We are thankfully coming to the end of this challenging term with a large amount of marking confronting many of us. This term may well have been the most demanding teaching term you have experienced in your career and you should be proud of the efforts you have made to deliver academically sound and rigorous courses. You should be equally proud of the compassionate manner in which you have dealt with your students even when the accommodations you provided increased the demands on you substantially. I have tried in multiple venues to make the administration aware of how hard academic staff are working in terms of teaching and grading and will continue to do so going forward.
This has been a busy term. As you know, the administration has launched a new strategy entitled Growth Through Focus which has gone through a number of iterations following feedback from academic staff. I am disappointed that the administration has chosen not to release the feedback they received directly from academic staff. Transparency is important and what we are hearing from our members is that it has been in short supply on this issue.
President McCauley came to speak to the Faculty Association Board of Directors and we also organized a forum for our department representatives to provide us with views on the strategy. From these interactions and ongoing discussions with your elected Board of Directors we have a number of concerns and issues that we would like to see addressed before GFC and the Board of Governors approve this strategy.
We find a good deal of anxiety and uncertainty about Growth Through Focus rather than the enthusiasm the President seems to have encountered. We are asking the administration to include more academic staff on the various task teams that seem to be responsible for reshaping the document. We would also like to see a GFC committee elected to analyse the responses and ensure that the consultation process results in meaningful change. A clear explanation of how the budget process takes Growth Through Focus into account is another critical step in the direction of transparency and understanding how Faculties actually fit. We hear often from members that they are unconvinced that the work they and their colleagues do will be adequately reflected and appreciated moving forward.
Moreover, assurances that the development and delivery of certificates will be undertaken by academic staff is needed and that there will be recognition of this in the assignment and assessment of workloads would also be positive steps that we urge the administration to undertake. We would also like to see a discussion on how Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) fits in the plan, a clear explanation of what exactly is meant by ‘entrepreneurial’ and what changes may be sought to the merit, tenure and promotion process as a result of endorsing the proposed strategy. We are adamant that Growth Through Focus must not leave the University of Calgary as a diminished version of itself and that we remain a comprehensive university that meets the need of our community. We are pleased that the President has indicated that this strategy and plan will go through the collegial governance processes that are crucial to the effective operation and legitimacy of a post-secondary institution.
We understand that the administration is in a difficult financial situation and we are deeply disappointed at the cuts imposed by the provincial government. We have urged, and continue to urge, the government to reconsider this approach. The government has plans for rethinking post-secondary education in the province under the banner of Alberta 2030 and we have been active in trying to ensure that our voice is heard in this process. I have participated in town halls and have biweekly meetings with the Presidents of other University Faculty Associations to discuss how the process is unfolding and how we can have an impact. I also had a meeting with the McKinsey group that is carrying out the consultations and put some of the concerns of our Executive in a letter to them. That letter will be available on our website, but briefly, indicated our support for the views expressed by the Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations while also noting the importance of avoiding one size fits all solutions and asking for changes in the bargaining environment. I also expressed concerns about reconsidering the bicameral decision-making process at universities and stressed the importance of liberal arts and basic science education to students and the wider community. My understanding is that this process will continue with a number of town halls to discuss an initial version of the report intended for the new year.
The new year will also be busy as we continue to negotiate with the administration on how the assessment process will work given the extraordinary circumstances under which we have worked since March. We had hoped that there might be an agreement on that before the break but that now seems highly unlikely. Our bargaining team will also be reporting in the new year on the overall bargaining process. Our Collective Agreement expired on June 30, 2020, and we will need to negotiate a new agreement, in an environment where we have no guaranteed access to binding arbitration and in which the government may well have given the Board of Governors a secret mandate that they are prohibited from disclosing.
This term we put together a Task Force on Membership Engagement that is examining ways in which our interactions with members can be improved. Please feel free to reach out to our office if you have suggestions on how you think engagement can be improved. In the environment in which we find ourselves, a committed and engaged membership is critical.
I want to express my gratitude to the TUCFA staff for their incredible work this term and the efforts they make to ensure that our voices are heard. We have a relatively small office that works hard to respond to member concerns and has a huge agenda to move forward each week. Our staff is smaller than the HR offices in some of the larger Faculties so you have some idea of the workload each of them carries. I wish them and all of you my best wishes this holiday season.
