2013-2014


May 28, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
Following the close of nominations on May 16th, the Nominating Committee advised the Executive that one nomination had been submitted for the single opening among the elected members of the Executive Committee. This nomination was for James Watson who was thereby declared elected by acclamation. Subsequently, the six elected members of the Executive Committee accepted the recommendation of the Nominating Committee that David Newhouse be co-opted to the Executive as Past President (per Article IV. b of the TUFA Constitution), that Dirk Wallschlaeger be reappointed to the Executive for a second co-opted term, and that Kate Norlock be co-opted for a first term on the Executive.
 
This morning the new Executive Committee settled on the distribution of tasks for the coming year. Effective June 1st, 2014, the Association's Officers for 2014/15 will be:
 
President 
  Jocelyn Williams (Anthropology) 
 
Vice President
  Geoff Navara (Psychology) 
 
Treasurer 
  Ray Dart (Business Administration) 
 
Secretary and Communications Officer
  James Watson (Library) 
 
Grievance Officer
  Sue Wurtele (Geography)
 
Salaries and Benefits Officer
  Dirk Wallschlaeger (Environmental and Resource Studies/Chemistry)
 
Members at Large
  Brenda Smith-Chant (Psychology) 
  Kathryn Norlock (Philosophy)
 
Past President
  David Newhouse (Indigenous Studies/Business Administration)
 
In addition to the luxury of being able to draw upon the talents of several highly experienced union officers for 2014/15, the Association's Executive Committee is -- for the first time in many years -- at full strength (9) and drawn from a broad cross-section of Trent's academic divisions (Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, and the Library). Both the Nominating Committee and new Executive alike were, however, aware of the gap in representation from our Professional Schools and interested members from the School of Nursing and the School of Education and Professional Learning are certainly encouraged to contact the TUFA office to find out more about getting involved in the Union's leadership and activities.  
 


May 28, 2014

Dear TUFA member,
 
I am writing to provide you with a brief update on bargaining.
 
At the April 24th General Membership Meeting, the TUFA membership endorsed continuing negotiations with the existing mandate. This mandate, as you will recall, provided direction to the Union's bargaining team to: protect the principle of pay parity, balance changes to the benefits package, reject employer proposals regarding teaching-stream appointments or changes to the CUPE cap unless they are balanced with guarantees regarding the TUFA complement, establish base compensation for Chairs and Directors, and finally reject changes to the pension plan that do not offer realistic and long-term solutions to the plan's solvency deficit, going-concern deficit, and the unfunded liabilities in the SRA. 
 
We exchanged proposals with the Employer on May 8th and began bargaining proper the following week. We have had eight full or part days at the table and are making good progress toward reaching a deal. 
 
For many of our members the most significant issue on the table is pensions. We can report that the employer clearly recognizes that recent trends in pension reforms favour the jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) model, such as the CAAT plan. Both TUFA and the Employer continue to discuss the possible migration of Trent’s pension plan to CAAT. However, given that any plan migration depends upon enabling legislation, the results of the upcoming provincial election may have a significant impact upon how much progress can be made on the pension issue during this round of bargaining. To this end, we are pursuing interim measures that would allow us to protect our existing pension plan, recognize external regulatory pressures related to pension valuations and going-concern and solvency deficits, all while keeping alive the option of merging with the CAAT plan once the option becomes legally possible. 
 
Your bargaining team (myself, Bruce Cater, Marco Pollanen, and Marcus Harvey) are cautiously optimistic that we are nearing a deal and sincerely hope to be wrapping things up in the coming weeks. 
 
We thank everyone for their patience and do appreciate the messages of support from our colleagues. 
 
In Solidarity,

 

Sue

 


 

May 7, 2014

Colleagues,

There are three important events on the horizon (see below). Please note that the reception with incoming president, Leo Groarke, is free and open to all TUFA members. Additional information is available from the TUFA office on the activities of our affiliated organizations and funds are available to support members attending OCUFA or CAUT events.
 
_____________________________________________________
 
May 13 - TUFA 
WELCOMING RECEPTION FOR NEW PRESIDENT  
 
TUFA's informal reception for Dr. Leo Groarke is scheduled for Tuesday May 13th (12:00 to 1:00 pm) at the Seasoned Spoon and will be open to all TUFA members.
 
Biographical information about Dr. Groarke can be found at:
 
The Board of Governors "Mandate for Trent's President 2014-2019" (approved March 22nd, 2013) is also available online:
 
 
_____________________________________________________
 
May 23 - OCUFA
WORKSHOP: FEMINIST TRANSFORMATIVE LEADERSHIP IN THE ACADEMY
 
OCUFA's Status of Women Committee is hosting a workshop at the Harbour Castle Westin in Toronto (Friday May 23rd from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm). Join a seasoned panel (including TUFA member Karleen Pendeleton Jiménez) for in-depth discussions of the challenges to, and tools needed for, successful transformation in the Academy. (Flyer attached).
 
 
_____________________________________________________
 
June 6th to 8th - CAUT 
FRANCOPHONES' CONFERENCE
 
The conference, entitled "Améliorer les conditions de travail du personnel académique francophone: Solutions innovatrices," will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Ottawa.  The conference will bring together leaders from the Francophone academic community to share experiences, identify the primary common issues, and set out strategies. Although the issues on the discussion roster are clearly of vital importance to our Francophone and bilingual university associations, they are also pertinent to Francophone academic staff working in what are frequently considered Anglophone universities.
 

 

The conference will take place in French. Simultaneous interpretation will not be provided. The registration form, hotel information, and programme are posted on the CAUT website http://evenements.caut.ca/francophones-2014. (Flyer attached). Please note that the hotel cut-off date has been extended to May 15th.

May 3, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
We are writing in regard to three initiatives from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).
 
1. Member Survey
 
The deadline for completing OCUFA’s brief (10 minute) online survey has been extended to March 15th.  The survey will provide insight into members’ views on important issues and policy directions relating to Ontario's higher education sector as well as on your interactions with TUFA and OCUFA.
 
If you have not already done so, you can complete the survey at: 
 
Responses will remain anonymous and personal information kept strictly private. Contact information will not be linked to survey responses. TUFA will receive the local data from this survey. Aggregate data from all participating faculty associations will be made available to OCUFA for provincial-level analysis.
 
 
2. Feminist Transformative Leadership In the Academy - Workshop
 
OCUFA’s Status of Women Committee is hosting a workshop on Friday, May 23 (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) at the Harbour Castle Westin in Toronto.  Join a panel of seasoned academic leaders for in-depth discussions of the challenges to and tools needed for successful transformation in the academy.  Confirmed panelists include TUFA member Karleen Pendleton Jiménez, Sheila Embleton (York),  and David  DeVidi (Waterloo).  After the panel, participants will have a working lunch to brainstorm on strategies for transforming the academy, share examples of what’s working well in our academic lives, and discuss what else remains to be done. 
 
Interested members should contact TUFA for information about registering for this event. Funding assistance is available to members attending per TUFA’s standing policy of supporting our affiliates’ conferences and events.
 
 
3. 41st Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards - Nominations
 
Each year, OCUFA recognizes outstanding teachers and academic librarians in Ontario's universities through its Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards.  Nominations are now invited from individual members, informal groups of faculty or students, university committees concerned with teaching and learning, departments, and alumni. Completed nominations for this year’s awards must be received by May 23rd.
 
For more information go to:
 
 
In Solidarity,
Geoff and Marcus

 


 

 
 

TUFA has arranged an informal reception for

 

Dr. Leo Groarke

 

prior to his installation this summer as President of Trent University.

Our reception is scheduled to take place on

 

Tuesday May 13th (12:00 to 1:00 pm)

at the Seasoned Spoon

 


open to all TUFA members

 
 
 
 

 

 
April 25, 2014
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
TUFA has arranged an informal reception for Dr. Leo Groarke prior to his installation this summer as President of Trent University. Our reception is scheduled to take place on Tuesday May 13th (12:00 to 1:00 pm) at the Seasoned Spoon and will be open to all TUFA members.
 
