Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Congratulations Ceiling Breakers!

By: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

Congratulations to all of our Ceiling Breakers as presented in the current UW Magazine. You really do make it easier for the rest of us. Most importantly you make all of us look good. We value and appreciate your contributions to our community.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Thomas King Presents the 2015 Hagey Lecture Tomorrow Night

By: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

Please join us for the Hagey Lecture, Tuesday, November 17, 8 pm Federation Hall. The speaker is the outstanding Canadian author, Thomas King. He will present Love in the Time of Cholera: Canadian Edition. Visit the Hagey Lectures website for more information.

 You may pre-register to ensure a seat. The doors will open at 7.30 pm. We look forward to seeing you there and you are welcome to join us for the reception following the lecture.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Council of Representatives

By: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

We had excellent discussions at the Council of Representatives meetings last Friday (November 6). This is a really important way for the FAUW Board to interact with the faculty community. If your department/school does not have a representative yet, please consider volunteering. We intend to make much more use of this group to get effective input, but for this to work we do need coverage from all units.

The easiest way to find out about this is to visit the FAUW Council of Representatives webpage. Please suggest to your chair/director that you are willing and able to fill this role. S/he will no doubt be pleased to be able to tick this box and we will be very pleased to have you join this group.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Student Get Out the Vote Campaign

by: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

Thanks to all faculty who passed on the student messages re: voting for the federal election.

We hear that the voting initiative was very successful. At UW, just under 5,000 students voted during the special ballot days (October 5-8). Across Canada there were more than 70,000.

Given how many students would otherwise have been effectively disenfranchised because they were away from their home riding, this is was an important and successful initiative. We trust this will convince Elections Canada to continue this for future elections.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Claiming Academic Regalia as a Professional Expense

by: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

For many years, you may have been advised that you could not claim the cost of academic regalia on your professional expense allowance. We have good news. As of this claim year (2015-16), you can include this on your claim, assuming that you bought it from this fiscal year on (sorry, nothing retroactive in this position).

Now in reaching this monumental position, the University does want you to understand that if Canada Revenue Agency doesn't agree with the University's position and decides that this is in fact a taxable benefit, you will be on your own for any taxes/interest.

Dare I suggest, if that were to happen, perhaps you could tip the CRA off to all the faculty from all the other universities in Canada who have been able to include these expenses from time immemorial? No, that would be snitching. We don't do that here of course!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


by: Sally Gunz, FAUW President
This is the first of what we hope will be regular summary updates of FAUW activities. It is a little long-winded as we are playing catch up after a summer hiatus from meetings. If you have any questions about any of the following, please contact any of the FAUW Board members or

Important dates/events

Get Science Right - Science & Democracy Under Threat: What You Can Do About It. 

FAUW is collaborating with the Canadian Association of University Teachers, Evidence for Democracy, SJUASA and WLUFA to conduct this important pre-election event. Please join us on 1 October 7:00 pm at the Waterloo Inn, Heritage Room. Attendance is free and you all are welcome.

Hagey Lecture

The speaker will be announced shortly. Please save the evening of November 17th. The location this year is Fed Hall.

Meet Your FAUW Board

We will start up our FAUW monthly gatherings at the Grad House shortly. Please join us on Thursday 15th October, 4.45 pm at the Grad House. Again, you are all welcome.

Updates on recent issues that have attracted FAUW attention:

