FAUW’s purpose is to promote fairness for and equitable treatment of our members, to defend academic freedom and tenure, and to ensure our members work in an environment that supports good quality research and teaching. But not all of our members have equal access to these fundamental tenets that we value and that contribute to a healthy community of scholars. Outdated University of Waterloo policies mean that our teaching-stream faculty (lecturers) have been left behind when it comes to things like career progression, benefits, and job security.
FAUW hopes to address these gaps by updating policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members). The Policy 76/77 Drafting Committee (PDC) is examining the working conditions, advancement, and hiring of teaching-stream faculty and proposing related changes to these two policies.
This committee will take advantage of the important work of the previous Policy 76 committee. While their overall proposal was not approved at FRC, many of their specific policy suggestions will inform the current process.
On this page:
- Who UW's teaching faculty are and what they do
- What policy changes we're seeking
- Who is on the policy drafting committee
- When this is happening: the policy development timeline
- Where and how you can participate
- Why these issues matter: blog posts that take a deeper look at the lives of Lecturers
Teaching-stream faculty at Waterloo are called lecturers. While Waterloo has had lecturers since the 1960s, their numbers have increased significantly in the last decade. Now, almost one in five regular UW faculty members (that is, FAUW members) are lecturers. Teaching-focused faculty are now both common and essential, but they’re still largely overlooked in many University policies, leaving lecturers disadvantaged when it comes to things like clear career progression, benefits, and job security.
Who is a lecturer?
The term “lecturer” is often indiscriminately applied to everyone from sessional instructors hired by the course to permanent teaching faculty. At Waterloo, “lecturer” is one of the four faculty ranks (the others are assistant professor, associate professor, and professor). While sessional instructors are also hired at the rank of lecturer, they have adjunct or special (vs regular) appointments and are administratively very different from the lecturer-rank regular faculty members (we'll call them capital-L “Lecturers” from here on) who are members of FAUW. 47% of Lecturers have continuing status; the rest are on definite-term contracts.
Learn more in “8 Myths About UW Lecturers” on our blog.
What do Lecturers do?
The specifics of Lecturer positions—teaching loads, service and administrative tasks—vary widely between faculties, and even between departments in the same faculty. Of 194 respondents to our 2021 lecturers survey (an 80% response rate), 43% have a teaching-to-service ratio of 80/20, 13% have a ratio of 60/40, and 15% have an assigned scholarship/research weighting in their contracts. (It is worth stressing that 80% of respondents reported engaging in scholarship or pedagogical/professional development activities, regardless of their assigned weightings). Lecturers teach all kinds of courses, including upper-year and graduate courses (64%, according to the survey). The most common course load is six courses a year.
Learn more in our interviews with lecturers on our blog.
Here are some of the things that FAUW has identified as priorities for the updated policies, to better align the roles of teaching-focused faculty with our values, the University's values, and roles at comparator institutions.
Professorial teaching stream appointments
FAUW is working to create professorial teaching-stream positions with rigorous tenure and promotion processes that run in parallel with tenure and promotion in the existing professorial ranks. Important models for this work are the University of Toronto, McMaster University, and University of British Columbia, which have “teaching-stream” or “teaching-track” professors at all three ranks.
Tenure is also a professional norm. See CAUT’s policy statement: “Tenure processes should be available to all academic staff”; and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) statement: “all fulltime faculty members, regardless of rank, are to be considered eligible for tenure.
Recognition for scholarship
While teaching-stream faculty here at UW are primarily devoted to teaching, it is worth nothing that, as Policy 77 states, “University teaching is informed and enriched by the research and scholarship of the professoriate.”
Moreover, the revised policies will need to take account of the varied duties currently assigned to Lecturers, with some having a significant service load and others having assigned scholarship duties. Some teaching stream faculty would also like flexibility in their assigned duties as their departmental contributions, as well as their interests and strengths, change over the course of their careers. In general, teaching-stream faculty deserve clear expectations about all of their assigned duties.
Ending unfair contracts (updated)
FAUW is also concerned about some very specific employment issues that it perceives as unfair. For example, a significant number of current Lecturers are appointed on two-years-minus-one-day contracts and are denied benefits because of the one “missing” day. UPDATE: After discussion at Faculty Relations Committee, Senate has approved a small change to the mandate of the University Appointments Review Committee (UARC) in Policy 76, so that UARC will now no longer be required to consider appointments of exactly two years, removing the primary argument for deans to make two-years-minus-one-day appointments. This is awaiting approval by the Board of Governors on June 1.
We also want to find a resolution to revolving definite-term appointments, where Lecturers may have worked in a department for many, many years, regularly teaching needed courses, and yet having no job security.
Consistency across campus
More generally, we think the current uneven treatment of teaching faculty across campus should be regularized. For example, all teaching faculty members should be able to participate in collegial governance, to apply for grants for which they are eligible, and to have every sixth term as a non-teaching term (with a commensurately lower teaching load) so that they can engage in refreshing their courses, researching in their disciplines, engaging in pedagogical scholarship, or undertaking professional development.
A smooth transition
FAUW representatives on the committee are very aware that some current lecturers may prefer to remain in their current positions rather than transitioning to a new professorial stream. We will thus strive to ensure that transition mechanisms take account of the diverse range of current lecturers and their career aspirations.
FAUW’s representatives on the committee are Su-Yin Tan (chair of our Lecturers Committee and incoming elected board member) and Kate Lawson (a FAUW board member serving on our Executive Committee and the Faculty Relations Committee).
The administration’s representatives are David DeVidi (Associate Vice President, Academic) and Kevin Hare (Associate Dean, Operations and Academics, in the Faculty of Mathematics).
February 2021: Senate approved the committee to redraft Policies 76 and 77, focusing on teaching-stream faculty.
March 2021: The committee started meeting.
April 2021: The Lecturers Town Hall had a full discussion of many items related to the policy drafting process. This webpage was created to share information on the PDC’s work and a blog series on related topics was started.
June 2021: Consultations with lecturers in each faculty.
August 2021: The committee’s deadline to submit a draft to Faculty Relations Committee is August 31.
Fall 2021: Consultation with FAUW members on a draft policy.
You should feel free to pass on your comments on this policy drafting to your representative on the Council of Representatives, to a member of the FAUW board, or to our P76/77 committee representatives using this Policy 76/77 Comments form.
Policy 1 specifies that after the Policy 76/77 Drafting Committee completes its work, the draft policy is sent to the Faculty Relations Committee. Assuming the policy is generally acceptable, both the administration and FAUW “will consult widely in their respective constituencies.” At this point, all FAUW members will be asked to comment on the draft policy and changes may be made as a result.
About lecturers at Waterloo
- 8 myths about UW lecturers
- Service opportunities for lecturers
- Meet the lecturers: Elena Neiterman, Clive Forrester
About policies 76 and 77
- Tenure and promotion: A more equitable approach to lecturer career progression
- Professorial teaching stream:
- Workload: Help Dr. X take their vacation!