Biographical information about Dr. Groarke can be found at:
 
The Board of Governors "Mandate for Trent's President 2014-2019" (approved March 22nd, 2013) is also available online:
 
See you there.
 

April 24, 2014
 

Dear Colleagues,

 
The TUFA Constitution requires the Association to hold elections in April for Executive Committee members whose terms in office would begin on May 1st. It had been the Executive Committee's intention to have a complete set of proposed amendments -- including amendments to our election processes -- ready in time for adoption by the membership at our Spring GMM. This was not in the end possible and so we propose to delay our election process by exactly one month, with elections in May for terms to begin on June 1st. To this end, nominations are now declared open for TUFA members interested in serving on the Association's Executive: the nomination period will remain open until May 16th.
 
Members elected to the Executive serve two-year terms and all members of the Association, including those holding Limited Term Appointments, are eligible to serve. Previous experience is not required. 
 
There are FIVE Executive members returning for the second year of their terms (Williams, Anthropology; Dart, Business; Navara, Psychology; Smith-Chant, Psychology; and Wurtele, Geography). As Past President, David Newhouse will be invited to serve as a co-opted member on the Executive Committee.  This leaves THREE vacancies on the Executive to be filled by election or co-option following the requirements of the TUFA Constitution.
 
Nominations will be accepted until the close of business on Friday May 16th, 2014.  Please submit nominations to TUFA's Secretary, c/o tufa@trentu.ca. Nominations require the signature of at least two members in addition to the signature of the nominee, and should be submitted on the attached nomination form. As has been done previously, we will consider the signature requirement to be met provided an individual clearly states his/her intent (either to nominate, or to accept a nomination) in an email (sent to tufa@trentu.ca) with contact information. 
 
For more information about the Association and service on the Executive, please contact one of the Association's officers or Executive Director, Marcus Harvey. The Nomination process and elections will be overseen by the 2013/14 Nominating Committee (Geoff Navara <geoffnavara@trentu.ca> and Lynne Davis <lydavis@trentu.ca>).

April 23, 2014
 
Colleagues,
 
Our Spring GMM will take place on Thursday, April 24th in LEC 201 (Peterborough) and Room 116 (Oshawa). 
 
Hard copies of all these documents (except those provided for informational purposes only) will be available for members to pick up at the GMM.
 
1.     3rd Quarter Financials
 
2.    Awards Committee Recommendations (John Fekete Award)
 
3.a.  Backgrounder and motion in regard to Sustainable Trent's proposal for fossil-fuel divestment
3.b.  Sustainable Trent's Proposal for Divestment (informational)
 
4.a.  Executive Committee Report
4.b. OCUFA Policy Statement on Differentiation (informational)
 
4.    Joint Health & Safety Committee Report

April 16, 2014

 
Dear Colleagues,
 
On March 26th, TUFA hosted a meeting with representatives from Trent University's three labour unions (TUFA, CUPE 3908, and OPSEU 365), the Trent Central Student Association, and members of CUPE 3205 (representing campus food service workers currently employed by Aramark). A primary reason for calling this meeting was to discuss the transition of food services from Aramark to Chartwells Education Dining Service (a division of the Compass Group). As of the March meeting, the members of 3205 had been provided very little information about the transition, but expressed significant concerns that their terms and conditions of employment would be trampled in the shift from one subcontractor to another.  Those fears seem to have been all too well placed. Late last week TUFA received an appeal from the President of CUPE 3205 asking us to make our members aware that the contractual rights secured by 3205 are at significant risk as Chartwells seeks to roll back the terms and conditions of their employment. Among other things, Chartwells proposes to cut wages, reduce sick leave and vacation entitlement, curb benefits, reduce full-time staff, and devalue prior service. They also propose to reduce the wages of student workers by 13%. 
 
TUFA has expressed to CUPE 3205 and its members our unequivocal support in the defence of their union and their contract rights.  Toward that end, we have sent an open letter to the Compass Group (attached) expressing our deep concern about their first steps on our campus and urging them to revisit their wrongheaded approach to our brothers and sisters in CUPE 3205.  Meanwhile, there are many things that individual TUFA members can also do to help. CUPE has set up a link <http://us7.campaign-archive2.com/?u=156003c53a9d3962e31946813&id=b4fd09b... where you can send an automatic e-mail to President Franklin to demonstrate your concerns and demand action. For those so inclined, testimonials from faculty members on the importance of 3205 members to the overall quality of the workplace, and Trent as a community, may be sent directly to tufa@trentu.ca. We would also urge you to write the President, the AVP Student Affairs, and the VP, Administration expressing your support of 3205 members.

April 14, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
We have scheduled the Spring GMM for the  early afternoon (1 p.m.) on Thursday, April 24th (LEC 201 and Room 116 on the Oshawa campus). Attached, please find the tentative agenda, unapproved minutes from our last GMM, the proposed budget for 2014/15, and two budget-related policies. 
 
The first of the attached policy documents -- "Policy on Community and Social Justice Contributions" -- was shared in an earlier form in conjunction with our November GMM. Thanks to those of you who provided us with feedback on that draft. Following from that consultation, the policy has been revised by the Executive Committee which is now recommending its adoption by the membership.  The second attached policy -- "Policy on Child-Care Support -- was drafted as a result of our winter consultation and reflects the strong support that we heard for continuing to provide funds to the Trent Child Care Centre (TCCC) on an annual basis. If passed, this policy would supersede the standing GMM motion from 2004 requiring an annual contribution of $10,000 to TCCC and would replace it with a more secure commitment (a two-year funding cycle) and the possibility for increases to the base contribution. In this regard, the proposed budget anticipates passage of this policy and provides for a 2.5% increase to TCCC funding in the 2015/16 fiscal year. 
 
The Executive Committee continues its work on revisions to the Constitution and has decided to seek legal advice on certain changes. For this reason, the agenda for our spring meeting will only include an update on the Constitutional review, and no substantive Constitutional changes will be brought forward to the membership at this time. The Executive anticipates that a complete package of proposed amendments will be ready to circulate to the membership early in the fall for consideration later that semester at the Fall GMM. As a result of trying to complete the Constitutional review in time for this Spring's GMM, the Executive had delayed starting the election cycle for the coming year. A revised timeline for the election of the 2014/15 Executive will be circulated shortly.
 
Additional documents (including those pertaining to the Chief Negotiator's report) to follow. 

April 2, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
The TUFA meeting to discuss departmental tenure and promotion criteria is open to all interested members and will run from 1:00 to 3:30 pm this afternoon in the Morton Reading Room (Champlain). As previously noted, members are encouraged to bring their own department's documents (old, new, or in process) for a quick consultation with TUFA's Chief Negotiator and Executive Director. This meeting will be informal and members should feel free to come and go from the session as they wish.

 


March 28, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
Further to our October 2nd message (see below) regarding the development and review of departmental standards for tenure and promotion, TUFA's Executive is hosting a drop-in workshop on Wednesday, April 2nd (1:00 to 3:30) on this topic. Many departments are now beginning, or in the midst of, such work and we thought it would be timely to offer direct assistance on this issue to members and department chairs. Please feel free to bring along your own department's documents for a quick consultation. TUFA's Chief Negotiator and Executive Director will be on hand to discuss and provide close reading of existing criteria, proposed revisions, or new drafts.
 
