President's Newsletter: June 2016

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Welcome to the June update. Those of you who teach over the summer know that this continues to be a busy place. FAUW continues to have plenty of work.

Here's an update on the issues covered in my last report, plus a few new ones. I'll try to summarize key events below but please contact me or anyone else at FAUW if you would like more information.

Staffing

I am delighted to report that we finally have reached steady state for staffing at FAUW. As of July 4, 2016, Laura McDonald will join FAUW full time as our social media specialist as well as an expert in a range of administrative roles. For the month of June, Laura will work Mondays–Wednesdays. Laura brings an immense amount of skill and experience.

Early in September we will hold the third annual retreat for our board and one of the key items on the agenda will be finalizing our organizational chart and allocation of duties. This will include an explanation of staffing roles. The results will be posted on our website so all members can see who to turn to for questions and advice or to provide suggestions to us.

General observations

We are all very much looking forward to the expanded Board that will provide greater resources to handle the busy workload at FAUW. In combination with the addition of our final staff member, this should mean that critical goals such as ensuring our Council of Representatives is indeed fully representative and used wisely will be high on our list of goals for the fall term. We continue to have concerns about our communications with members in general and this will be one of the other areas of focus when we refine our organizational structure. 

Specific issues

1. Policy reviews continue to an important part of our activities.

These include:

  • Policy 33 (Ethical Behaviour): This is progressing although it remains a challenge to manage the intersection between this policy, the new (proposed) sexual violence policy mandated by the provincial government, the Memorandum of Agreement, etc.
  • Policy 76 (Appointments): Questions were put to the administration and FAUW board about the general direction this policy might take and we are still awaiting the results. This is the one policy in which the role of lecturers is explained and the policy review committee has been working on designing a clearer career path for those presently entitled ‘continuing lecturers.’ The policy covers a range of other issues, many unrelated to each other and the time it is taking to work on this is a reflection of the real care needed to address them.
  • Policy 14 (Pregnancy & Parental Leaves): The terms of reference for the Pregnancy and Parental Leaves including Adoption policy have finally been approved and the committee members selected. Much of the focus of the review will be addressing the position of both parents being UW employees; at present they are disadvantaged in comparison to those who are might be, e.g. a UW/WLU combination.
  • There are several other policies that are being reviewed and we have a role: for example, 67 (Employee Assistance Program), 29 (Smoking), 31 (Travel).

2. Salary anomaly review

You will be getting information about the Salary Anomaly Review Committee’s report soon. This review is an outcome of the last round of salary negotiations. The provost and I have received the report, and a public notice and, of course, notifications to those receiving adjustments, will follow.

3. Statement on leaves

The recent joint statement on leaves from the provost and myself, which was a very long time coming, omitted compassionate and bereavement leaves and an update has been posted to our blog today, providing more information.

4. Memorandum of Agreement revisions

The key item at present is a proposed move to biennial performance evaluations for tenured faculty. We expect to be seeking approval from the membership early in the fall so it can go to the Board of Governors for approval before the end of the calendar year.

5. Pension and benefit committee governance

The issues of concern around pension and benefit committee governance have been addressed. There is an additional request to the Board of Governors for a review of investment strategies at UW. This request came from students, staff and faculty. A working group of the Board of Governors has been created and the FAUW representative will be recommended shortly. We will ensure we post this name on our website and please feel free to contact them directly if you have any questions or thoughts on this matter.

6. Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

We understand progress is being made in selecting an EFAP carrier. The status quo of attending counselling within the University will remain in place until the new system is implemented. We haven’t heard of any problems with accessing counselling but please get in touch (with Katie Damphouse at mcdamphouse@uwaterloo.ca) if you have concerns.

And more

As always, we are working on a range of other issues including Faculty Professional Expense Reimbursement (FPER) claims, per diems, possible bi-weekly pay (we may be surveying you in the future on this).

Some issues raised by members that we are now looking into include hours of operation at the Bright Starts daycare and the practice of departments hiring their own graduates. And the long-standing discussions on scheduling, student evaluations, and digital privacy continue.

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