FAUW’s fundamental purpose is to promote fairness for and equitable treatment of our members, to defend academic freedom, and to ensure that we all work in an environment that supports excellent research and teaching. It is the collective responsibility of all of us in the Association to fight for fair working conditions and good jobs for all of our members.
Creating better jobs for teaching-intensive faculty will benefit everyone at Waterloo. We want to see the University do better at valuing and recognizing the teaching that we all do, and creating high quality teaching appointments is part of that shift. An updated teaching-stream policy is also required for Waterloo to stay competitive among its peer institutions—many of which have had teaching-intensive professorial appointments for years. Teaching-stream appointments that include time and recognition for professional and pedagogical development (PPD) and rigorous processes that mirror existing tenure & promotion procedures will ensure that our teaching-stream faculty provide the best and most effective teaching possible and drive pedagogical and curricular innovation.
How to participate
December 23: Joint memo from the Provost and FAUW President
November 15: Joint memo from the Provost and FAUW President
Who UW's teaching faculty are and what they do
Teaching-focused 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 to the University's work, 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.
What we're hoping to change
Here are some of the things that we have 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. These are based on conversations with members, recommendations from our Lecturers Committee, and research into similar roles at other Canadian universities.
Professorial teaching stream appointments, with tenure
We are advocating for 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.
Time and support for pedagogical and professional development
Teaching-stream professors will need time to do the work required to progress through professorial ranks. We are asking for all Lecturers teaching a full load to have at least one term in six dedicated to refreshing courses, disciplinary research, pedagogical scholarship, and professional development. This pedagogical and professional development (PPD) term cannot be achieved at the cost of overload teaching in other terms, which would undermine the purpose of the PPD term. Read our rationale for such a term and analysis of how much it would cost the University on our blog. Other supports include the ability to apply for grants.
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
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.
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).
A smooth transition
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.
Policy development timeline
- 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.
- July 2021: Consultations with lecturers in each faculty.
- August 2021: The committee’s deadline to submit a draft to Faculty Relations Committee was August 31. The committee submitted some recommendations but no substantial revisions to the policies.
- November 2021: Faculty Relations Committee reached agreement on general terms for teaching-stream faculty
- December 2021: FRC is working on outlining the details of the policy changes requried.
Further reading: related blog posts
About lecturers at Waterloo
- 8 myths about UW lecturers
- Service opportunities for lecturers
- Meet the lecturers: Interviews about what it's like to be a lecturer at Waterloo
About policies 76 and 77
- Tenure and promotion: A more equitable approach to lecturer career progression
- Professorial teaching stream: