Negotiator’s Report (2011/12)

<< Arts Instructor review outcome oblivious to workload realities

Principal Negotiator’s Report (2011/12)

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Principal Negotiator’s Report (2011/12) | Filed in June 2012

– By Eileen Lohka, Faculty Association Principal Negotiator –

There have been a number of issues on the table for negotiation with the Governors this past year; including the tenure and promotion processes, assessment process and sessional issues.

To provide you with a little background, the objective of the tenure and promotion, and assessment negotiations is to include revamped processes in the Collective Agreement. The objective of the negotiation of sessional appointments is to deal with issues related to these types of positions.

Throughout the year a number of personnel have either joined or left the University’s administration, including Human Resources. This has complicated and lengthened the negotiations as new people have had to be brought up to speed on where the negotiations are at, and even, at times, what the current University processes are. Many meetings were cancelled as a result.

This has meant that we will not meet the timelines stipulated in three letters of understanding in the Collective Agreement. However, negotiations have now moved along on the tenure and promotion processes and we are somewhat close to putting forward a proposal to our membership for consultation. As there will not be a newly negotiated process in place, the promotions process will go ahead under the current system.

We have also begun meeting on the assessment processes but this negotiation is still in an early stage. The negotiations of sessional issues will begin again in the fall.

Furthermore, we were approached by the administration about a One-Time Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program. The membership voted not to ratify this proposal by a margin of two to one.

There is more – I have only touched on the highlights. Suffice to say it will be a busy fall 2012. In addition to what I’ve mentioned, the Association will also be preparing for bargaining of the main frame Collective Agreement this coming year.

I suspect you will be hearing from me often over the next academic year and I will most definitely be looking to you for your feedback. Have a productive and pleasant summer.

>>Inspired Service Awards 2013

<< There’s more… President’s additional items of interest

Inspired Service Awards 2013

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Inspired Service Awards 2013 | Filed in June 2012

The campus community is invited to make nominations for the Faculty Association Inspired Service Awards. More information on the Awards and a list of past recipients can be found here.

Community Service Award

The Community Service Award recognizes a member of the Faculty Association of the University of Calgary who has provided exceptional service to the community and has gone above and beyond the requirements of the person’s position.  This person has therefore made an outstanding contribution of personal time and effort for the benefit of others. Special emphasis will be placed on those service activities that involve outreach to the community beyond the University and activities that go beyond the regular duties of the academic staff member. In this context, service may include volunteer work, as well as educational outreach or the application of research and other scholarly activities in the community.

Recognition Award

The Recognition Award acknowledges an individual who is not a member of the Faculty Association whose actions have enhanced and made a discernible impact on the scholarly activities of academic staff at the University of Calgary through an outstanding contribution of personal time and effort.


Nominations are currently being accepted for our 2013 Inspired Service Awards. Contact the Faculty Association by email, faculty.association AT tucfa.com ,or by phone (403) 220-5722.

>>Across-the-Board Increase and Merit

<< Principal Negotiator’s Report (2011/12)

Across-the-Board Increase and Merit

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Across-the-Board Increase and Merit | Filed in Gazette, June 2012

All academic staff will receive the negotiated across-the-board increase of two per cent to their base salaries beginning July 1, 2012. Also merit increases will also be applied on July 1, 2012. These merit increases will be the same amount that was received by ongoing academic staff members retroactive to July 1, 2011.

>>CAUT Dues Changes

<< Inspired Service Awards 2013

CAUT Dues Changes

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on CAUT Dues Changes | Filed in Gazette, June 2012

A minor change in CAUT dues will take effect on July 1, 2012. 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 2012-13 (2011-12)

Professor $17.00 ($16.96)
Associate $13.48 ($13.29)
Assistant  $10.92 ($10.72)
Part-time/Sessional  $3.55 ($3.47)

>>Arts Instructor review outcome oblivious to workload realities

<< Across-the-Board Increase and Merit

AUCC/Access Copyright Agreement

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on AUCC/Access Copyright Agreement | Filed in June 2012

There has been a great deal of attention paid lately to the AUCC/Access Copyright Agreement and the decisions of various institutions regarding whether to sign on or opt out. The University of Calgary has signed a letter of intent with Access Copyright and has indicated that it will continue to closely review options during the ‘grace period’ between  May 15th and June 30th.

We have compiled concerns (as voiced by the CAUT), the response from the University of Calgary and the follow-up response from the CAUT into one document:

Access Copyright — the Debate

We also want to bring to your attention an article by Dr. Michael Geist, from the University of Ottawa. We link to a pdf of the specific article here, but it can also be found at his blog.