Friday, December 18, 2015

Fall 2015 Electronic Grade Submission Deadline

By: Sally Gunz, FAUW President

This message is especially for those lucky souls whose exams are sometime between now and the end of 22 December. The Registrar's Office has agreed to extend the time for submission of your final grades until 4:30 pm on Monday, 4 January, which is the first day the University is open. You will get official notification likely Monday. We all know there are a number of irritants around the exam processes. The registrar has agreed that we will work on these in the new year. But in the meantime, this short extension is a small gift for those grading away in the salt mines over the holidays. May it all go smoothly and, more importantly, quickly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

CAUT Refugee Foundation: Call for Donations

A Syrian family at Toronto's Pearson International Airport, amid a crowd of media and onlookers.
The first Syrian refugee family arriving in Toronto. Photo by Domnic Santiago / Flickr [CC BY 2.0]
CAUT has issued an urgent appeal for donations to the CAUT Refugee Foundation, which has been reactivated in light of the current Syrian refugee crisis and has requested its member associations to send out its call for funds. The Foundation was initially created in the 1970s to offer support to refugees fleeing Vietnam for Canada. The Canadian government has pledged to match dollar-for-dollar every contribution that individual Canadians make to a registered Canadian charity for Syrian refugees until Dec. 31, 2015.

The Foundation is a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency, allowing it to issue tax receipts. The Executive Committee is encouraging academic staff associations and their members to donate to the Foundation to support refugee relief and resettlement efforts. Funds collected on behalf of the Foundation will be provided to the Canadian Red Cross. The Red Cross and Red Crescent are supplying food, water and first aid to refugees across Southern Europe and the Middle East.

FAUW has pledged $1000 to the Foundation and would like to encourage our members to consider supporting either the CAUT Refugee Foundation as well, or another charitable organization of their own choosing addressing the challenges of this humanitarian disaster. If you would like to back a campus initiative already underway, you might support a project being spearheaded by two people in Arts, Andrea Charette and Lamees Al-Ethari. They have organized a Relief Kit and Blanket Drive through Mennonite Central Committee and are also encouraging monetary donations to Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support.

Cheques can be made to the order of the CAUT Refugee Foundation and sent to:

CAUT Refugee Foundation
2705 Queensview Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K2B 8K2

Read more on the CAUT website.

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

FAUW NEWS UPDATE

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 fauw@uwaterloo.ca.

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.
https://uwaterloo.ca/faculty-association/events/science-democracy-under-threat-what-can-you-do-about-it

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 fauw@uwaterloo.ca. 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. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Board Welcome and Summer Farewell

by: The FAUW Board

The new FAUW Board for the July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016 term has officially started. Please welcome President Sally Gunz, returning members Vivian Choh, Greta Kroeker, David Porreca, Lynne Taylor and Bryan Tolson, and incoming members Shannon Dea, Heidi Engelhardt, Elise Lepage and Paul Wehr. Their diverse backgrounds, strong experience and desire to improve working environments across campus will guarantee positive impacts for the faculty community.

FAUW would also like to acknowledge our current Committee Chairs Heidi Engelhardt (Lecturers' Committee), Kathleen Rybczynski (SWEC) and Christopher Small (AF&T Committee), as well as Steven Bednarski (SJU-ASA), Lori Curtis (Pension & Benefits) and Shannon Gordon (Library).

If you have any questions for the members of our Board, please do not hesitate to contact us. For now, have a happy holiday and safe summer. See you in September!

-
Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo

Monday, June 29, 2015

Did you know...that the activities of academic librarians align closely with academic staff?

Academic Status and Governance for Librarians at Canadian Universities and Colleges, a document of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), emphasizes how similar the terms and conditions of Librarians’ employment are to Faculty. Locally, this is reflected at the University of Waterloo where Academic Librarians contribute directly to the University’s mission “to advance learning and knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship … in an environment of free expression and inquiry”.

For example, Academic Librarians teach information literacy, support academic integrity, manage research collections, serve on professional bodies, sit on University groups, conduct original research, participate on research teams, contribute knowledge to their field, present at conferences, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and instruct within library and information science graduate programs. Given the specialized and scholarly nature of Academic Librarianship, University of Waterloo Librarians have expert knowledge in the areas of pedagogy, metadata, copyright, digital initiatives, geospatial information, and bibliometrics.

