Tuesday, October 10, 2017

8 Lessons from our ‘Making the Most of your Mid-career Years’ workshop

Here are some of the key lessons shared by experienced faculty members at our recent workshop for newly tenured/continuing faculty. Workshop slides, notes, and background reading are available on our website.
  1. The post-tenure slump is real. You need to plan how you’ll avoid it. Set goals; have a vision of what you want your career to look like in the end, and do things that move you toward that.
  2. Service work is not the dark side. Participating in collegial governance is “superb but challenging,” and it can be extremely rewarding to make a difference in your colleagues’ work lives. It’s also necessary: If we want the University to continue being run by academics (versus giving control over to administrators), we all need to take a turn. 
  3. You can still learn new things about teaching. Don’t be afraid of new technologies. 
  4. A scholarship slump is common. Imposter syndrome often kicks in hard now. Do what you can to stay active in scholarship in any way. Do something small. Learn new methodologies that allow you to start a project you’re excited about. Make use of the resources available (talk to the Office of Research!) to figure out how to keep doing research, whatever your specific situation. 
  5. Take chances and try new things. Lecturers, remember that you’ve gotten to this point because your chair/director has confidence in you. Don’t worry about the new things you’re trying until your chair/director complains. 
  6. Lecturers: Ask for the things you need. Chairs and directors are still getting used to the different needs of lecturers. If you have a project you want to do, figure out how to make it count as a teaching task. Explain how it adds value and renews your skills. 
  7. Be a complete colleague. Contribute and participate in all areas of your professional life.
  8. If things don’t go well, get help from FAUW

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

News From Your Board – September 28 Meeting

Sally Gunz, past president

Peter Johnson and I agreed to take turns writing recaps of FAUW board meetings. We’ll focus on the main items and try to avoid the chit-chat that make all board meetings memorable events. For a fee, we will provide the chit-chat separately!

One of the lingering issues from the recent Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) revisions is that of histograms (13.5.11). This has proven to be technically challenging and a sub-group of the Faculty Relations Committee has been working on revisions for some time. The sub-group continues to work on this and will be providing recommendations soon.

FAUW senators summarized the debate on the CEPT report at Senate. A motion will be moved at the next senate meeting to create a new working group that will develop appropriate methodology to assess teaching per se (and not student perceptions of teaching, which is the focus of the current evaluations). You can read more about this motion on the FAUW website.

Bryan Tolson brought the board up to speed on recent changes to the Office of General Counsel and there was general agreement that these were positive for our membership. We also conducted a sound debrief of our new faculty events.

We discussed the impact of Unit4 on research accounts and the difficulty in gathering information. Peter Johnson indicated that as a stopgap measure, IST developed a tool to query and export salary reports from Unit4. This tool is generally easy to use and would be a significant advantage if it were extended to all areas of research grant reporting. Ultimately, while Unit4 may meet the needs of Finance as-is, it does not meet the needs of admin or faculty. This alternate tool developed in-house and ably supported by IST has the ability to do so. Discussions at UCIST (University Committee on Information Systems and Technology) to this effect will continue.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Live-tweet thread from the Senate discussion on CEPT

The Course Evaluation Project Team (CEPT) report was discussed (and, ultimately, endorsed) at Senate on September 18, 2017.

FAUW Board member and University of Waterloo senator Shannon Dea live-tweeted the discussion, and we've compiled her tweets here, with a bit of editing for readability.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

News From Your Board – September 14 Meeting

Welcome to a new series of FAUW blogs, "News From Your Board". To increase the transparency of board activities and keep members up-to-date, we’ll be sharing some of the non-confidential discussion from our biweekly Board meetings.

The first highlight from the September 14 meeting was welcoming Bryan Tolson to his first board meeting as President. Bryan began with the always-aspirational goal to end the meeting on time!

