President's Report We are thankfully coming to the end of this challenging term with a…
An ongoing pandemic, provincial budget cuts, Alberta 2030 consultations, Growth Through Focus congresses, pressure to return to face to face teaching, and uncertainty about the university budget. To say that this has been a stressful term cannot adequately capture the working environment academic staff members have experienced as 2021 has unfolded in just the first three months.
In this challenging environment I have been deeply impressed with the responses of TUCFA members. You have continued to deliver quality learning experiences to our students, you made your views on Growth Through Focus clear to the administration, you have supported efforts to identify the negative impact that cuts to post-secondary education will have on Alberta’s future, you supplied our bargaining team with valuable information on your concerns and you have done this with virtually no recognition for the efforts you are making to sustain the University of Calgary.
It has now been over a year since I was elected to serve as your President, and I want to again thank you for this opportunity. As I have told a number of you, being elected to this position by my peers is the highest honour I could have received. This has not been the year I expected, and I have not met the TUCFA executive, Board of Directors, or staff face to face. I am, however, impressed by the time and dedication all of these individuals bring to their roles. For me, the service as President has opened my eyes to the many activities behind the scenes of which most of us are unaware. The work on grievances and investigations is highly labour intensive but is critical for the future of our union and the needs of our members.
When I ran for President one of my key concerns was to increase engagement with members, including providing more opportunities for feedback. To that end we have established a membership engagement taskforce and are continuing to look at ways to improve communication. I hope to have more information on this in our next newsletter. In the interim, we have modified the meetings with Department Representatives so that some of them are focused on issue discussion rather than simply updates. We also organized a town hall on bargaining and plan to have more of those moving forward. We are working to improve the website as a go to source for information. We have increased the number of news and event items presented and want to continue to make more information available in this manner. For instance, there is information on a planned protest on budget cuts at the McDougall Centre on Saturday, March 27, as well as a statement on the provincial budget and requests for support from our colleagues at the University of Alberta in their protests against budget cuts.
We are continuing to work with our colleagues in post-secondary institutions in Calgary to communicate disappointment with the government cuts and the need for stable funding. I am meeting with representatives from faculty, staff and student associations on a by-weekly basis to discuss how to move forward on these issues.
To accomplish our goals all of us must continue to make use of the opportunities available to us, whether this be Growth Through Focus discussions, the institutions of collegial self-governance, or more public actions relating to our interests and needs. The increased turnout in our Board of Directors elections is another way of indicating to the administration that we are deeply concerned about the future of the university. I want to reiterate my thanks to those of you who voted and especially to those who were willing to put their names forward to represent their colleagues.
I know that this is a very busy period with the end of term approaching and the need to complete marking. It is clear that the pandemic and the on-line delivery of courses has substantially increased the workload associated with teaching and academic staff have received very little acknowledgement for the efforts undertaken in this area. TUCFA will continue to make the administration aware of the activities and concerns of our members and we are committed to a goal of seeing that the Administration treats us with respect and responds to our issues. Thank you for your continued support.
David Stewart, President
We want to remind all members in the pension plan that you have two years from the date of receiving a tenured contract to purchase prior service. If you do not purchase the prior service during that window, you cannot do so later.
Prior service includes:
The Faculty Association would like to remind its members about the right to representation in situations of conflict, discipline, or potential discipline. Many conflicts can be resolved informally at an early stage by the academic staff member alone (sometimes with the confidential advice of the Association) and do not require direct Faculty Association involvement. However, when there are situations that escalate which have the potential to lead to discipline and an Administrator asks to meet with you, the Administration is required to advise you of your right to have a Faculty Association representative attend such meetings with you. If you attend a meeting on your own with an Administrator and you become concerned that you need advice or representation – especially where the Administrator indicates that the results of such a discussion might lead to discipline – you can ask for a recess in the proceedings to allow you to have time to contact the Faculty Association for assistance.
The best way to reach us is by emailing Faculty.Association@tucfa.com. However, we continue to monitor our phone line for voicemail messages, so feel free to also leave a message at (403) 220-5722.
As with most of our members, the Faculty Association staff continue to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We continue to do our best to help members to navigate through issues as they arise despite the pandemic. 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 endeavor 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.
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 has begun undertaking surveys to allow the academic staff members in various faculties and similar units to provide direct input to the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and the review committee (if applicable) regarding the performance of the Deans and Dean equivalents. The surveys are conducted as a component of the Association’s policy which requires surveying the membership towards the end of the second year of appointment and possible renewal point of the terms of all Deans and equivalents. Subject to the response thresholds in the policy, the quantitative results are shared with all members; the qualitative results of these surveys are only shared with the respective Deans, the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), and the review committee (if applicable).
Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or concerns.
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.
According to our records there are currently (as of March 17, 2021) 1861 ongoing academic staff working at the University of Calgary. Below is an overview of the Faculty Association membership numbers.
Increasing Your Pensionable Service
Faculty Association Representation
Faculty Association Office Remains Available
Member Emergency Funding
Dues are Tax Deductible
Membership by the Numbers
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