The intellectual nature of Academic Librarianship is also reflected in the fact that Waterloo’s 30 Professional Librarians have American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) degrees, which provide the practical and theoretical foundation for their research, teaching, and service activities. Learn more about the activities and accomplishments of University of Waterloo Librarians.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

FAUW Welcomes New Staff Member

Please join FAUW in welcoming Katie Damphouse, our new Academic Freedom and Tenure and Policy Officer. We are delighted that Katie has joined our team and is ready to take on the challenges of her new role. She has been part of the University community for 10 years and brings experience in mediation, coaching and policy development. Her passion for advising others will ensure excellence while assisting faculty with a variety of issues.

Welcome, Katie! 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Changes to the Faculty Professional Expense Reimbursement (Professional Allowance)


Under the terms of the faculty's new salary settlement, as of 1 May 2015, we will be able to carry forward any unspent FPER balances for up to three years, as well as continue to be able to carry forward all excess expenses for up to three years.

However, this change does not apply to the current FPER, due at the end of this month (30 April 2015). The change only comes into effect with the new salary agreement and so only takes effect in the fiscal year of 2015-2016. If it makes sense, you should use up any outstanding balance you have for this year or you will lose it.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Did you know...about UW's large payouts to Administrators?


Western University has taken a lot of flak for trying to provide a large administrative payout to its president (which he has now promised to return). In contrast, the University of Waterloo executed large administrative payouts between 2009 and 2011 that have gone relatively unnoticed. The 2010, 2011 and 2012 Ontario Sunshine lists show that:

In 2009, the vice president, academic & provost was paid:
                              $737,000 from UW (at UW January - June)
                            +$220,000 from Western (July - December)

In 2010, the same person was paid:
                              $500,000 from UW (as “professor, adjunct”)
                            +$440,000 from Western

In 2010, the president & vice chancellor was paid:
                        $1,041,000 from UW (at UW January – October)

In 2011, the same person was paid:
                         $610,000 from UW (as president)

It is noteworthy that the presidency at UW changed in October 2010 and as such the incoming president was also paid $309,000 in 2010 (for 9 months service as provost and 3 months as president) and $486,000 in 2011 as president.

Confused? Consider the faculty/staff salary scale increases in the 2009-2011 period. They are much simpler:

Year
Faculty/Staff Scale Increase
2009
3%
2010
0%
2011
0%

Note that the UW Board of Governors Governance Committee is responsible for reviewing senior UW administrator contracts.

The Faculty Association would like to know:

Does the UW community wish to set parameters/limits/procedures that the Administration and Governance Committee must work within when negotiating and approving contracts? What should these be?

Did you know...

...about UW's large payouts to Administrators?


Western University has taken a lot of flak for trying to provide a large administrative payout to its president (which he has now promised to return). In contrast, the University of Waterloo executed large administrative payouts between 2009 and 2011 that have gone relatively unnoticed. The 2010, 2011 and 2012 Ontario Sunshine lists show that:

In 2009, the vice president, academic & provost was paid:
                              $737,000 from UW (at UW January - June)
                            +$220,000 from Western (July - December)

In 2010, the same person was paid:
                              $500,000 from UW (as “professor, adjunct”)
                            +$440,000 from Western

In 2010, the president & vice chancellor was paid:
                        $1,041,000 from UW (at UW January – October)

In 2011, the same person was paid:
                         $610,000 from UW (as president)

It is noteworthy that the presidency at UW changed in October 2010 and as such the incoming president was also paid $309,000 in 2010 (for 9 months service as provost and 3 months as president) and $486,000 in 2011 as president.

Confused? Consider the faculty/staff salary scale increases in the 2009-2011 period. They are much simpler:

Year
Faculty/Staff Scale Increase
2009
3%
2010
0%
2011
0%

Note that the UW Board of Governors Governance Committee is responsible for reviewing senior UW administrator contracts.

The Faculty Association would like to know:

Does the UW community wish to set parameters/limits/procedures that the Administration and Governance Committee must work within when negotiating and approving contracts? What should these be?

Monday, April 6, 2015

FAUW Scheduling Survey Results

by: Bryan Tolson, FAUW Vice President 

The Provost's Advisory Committee on Timetabling is considering a list of principles that will govern the functioning of the new scheduling system going forward. FAUW recently conducted a survey on timetabling and more than 200 members responded!  Here are the overall results: 

Question 1:
















Question 2:
  • For Q2, we had 57 responses suggesting concerns missing in the principles.


Question 3:
















Note: PACT Principle 2 wording is currently as follows:
"Foster an environment where faculty members can harmonize their teaching, research, service, and non-university activities". 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Did you know...that UW is one of the only non-unionized faculty associations in Canada?

