Bulletin # 5
Consultations with Probationary Faculty
The last of the Association’s scheduled consultations with the membership were held April 6th. The first of these was for probationary faculty. Concerns were voiced over the amount of time consumed by document preparation and presentation for reappointment and tenure applications is enormous;) it was hoped that some efficiencies could be found to lessen both the burden on members preparing files as well as on those who must read through them.
Once again, we heard that teaching evaluations are heavily flawed instruments and their use in peer-review career processes (like reappointment, tenure, and promotion) should be constrained and their significance not over determined. In regard to the hiring process, members recognized that further clarification of process and expectations in the CA could be of significant value, as would more robust new faculty orientations, an opportunity to consult with the union before accepting a job at Trent, and establishing a mentor program to pair new faculty with members who have been recently tenured themselves.
Further Bargaining Consultations
The second, open, consultation on April 6th dealt primarily with gender equity concerns and the need for the union to pursue such matters, possibly by tasking a subcommittee of the Negotiations Council to review relevant data to make equity-specific recommendations for the bargaining table. The challenge of ensuring an equitable distribution of service work within departments and across the university was also discussed with members agreeing that promotion and other merit considerations should not be blind to members’ service contributions. The collective agreement may need further refinement to help ensure that all members make suitable and sufficient service contributions through the course of their careers at Trent.
Questions relating to maternal and parental leaves were raised in both sessions and the union will request historical information from the Employer on the use of such leaves with an eye to assessing whether these provisions in the collective agreement need to be refined to address either gender equity or operational concerns.
We would like to thank all those who have participated in our pre-bargaining consultations for their time and for their candor. Additional feedback is always welcome and members should continue to send written comments for the Chief Negotiator and bargaining team via the TUFA office firstname.lastname@example.org
Bulletin # 4
Introducing the Negotiation Team.
Acting on the recommendation of the Chief Negotiator, the Executive Committee is pleased to introduce to the membership the Negotiation Team for the upcoming round of bargaining:
Susan Wurtele (Geography) - Chief Negotiator
Dirk Wallschlaeger (ERS/Chemistry)
Michael Epp (English)
The work of a faculty association should reflect the values of our members. As we move towards another round of bargaining, the Executive Committee has heard repeatedly from our members the importance of promoting an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace. Our aim is for a workplace in which each member has fair opportunities for success on the basis of their work and contributions to Trent and the profession—a workplace in which only those factors that should matter do matter in decisions related to hiring, compensation, and progression through the ranks. To accomplish the goal of an inclusive and equitable workplace we need to have solid data to inform the development of any potential bargaining mandate on this issue. At the last general membership meeting on March 16th, 2016, the membership discussed the importance of this issue and passed a motion authorizing the Executive to conduct an equity census of our membership for the purpose of advancing our equity work here at Trent University.
All members will be receiving a survey asking them to provide information that will allow us to assess the extent to which the principle of equity is reflected in faculty wages and other aspects of our careers at Trent. For our analysis to yield informative results, it is important that all members complete this survey—it should take less than five minutes to complete. The survey will be released early next week.
The TUFA Executive wishes to thank all the members who have participated in the nine consultations that have already occurred. We are now in the process of working through the feedback provided by the members. During that process, the Chief Negotiator/Negotiation Team may feel the need to seek further clarification from the membership on specific issues/topics via flash surveys.
Bulletin # 3
On March 14 the Chief Negotiator, Sue Wurtele, met with TUFA members from the Professional Schools. Members from both the School of Education and Professional Learning as well as the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing were present and discussed a range of issues from accreditation to the relationship of faculty members to Trent’s colleges. It was suggested that requirements of the job that flow from external accreditation standards should be reflected in the Collective Agreement and/or individual’s letters of appointment. Among the various issues discussed, concerns were raised about limited term appointments (LTAs) within their programs. LTAs perform vital services to ensure excellent program delivery and make positive contributions to the work/professional life of the schools; however, there is not a one-size-fits all model even within the Schools and the terms of employment, especially contract length, must be sensitive to the different sorts of needs that are being met by LTA members. Flexibility in term appointments is needed, sometimes short-term appointments were seen as appropriate, but the needs for continuity, institutional/program knowledge, and consistency should also be considered, and longer term appointments (36 month) have a great deal of value, especially where a considerable investment of time is needed to bring the member up to speed with the program. The problems of attrition, overreliance on contract faculty, and need to replenish depleted faculty ranks were raised as was the potential value of a transportable right of first refusal for members shifting between CUPE and TUFA appointments.
TUFA’s President, Geoff Navara, recently met with TUFA members who serve as departmental chairs and program directors as part of our ongoing consultations in preparation for bargaining. This was one of the best attended of the consultations with 13 members participating. A robust discussion occurred, with many issues raised, including: the relationship with Durham campus for departments operating in Peterborough and Oshawa, the role of Faculty Board and collegial governance, restructuring around Schools, the job of graduate directors and profitability of graduate programs, the attribution of revenues and costs in an RCM budget model, hiring processes and the burden of overreliance on large numbers of stipendiary faculty. From these many issues, three themes emerged: concerns about the acknowledgement/recognition, and subsequent compensation, of chair and program director’s workloads; the potential impact of Responsibility Centred Management (RCM) on program delivery; and, the positions of Graduate Studies and Durham within the RCM model currently being outlined by the Administration. The Negotiations Council, Executive Committee, and Bargaining Team will shortly be considering the feedback provided at this, and all other consultations, to begin fleshing out a proposed bargaining mandate to present to the membership.
