After multiple failed attemps over many years, the FAUW Board signed onto a new “path forward” with the University administration for finally updating policies 76 (Faculty Appointments) and 77 (Tenure and Promotion of Faculty Members).

Before committing to this path forward, the FAUW Board presented it to the membership at a general meeting and held a vote of lecturers. The path forward was adopted and a new Policy Drafting Committee struck at Senate on October 17, 2022.

Vote results: 64% of lecturers participated in the online poll. Of those lecturers, 89% voted in favour of proceeding with the path forward (57% of all lecturers), 3% voted against, and 8% abstained. With abstentions excluded (as per Roberts Rules), that is a final vote of 97% in favour of proceeding.

Why we need to update these policies

While Waterloo has had lecturers since the 1960s, the number of lecturers has 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 severely disadvantaged when it comes to things like career progression and job security.

For example, Policy 76 (Faculty Appointments) states that the appointment of continuing lectures should be "unusual." This is now very out of date as lecturers make up a significant proportion of the faculty, making vital contributions to the work of the university. Their roles need to be recognised and regularised to avoid unfair treatment, ensure equitable terms and conditions of employment, and to create an appropriate career path. These negotiations will create a parallel hiring and promotion process for teaching-intensive faculty as we currently have for professorial faculty.

The title "lecturer" is obsolescent in the Canadian post-secondary education sector and contributes to lecturers commonly being undervalued and underpaid. The more appropriate job titles are Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, Teaching Stream, and that is one of the issues we are negotiating.

Read more about current lecturer appointments and FAUW's policy objectives here.

The new path forward

After many failed attempts at revising this policy more collaboratively, it’s clear that, for an effective negotiation to work— to achieve the gains that lecturers need—we must commit to a process that includes mediation and arbitration. Advice from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), and an employment lawyer all made clear that mediation without arbitration would not improve the situation over previous attempts.

FRC's proposed path

Faculty Relations Committee has agreed to the following four-step path:

  1. The administration and FAUW will exchange policy drafts at FRC beginning October 20, 2022.
  2. A Policy Drafting Committee (PDC) will be convened for one month, co-chaired by representatives from the administration and FAUW.
  3. If there are outstanding matters that cannot be expeditiously addressed at FRC, an external mediator will assist in reaching an agreement at the PDC.
  4. Any matters still without agreement will be sent to interest arbitration with the mediator.

More information 

While the “steps”—policy drafting committee meetings, mediation, arbitration—are numbered, note that these are not actually separate—or separable—parts of the process. The path forward is all one process that automatically proceeds to each stage, triggered by the failure of the previous stage. We understand that some members would like to have input on whether to proceed between the mediation and arbitration stages, but if we have an option to back out at that point and take what we have so far, so will the University, and there will be no incentive on either side to negotiate earnestly. This path forward only works if we both commit to the whole process now.

Questions you might have