What: Workshop on Promotion and Tenure Criteria
Where: Morton Reading Room
When: Wednesday April 2nd from 1:00 to 3:30
 

 

 

March 24, 2014
Dear Colleagues,
 
As you may know, CUPE 3908’s Unit 1 members will be in a legal strike or lockout position at 12:01 am this Friday (March 28th). We remain hopeful that the Employer will bargain fairly with CUPE and that the Parties will reach a deal in advance of that deadline, but in anticipation of a possible labour disruption by another campus union, we wanted to ensure that our own members know their rights and are aware of what TUFA is doing in support of our fellow unionists on campus.
 
In essence, CUPE is making a case for fairness that will resonate with TUFA members who remember the state of faculty and librarian salaries before we struck for parity in the 1990s. The stipends paid to 3908 members are among the lowest in the province, a fact that is patently unfair to colleagues with whom we work every day. We believe it to be in the interest of our own members to see remuneration for 3908 members made more competitive with pay at other Universities. TUFA is in close contact with CUPE officers and staff and has committed to provide support and assistance as needed. Bargaining updates from 3908 are available online at <http://cupe3908.org/bargaining>.
 
In the event of a strike or lockout involving CUPE 3908 (Unit 1) members, please be advised of the following.
 
1. The Employer may not shift work from CUPE members onto TUFA members.  CUPE Unit 1 consists of some 300 course instructors, clinical instructors, markers, tutorial leaders, workshop leaders, academic counsellors, academic skills counsellors, and lab demonstrators. Their duties include such things as classroom teaching, assignment grading, lab work, exam proctoring, and student advising.  TUFA would consider any shift of such work to our own members to be in violation of Article IV of TUFA’s collective agreement and would address such impositions accordingly. Please advise the TUFA office if you are asked to perform any extra duties in the coming days.
 
2. TUFA does NOT have language in our own collective agreement that permits us to refuse to cross picket lines. Consequently, you will be expected by the Employer to attend to your assigned duties and responsibilities, even if that means crossing picket lines to do so. Be advised that you may be docked pay or disciplined by the Administration for failing to attend to your work responsibilities. That said, you are within your rights to do what work you can off campus, thus avoiding the necessity of crossing CUPE picket lines. Further, when you must cross picket lines, you are encouraged to do so respectfully, and in the spirit of solidarity.
 
3. TUFA officers will avoid crossing picket lines unless it is required of us to do our jobs (for lectures, office hours, etc.), TUFA staff will conduct the Association’s day-to-day business off campus, and with regard to meetings with the Employer TUFA will offer to conduct such meetings off campus when they are required. TUFA staff will be available to members at off-campus locations and times yet to be announced.
 
4. When not attending to their own assigned duties, TUFA members are encouraged to spend some time walking the picket line in solidarity with members of CUPE 3908.
 
5. TUFA members may wish to support students in understanding that a strike or lockout is a legal action, and that once any job action has concluded, Senate and other academic bodies will work to develop a plan for return to classes/exams.
 
TUFA will continue to monitor this situation closely and will provide further updates as it develops. 

 

 


February 23, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
This is a reminder of the consultation meetings scheduled by the Executive for members to comment on the draft amendments to TUFA's Constitution, the draft policy on Community and Social Justice Contributions, and the Association's support for Trent's 50th Anniversary activities. These are informal "drop-in" meetings for discussion and members should feel free to join or leave the conversation as they wish.
 
Peterborough
 Monday, February 24th
 Location - DNA C103  2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
 
Oshawa
 Tuesday, February 25th
 Location - Room 109  10:00 - Noon

 


 

February 13, 2014
Dear Colleagues,
 
At our first Membership consultation regarding the three 'in play' discussion issues (Constitutional revision, CSJC Policy, and TUFA's proposed contribution to Trent's 50th Anniversary activities), an issue regarding the CSJC became clear. The proposed Policy is intended to provide a clear and functional framework for TUFA's future contributions to community and social justice concerns and initiatives.
 
What is implicit in this, and what should be understood by members in considering it, is that this would require repurposing the present TUFA Gifts/Donations budget line. At present, our annual $12,500 Gifts/Donations line is made up of an annual $10,000 contribution to Trent Child Care and $2,500 to be divided among other community and social justice possibilities. By adopting this new CSJC Policy, we would move away from automatically funding Trent Child Care at the $10,000 annual level (though Trent Child Care would remain an organization able to apply to us for CSJC funds, under our new policy framework.)
 
If the CSJC Policy is adopted, I propose that we consider a follow-up motion to allow Trent Child Care to adjust to our new model.
 
Motion: (if CSJC Policy is adopted) That TUFA's standing contributions to Trent Child Care be phased out over a two year period, with a $6,000 contribution for 2014/5 and a $3,000 contribution for 2015/6, and that these contributions come from the CSJC budget line.
 
Please note that we have two additional consultation meetings scheduled for later this month.
 
  In Peterborough
  Monday, February 24th
  Location DNA C103
  2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
 
  In Oshawa
  Tuesday, February 25th
  Location room 109
  10:00 - Noon

February 12, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
I am writing to provide the TUFA membership with an update as to the status of our current negotiations. As you will recall, last Spring we ratified a one-year agreement that covered the non-monetary items the parties had on the table. Given the complicated nature of the pension negotiations, along with the expectation that these discussions would take some time to conclude, the Parties agreed to a separate negotiation of the monetary proposals. TUFA and the Employer have been working through the summer and the Fall to explore the option of merging the TUFA pension plan with the CAAT Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan (JSPP). Your negotiating team’s goal was to get the discussions to a point where we could bring the membership a concrete proposal to consider. Such a proposal would allow each member to gauge both the individual effect of a transition into the CAAT plan, along with the overall impact of such a move for the health of our pension plan. Again, you may recall that one of the elements of the CAAT plan that makes it worth exploring is the fact that its plan design is such that it would provide the benefit of solvency exemption, without which the University will be required to make special payments in the order of $8-$10 million per year. Such payments would represent a major shock to an institution whose annual operating budget is roughly $105 million/year.
 
While our discussions with the Employer have been productive, two external factors have complicated and delayed our progress. The first is the lack of clarity from the Ontario government as to its intentions regarding the merger of single employer pension plans such as ours with existing JSPPs such as the CAAT plan. We have met with the province directly on one occasion and have had representation at university-sector pension discussions several times, most recently at the end of January, and can now report that the government has indicated that mergers with existing JSPPs will require legislation (as opposed to the less formal regulations). In a minority government, legislation is a more difficult route, particularly with the strong possibility of a Spring election.
 
The second external factor is the prospect of a university-sector JSPP. Until recently, contemplation of a plan that would encompass all university pensions seemed very complicated, very remote, and thus highly unlikely. But recent discussions at OCUFA have resulted in a narrowed focus that seems to offer a more realistic possibility for a multi-university (rather than pan-university) JSPP model. It is still very early days for this discussion, but the scaled-back model seems well worth our attention.
 
TUFA and the Employer are committed to continuing our work to develop a concrete CAAT proposal that our membership can consider, but both parties have recognized that it is now prudent to also consider options that provides us with time for some of these external factors to sort themselves out.  To that end, we have scheduled a meeting with the TUFA Plan Actuary to determine what steps are necessary to address the government’s second stage solvency requirements.  Once we determine these requirements, TUFA will be in a position to consider how best to meet them. With this additional information, we will also be in a position to call a membership meeting to discuss next steps.
 
While we are certainly frustrated by the external forces that have delayed our negotiations, we remain optimistic regarding the prospects of a mutually beneficial resolution to our pension situation.

 

On a related note, I am pleased to report that OCUFA has been successful in finding a reasonable replacement for the UCASS data from Statistics Canada that underpin our Salary Parity Formula. We expect to have data for the two years we have been missing very shortly. As soon as this is in place, the negotiating team, along with our Salaries and Benefits Officer - Dirk Wallschlaeger, will prepare a report for the membership as to the status of our salary levels relative to faculty and librarians in our comparator group of universities.

