Approved June 11, 2024

1. Purpose

The purpose of the Area Representatives Council (“the Council”) is to exchange information and maintain constructive communication between the UWSA leadership and all University of Waterloo staff.

2. Membership

  1. All UWSA members are eligible to join the Area Representatives Council and may serve members in any area(s) with which they have regular contact and whose interests they are able to bring forward.
  2. An “area” can be a department or unit, a group of small departments/units, or a subset of a department/unit on campus. For the purposes of the Council, staff in an area should have regular contact and shared working conditions. If an appropriate “area” is not represented in the list of areas, members are welcome to propose a custom area. Multiple representatives from the same area are welcome and encouraged to work together.
  3. Representatives typically commit to a term of at least two years. Renewal of membership on the Council will be confirmed every two years in May, but representatives can join or resign at any time of the year.
  4. All UWSA Directors and all members appointed by the UWSA as representatives on University committees will be ex officio members of the Council.
  5. Departing representatives will be asked to complete an exit form and recommend a potential replacement if possible.

3. Meetings

  1. Meetings are held monthly, normally on the second Thursday of each month. Meeting agendas will be shared with Area Representatives approximately one week in advance of each meeting, through Teams.
  2. The Planning Committee may choose not to hold meetings in July and August.
  3. Approximately one meeting each term will be open to all UW staff. The details of open meetings will be sent to all members approximately two weeks in advance.
  4. All meetings will include introductions of new representatives, a report from the UWSA president or their designate, and open discussion among representatives. Meetings may additionally include guest speakers or discussants, and other items from the Planning Committee, Operations Team, Board of Directors, or appointees on UW committees, or proposed by Area Representatives.
  5. Formal minutes are not taken at most meetings, but summaries of the announcements and issues discussed will be shared with Area Representatives in Teams.

4. Responsibilities of Area Representatives

Area Representatives are expected to:

  1. Participate in onboarding, including becoming familiar with the UWSA’s governing documents and structure.
  2. Serve as a first point of contact between colleagues and the UWSA:
    1. Introduce yourself as a UWSA Area Rep to your area.
    2. Encourage colleagues who started before October 2022 to join the UWSA.
    3. Notify the UWSA of new staff in your area as soon as possible.
    4. Refer members to the Members’ Advisory Committee or other resources.
  3. Coordinate communications between, and with, your area and the UWSA:
    1. Share information about the UWSA’s work and events – with all staff, not just members.
    2. Raise awareness of and encourage participation in UWSA nominations and elections.
    3. Participate in periodic poster campaigns within your area, promoting the UWSA, events and initiatives.
    4. Ask staff in your area for input on issues, bring to the Area Rep meetings for discussion.
  4. Participate in and suggest agenda items for Area Representatives discussions in monthly meetings and on Teams, and maintain the confidentiality of such discussions. Representatives who miss four meetings in a row will be contacted by the Planning Committee to discuss their continued membership.

5. Planning committee

  1. A Planning Committee will coordinate Area Representatives meetings and activities. The Committee will consist of a chair, vice-chair, recording secretary, programming coordinator, and outreach coordinator.
  2. Planning Committee members will be selected by the UWSA Appointments Committee for two-year terms. They should not be members of the UWSA Board of Directors or Operations Team. In selecting a Chair, preference will be given to current or past Area Representatives.
  3. The Planning Committee will meet as needed and otherwise conduct its work online.
  4. The Planning Committee will submit a report on the activities of the Committee and the Council for the UWSA Annual Report.
  5. The UWSA Membership and Volunteer Coordinator and Communications Officer will serve in advisory roles.
  6. The duties of Planning Committee members will be as follows:
  1. Chair
    The chair develops meeting agendas in consultation with the Planning Committee, presides over Area Reps meetings, and works with the outreach coordinator to welcome new representatives. The chair also calls meetings of the Planning Committee as needed.

  2. Vice chair
    The vice chair fulfills the duties of the chair in their absence and helps facilitate discussion in the Area Reps Team.
  3. Recording secretary
    The recording secretary takes notes at monthly Area Representatives meetings and planning committee meetings (or arranges for someone else to do so), drafts a summary from those notes, and forwards the draft to the UWSA Operations Team for review and distribution. The recording secretary will track attendance at meetings and notify the Committee when a representative has missed four or more meetings in a row.
  4. Programming coordinator
    The programming coordinator works with the Planning Committee to arrange speakers and guests for Area Reps meetings, and posts upcoming agendas in the Area Reps team. They also gather suggestions and feedback about speaker presentations from reps and attendees.
  5. Outreach coordinator
    The outreach coordinator works with the chair and the membership and volunteer coordinator to welcome new representatives and ensure their smooth onboarding. The outreach coordinator spearheads initiatives to recruit new area representatives as needed, with support from the UWSA Operations Team.

6. Access to UWSA membership list

Area Representatives can receive a list of members in their area(s) upon request and after completing a form detailing confidentiality and prescribed uses of the list. The list is only to be used to aid in fulfilling one’s responsibilities as an Area Representative.

Form: Area Representatives member list request

7. The role of the UWSA Operations Team

The UWSA Operations Team (UWSA employees and presidents) will:

  1. Maintain a list of Area Representatives in the UWSA database and on the UWSA website.
  2. Provide and maintain a Microsoft Teams space for Area Representatives, Operations Team members, and directors.
  3. Maintain Area Representatives records, including past meeting summaries.
  4. Schedule Area Representatives meetings and provide attendance records to the recording secretary.
  5. Promote open meetings to all UWSA members.
  6. Provide lists of members to representatives who submit an Area Representatives member list request.
  7. Provide regular updates on the activities of the UWSA to Area Reps.
  8. Consult with Area Representatives on current issues the Association is addressing, when appropriate and as capacity allows.
  9. Provide training and resources as needs arise and capacity allows.
  10. Support outreach and recruitment of Area Representatives and Planning Committee members.
  11. Provide a chair for Area Reps meetings if the chair and vice-chair are both unavailable.

8. The role of the UWSA Board of Directors

The UWSA Board of Directors has a mandate to “provide a communication link between Board and UWSA's membership” (UWSA governance policy 1–02). Directors will be ex officio members of the Area Representatives Council and invited to attend meetings so that they can use the Area Representatives platform in fulfilling this mandate.

9. Changes to these Terms of Reference

Any amendments to these Terms of Reference for the Area Representatives Council and Planning Committee must be approved by majority vote of both the Planning Committee and the UWSA Operations Team. Consultation with the Council is encouraged.