‘September 2011’

Consulting with members a main objective

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Consulting with members a main objective | Filed in President's Message, September 2011

– By Paul Rogers, Faculty Association President –

It gives me great pleasure to bring you my greetings as the new President of the Faculty Association.  I have been a faculty member at the University of Calgary since 1991 and I have served the Association in a variety of capacities during that time, including six years on its Board of Directors, and most recently, one year as its nominee on the University’s Board of Governors.  I have also served on numerous other University committees during my career, some on behalf of the Association, this experience has increased my understanding of how the institution operates, though I’m sure I have more to learn, especially regarding those units on campus with which I am less familiar.

One of my main objectives as President is to consult widely with you and listen to you carefully regarding the issues that are important to you as members of the academic staff. I wish to represent your collective interests faithfully, especially in fundamental areas such as the protection of academic freedom and the pursuit of true collegial governance of the institution.  In order to achieve this goal, I need to have your support and input, so I encourage you to share with me your thoughts on matters of concern to you over the next two years.  The better I understand your views, the better job I’ll be able to do, so I am counting on you to continue my education as President of your Faculty Association!

There are a number of issues the Association will be dealing with over the academic year. These include the conclusion of negotiations with the Board of Governors on placing the tenure and promotion processes into the Collective Agreement, and negotiation of a process for Assessment for inclusion in the Collective Agreement.  Last but not least, the Association is currently negotiating proposed changes for Sessional Instructors to improve these types of appointments.  The Association will be bringing you more information on these negotiations and on any proposals to be ratified over the next year.

As part of the most recent settlement ratified in June 2011, the Association will work as part of a Joint Committee on Workload established to collect and review data regarding academic workloads at this University and others, and clarify a process to follow when implementing Collective Agreement, Article 12: Assignment of Duties. We will be bringing you more information from this Joint Committee as it proceeds with its work.

There have been a number of changes to the Senior Administrative team at the U of C recently, including the appointment of a new Provost, Dr. Dru Marshall.  We are hopeful that Senior Administrators will work in a way that recognizes the critical role that academic staff members play in the collegial governance of the University via its key decision-making bodies.

I am pleased to be President of the Faculty Association because I believe it to be an important and effective organization.  The Board and Executive continue to be composed of committed members of the academic staff, willing to share their experience and wisdom to inform our discussions on the issues of the day.  The Association’s staff is highly professional and competent, devoting tremendous amounts of time to the pursuit of issues that affect you (often without your even knowing).  When an academic staff member contacts the Faculty Association (and this is very important), they will reach a staff member who will treat the call with the utmost confidentiality.  The elected officers of the Association (including me) are not informed of any confidential personal information without the member’s consent.

We all have a busy year ahead of us and I look forward to a fruitful year of dialogue with the campus community and most importantly, you, the members of the Faculty Association.

>> Merit – What is average?

Merit – What is average?

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Merit – What is average? | Filed in September 2011

The assessment process will be in full swing this Fall meaning academic staff will be receiving notification of what their Head is recommending their merit increment will be. But what a merit increment represents and how it is related to a faculty member’s every day work performance is often misinterpreted.

The merit pool is established based on 1.2 increments per full-time equivalent academic staff member in the Faculty, and the Deans must fully distribute the entire increment allocation to academic staff in their respective Faculty or unit. This means that the arithmetic average for merit increments is 1.2. (As an aside, the Deans often hold back a small number of increments to deal with appeals and FPC discussions, so the amounts given to the Heads may not equal 1.2 per member.) However, receiving the arithmetic average increment does not necessarily reflect that average work has been performed.

The definition of what merit increments represent is set out by the General Promotions Committee (GPC). Notably, the awarded increments are interpreted by GPC as a 0.0 increment rating “unsatisfactory”, 0.4 increment rating “Satisfactory Career Progress (CPA)” and anything above a 0.4 increment rating “Meritorious”. Technically, it is true that anything above 0.4 is meritorious. That being said, the use of the word “meritorious” in this context would mean anything above the minimum requirement of the position.

There are also instances where a Head indicates that the “average increment” in the unit is 1.0. However, the word “average” is imprecise. The problem, of course, is that so many academic staff members are performing above what would be a normal expectation. So, if a Head is recommending a 1.0 increment for individuals who are performing at an “average” level, it may be true that this is a 1.0. Certainly a 1.0 increment reflects good performance.

