Monday, January 16, 2017

Response to CEPT Draft Report from Psychology Faculty Members

The Course Evaluation Project Team (CEPT) was formed in May 2014 to “explore the potential for a new course evaluation model that is informed by best practices and meets the needs of students, faculty, staff and administrators.”

The team released a draft report on November 8, 2016, including a proposed course evaluation tool, and requested feedback from the University community. Members of the Department of Psychology have asked us to share their detailed response to the report here.

The Status of Women & Equity Committee's response is available on the FAUW website, and the FAUW Board's response is forthcoming.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

“Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education” MOOC

More than 30 faculty members at Waterloo have already registered to attend UBC’s MOOC [Massive Open Online Course] on “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education”.

This MOOC runs for six weeks between January 24 and March 7. One can audit it for free, or take it for a certificate ($50 USD). Registration is open until January 24.

A group of UW instructors (supported by the Centre for Teaching Excellence) have decided to take the course and to meet a couple of times to discuss ways to apply what they are learning at Waterloo. There is still time to join this group if you are interested in learning more about reconciliation, and in thinking about what UW can do to support reconciliation. If you would like to join the UW cohort, please email Trevor Holmes (tholmes@uwaterloo.ca) to have your name added to the mailing list.

Attending this course is a first but significant step to following the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in its “Calls to Action” (#53, 62, 65). Indigenizing postsecondary education is also a burning topic that was extensively discussed at CAUT’s new activists workshop in November.

More about the course

Week 1: Indigenous Education Through the Lens of Reconciliation
Week 2: History of Indigenous Education
Week 3: Learning from Indigenous Worldviews
Week 4: Learning from Story
Week 5: Learning from the Land
Week 6: Engaging in Respectful Relations

The learning objectives of this course are to:
  • Explore personal and professional histories and assumptions in relationship to Indigenous peoples histories and worldviews.
  • Deepen understanding and knowledge of colonial histories and current realities of Indigenous people.
  • Engage with Indigenous worldviews and perspectives that contextualize and support your understanding of the theories and practices of Indigenous education.
  • Develop strategies that contribute to the enhancement of Indigenous-settler relations in schools, organizations, and communities.
  • Explore Indigenous worldviews and learning approaches for their application to the classroom or community learning setting.
  • Engage in personal and professional discussions in an online environment with others committed to understanding and advancing reconciliation.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Writing Support Programs for Faculty

– Nadine Fladd, University of Waterloo Writing Centre

Faculty often recommend that their undergraduate and graduate students visit the Writing Centre for individual consultations or attend our workshops, but all writers – including professors – can benefit from working with someone who will listen as they talk through their ideas, read rough work, and ask questions to clarify the ideas they want to express.

Nadine Fladd's headshot
Nadine Fladd
As the Writing Centre’s new Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist with a focus on Graduate, Postdoctoral and Faculty Support, I can support your writing goals as a faculty member – whether you’re working on a book, journal article, grant proposal, or any other project – through 50-minute consultations. These consultations are open to faculty at any stage of the writing process. I can help you work towards your writing goals by providing a sounding board as you plan and outline, helping you experience your drafts the way a reader might, facilitating goal-setting and offering coaching, and consulting on the structure, organization, or mechanics of a draft.

Weekly Writing Café

Have you set big publication goals for yourself for 2017? If so, a regular writing practice can help with productivity and motivation. Based on the success of the Writing Centre’s programming for graduate students, including Dissertation Boot Camp and the weekly Grad Writing Café, the Writing Centre will be hosting a Weekly Writing Café for faculty beginning January 11, 2017. Every Wednesday afternoon we will offer a dedicated writing space (with coffee, tea, and treats!) for faculty to write together. These loosely-structured sessions are designed to help faculty connect to a larger writing community, to stay focused, and to keep making writing progress.

Clare Bermingham, Writing Centre director, serves coffee and Timbits at a writing session for graduate students.
Clare Bermingham, Writing Centre director, serves coffee and Timbits at a writing session for graduate students.

We break these weekly, two-hour meetings into 25-minute writing sprints divided by 5-minute breaks, following the pomodoro technique (PDF). After the writing session, you are welcome to stay to discuss writing goals, challenges and strategies with your colleagues.

Faculty Writing Café: Wednesdays from 2pm to 4pm in SCH 228F
Faculty Writing Discussion: Wednesdays from 4pm to 4:30pm in SCH 228F

How to participate

Please email Nadine Fladd to set up an individual meeting to discuss your project.