  1. Senate. The first meeting of this term was the 21st of September. A key thing to watch is one provision in the Terms of Reference for the Mid-Term Break (e.g., winter reading week). Included in the list of “shall not’s” for that week is TA-related work. How will this affect those who have tests just before the break, for example? It seems the consensus was that where students are assisting in grading and want to do this, it will simply be considered an exception. Exceptions are allowed, although this is not included in the list provided of examples in the Terms of Reference. You might want to get better informed about this issue and the roles of graduate students in particular during mid-term breaks. Senators associated with FAUW voted solidly against this provision mainly because it was far from clear what it covered. The majority of Senate supported it and it was therefore approved.
  2. Course Evaluations. The review of online student course evaluation tools continues. The elephant in the room remains issues of bias and how they are addressed in the use of these evaluations. FAUW has concerns. It has asked several colleagues with specific expertise in this field to provide both the Course Evaluation Project Taskforce and FAUW with advice on draft recommendations for the instrument, its application and the use of results.
  3. Lecturers. There are a number of issues concerning the terms and conditions of employment of lecturers arising in part from the Policy 76 review that is underway. FAUW now has a committee focusing specifically on lecturers’ concerns. Watch for a targeted survey that will be conducted in the next few weeks.
  4. Scheduling System. Scheduling remains on the FAUW agenda. Bryan Tolson has taken over from Roydon Fraser as our key person working on this.
  5. Electronic Keys and Parking Fobs. Are you worried about privacy issues arising out of key fobs (parking, locks) and other University activities? This is on both our and the University’s agenda. Until this is studied fully, those of you switching to the new parking fob system for H Lot can be assured that Parking Services has undertaken to retain no data about you or your use of the lot.
  6. ADDS Status. This is now “all done.” Faculty members should be eligible for solo PhD supervision within the first year of being hired into tenure-track positions. If you are experiencing any difficulties, please contact FAUW right away. A separate, more detailed email about this is going out shortly to all Assistant Professors.
  7. Employment and Family Assistance Program. It’s coming! Money has been assigned in the University budget for an external service provider, recognizing that Counselling Services is fully engaged with student demand, and cannot adequately meet the needs of faculty and staff. An EAP program typically covers counselling and related issues. We will be working with others in the University to see that the best plan is selected. Again, we are grateful to several faculty members who have agreed to provide expert advice.
  8. Fall Break. The associate vice-president academic is hoping to bring a proposal for instituting a Fall Break beginning in the fall of 2017 to Senate for discussion and a vote at the October meeting.
  9. Policy Reviews. Due to the excessive workload generated by the Secretariat and Office of General Counsel’s Policy Review initiative, we have agreed collectively that no more major reviews will be initiated until we have this crop done. The major reviews we are currently involved with are Policy 33 (ethical behaviour), 76 (faculty appointments), 14 (pregnancy and parental leaves), and Class A policies (appointment, promotion and removal of administrative officers).
  10. Salary Anomalies Review. This was one important outcome of the recent salary negotiations. The committee is now struck and we look forward to good progress. FAUW reps are Lynne Taylor (Arts), Cecilia Cotton (Math), and Benoit Charbonneau (Math). From the administration, Jean Andrey (Environment), Christianne Lemieux (Math), and Bill Power (Science). 

Ten seems a good number to end on. More to follow in the next update.

We know there is lots more for us to do. For example, you may have concerns about the FAUW website. We’re working on it! We will be revitalizing and revising our Council of Representatives (one person from each department/school) shortly. Whether on the Council or not, if you are keen to volunteer your expertise in any area in which you see we are lacking, please contact us. We are always looking for more help.

Finally, if you are someone who has not yet been able to find a mentor, please contact us at If you are facing confusing practices, rulings, or conundrums, also contact us. FAUW is fortunate to have highly skilled staff and a large number of well-qualified volunteers. Let us know how we can be of assistance. 


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A First Attempt

by: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

Three weeks into our new Board term and we at FAUW are all starting to sort out our new roles. Fortunately there is some breathing space while we orient ourselves. The living might not be exactly ‘easy’ in the summer but at least for those who teach, many committees go into hibernation. Now that August approaches, may grading be swift and holidays start. The good weather awaits.

Welcome to all new faculty who joined UW on July 1. We will meet in early September more formally but good luck with all the initial stages of settling in. Please consider FAUW a good source for information, advice, and general assistance at a time when university processes, etiquette and guidelines may appear to be more than a little bit of a mystery. Call any one of us with your questions.