If an academic staff member decides to appeal his or her assessed increment it is important to remember that an increment can only be appealed at GPC if it was first appealed at the Faculty Promotions Committee (FPC) level or if the FPC changed the increment amount. Also, the Department Head (or equivalent) is required to provide the appellant a copy of the assessment and an opportunity to meet. Any assessed increment amount can be appealed to the FPC.

Finally, any Department Committee (or the like) that is involved in the assessment process is only advisory to the Department Head. Recommendations regarding assessment are required to be made by the Department Head (or equivalent).

For more information please consult the APT Manual and Faculty Guidelines. If you require further information or assistance please do not hesitate to contact our office by email, faculty.association AT tucfa.com, or by phone, (403) 220-5722.

(Note that references to “Head” above means the person who prepares the initial assessment of your performance report – it could be an Associate Dean, area chair, or some other individual.)

Click on the graph below to see an analysis of the distribution of increments for 2007 provided to the Faculty Association by Human Resources.


Note:  The assessment process is currently established by the General Faculties Council through the Appointment Promotion and Tenure (APT) Manual. The above answers are the Faculty Association’s interpretation of how the process works based on our reading of the rules and the precedents established over the years.

>> Graduate Student sessional instructor limitations

<< Consulting with members a main objective

Workshop: Tenure/Renewal of Initial Term

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Workshop: Tenure/Renewal of Initial Term | Filed in September 2011

The Faculty Association will be hosting a workshop on Tenure/Renewal of Initial Term on October 12. Individuals on an initial term contract who will be coming up for renewal of initial term or tenure consideration during the current academic year or in the next few years  are welcome to join us. The workshop will cover the process of applying for renewal of initial term and tenure, the criteria used, and how such decisions are made within the University procedures. Click here for more information on the workshop and registration.

>> Collective Agreement Ratification Results

<< International Travel and Security Policy

Graduate student sessional instructor limitations

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Graduate student sessional instructor limitations | Filed in September 2011

The Faculty Association has been alerted to situations where graduate students are teaching as sessional instructors outside the parameters set out in the Collective Agreement. According to Article 23 Term Certain Appointments 23.2(l), a registered graduate student may be appointed as a sessional instructor to provide teaching experience in one course per semester for a maximum of two semesters in total. This means that a graduate student can be appointed under 23.2(l) for up to two courses in their lifetime. In addition, those appointments made under 23.2(l) are exempt from the application of first consideration by other Term Certain (sessional) instructors.

The University of Calgary administration has been alerted to irregularities whereby graduate students are teaching more than the allotted two courses and have agreed to send correspondence to those responsible for the hiring of these positions outlining how Article 23.2(l) should be applied.

>> International Travel and Security Policy

<< Merit – What is average?

International Travel and Security Policy

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on International Travel and Security Policy | Filed in September 2011

– by Glynn Hunter, Executive Director, U of C International –

Faculty members travelling abroad for the University (research or teaching obligations) probably have their favourite story about encountering The International Travel and Security Policy: for some, confusion and frustration in understanding the policy or for others getting through the ‘registration system’ required of all faculty, staff and students traveling abroad.

The key, as in most cases in life, is preparation – not leaving things until the last minute.

There is an obligation on the part of the university to the people it sends abroad as part of their employment or study at the University and the ‘Travel Policy’ is intended to satisfy some of those safety concerns and responsibilities.

First, we need to know where people are when they are working or studying abroad. Aside from legal and insurance questions, there is a concern for us to be able to check if people are alright in case of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. The University also wants to provide assistance or advice if needed. Most countries are not rated ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk when someone starts their travels. In 2011, neither Christchurch NZ nor the north east coast of Japan was a risk concern prior to the earthquakes. Circumstances change quickly and in an emergency, the university does try to ensure that faculty/staff and students are accounted for and safe.

Second, there are resources available on the registration website;  simple information sharing or a highlighting of pertinent information during the travel registration process. Resources available on the risk web site include-:

 – Country ratings and links to DFAIT for additional information. Traveling to a country for which DFAIT (Dept. of Foreign Affairs & International Trade) has issued a travel advisory may result in loss of travel or flight insurance, etc.

– Insurance questions such as; are faculty/staff covered by their university medical insurance? What insurance policies may be at risk depending on the country of travel such as disability or mortgage insurance may become invalid if they travel to a country which may categorized as extreme risk.

– Info sheet on ‘Steps to complete prior to going abroad’.

– A link to DFAIT registration in case assistance is required from the Canadian government offices while abroad.

– Links to International Travel and Security Policy and procedures.

Finally, in the case of ‘extreme risk’ countries,  the registration process has a system of checks so that the person going abroad may state their reason for having to go at this time  and that more than one person must consider the request and potentially approve the travel.