February10, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
Just a quick reminder that we have scheduled a coffee break tomorrow morning for those interested in talking with us about the role, structure, and operation of your union. Specific issues on which we are hoping for member feedback include: 1) proposed amendments to the TUFA Constitution; 2) the draft Policy on Community and Social Justice Contributions; and 3) TUFA's contribution to Trent's 50th Anniversary activities.
 
Hope to see many of you there!
 
  Open membership consultation meeting (Peterborough)
  Tuesday, February 11th
  Room 320 GCZ (Olive Dickason Room)
  10:00 - 11:30 a.m.

February 7, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
Academic labour organizations require three things to run smoothly: caffeinated members, good governing documents, and the occasional crisis. We can probably rely on the University to furnish this last item, but it remains for us to ensure the rest.  Toward that end, we our planning three open consultations (over coffee) to discuss how the Union runs. Specifically, the Executive would like to know your views on proposed changes to the TUFA Constitution as well as the draft Policy on Community and Social Justice Contributions. Both of those documents, along with a briefing memo on the Constitutional amendments, were initially circulated in connection with our Fall GMM in November and are attached here for your convenience. 
 
The other issue on which the Executive Committee would like to receive member feedback is the possibility of making a one-time contribution in support of Trent's 50th Anniversary activities. The specific initiative being considered by the Executive (with a decision needed by the end of February) would involve drawing down $25,000 of our reserve funds (less than 5% of the total) to make TUFA the sole sponsor of  "50 Talks for 50 Years" comprising 50 outreach visits to local and regional schools and 50 public lectures. TUFA's Treasurer initially recommended that the Executive Committee consider supporting this initiative because it would provide TUFA and its members "with a high degree of visibility in the Anniversary year, would stake out the intellectual life of the campus as our responsibility and privilege," and seemed "consonant with our professional identity and interests as academics."
 
Comments on any of these matters sent to the TUFA office before the end of February will be compiled and shared with all Executive Committee members at the end of each week as will my notes from the three consultation meetings listed below.
 
  Consultation 1 (Peterborough)
  Tuesday, February 11th
  Room 320 GCZ (Olive Dickason Room)
  10:00 - 11:30 a.m.
 
  Consultation 2 (Peterborough)
  Monday, February 24th
  Location DNA C103
  2:00 - 4:30 p.m.
 
  Consultation 3 (Oshawa)
  Tuesday, February 25th
  Location room 109
  10:00 - Noon
 
The Executive will make a final decision with regard to participation in Trent's 50th on February 28th.  Both the Constitution and Policy documents will be reviewed by the Executive in light of your feedback and modified as warranted by the end of March so that a revised final version can be circulated in advance of our April 24th General Membership Meeting. Please note that the draft Policy on Community and Social Justice Contributions could have implications for TUFA's annual contribution to Trent Child Care.

January 27, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
1. Thanks to all those who participated in, and contributed to, the ReFrame International Film Festival. TUFA has supported the festival for several years and we sponsored the extraordinary documentary "Salmon Confidential" which addresses the perils facing wild salmon stocks in British Columbia, the evident contribution of fish farming to those perils, and the marked disinclination of the federal government to do anything other than hide the problem. For those who weren't able to watch the film over the weekend, it is available online at http://salmonconfidential.ca/watch-salmon-confidential-documentary/ and -- like fifth estate's "Silence of the Labs" -- will be appreciated by anyone concerned with the privileging of political ideology over scientific inquiry.
 
 
2. Reminder to any members who thirst for coffee and camaraderie:
 
What:   TUFA Kaffeeklatsch
When:  January 28th (3:00 to 4:30 pm)
Where: LEC Senior Common Room (Peterborough with Jocelyn Williams)
           Room 126 (Oshawa with Geoff Navara) 
 
 
3. For those interested in an alternative vision for higher education funding, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations' pre-budget submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is available for download at http://ocufa.on.ca/2014/ocufa-releases-2014-budget-recommendations/ 
 

January 23, 2014

This past week, TUFA made a small donation in support of a fundraising reception with the two Canadian academics recently released from prison in Egypt. You will recall that we had circulated a petition urging the release of York's John Greyson and Western's Tarek Loubani and  are delighted that they are now free and able to attend a reception in Peterborough this Saturday.
 
Tickets are available for the reception and members are encouraged to contact the Kawartha World Issues Centre (www.kwic.infoor 705-748-1680) for more information.
 
What:   Welcoming and Fundraising Reception
            for John Greyson & Tarek Loubani
 
When:  Saturday, January 25th
            5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
 
Where: Elements
           140 King St, Peterborough
 
Tickets: Limited and In Advance Only
             $75.00 with a $50 tax receipt
             available from Green UP, Kawartha World Issues Centre (KWIC), and Happenstance Books & Yarns
 
Ticket includes admission and reserved seating for Saturday night ReFrame & KWIC presentation of THE SQUARE  (J. Noujaim USA 2013) followed by a talk with John and Tarek.
 
Proceeds support the Palestinian Healthy Child Fellowship program which has operated since July 2010 at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. This program is part of Healthy Kids International (HKI) -- an initiative of Sick Kids Foundation -- that aims to address the shortage of pediatric health specialists worldwide. HKI is supported by John and Tarek.
 
John Greyson is one of Canada's most prolific multi-award winning media artists and an associate professor in the film department at York University. Dr. Tarek Loubani is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at Western University, London, and one of the architects of the Canada-Gaza collaboration to train Gaza physicians. On August 16th, both were arrested by Egyptian police during anti-government demonstrations in Cairo.  They were detained without charge for seven weeks. The websitewww.johnandtarek.com chronicles their efforts with Canadian and Egyptian authorities to secure their freedom.
 
This is a KWIC 25th and ReFrame 10th Anniversary Initiative

 


January 22, 2014
 
Further to yesterday's message about coffee klatches and the value of hearing from our members, we hope many of you will participate in a brief (10 minute) online survey that we are conducting in conjunction with the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) and other Ontario faculty associations.
 
The purpose of the survey is to provide insight into your views on current issues relating to Ontario's higher education sector, including controversial policies that will affect professors and academic librarians directly. In addition, the survey solicits your views on more nuts and bolts questions involving your interactions with TUFA and OCUFA.
 
We would appreciate it if you would complete the survey by Wednesday February 5th. You can access it from:http://ocufa.on.ca/ocufa-and-member-faculty-association-fall-2013-survey/ 
 
As a token of appreciation for completing this survey, OCUFA will be giving away iPad Minis to two survey respondents from all participating faculty associations. To enter the prize draw, please complete the contact information request at the end of the questionnaire. If you do not wish to enter the draw, you can still complete the questionnaire.
 
Please be assured that your responses will remain anonymous and your personal information kept strictly private--your contact information will not be linked to your survey responses. TUFA will receive the local data from this survey. Aggregate data from all participating faculty associations will be made available to OCUFA for provincial-level analysis.

January 21, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
TUFA wants to hear from you!  Sometimes it feels like most of our communications with members are of the "It's a Disaster! We need you at an emergency meeting" variety. Granted those are important conversations, but wouldn't it be nice to just sit down together over a coffee?
 
Well now you can.  On the afternoon of Tuesday January 28th, we will be hosting our first coffee klatch with TUFA officers. There will be no minutes to review, no agenda to approve, and no teleconferencing link to set up. You can be punctual or arrive late. This is your chance to tell the Union's officers what's on your mind. Let us know how we're doing. Tell us if you think TUFA is missing something important! And please do stop by, even if all you have to say is "good job."
 
  What: TUFA Coffee Klatch
  When: January 28th (3:00 to 4:30 pm)
  Where: LEC Senior Common Room (Peterborough with Jocelyn)
             Room 126 (Oshawa with Geoff) 

January 10, 2014
 
Colleagues,
 
CAUT's Executive Director has sent out the following message regarding tonight's broadcast of the Fifth Estate report on political interference with research in Canada.
 
