Tuesday, November 14, 2017

News From Your Board – November 9 Meeting

Peter Johnson, Faculty of Environment representative to the FAUW board

The FAUW Board got back to business on November 9, after an October filled with special events, including the FAUW 60th anniversary celebration. We had a packed meeting room, evidence of a healthy and energized board, and of the strength of our organization and importance of our mandate.

We started off with a report from our independent auditor on the financial health of the organization. In a year that has seen great change at the administration level of the University, FAUW maintains a strong and prudent fiscal position that is neither overburdensome to our members nor compromising of our ability to protect our members and advance collegial governance on campus. Congratulations to Dan Brown, treasurer, and many treasurers before him for maintaining this balance.

Board members discussed ways to support our colleagues at local colleges while they are striking to reduce reliance on precarious employment and to obtain the academic freedom that many university faculty enjoy. FAUW has made a financial donation on behalf of our members to support those on the picket lines, and we are currently investigating other forms of support.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

FAUW Celebrates Three Campus Champions and Six Decades of Collegial Governance

On October 26, FAUW held a 60th anniversary discussion exploring the unique relationship between faculty and the administration at Waterloo, and presented our first Awards of Appreciation to honour members of the University community who have made real differences in the lives of faculty members.

Panelists Roman Dubinski (FAUW president 1970–71), David DeVidi (FAUW president 2007–09), Lynne Taylor (chief negotiator and board member 2014–16), and Ian Goulden (dean of mathematics 2010–15) described the evolution of faculty representation at Waterloo, from the early relationship characterized by the University's "benign paternalism" (in Dubinski’s words), through three attempts to unionize in the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, to the "honest conversation" of the current arrangement.

Monday, October 23, 2017

How to Get a More Memorable UW Email Address

What is a “friendly” email address?

A so-called “friendly” email address is one that uses your actual name instead of your userID. Like zhang.san@uwaterloo.ca instead of z4san@uwaterloo.ca.*

Why would you want one?

Why wouldn’t you? It’s more professional-looking and easier for people to remember – and it makes it easier for people to be sure they’re emailing the right person!

What if you don’t go by the “first name” on record?

If, for example, your name is Rajwinder but you go by Raj, or your colleagues know you by a nickname or a middle name, you can specify that! See steps 3–5 below to update your “Familiar Name.”

What happens to your userID email address?

It will still work. The friendly email address is an alias, and the two addresses are interchangeable.

How do you get one?

  1. Sign in to WatIAM
  2. Select "Update Profile." 
  3. If you need to update your Familiar Name, enter it here. If not, skip to step 6. 
  4. Select “Save” to save your Familiar Name. 
  5. Select “Update Profile” again. 
  6. Select the “Email Configuration” tab. 
  7. Select the friendly email address option you want to use. 
  8. Click the “Save” button.

Don’t like the options you’re provided?

Make sure you’ve updated your Familiar Name first (steps 3–5 above). IST says: “In exceptional circumstances, if the email choices are not appropriate, please contact helpdesk@uwaterloo.ca to assist with an appropriate address which meets University guidelines.”

More information is available on the IST website, including screenshots.

*This is not a real user ID at Waterloo. We checked.

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