In the past 12 months, the UofC has more closely aligned its risk system to the advisories from DFAIT. While not a perfect system, the change allows the UofC to align our cautions with Canadian government policies. Some may argue that the tool is not tuned finely enough to consider all the information about a particular region within a country and what the situation may be. That may be true, but the system does allow for the traveller to explain their plans or include extra information to justify travel at this time – ‘to make their case’.

Very few of us are required to get on a plane to an extreme risk country with just a few hours notice, yet there are cases of people waiting until the day of departure to register on the system and then wondering why they cannot obtain immediate approval for their travel.

The registration process for faculty wishing to go to extreme risk countries is pretty straight forward. The important thing to remember is that there is a sequence of approvals which need to be obtained. The main problems occur when a registration is submitted with not enough time for review.  In short;

1.      Faculty enter their personal and travel information onto the ‘on line’ registration form.  During the process, if the country is determined to be ‘extreme risk’, the faculty member must check off either:  a) My work must be conducted in that place and at that point in time and the output is critical to my professional success or ; b) My work must be conducted in that place and at that point in time and it is required to fulfill the University’s obligation under contract.

2.     Registration requires a short explanation as to why the work must be conducted in that area and either why it is critical to their success or to supply the details of the University’s contractual obligation.

3.     It requires specific travel details and contingency arrangements. The process then requires the registrant to check agreement with; “I understand that, regardless of an area’s rating (which can change without notice), it is my responsibility to be informed about inherent risks in international travel and to take appropriate precautions to avoid undue risks and dangers.”

4.     The traveller is required to enter their Dean’s name and email.  The registration then goes electronically to the Dean for approval.  If the Dean approves, then it goes to Vice Provost International (currently the Deputy Provost) for approval and the registrant receives an email that their travel is approved.

Because travel to an extreme risk country may require some discussion and review, registration should never be left until the last minute. If, there is a shortage of time in completing the registration, the faculty member should notify the Dean and Deputy Provost that this request is in process and there is a time issue.

The UofC Travel Registration is found at http://www.ucalgary.ca/riskmgmt/international

Note: The International Travel and Security Policy is slated for review and revision during the Fall 2011. Comments may be sent to: uci@ucalgary.ca

>> Workshop: Tenure/Renewal of Initial Term

<< Graduate Student sessional instructor limitations

Collective Agreement ratification results

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on Collective Agreement ratification results | Filed in Gazette, September 2011

Of the members who cast a ratification ballot, 96% voted in favour of a negotiated settlement of the Collective Agreement. The two year agreement includes: 

  • 2% across-the-board increase to salaries and salary scales in each of the two years;
  • 2% increase for sessional salaries and pay rates in each of the two years;
  • Letter of Understanding to set up a joint committee on workload;
  • A suspension of the increased workload for Instructors in the Faculty of Arts.

The Association also saw some movement on the issue of workload and a joint Association/Board of Governors committee will be struck to look further at this issue. In addition, the Association approved a Memorandum of Agreement, as part of this ratification, that the grievance and decision to increase the workload for Instructors in the Faculty of Arts will be put on hold for a year while the administration tries to sort out what a proper process and decision would be. This stems from the Dean of the Faculty of Arts unilateral decision to increase the number of courses for Instructors (who have limited research expectations as compared to Professors) in the Faculty from six courses to eight courses starting in the 2011‐12 academic year. The increase was done without consultation and, in the Association’s opinion, without understanding what was involved in teaching courses in all of the areas of Arts. As noted, with this ratification the workload increases will be suspended. The Association will be invited to make submissions regarding the “Assignment of Duties” prior to the completion of the review. If the Association is unhappy with the result, it can grieve and also open bargaining early.

The complete results of the Ratification Ballot are as follows:

Yes: 699 votes
No: 33 votes
Total votes cast: 732 votes
Total ballots issued: 1,970

>> CAUT dues changes

<< Workshop: Tenure/Renewal of Initial Term

CAUT Dues Changes

by Faculty Association | Comments Off on CAUT Dues Changes | Filed in Gazette, September 2011

A minor change in CAUT dues took effect on July 1, 2011. 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 2011-12 (2010-11)

Professor  $16.96 ($16.87)
Associate  $13.29 ($13.35)
Assistant  $10.72 ($10.76)
Others   $10.22 ($10.40)
Part-time  $3.47 ($3.47)

>> Consulting with members a main objective

<< Collective Agreement ratification results