David Stewart, President
The University’s Academic Crisis Management Task Force has been central to the University’s response to the pandemic. Representatives from the Faculty Association had been participating in the Task Force’s meetings but the Task Force was unfortunately disbanded in September.
The Faculty Association has been receiving inquiries from members as to whether Heads or Associate Deans can unilaterally change the grades of students. The University Calendar outlines a general appeal process and some Faculties have implemented their own appeal processes for reappraisal of grades. We are unaware of any policy or procedures that would give a Department Head or Associate Dean the authority to unilaterally adjust grades. Such action, in lieu of following appropriate procedures, infringes on the academic freedom of the instructor who assigned the grades.
The Faculty Association would like to remind our members of the “Letter of Understanding: Recognition of Graduate Student Supervision” in the Collective Agreement. When graduate students are hired under Article 23.2 L) (to provide teaching experience for a registered graduate student subject to 23.4) of the Collective Agreement, the intent is to provide the student with instructor experience and as such, the expectation is that the student is supervised by a regular academic staff member. The intent of this LOU is to ensure that this supervision is recognized as workload.
As has become a tradition for the Faculty Association, the Association is donating to local food banks in lieu of gifts. The Students’ Union Food Bank and the Calgary Food Bank will each receive a donation to contribute to the valuable support they provide during the holiday season.
WE WISH YOU A HAPPY HOLIDAY AND ALL THE BEST FOR 2021!
The Faculty Association raised concerns with the Administration around access to campus resources leading up to, and following sessional appointments. It has been clarified with the Administration that sessional instructiors should have access to email, the bookstore, the library, and D2L as soon as their appointments are finalized, and they have their UCard. Following the appointment, sessional instructors continue to have access to email and D2L for 12 months.
If any sessional instructors have issues with accessing any of these services as described above, they can contact the Integrated Service Centre who will be able to address the issue by either following up with the Faculty to ensure the appointment is finalized and entered, and/or with IT if there are any system access issues. Members can also reach out to the Faculty Association for guidance and/or assistance with these concerns.
Each academic year, a Sessional Travel Fund Committee will distribute a Sessional Travel Fund of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) amongst eligible Sessional appointees to reimburse certain travel expenses per the Collective Agreement. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, there are changes to the eligible expenses that can be reimbursed.
Items eligible for the Winter 2021 submissions include:
Visit the University’s HR website for more information and to apply for this fund.
The Faculty Association is seeking nominees to the Association Board of Directors. There are five (5), three-year term, vacancies open for election on the Board of Directors. All nominees must be current members of the Association. In addition, the designated sessional seat, which is a one-year term, is also open for election. Nominees for the sessional seat must be current members of the Association or have held a sessional position at some point since May 1, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nominations for the Board of Directors and the related materials should be submitted electronically to Faculty.Association@tucfa.com. All required information must be submitted by Monday, February 8, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. Nominators can submit their nomination electronically to the Faculty Association via email; clearly identifying who they are nominating. Alternatively, emails from the nominator or their electronic signatures may be attached to the nomination form, which is available from the Faculty Association office.
Nominations should be accompanied by a statement from the nominee of a maximum of 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. Board members are also regularly appointed to a variety of other Association, University, and external committees as representatives of the Association.
Please contact the Faculty Association office for a nomination form.
The Faculty Association provides Member Emergency Funding to help individual members under emergency circumstances due to a sudden loss or decline in remuneration from the University. Member Emergency Funding is not intended to be used in cases where normal remuneration is inadequate for an individual’s expenses. Rather, this funding is available when there is an unexpected drop in remuneration, or when a personal emergency arises. This funding is not intended to replace the normal assistance available from the government or other agencies.
In addition to current members, individuals who have held sessional, limited-term or contingent term appointments that have recently terminated are eligible to apply. Relief may be provided as a grant, an interest-free loan, or as a combination grant/loan.
For more information on Member Emergency Funding, please contact Faculty Association Executive Director Sheila Miller, by phone, (403) 220-5722 or by email, Faculty.Association@tucfa.com. All inquiries will be held in the strictest confidence.
The Faculty Association office will be closing for the holidays on December 18, 2020, and will reopen on January 4, 2021. The Association’s voicemail will be checked regularly on days that the University is open.
