Monday, March 20, 2017

Unveiling AccessAbility Services

—Jennifer Gillies, PhD | Manger, AccessAbility Services


AccessAbility Services (ASS) can be a bit of a mystery. The purpose of this post is to help break down the wall between AAS and rest of the campus and shed light on its purpose, function, and benefits.

Why does AccessAbility Services exist?

Offices that support academic accommodations for students with disabilities are present in every postsecondary institution in Ontario. The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development provides financial support and oversight of these offices. At the University of Waterloo, AccessAbility Services fulfills its mandate by collaborating with the university community to support equitable access to post-secondary education by designing academic accommodation plans and facilitating the implementation of accommodations.

The office is accountable to the Ministry concerning documentation requirements and service offerings, but it is also accountable to the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), and the integrity and academic standards of the University.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission states that postsecondary instructors have a duty to accommodate students with disabilities. However, students’ medical information is private and needs to be reviewed and stored appropriately. Our office acts as a bridge: We receive and hold the sensitive medical documentation, and relay to you the ways you can fulfill your duty to accommodate. Essentially, our office is a faculty resource. We help you understand your duty to accommodate.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Call for Nominations for FAUW Board of Directors

The Faculty Association invites nominations for directors of the board – four at-large and one representing lecturers – for the term July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019.

Eligibility

Only members as set out in the Faculty Association Constitution are eligible for nomination. Participating members are those regular and non-regular faculty and professional librarians who have opted in to FAUW membership. Learn more about becoming a member of FAUW.

Eligibility for directors-at-large
All members, including lecturers, are eligible to run and vote on these positions.

Eligibility for director representing lecturers
Only members holding lecturer appointments are eligible to run and vote on this position.

Hint: Check the Call for Nominations announcement in your email if you need a reminder as to whether you've opted in or not. If you can't locate the email, or you think it's wrong, please contact Laura McDonald.
The Faculty Association is strongly committed to representing the interests and concerns of its diverse constituency and membership. We especially welcome those who would contribute to the diversification of the association’s leadership.

How to submit a nomination

  1. Download a nomination form (PDF)
  2. Collect the required three signatures from members of FAUW. 
  3. Drop off or mail your complete form to the Faculty Association office (MC 4001) no later than 4:30 p.m. on Monday, March 13, 2017. 

The role of the Board of Directors

The Board considers all matters concerning faculty relations with the University administration, University governance as it affects the association membership, and the Memorandum of Agreement. It also advises association representatives serving on the Faculty Relations Committee, where a wide range of issues related to employment and policy are considered. The Board normally meets biweekly on Thursday afternoons from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., September through June.

Service to the association is considered service to the University for the purposes of annual performance reviews, tenure, and promotion.

More information

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Twitter Day of Action to Support Fairness for Contract Faculty

Friday March 3 is a Twitter Day of Action to Support Fairness for Contract Faculty organized by OCUFA (Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations). Please consider using the hashtags #OurUniversity or #OurCollege, and #Fairness4CF on that day to raise awareness concerning the need for fairness for contract faculty.

You can visit the OCUFA website for more information and ways to promote this social media action. It is organized to build on the momentum created during last fall’s Fair Employment Week.

All faculty members at Ontario universities and concerned citizens are invited to participate. Please share widely!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Know Your Rights: Disability Accommodations for Waterloo Faculty

This month, FAUW's Status of Women and Equity Committee hosted Margaret Price, an award-winning scholar of disability, to present findings from an international study examining the experiences of disabled faculty members. Professor Price will continue in an official role as a consultant to FAUW as we navigate accommodation processes at Waterloo. Unlike the clear and consistent accommodations process in place for students, faculty navigate a much more difficult terrain.

Here’s what we know

Ontario Human Rights Commission

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) states that:
Costs of accommodation must be distributed as widely as possible within the organization responsible for accommodation so that no single department, employee, customer or subsidiary is burdened with the cost of an accommodation. The appropriate basis for evaluating the cost is based on the budget of the organization as a whole, not the branch or unit in which the person with a disability works or to which the person has made an application.[1]
Employees should be aware that necessary accommodations are not subject to budget limitations at the departmental or unit level. The University of Waterloo can and frequently does take financial responsibility for accommodation provisions at both the faculty and the central administrative levels.

Moreover, administration of accommodations must be central, and disclosure limited to protect the privacy and dignity of the individual.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Report from December 2016 Lecturers’ Town Hall Meetings

FAUW created a Lecturers Committee in spring 2015. Discussions about a review of Policy 76, which deals with appointment categories and promotion, highlighted the need for FAUW to better understand the unique needs of lecturers. Going forward, this committee will continue to advise the FAUW Board on matters pertaining to all aspects of the working lives of lecturers.