There’s no need to register if you’d like to join our weekly Faculty Writing Café. Just show up with your laptop and ready to write!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Lessons from the CAUT New Activists Workshop

Elise Lepage, FAUW Board member
On November 24, I attended the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ New Activists Workshop in Ottawa on behalf of FAUW. This was the second edition of this day-long workshop and it was well attended by more than 40 colleagues representing universities from coast to coast. I found it both well- thought-out and structured, and yet just open enough for effective and meaningful discussions to happen.
The workshop started with an open discussion to identify the challenges faced by post-secondary education. The list was long and it appears that despite the major differences in terms of size, location, and mission of each university, all of us share very similar concerns.
We summed this list of concerns up in four keywords: austerity, solidarity, equity, and (lack of) collegial governance. Groups were formed around these major topics to further the discussion, and offer some strategies.
Another keyword that came up in all the discussions was indigenization, and it appears that Canadian universities are at very different stages in this process. Good practices have to be shared. CAUT offered its support in facilitating this academic culture shift.
[Editor’s note: University Affairs has a good overview of indigenization efforts across Canada (and criticisms of such), and the University of Regina offers 100 ways to Indigenize and decolonize academic programs and courses (PDF).]
There were also hands-on sessions in which we developed communication and organizational skills such as writing a grievance or a press release, or producing awareness-raising materials such as posters and videos.

Overall, it was a very useful and informative workshop, and I am looking forward to sharing and applying some of these ideas and skills in my work with FAUW.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Hagey Lecture Perspective: 2003

The Hagey lectures are the University of Waterloo's premier invitational public lecture series. Since 1970, outstanding individuals, who have distinguished themselves internationally in some area of scholarly or creative endeavour have given talks intended to challenge, stimulate and enrich not only the faculty, staff and students of the University of Waterloo, but all members of this community.

These annual lectures are co-sponsored by the Faculty Association and the university.

This is the third post in a series on past Hagey Lectures from a few years ago – we just found the unpublished draft and thought we'd share it with you. Stay tuned for an announcement soon about the next lecture, coming up in March 2017.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lecturers Survey Report Released

FAUW’s Lecturers Committee has just released its final report on the results of last year’s survey of all lecturers at Waterloo.

The Lecturers Committee advises the FAUW Board on the development and revision of University policies pertaining to Lecturers. In November 2015, the committee sent a survey to the 180 lecturers of UW to capture the diversity of their working conditions. The response rate was impressively high (83%), and the respondents also shared copious comments which are extremely valuable to this portrait of lecturers across campus.

The survey results cover five main topics:
  1. Questions about terms of appointment gathered data on length of employment at Waterloo; the ratio of research, teaching, and service; and the possibility of promotion.
  2. Comparing teaching loads can prove to be challenging given the diversity of disciplines taught at Waterloo. The report highlights that lecturers are being tasked with a wide range of teaching loads.
  3. 70% of lecturers teach in all three terms. Lecturers are entitled to take one out of every six terms as a non-teaching term, yet only one-third of lecturers have ever had a non-teaching term. As for the others, it seems that the possibility, the conditions, and the perception of requesting a non-teaching term are not clear.
  4. There is also a lack of clarity around what is expected of lecturers in terms of service roles. The survey demonstrates great involvement of lecturers in their units, but uncertainty about their eligibility for a number of roles.
  5. The suggested options for new titles to replace the terms “Lecturer” and “Continuing Lecturer.” The preferred set of titles was Assistant Professor / Associate Professor / Professor, Teaching Stream.
The Committee shared some highlights of this report at FAUW’s Fall General Meeting in 2015. This final report synthesizes additional comments from the respondents in these five areas, and also on topics not covered in the survey, such as short-term and “less-a-day” contracts, respect for lecturers among other faculty, and compensation.

The full report is available on the FAUW website.

FAUW is very grateful to the Lecturers Committee for this insightful report.

Friday, November 4, 2016

President's Report to Members

Sally Gunz, FAUW President

This is one of my semi-regular updates on what is happening with FAUW. It is timely as we have recently received the results of the vote on the proposed changes to the performance evaluation provisions (now approved by the Board of Governors) of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) and can now move forward to other topics. Thanks very much for your participation in this exercise.

Memorandum of Agreement

The MoA remains one of the primary focuses of our activities as it clearly has a number of flaws that affect the terms and conditions of employment. The Faculty Relations Committee (FRC) has agreed to consider major issues brought forward by FAUW one at a time. It is a lengthy process with many eyes on drafting because it is simply too easy to make mistakes. After agreement is reached at FRC, the next step is for members to vote and then changes are presented to the Board of Governors. We expect another round of changes to come before the membership in the late winter 2017 and will keep you updated at the general meeting in December.