In Solidarity,
Marcus
________________
 
Greetings,
 
The CBC's Fifth Estate has been working for more than one year on his documentary on the attack on science and knowledge creation in Canada.  It airs tonight at 9 pm in all time zones and is titled "Silence of the Labs."  The trailer for the program can be seen at http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/episodes/2013-2014/the-silence-of-the-labs 
 
There is a good deal of media coverage of this blockbuster program already - e.g., a story running in most of the Postmedia newspapers today http://www.leaderpost.com/technology/Science+abandoned+scientists+muzzle...
 
Margaret Munro, one of Canada's top science journalists has a powerful article on devastation resulting from federal departmental library closures, also in today's Postmedia papers - http://www.ottawacitizen.com/technology/Last+chapter+many+Environment+Ca...
 
Please let your colleagues know about the CBC Fifth Estate show tonight.
 
Thanks,
 
Jim
 
 

January 9, 2014
Dear Colleagues,
 
This is a reminder that all TUFA faculty and librarians (Senators in particular) are invited to Friday's information meeting with OCUFA's Research Director, Donna Gray. The meeting is intended to provide information on how academic staff and students at other Ontario universities have responded to program prioritization initiatives and to discuss how best to approach such a comprehensive review at Trent. 
 
What:   Information meeting on program prioritization and differentiation
When:  Friday, January 10th, 2014
Time:    9:00 am to 11:00 am 
Where: Bata 103
 

January 7, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
The December 10th "Get Science Right" Town Hall meeting -- sponsored by CAUT in cooperation with TUFA and our sister association at UOIT -- attracted some attention from the local press (see links at end of email). More importantly, however, the issues raised by the Get Science Right campaign now appear to be getting traction nationwide. In fact, the CBC's Fifth Estate is beginning its 2014 season with a special report on "The Silence of the Labs" <http://www.cbc.ca/player/Shows/Shows/the+fifth+estate/ID/2425727853/> (airing January 10th at 9:00 pm). 
 
As part of our own efforts to build public awareness of the devaluing of scientific and scholarly expertise, TUFA's Executive Committee approved a $500 contribution to this year's ReFrame documentary film festival to sponsor "Salmon Confidential" <http://salmonconfidential.ca/> which addresses the governmental suppression of scientific research. Information about ReFrame is available at http://reframefilmfestival.ca/. We hope to see you there! 
 
With new organizations springing up in opposition to the current government's war on evidence, there are easy ways for TUFA members to get more involved. For those interested in taking a small but helpful step, the "Death of Evidence" folks have set up a petition on a new "Science Uncensored" website: <http://www.scienceuncensored.ca/#takeaction>. The site is also valuable for its timeline on adverse policy changes and initiatives. And the Huffington Post has an excellent article on the shuttering of seven Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries ("How the Harper Government Committed a Knowledge Massacre"): http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/capt-trevor-greene/science-cuts-canada_b_45...
 

January 6, 2014

Dear Colleagues,
 
Our national and provincial affiliates are both holding conferences in February that may be of interest to some members. TUFA has a policy of financially assisting members to attend affiliate conferences to ensure that our Association is well represented at such events. Anyone interested in either of the conferences described below should contact the TUFA office for additional information.
 
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
 
Canadian Association of University Teachers
 
   Perpetual Crisis? Diversity with Equity in the Academy
   Courtyard by Marriott Toronto Downtown Hotel
   February 7-9, 2014
 
The theme of this year's Equity and Diversity Forum is "Perpetual Crisis? Diversity with Equity in the Academy." The Forum provides an important opportunity for interested members to discuss best practices with colleagues from other institutions and build a network of contacts and support. Member participation will help ensure that TUFA is better able to fulfill its obligations in relation to the promotion of equity both within Trent University and throughout our broader community.
 
The Forum begins on Friday, February 7, 2014, with registration opening at noon and the first session beginning at 13:30. The Forum will end at noon on Sunday, February 9.
 
Agenda available online at http://events.caut.ca/equity-diversity-2014/. Please contact us before January 17th (January 10th if you require a hotel room) if you are interested in registering for this event.
______________________________________________
______________________________________________
 
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
 
   Future U: Creating the Universities We Want
   Intercontinental Yorkville Hotel in Toronto
   February 27-28, 2014 
 
This year's OCUFA conference, http://ocufa.on.ca/conferences/future-u-creating-the-universities-we-want/, will consider current trends in higher education and explore alternatives that serve the needs of students, faculty, and communities. 
 
Topics include: 
  Re-imaging research, teaching, community service, and governance
  The real uses of technology to improve teaching, learning, and research
  Shifting relationship between higher education and the state
  Promising developments in higher education across the globe
 
 Confirmed speakers include:
  Sarah Amsler, Centre for Educational Research and Development, University of Lincoln
  Maria Maisto, President, New Faculty Majority
  George Fallis, York University, Author of "Multiversities, Ideas, and Democracy"
  Kevin Kee, Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities, Brock University
  Glen Jones, Ontario Research Chair  in Postsecondary Education Policy and Measurement, OISE
 
 Please contact us before January 24th (January 17th if you require a hotel room) if you are interested in registering for this event.

January 6, 2014
Dear Colleagues,
 
In preparation for the upcoming Senate meeting (January 14th) at which the Final DRAFT Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA), dated December 20, 2013,<https://my.trentu.ca/intranet/admin/vpacademic/20131220_Trent_Final_Draf... will be discussed, TUFA has organized an information session for faculty and student senators (but open to all TUFA members) to take place on Friday, January 10th. A representative from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations will be on hand to explain how academic staff and students at other Ontario universities have responded to program prioritization initiatives. Attached are two relevant documents from OCUFA: the first is an FAQ on Program Prioritization and Differentiation; the second, an assessment of program prioritization and its chief proponent, Robert Dickeson.
 
What:   Information meeting on program prioritization and differentiation
Who:    Open to all faculty and student senators
When:  Friday, January 10th, 2014
Time:    9:00 am to 11:00 am 
Where: Bata 103

December 17, 2013

Dear Colleagues,
 
Following the release last month of the Green Paper, TUFA's Executive Committee determined that there was an important role for the union to play in assuring that any new strategic planning exercises be conducted with full and appropriate consultation with TUFA, its members, and -- crucially -- the collegial governing bodies in place at Trent. Toward that end, we encouraged the reconvening of Faculty Council, the engagement of Faculty Board and Senate, and -- backed by our members -- strongly advised that the Green Paper be revisited following an extended comment period.
 
Given the stakes and system-wide nature of the strategic planning now underway, the Executive intends to monitor all new developments and will remain vigilant in regard to our members' direct interests as well as our collegial governing roles with respect to whatever comes next.
 
To accomplish this, the Executive struck a subcommittee (President, Vice President, Chief Negotiator, Secretary, and Executive Director) to review and comment on the posted draft of the Strategic Mandate Agreement. Our letter to the administration is attached for your information.  As you will read, we consider this iteration a significant improvement over the last. In particular, we were pleased by the shift in tone and to see our senior academic administrators advocating on the basis of Trent's mission and strengths.
 
We thank each and every one of our members who, despite the timing and constraints of the season, took the time to comment (whether collectively as departments or individually as officers of this institution). Your efforts have been productive.
 
We cannot, however, leave the matter here. The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will be negotiating with Trent in the coming months to determine how we will be funded and what shall be our priorities. As part of this process, there will be a review of all the University's activities and it will fall heavily to all of us to ensure that this review is substantive and constructive, and that we do not find one segment of our community pitted against another.
 
Members are asked to stay engaged. For our part, the union's Executive will do its best to facilitate what will need to be coordinated, coherent, and clever participation by faculty members and librarians in the coming months.