Also welcome to new Board members Shannon Dea, Heidi Engelhardt, Elise Lepage and Paul Wehr. A very big thanks to our departing Board members Roydon Fraser, George Freeman, Jasmin Habib, and Frank Zorzitto. We are losing an immense amount of experience at FAUW. Turnover is always part of a healthy renewal process in any organization but we will certainly miss our departing colleagues. 

With the vast experience of three weeks in the job of FAUW president, I can make some general and brief observations. FAUW works on a very wide range of issues on behalf of all regular faculty with contracts one year or longer. David Porreca (past-president) handed me a list, many pages long, of tasks. I have been attempting to group tasks into some semblance of an organizational chart that ultimately will be posted on this site. To date we have no less than ten sub-committees, more than 40 representatives to university-wide bodies, and on and on.  The work load is extensive and increasingly we will be turning to faculty outside of the Board structure to work on tasks. The Council of Representatives will be a very important resource.

One glaring deficit at the Board level is voting member representation from Math, AHS, and Environment. This can and should be remedied quickly and one of the important changes to the constitution of FAUW that we shortly will propose is a mandated minimum of one representative from each Faculty. Meantime, once more we will turn to those outside of our Board structure in order to ensure that local issues are fully represented.

Over this next year I propose to write here on different Board functions. FAUW is very mindful that it is a representative body. It does not take positions without solid consultation. The first stage of that is ensuring the community understands issues even exist. In this blog I will discuss important discussions taking place about the role of lecturers at UW.

A number of people have noted recent name-changes to the lecturer position at the University of Toronto. Despite the prominence in the press, this is not a particularly new move and nor is it unique to U of T. Several other universities already have such changes in place. Where do things stand at UW?

Policy 76 defines all faculty appointments and much of the basic language around, in particular, what it means to be a lecturer member at UW. This is complemented by the provisions of the Memorandum of Agreement (for new faculty, this is the basic agreement between FAUW and the University that defines our terms of employment). Currently Policy 76 is one of several major policies under review at the University. A committee was struck some time ago chaired by John Burbidge (Economics) with Kelly Anthony, Shannon Dea, George Freeman, Gerry Schneider, and myself as members. If you are familiar with Policy 76 you will know it covers a broad range of issues only some of which relate to lecturers. Policy review is inevitably a cautious process and for good reason. It is really, really easy to get things wrong.

Those of us on the committee who are also FAUW Board members were very mindful of the need to ensure that we get full input from those most affected by change to the policy. The policy itself will be subject to a university-wide review process when a draft is complete, but it is important to gather input in the earlier stages where alternatives should be considered. In order to ensure that the interests of lecturers are fully represented, recently FAUW established a sub-committee chaired by Heidi Engelhardt. This committee will be active in gathering input from the lecturer community in general and examining options that might find their way into Policy 76. It will make recommendations to the FAUW Board that will, assuming it supports them, in turn be represented in the review process. Inevitably there is a good deal of back and forth to these processes.

In the interim, we urge lecturers in particular to consider issues such as:
  • what should the lecturer career path look like;
  •  if there is the equivalent of tenure (the continuing lecturer position today), how does that come about and what should be the qualifications;
  • should there be a finite contractual period for lecturer positions that are not leading to what is presently labelled the ‘continuing’ lectureship;
  •  what are appropriate names for lecturer positions should they change;
  • should there be a role for research and if so, how might that be defined; should the one term in six as non-teaching continue and, in any event, how should it be interpreted;
  •  is there a role for sabbaticals (not strictly Policy 76 but related possibly to the previous issue);
  • what is the appropriate balance between teaching only (or primarily) and teaching and research positions; etc.

Overall, FAUW sees its responsibility as ensuring that the outcomes of any changes are such that those in teaching positions are treated fairly. This includes taking great care to avoid the potential for ‘work-arounds’ that allow for decent employment practices to be avoided – such as the unfair one year less a day contracts.

We would urge all faculty to pay close attention to these issues and feed comments particularly to the Lecturer Sub-committee. You may find it useful to refer to policies at other universities to see how issues are addressed elsewhere. There is the opportunity now to have strong and well-considered policies that reflect all aspects of the teaching faculty member’s career.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.