We revisited ideas and plans for the year from our day-long retreat at the start of September:
  • better defining our membership
  • further communications improvements (like this series)
  • continued aspirations for a more robust teaching evaluation system to complement student surveys
  • how we can contribute to Indigenization efforts across campus
A regular part of each Board meeting is reports from FAUW committees and constituent positions, including updates from the Faculty Relations Committee (FRC). FRC is the main venue through which FAUW and the administration work together on collegial governance of the University. We also hear from representatives of the Lecturers, Academic Freedom & Tenure (AF&T), Status of Women & Equity, and Pension and Benefits committees.

The last agenda item was the slate of upcoming FAUW events. Our packed Fall schedule includes the New Faculty & Family Welcome Dinner on September 22, a workshop for mid-career faculty on September 29, FAUW’s 60th anniversary party on October 26, a Council of Representatives meeting on November 14, and the Fall General Meeting on December 6.

And with that, Bryan managed to squeeze one of the most ambitious September agendas in recent FAUW memory into the actual scheduled time! Congrats Bryan! Looking forward to the next meeting in two weeks!

- Peter Johnson, communications lead, FAUW Board of Directors

Friday, September 15, 2017

Welcome back message from the FAUW president

Bryan Tolson, FAUW president

Greetings members of FAUW!

I trust your fall term is moving forward smoothly. I’m excited about my new role as your FAUW president, and I thank our new past president Sally Gunz for helping make the abrupt September 1 transition from my sabbatical to this role go as well as possible. I’d also like to thank her on behalf of all members for her incredible dedication over the past two years as FAUW president.

One of my first tasks as president was to participate in a very nice new faculty welcome event. I tried to impart some wise suggestions on our eager new colleagues. But since welcoming new faculty properly is really a continual process, I ask all of you who are not new faculty to reach out to new colleagues in your department/school: Drop by their office or take them for a coffee and ask them what they need help or advice on.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Join OCUFA at the $15 & Fairness Campus Assembly on September 15 and 16

Reposted from OCUFA, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, of which FAUW is a member.




OCUFA is part of the Fight for $15 & Fairness, a broad group that is advocating for better labour laws and a $15 minimum wage across Ontario. On September 15 and 16, the first ever $15 & Fairness Provincial Campus Assembly will take place at the University of Toronto. Faculty from universities across the province are invited to attend, and you can register here.

The assembly comes at a crucial time because Bill 148 will be considered in the legislature this fall. There will be discussions and workshops about how to win the strongest possible labour legislation, as well as how to advance the $15 and Fairness agenda on campus through collective bargaining and by uniting students, staff, and faculty. Achieving fairness for contract faculty will be a key focus throughout the agenda.

We hope you can join us! Register today. If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact Brynne at bsinclair-waters@ocufa.on.ca or 647.226.7184.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

President's Report

Sally Gunz, FAUW President

This is my last report as president of FAUW. Tomorrow, Bryan Tolson will return from his sabbatical and assume his rightful position in my stead. Bryan is an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has represented FAUW in many roles, and for the past two years has been its vice president. The membership made a fine selection. Bryan cares deeply for FAUW and its members, and I have no doubt he will bring a whole new level of positive energy to this position.

How do I feel at this stage? Of course there is inevitably a real sense of relief. This is, to all intents and purposes, a full-time job that brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to make decisions, offer opinions, and take initiatives that are in the best interests of the membership. Fortunately, the FAUW board of directors comprises a strong set of people with a vast array of experience, and we have many people on campus whose past experience with FAUW can be very useful. Issues are seldom new, even if they are new to me. Thoughtful people have always been there to offer advice and support and I thank them.

Further, FAUW has recently built up a team of permanent staff members who are highly skilled, tactful and always generous with their time. Volunteers will come and go with FAUW but our staff provide our memory and our continuity. We are most fortunate that all three of our staff are not only excellent at what they do, but are genuinely decent and caring people. Those of you who come by our offices in MC will know the value of the warmth and friendliness with which we are always greeted.

My goal coming into this position was to ensure that I left it with a strong organizational structure, sound staffing, a talented successor, and a strong board and, while any achievements are hardly my doing alone, I can say that as a group we have met all these expectations. FAUW is in very good hands. Here are some further observations, particularly relating to the months since I last reported.