 


December 16, 2013

Dear Colleagues,
 
Last spring, the Association's membership approved a new TUFA award to recognize outstanding service to the union and profession. Named in honour of retired Professor John Fekete, the award provides an opportunity to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts made on all our behalf by those members who devote a significant amount of their time and energies to improving the terms and conditions of academic staff employment locally, provincially, and/or nationally.  John served TUFA in a variety of capacities over the years including stints as the union's chief negotiator, president, and as a liaisons to OCUFA, CAUT, and our sister associations.
 
John could not, of course, have accomplished his work alone and it is time to recognize those of his colleagues who also served through TUFA's first three decades. For this reason, the Executive is pleased to put out a special call for nominations this year. Although the John Fekete Award will normally be limited to one worthy recipient/year, this year -- the award's inaugural and Trent's Fiftieth -- we would like to suspend that limit and direct the Awards Committee to bring forward the names of all candidates who meet the conditions for recognition and are now retired.
 
The Award Committee's recommendations will then be brought to the Spring GMM where the membership will vote each recommendation up or down. Then, in the Fall, we shall have a party. . . .
 
The terms of reference for the award are attached for your information. The deadline for nomination is January 15th, but we will allow extra time this year for the submission of supporting materials (until c.o.b on February 7th).
 
Nominations and supporting materials may be submitted electronically to tufa@trentu.ca> or sent to the TUFA Office in Champlain College - Room E3. 
 

December 2, 2013

Dear Colleagues,
 
The Executive has asked that the following communication and attachment from OCUFA be circulated to all members.
 
 
Dear Colleagues;
  
This afternoon, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) released its policy framework for differentiation in Ontario’s university and college sector. According to the document, MTCU views differentiation as “a primary policy driver for the system.” As such, the framework will be used to inform the Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) process and on-campus initiatives like program prioritization.
  
The document lays out six “components” of differentiation:
 1.       Jobs, innovation, and economic development
 2.       Teaching and learning
 3.       Student population
 4.       Research and graduate education
 5.       Program offerings
 6.       Institutional collaboration to support student mobility.
  
The framework also identifies “strategic enrolment” and “financial sustainability” as key areas of focus going forward. For each of the components, a series of metrics are proposed with the suggestion that optional, institution-specific measures will also be used.
  
It is not clear from the framework how MTCU plans to use the components and metrics to guide differentiation. Will the government be using the metrics to set goals and therefore influence institutional behavior? Will institutions be able to define their own objectives within each component? Are the metrics descriptive or prescriptive? OCUFA will be seeking clarity on these questions and more in the coming weeks. We will also be analyzing the framework in detail for our members.
  
This afternoon, OCUFA staff also met with Paul Genest, who is leading the SMA process for MTCU. He indicated that the use of the metrics and components has not yet been fully defined, but the intent is for institutions to use the framework as “vocabulary” for crafting their own SMAs. Genest was also clear that institutions will be expected to “prove” their areas of strength using indicators outlined in the framework, plus approved institutional metrics.
  
For more information on the Differentiation Agenda and how it relates to SMAs and program prioritization, please read our fact sheet Ontario’s Differentiation Agenda: Frequently Asked Questions [circulated previously]. . . .
 

November 28, 2013

 
Dear Colleagues,
 
TUFA is pleased to invite its members to a regional town hall meeting to discuss the public impact of changing science and research policy in Canada. Organized as part of a national campaign by the CAUT, the event will address the relevance of scientific knowledge to society and why it is imperative that we “Get Science Right.” We hope to have faculty researchers from all parts of the University engaged in the discussion and you are encouraged to share this invitation with students and members of the wider community. 
 
An RSVP would be appreciated, but is not required.  See the attached press release for additional information.

November 26, 2013

Dear Colleagues,
 
Thanks to those of you who were able to attend yesterday's GMM on either the Peterborough or Oshawa campus. The meeting saw our immediate Constitutional issue resolved with the term limit provision removed and David Newhouse now able to complete his term as President. The report of the Auditor was accepted and a motion passed to appoint Steven Bark our auditor for the current year. Our two guests at the meeting -- Mark Rosenfeld (Executive Director) and Kate Lawson (President) from OCUFA -- provided some background information on the Ontario Government's differentiation initiatives as well as to the SMA process and program prioritization initiatives at other universities. OCUFA's representatives also reported that other associations have made very effective use of their Senates to ensure that appropriate consultative processes guide academic planning and the membership discussed the need to breath new life into Trent's Senate.
 
OCUFA has prepared a backgrounder on these issues which is attached to this message, fyi. Following the presentation from OCUFA, the membership debated and passed unanimously the following motion in regard to the "Green Paper #1" floated by the administration for comment on Friday November 15th.
 
 
"Moved that TUFA responds to the request of the Administration to respond to the “Green Paper” by November 30th, 2013, by rejecting as impossible any meaningful response in this time frame. To the extent that TUFA’s response must be put on record by November 30th, 2013, it repudiates the “Green Paper” in its entirety and expresses no confidence in its contents. TUFA urges the Administration to begin the process of responding to the issue of differentiation anew, involving Trent faculty, staff, and students from the outset and in meaningful ways."
 
 
During the meeting, a number of members stressed the importance of having faculty fully engaged in the planning process at all levels of our collegial governance. In particular, it was noted that the Friday meeting of Faculty Council ought to be attended by as many members as can be available at that time. Faculty Council is the body comprising Trent's entire academic community and is therefore an incomparable vehicle for articulating the concerns of  that community. Faculty Council's Constitution is available at:
 
 
The details of its next meeting are as follows:
 
Friday, November 29, 2013
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Science Complex, Room 137
 

November 24, 2013

Dear Colleagues,
 
The circulation by the administration of the so-called "green paper" last Friday, comes as the latest in a series of introspective planning documents attempting to chart Trent's future course. In this case, the threat to be addressed is the MTCU and the pressure it is applying on universities to review their activities as part of the SMA (Strategic Mandate Agreement) process. When planning comes in waves, it can be difficult to find the energy to wade into yet another high tide, but it would be a mistake for faculty to become resigned or complaisant at this particular moment. TUFA's Executive Committee encourages our members to inform themselves about the proposals contained in the green paper as well as the context set by the administration's Fall applications to the Productivity and Innovation Fund. We believe it is critically important for our members to participate in discussions of the green paper at the two forums open to all in the coming week: TUFA's GMM (Nov. 25th) and Faculty Council (Nov. 29th). Further, TUFA members should remember that they are represented in Senate by Faculty Senators (see http://www.trentu.ca/secretariat/senate_senatemembers.php).  
 
TUFA's Executive intends to respond to the green paper on behalf of our membership and was troubled by the restricted timeline for comment. Changes of the magnitude of those being entertained by the senior administration require all parties to do their due diligence: decisions must be grounded in demonstrable and reliable evidence and there must be adequate time for review, analysis, and reflection. Within TUFA, due diligence requires that we engage in an open process for soliciting member commentary and input, and that we facilitate member engagement in all other relevant discussion and decision-making fora. It also requires that we ensure that the existing collective agreement is respected, and that changes to that agreement are achieved through a member-mandated negotiations process.
 
Our expectations for the administration are similar. The process of refining an SMA with the Ministry should be open, transparent, and evidence based. Changes contemplated for academic programming should be made through the decision-making processes that we have in place for such purposes: Faculty Council, Faculty Board, and Senate. Changes contemplated to the institutional context within which academic programming is conducted should be informed by feedback from those same bodies as well as the Board of Governors. We are mindful of the damage that can be done externally (to reputation) and internally (to morale) when operating under the rubric of "radical" change.
 
For these reasons, TUFA will be formally requesting that the employer expand the length of time available to us for comment on the proposals contained in the green paper and that there be sufficient opportunities for substantive feedback on future documents and discussions relating to the SMA process. To assist our own members through this process, we have invited the Executive Director and the President of OCUFA to attend our General Membership Meeting on Monday and describe the provincial context for the SMA process, both in terms of how other universities are responding and the steps that other associations may be taking in response.
 