The Lecturers Committee hosted town hall meetings in December 2016. The committee provided context on the relationship of the Lecturers Committee to the FAUW Board, the issues raised via a 2014 meeting of lecturers and 2015 Lecturers Survey, and the current activities of the committee. The floor was then opened for discussion. Some of the highlights were:
  • Career path: The process for promotion to Continuing status is poorly defined and inconsistent across units. There is a need to clearly define ranks and the expectations for progression, and communicate this to all levels of administration.
  • Professional development: Both an expectation for lecturers to remain current in their field and provision for time to do this (‘one non-teaching term in six’) are enshrined in Policy 76. However, inconsistencies across and within units on how and whether this clause is applied are widespread.
  • Workload: Assignment of weightings for teaching tasks is inconsistent across units. Particularly with online teaching, values assigned to the development and delivery of online courses varies both across and within units. 
  • Service roles: Wording in policy surrounding lecturer eligibility for service tasks is ambiguous. Both lecturers and administrators are often uncertain if lecturers are eligible to serve in certain roles. 
  • Annual performance reviews: The process and the associated document template is designed for research faculty and therefore inappropriate for lecturers. 
  • Terminal degree: Similar to tenure-track positions, a PhD may not be the appropriate qualification for teaching-stream faculty in some disciplines (Pharmacy, Optometry, Accounting, Architecture, math, languages). This should be considered when revising policies governing the appointment and career progression of lecturers.”
A full report of the town hall meetings is available on the FAUW website, along with the slides used at these sessions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

President's Report to Members

Sally Gunz, FAUW President
As I write this, those of you who are teaching this term will be enjoying the winter term break. I wish you well. May you have a good holiday, catch up, or achieve whatever goals you set yourself for the week. I last wrote in November so it is time for a short update on matters relating to FAUW.

New president

First, and most importantly, congratulations to Bryan Tolson for his election as the incoming president of FAUW. I suspect every former FAUW president shares my sentiments; it is a real pleasure to know that there are always members of our academy willing to take over leadership roles on FAUW. Bryan is particularly dedicated to FAUW and its members and will make an excellent president. He is formally on sabbatical from March 1 until August 31st so I will continue on as acting president through July and August, with Bryan beginning his term in September.

Elections for members-at-large of the board

Elections for four (4) member-at-large positions and one (1) lecturer position on the FAUW board will be held ahead of the April general meeting. I encourage anyone interested in running for such a position to discuss what it entails with any current or former board member. Nomination forms will be available on the FAUW website from March 1 with a closing date for nominations of March 13. The election itself (an online ballot) will be conducted March 21 through April 3.

Hagey Lecture

The Hagey Lecture is the premier event in the university speaker calendar. Typically it is held in the fall but this year it was shifted to March 2017 in order to accommodate the speaker’s schedule. The committee (chaired by Jasmin Habib) has selected an outstanding speaker. Dr. Carol Barnes (University of Arizona) will discuss how memory and the brain change during aging, highlighting some of the current thinking about how to optimize brain and mental functions throughout life. Please join us at the Humanities Theatre (HH) on 22nd March. Visit the event page to secure your free ticket.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Federation of Students: Get Out the Vote!

From the Federation of Students 

Elections for student representatives in University of Waterloo’s student-led government are currently underway. The Federation of Students – the undergraduate student union since 1967 – would like to ask for your support in encouraging undergraduate students to vote.

In recent years, only a small portion of the entire undergraduate student population has come out to vote. According to Feds Research and Policy Officer Aaron Francis, Waterloo’s voter turnout has rarely been over 10 per cent in the last five years. Feds needs your help to spread the word about elections and help increase voter turnout.

Why is voting important?

Feds lobbies the government on behalf of undergraduate students; operates seven commercial services; oversees six student-run services; encompasses more than 200 clubs; and supports student societies – in addition to running day-to-day operations and special events.
Voting information

Information on elections, including candidate bios and platforms can be found at: feds.ca/elections
Voting opens February 13 at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. on February 15. Students can vote at polling stations, online at vote.feds.ca, and through UW Portal.

Engaging students

Here’s how you can encourage student engagement:
  • Talk to your students at the beginning of class; announce when voting opens (Feb. 13) and give a reminder on the day voting closes (Feb. 15)
  • Add an elections slide to your class PowerPoint presentation
  • Put up election posters or share online 
  • Follow Federation of Students on Facebook and/or Twitter and share our posts about the election on your faculty social media account
  • Use #uwvotes to join the conversation online 
  • Share our elections information video on Facebook
The Federation of Students thanks you for your support in encouraging an engaged and informed undergraduate student body at University of Waterloo!