President of TUFA
March 21st 2016
Bulletin # 2
As you are aware, in preparation for bargaining, TUFA has been conducting several consultations with various groups. Below are summaries of two of our consultations; the first consisting of our Limited Term Appointment members (summary prepared by James Cook) and the second from the Women’s Caucus (summary prepared by Helen Haines).
TUFA hosted a well-attended caucus on January 28th to address issues of concern to LTAs. The increasing reliance of Trent and other universities on contingent employees has made the employment conditions of LTAs a major priority of the Association and a likely subject of discussion in this year’s bargaining. The conversation was lively and highlighted the varied contractual terms and obligations of limited-term faculty and librarians at both the Symons campus and in Durham. Major topics included inconsistency between departments regarding length of contracts and teaching loads, institutional barriers to conducting research, onerous reappointment procedures, the difficulties of transitioning to tenure stream appointments, and the recent re-implementation of a 3 year cap on individual LTA appointments. LTAs represent approximately 22% of the Association’s membership and the caucus presented an important venue for them to voice their concerns to the TUFA Executive and the Chief Negotiator ahead of the next round of collective bargaining.
On 23 February, 2016, TUFA hosted a Woman’s Caucus Meeting at Champlain College. Central to the discussion was the on-going, and deeply ingrained, academic culture that is either biased against women’s achievements or inhibiting their academic achievement. Things of note that were discussed included: the on-going lack of recognition for achievements (i.e., grants, publications, levels of cited research) made by female faculty; issues with course evaluations; the large number of women who are called upon to do service work (i.e., committees, chairs of departments) along with the sense that others are able to avoid theses duties; and a vigorous discussion of promotion and why women are not achieving, or not applying for promotion to Full Professor. A range of solutions were discussed including enhanced recognition for service contributions and the creation of a women’s mentoring programme. The purpose of such a programme would be to help women prepare for tenure applications, advance between the ranks, as well as provide advice to new female hires (what sort of start up allowances have been awarded to other faculty, etc.).
The TUFA Executive wishes to thank all those members who have participated in the various consultations that have already occurred. There are several avenues for you to express your thoughts and inform the development of a bargaining mandate: attend one of the remaining consultation meetings (see above); contact a member of the Executive (see contact information below); contact the Chief Negotiator (directly); or contact one of the members of the Negotiations Council.
David Newhouse, Grievance Officer, ext 7497
James Watson, Secretary, ext 7330
Susan Wurtele, Chief Negotiator, ext 7454
Momin Rahman, Member at Large (Equity), ext 7812
Jocelyn Williams, Past-President, ext 7441
Ingrid Brenner, (Professional Schools) ext 7253
Helen Haines, (Durham Representative), ext 5045
R. James Cook, (LTA Representative), ext 7679
Byron Stoyles, Member at Large ext 7096
March 4th, 2016
Bulletin # 1
As you are aware, our Collective Agreement is set to expire this July, and as such, the TUFA Executive is in the process of preparing for this round of negotiations with the Employer. Effective communication is essential for the process of bargaining. The Executive recognizes the need to communicate with the membership, and that the members need to provide guidance/input to the Bargaining Team/Executive. To help refresh our members’ memory of the practice that we have adopted here at Trent, we have prepared a ‘primer’ that outlines the process in general terms.
The Executive and Chief Negotiator, Susan Wurtele, are in the process of consulting with Association members. So far, we have held two focused caucuses (one with Limited Term Appointees and a second with the Women’s Caucus) and intend to conduct more in the near future (see schedule to the left). We have also put out a call to departments, professional programs and Librarians to nominate/put forth names of members to be part of the Negotiations Council. The purpose of this Council is to provide the Bargaining Team with advice and a sounding board for the development of a bargaining mandate that will emerge through the consultation process.
We will also be discussing the negotiation process with the upcoming General Membership Meeting (GMM), which is tentatively scheduled for March 16. More information/call for meeting will follow shortly. Our plan is to provide ample opportunity for member consultation as we prepare for this important endeavour.
In addition to the organized caucuses, the GMM and the Negotiations Council the names and offices of the TUFA Executive are below. Please feel free to contact any of the officers if you have input or questions about the negotiations process.
· Geoff Navara, President,
· Dirk Wallschlaeger, Vice President,
· Marco Pollanen, Treasurer,
· David Newhouse, Grievance Officer,
· James Watson, Secretary,
· Susan Wurtele, Chief Negotiator,
· Momin Rahman, Member at Large (Equity),
· Jocelyn Williams, Past-President,
· Ingrid Brenner, Member at Large,
· Helen Haines, Member at Large (Durham),
· R. James Cook, Member at Large (LTA),
· Byron Stoyles, Member at Large
We will also be providing updates via email bulletins, our website: trentfaculty.ca, Facebook and Twitter.
President of TUFA