The Faculty Association staff will continue to work remotely in January. When an academic staff member contacts the Faculty Association their inquiry is directed to the most appropriate staff person and triaged in order to best assist those individuals who have time-sensitive concerns. Faculty Association staff endeavour to get back to individuals as quickly as possible. The best way to reach us is by emailing Faculty.Association@tucfa.com with your concerns and, if possible, how you would like us to help. However, we continue to monitor our phone line for voicemail messages, so feel free to also leave a message at (403) 220-5722.
Have a safe and happy holiday.
The Faculty Association is encouraging members to participate in a survey from the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) regarding workers’ experience during the pandemic. While this survey originates in Ontario, the survey is National and relevant to academic staff.
This survey is designed to learn about your experiences as a worker during a pandemic. This survey is a repeat of the survey originally launched in April/May 2020. Things have changed since this first survey, so the survey has been re-launched during this second wave of the pandemic.
The survey was put together by the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), with help from researchers at the Institute of Work & Health and Duke University in North Carolina. There was also input from a number of health and safety union staff representatives, who shared the concerns and questions their members have.
To access the survey please select the appropriate link:For healthcare workers (including EMS) working at healthcare workplaces (including homecare):
During the previous survey, just over half of the respondents took less than 15 minutes to complete the survey (the shortest time was 5 minutes). Those who went through the survey slowly and provided thoughtful comments took up to half an hour.
If you feel uncomfortable answering a particular question, please just skip it.
All the information collected in this survey is confidential. Only the researchers directly involved in this project will see all the answers. The team will not keep any information that could identify you or others. All the data collected will be stored on a secure server.
The data collected is intended to be used for research and to share with research organizations for the end purpose of improving pandemic working conditions. The data, analysis and related information may be used in presentations, websites, and union, trade, and academic publications.
If you have questions, please contact John Oudyk at OHCOW
The following is a list of Department Representatives, by department, for the 2020-2021 academic year. If your department or faculty is not listed below, it is because the Faculty Association has not received information about the election of a representative from your area.
Cumming School of Medicine
Cell Biology & Anatomy
Critical Care Medicine
Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases
Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
Physiology & Pharmacology
Faculty of Arts
Anthropology & Archaeology
Classics & Religion
Communication, Media & Film
Annette Timm / John Ferris
School of Creative & Performing Arts
Elizabeth Montes Garcés
Kristen van de Biezenbos
Faculty of Law
Faculty of Nursing
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Social Work
Production Animal Health
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Clinical & Diagnostic Sciences
Cindy Adams / Penni Murphy
Haskayne School of Business
Libraries & Cultural Resources
Shirley Voyna Wilson
School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape
Schulich School of Engineering
Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
Student & Enrolment Services
Taylor Learning Centre
Werklund School of Education
There are no elected Department Representatives from the following Departments:
As you prepare your taxes, remember that your Faculty Association dues (which include your CAUT dues) are tax deductible. You can find these dues on your pay stub and in box 44 of your 2020 U of C T4.
The Faculty Association of the University of Calgary, in accordance with its policy concerning the Assessment of Deans and equivalents, has completed a survey of the academic staff members in Faculties where the Dean or Dean-equivalent is at the mid-point of their term including the Vice-Provost (Libraries and Cultural Resources), the Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, the Dean of the Haskayne School of Business, and the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing.
The results of these surveys are shared with the respective Deans and the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) subject to response thresholds in the policy. The response threshold was not met for the survey regarding the Dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape.
In accordance with the Faculty Association policy, information on only the quantitative results (statistics) of the survey will be released to the Association membership provided that the number of surveys received meets our requirements for the distribution of results. The quantitative results for the surveys of the Vice-Provost (Libraries and Cultural Resources), and the Deans of the Haskayne School of Business and the Faculty of Nursing are distributed with this newsletter to members of the Faculty Association.
Feel free to contact the Association office if you have any questions or concerns.
Academic Crisis Management Task Force Disbanded
Grade Reappraisals; Powers of Associate Deans
Recognition of Supervision of Student Sessional Instructors
Faculty Association Supports Local Food Banks
Access to Campus Resources for Sessional Instructors
Sessional Travel Fund Changes in Pandemic
Nominations Open for FA Board of Directors
Membership Emergency Fund
Faculty Association Office Closures
Second Phase of OHCOW Survey of Workers’ Experience during a Pandemic
Dues are Tax Deductible