The GMM will begin at 3:30 pm on Monday, November 25th (Bata 103 and Room 115 on the Oshawa campus).

November 21, 2013
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
Over the summer months the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities put out a call for funding proposals under the Productivity and Innovation Fund (PIF) initiative. Recently TUFA requested, and obtained, copies of the submissions by the Trent administration to that fund. We are providing copies of these applications to the membership because the TUFA Executive believe that they provide important contextual information when reading the recently released Green Paper, which is on the agenda for the upcoming GMM meeting.

October 29,2013

Dear Colleagues,

First, a reminder that the jointly (TUFA/Admin) open information session on PEER REVIEW EVALUATION PROCESSES will be taking place, as scheduled tomorrow (October 30th from 9:00 to 11:00 am in Otonabee College, Room 111). The session will be of interest to all who are involved in peer review, including candidates for review. Leading the session will be Dr. Harley d’Entremont (VP Academic and Research, Nipissing University) and Dr. Neil Tudiver (Assistant Executive Director at CAUT) - all TUFA members are invited to attend.

Second, we circulated a TUFA calendar earlier this month in which we asked members to hold the evening of October 30th for an open meeting with the TUFA Executive. It had been our intention to use that meeting to provide a briefing on developments with respect to our pension negotiations and provincial initiatives with implications for the funding and operation of Trent University. Our pension discussions are not at a stage where we are able to provide a substantive briefing and so rather than convene that meeting tomorrow evening, we thought it a better use of our members' time to provide the following update.

Negotiations - Pensions

Union and administrative representatives continue to work with our current Pension actuary (AON Hewitt) and the executive officers of the CAAT Pension Plan to map out a possible trajectory for moving TUFA's Pension (total assets and liabilities) from our existing pension arrangement to the CAAT Plan in a manner that would ensure the long-term viability of our members' pension entitlements while protecting the University from the extraordinary solvency payments otherwise required by the province on single-employer plans such as ours.  A significant challenge in all of this has been the reluctance of the Province to provide definitive answers with regard to the hypothetical funding obligations of the University following any such migration of our arrangement to CAAT or a similar joint sponsored pension plan.  Once we can provide members with greater specificity in regard to the options available to us, their costs, and implications, we will provide a report and a recommendation from the Union's Executive Committee with regard to finalizing our bargaining mandate with respect to negotiations over the pension and the other financial issues.

Faculty Council/Joint Committee

Following a suggestion from the TUFA Executive that the University needs to convene its Faculty Council to discuss the system-wide drive to "differentiate" Ontario's universities and the most appropriate response from Trent to such initiatives, we were pleased to receive confirmation that the President's Office had opened the nomination process for positions on the Faculty Council Steering Committee. It is crucial that we have strong faculty voices engaged at every level of collegial governance - please consider standing for the steering committee. The deadline for nomination submission is Thursday, October 31 at 4:00 p.m. Completed nomination forms should be delivered to Brenda Blackburn in the Office of the President.

Under the terms of the collective agreement that we ratified in June, Joint Committee is to meet at least four times/year to discuss the financial situation of the University: in particular, application and enrolment data, the in-year budget, budget assumptions and projections, and the implications of all these things for the union and its members. The first such special meeting of Joint Committee has been scheduled for November 11th. Relatedly, TUFA's Executive Director and Chief Negotiator will both be participating in OCUFA's Financial Committee workshop on university finances later in the month.

Please do not hesitate to contact the TUFA office if you have questions about our work or would like to become more involved in the activities of the Union.

 


October 7, 2013

Colleagues,
 
The following calendar of events should help keep you informed of activities of the Association and its officers in the coming months. Be sure to mark October 30th, November 25th, and December 10th on your calendars as indicated below.
 
 
TUFA FALL CALENDAR
 
 
October 
 
23rd - Vice President (J. Williams) and Chief Negotiator (S. Wurtele) to participate in OCUFA's lobby day at Queen's Park.
 
30th - All members are invited to an information session with the Executive to discuss bargaining, our pension options, provincial initiatives, and any other issues that members wish to discuss. Hold the date: Wednesday, October 30th - 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
 
 
November
 
1st to 3rd - David Newhouse to participate in CAUT's Forum for Aboriginal Academic Staff addressing the role of aboriginal academics in social and political change. <http://events.caut.ca/aboriginal-2013/>
 
16th - Members are encouraged to attend the Canadian Labour in Film Festival at Market Hall. <labourfilms.ca>
 
22nd - Executive Director (M. Harvey) to participate in OCUFA's workshop on University Finances.
 
25th - All members are invited to the Fall General Membership Meeting. Expect the Agenda to include a full report on bargaining, presentation of the Audit, confirmation of committee appointments, and proposed amendments to the Association's Constitution. Hold the date: Monday, November 25th - 3:30 to 5:30 pm.
 
26th - December 1st: Chief Negotiator to attend CAUT Executive and Council meetings as Member-at-large of CAUT's Executive Committee.
 
28th - Vice President and Executive Director to participate in CAUT's lobby day on Parliament Hill.
 
29th - December 1st: Vice President and Executive Director to represent TUFA at CAUT's Fall Council
 
 
December 
 
10th - All members are invited to a Town Hall meeting sponsored by CAUT as part of a cross-country tour to alert Canadians to the federal government’s problematic approach to science and research.  <http://getscienceright.ca/>. Hold the date: Tuesday, December 10th - 7:00 pm to 9:00 

October 4, 2013
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
With another busy week behind us, I wanted to pass along two pieces of very good news.  
 
First, Professor Cathy Bruce has been recognized as one of Ontario’s most outstanding university teachers by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). Cathy, who teaches in the School of Education and Professional Learning, received the 2012-2013 OCUFA Teaching Award at a ceremony in Toronto on Saturday. Commenting on Cathy's nomination, OCUFA's President, Kate Lawson, noted that “Professor Bruce’s students, past and present, describe her teaching as ‘innovative’, ‘transformative’, and ‘inspirational’.” None of this, of course, will come as a surprise to her colleagues at Trent. Congratulations, Cathy!
 

 

Second, the Executive Committee is pleased to announce that Professor Dirk Wallschlaeger (Environmental and Resource Studies/Chemistry) has agreed to serve on the Association's Executive Committee. Dirk's co-option to the Executive was approved unanimously and he has also been appointed our Salaries and Benefits Officer. Dirk's contributions on the Negotiations Council were what brought him to the attention of our Nominating Committee and we are delighted to have him joining the Executive just in advance of the resumption of bargaining. 

September 23,2013
Dear Colleagues,
 
Ontario's Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) is in the process of developing a “Differentiation Policy Framework for Ontario 2013” to outline the Ministry’s vision for post-secondary education (PSE). Based upon last year’s Strategic Mandate Agreements (SMA) and continuing consultation and SMA development, this policy as it now stands marks a major directional change in the ways in which the Ontario Government supports higher education and the changes being discussed would fundamentally alter the PSE landscape in the province. Through the proposed process of university differentiation, the new policy framework has the potential to affect the daily work life of faculty members throughout the university sector (including teaching expectations, research expectations, graduate training position allocations/funding, and the "BIU" funding formulas for undergraduate students) All indications are that Trent would be significantly affected by the proposed changes.
 
The Ministry has drafted a discussion paper (available at http://www.trentu.ca/administration/pdfs/130917%20Draft%20Differentiatio...), and the University -- in preparing a response to that paper (see President Franklin’s announcement of September 17 on the MyTrent portal) -- is requesting input from faculty and staff. We strongly encourage members of the university community to read the discussion paper, consider the issues, and contact the Administration with any comments and concerns by the October 4th deadline. Comments can be sent to sma@trentu.ca. Please also copy the Association tufa@trentu.ca as we are preparing our own response and will provide feedback to inform OCUFA's response on behalf of academic staff members across the province.
 
N.B. Trent's administration has indicated its intention to withdraw our original SMA and replace it with a new one to be devised over the next two months. This new SMA will be brought through the regular channels, including Faculty Board and Senate, albeit on a very tight time line. We have been assured that our members' input will be sought and is welcome. Please keep your eyes open for future announcements about the revised SMA. As noted above, the Province has indicated that the SMAs will be important in determining each university's place in the proposed differentiation framework.

September 16, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

Our new collective agreement has now been posted to the HR website as a pdf with clickable internal links. 

http://trentu.ca/humanresources/services/agreements.php

Draft Video Surveillance Policy

Under new language negotiated in the last round of bargaining (Article I.3.3), the parties have clearly formulated the Union's right to comment on University policies affecting our members' terms and conditions of employment.  To make full use of this new mechanism, the Executive Committee will be developing protocols and procedures to ensure that we can expeditiously review and comment on policy drafts and revisions as they are received. An important part of that process will be consultation with our members.

The new collective agreement holds TUFA to a tight turnaround time for providing the Employer with feedback on policies sent to the Union for review and we have now received a draft policy from the Employer dealing with the use and control of video surveillance at Trent.

Members interested in providing TUFA with feedback on this matter will find the policy draft online at <www.trentu.ca/secretariat/policies.php>. Please submit your comments by September 30th for consideration by the Executive Committee. You are, of course, also free to provide comments directly to the Employer c/o <policy@trentu.ca> before October 10.  


September 13
Dear Colleagues,
On behalf of TUFA's Executive Committee and staff, we would like to greet you back to Trent at the start of a new academic year. I hope that your summer has been both productive and restful. To those who are joining us for the first time, we extend a warm welcome and the hope that your experiences here will meet all your best expectations of Trent.
 
The upcoming year promises to be filled with much debate about our university, its structure, and our place in the broader system of universities in Ontario. As we engage in these discussions, it will be important to remember our founding values: a strong commitment to critical pedagogy, analytic thinking, and social and environmental justice. Knowing who we are will aid us as we negotiate a chaotic political environment and encounter a resurgent enthusiasm for dramatic reform of the post-secondary education sector.
 
Despite such challenges, we must also structure our own working lives so that they are meaningful and well paced, and so that we allow time for reflection. We must resist the idea that we can do more and more in a shorter time with fewer resources. Fair work, Fair treatment, Fair pay: that has been a mantra of unions for the last hundred years and it should remain in our consciousness as we engage in the process of building our university.
 
Fall will see the resumption of collective bargaining with negotiations focused exclusively on financial issues and the possible shift from our current pension arrangement to a much larger joint-sponsored pension plan. We will ensure that our members have sufficient opportunity to consider and comment on any changes to our pension arrangement as we proceed through bargaining and we encourage all members to participate fully as the process unfolds.
 
We also anticipate a broad discussion across the University over the decanal program reviews tabled during the summer. A quick review of these documents suggests that they could form the basis for a Trent far different from what we know now and, of course, the Board of Governors has launched the search for a new president who should take office next summer. Against this backdrop of local changes, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is pondering a university system based upon the principles of differentiation and concentration. Were the MTCU to act on these principles, one would expect to see greater concentration of research and graduate studies at the larger universities while undergraduate teaching would increase at smaller institutions like Trent, Algoma, and Nipissing.
 
In coordination with our national and provincial affiliates (the Canadian Association of University Teachers and the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations), we will monitor the political currents swirling around us and assert the needs, rights, and aspirations of faculty members and librarians at Trent. We will continue to advocate for our members' voices to be heard in all decision-making fora of the University. Trent is too important to be left solely in the hands of our administrators. We urge all of you to participate as best you can in the governance of the university and to serve as advocates for the faculty voice throughout the academy.
 
We trust also that you will participate in the governance of our own association by attending general membership meetings, serving on the executive and other union committees when your turn comes around, and providing us with your thoughts and insights on matters of concern to you. 
 

 


August 29, 2013

Dear Colleagues,

David Newhouse has asked that we circulate an important petition in support of two Canadian academics imprisoned in Egypt.  Both our national (CAUT) and provincial (OCUFA) affiliates have sent letters of concern (attached, FYI) to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Canada regarding the incarceration of Professor John Greyson (York) and Dr. Tarek Loubani (Western). Lawyers representing the two men were to have met with an Egyptian prosecutor earlier today to discuss the men's release, but the meeting did not occur.

www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/08/29/canadians_john_greyson_and_dr_tarek_...

 

The York University Faculty Association, in collaboration with LabourStart, is circulating a petition requesting that the Egyptian government release Greyson and Loubani immediately. Please consider adding your name to this petition, even if you have participated in other petitions on the same issue.

www.labourstartcampaigns.net/show_campaign.cgi?c=1943&src=unicontacts



July 11, 2013

 

Dear Colleagues,

We hope that your summer has been healthy and productive so far. TUFA's activities continue through the summer (albeit at a more relaxed pace) and members with employment-related questions should not wait until Fall to contact our office for information or to raise concerns that may be time-sensitive.

At this time, there are a number of matters on which we wanted to provide members with an update.

 

Ratification and our contract status

Following TUFA's successful ratification meeting on June 4th, the Board of Governors also ratified the agreement (on June 21st) at which point most of the terms of the new agreement became immediately binding. The changes relating to personnel recommendations and decisions did not come into effect until July 1st (as described in the Memorandum of Settlement).

 

Although the agreement that we ratified expired on July 1st, the terms and conditions of employment that it sets continue in effect. For this reason, the Parties are working on a clean version of the ratified contract to be distributed to all members as soon as possible.

 

The Union has filed its formal notice of intent to bargain and negotiations will resume shortly on the financial issues left unresolved in the last round.

 

Minutes from the previous GMM

In addition to the ratification of our new collective agreement, the members present at our June 4th General Membership Meeting approved the co-option of David Newhouse to serve as TUFA President, at least, until our first GMM in the Fall when the issue of term limits within the Constitution can be appropriately addressed. Please find attached the unapproved Minutes of our June 4th meeting.

IT - Information session on Email migration
 
 
The IT department is planning to change email services for faculty and staff from our in-house Groupwise system to a cloud-based system using Microsoft Office 365. When this change was raised in the Joint Committee meetings between the Union and Employer, TUFA encouraged the Administration to provide an opportunity for our members to raise questions and concerns (especially security and intellectual property concerns) that they may have with respect to the migration of their email accounts. 
 
Toward this end, IT has announced an open information session to be held on Monday, July 22nd (1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in OC 203).  To facilitate participation, the meeting will be webcast with the opportunity to ask questions online during the broadcast.  To join the webcast, please follow the instructions at: 
 
 
TUFA plans to have several representatives at this info session. If you are not able to participate, but do have a concern or question please let us know so that we can be sure that your issues are addressed.
 
 
Salary scales
 
The new salary scales -- revised to reflect the 1.98% parity adjustment for 2013 -- are attached for your information.
 
 

Professional Expense Funds

In response to member inquiries, TUFA confirmed through Joint Committee that members may use their Professional Expense Fund (PEF) to cover the cost of smart phone purchases. Your PEF can only be applied to hardware costs, however, and you will not be able to claim the monthly fees or usage charges associated with your phone. Remember: any equipment purchased with your PEF allowance technically remains the property of the University.

 

Aboriginal Forum

The Canadian Association of University Teachers will host its next Forum for Aboriginal Academic Staff this Fall (November 1-3) at the Courtyard Marriot in Toronto. Information about the Forum is available at <http://events.caut.ca/aboriginal-2013/>. TUFA has a policy of financially assisting our members to participate in conferences hosted by our affiliate organizations. Members interested in attending the Forum should contact the TUFA office for more information.

 

 

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July 18th, 2014