The University of Waterloo is one of the last four major institutions of higher education in the country to maintain a non-unionized proffesorate? The others are McMaster University, the University of Toronto, and McGill University. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Scheduling Systems: Same Old Tune

by: David Porreca, FAUW President

This blog post represents a synthesis of my own experience with scheduling systems over my 22 years of involvement with the University of Waterloo, along with the sharp observations of a more senior colleague. (h/t to BC)

Over my time at Waterloo, I reckon I’ve been through at least three (if not four) changes in timetabling systems, and all have followed a recognizable and consistent pattern in their deployment:

1- Disaster is widely predicted.

2- Disaster does not occur but there are numerous problems.

3- People responsible for the new system deny that any problems are real: they will disappear when the system is fully implemented.

4- Departmental administrators gradually discover the levers that control the system and devise workarounds and local optimizations that mitigate the problems.

5- Four or five years later the system has returned to what it was before the change, in terms of functionality.

6- The Registrar discovers that they still have the same problems they had before the change.

7- Acquiring a new system commences.

The current iteration of the scheduling cycle is sitting somewhere between points 2 and 4, with some units working with the system, and others working the system to their advantage – and it’s unclear whether the latter represents a disadvantage to other units.  Any complex system can be gamed to the advantage of certain participants, but not all such systems are zero-sum games. 

The extent to which the InfoSilem system and its attendant procedures amount to zero-sum is still unclear to me.  The number of potentially competing factors is substantial: does one prioritize student completion times, student conflict-free schedules, room usage, professors’ optimal performance in the classroom, efficiency of the process of timetabling itself, pedagogical considerations for individual courses and for programs, or any number of other factors that one could devise?

The issue is as confounding as it is important to our working lives as faculty members.  According to the scheme outlined above, we still have a couple of years to go before the current system is made to work well.  Will it work well enough to (gasp!) break the cycle?  

To include your input on the issue, take part in the FAUW scheduling survey before Friday, March 13. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

2015 FAUW Board of Directors Elections

by: the FAUW Board

It’s that time of year again. The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo is putting out their 2015 Call for Nominations.

The Faculty Association invites nominations for:
President: term 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016
Director (5): term 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017

Who is eligible?
All faculty members and librarians who have opted to join the Association as official members are eligible. If you are not yet a member and would like to become one, all you have to do is submit a form.

What is the time commitment?
The Board of Directors meets bi-weekly on Thursday afternoons from 2:30-4:30pm, September through June.

Where are nomination forms?
You can download a nomination form by visiting FAUW news or by selecting 2015 Call for Nominations.

When are nomination forms due?
Nomination forms are due Tuesday, March 10, 2014 by 4:30pm and are to be submitted to Erin Windibank, FAUW Executive Manager in MC 4002.

Why participate?
Do you have a voice that wants to be heard? This is your chance. Sit on the Board of Directors and discuss issues you want resolved, be part of the Faculty Relations Committee, and help make your workplace a better community. Service to FAUW is considered service to the University of Waterloo.

Any further questions can be directed to the Faculty Association

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sort of Snow Day

by: The FAUW Board

Deciding whether or not to close UW due to harsh weather conditions is a big decision and is not an easy call to make.  However, leaving UW open when the rest of the region is closed for business (all elementary and post-secondary schools, some businesses) during the obviously terrible conditions last Monday morning (February 2) would suggest the possibility that the bar for closure at UW has risen significantly higher than it has been in the past. 

During the inevitable and hopefully multi-stakeholder discussions on this topic, FAUW hopes to see the following questions/issues addressed:

  1. What decision-making body should be responsible for approving the university’s closing procedures?  According to the UW Weather-Emergency Closing Guidelines, this is Executive Council since they approved the current closing guidelines.  Shouldn’t the guidelines be debated and approved by UW Senate? Senate currently approves the schedule each year including closure of UW over the Christmas holidays.
  2. What precisely are the consequences of closing campus?  Asking faculty, staff and students to bear additional risks by travelling to campus during extraordinary weather conditions implies the additional risks are worth taking to avoid the closure consequences.  Note that UW Weather-Emergency Closing Guidelines indicate there is no requirement to reschedule cancelled classes.
  3. What extra resources and preparations (i.e., dollars), beyond a normal weather day, did UW allocate on the morning of February 2nd to safely prepare to have 20,000+ people come to campus?
  4. Why was the announcement confirming the opening campus delayed until after 7:00 am?  What was known at 7:00 am that was not known at 6:00 am?  Should the decision be made (yea or nay) and announced at 6:00 am when there is a severe storm warning?
  5. Is leaving the decision to reschedule a class in response to a UW closure at the discretion of each course instructor (see link above to guidelines) appropriate?  Why not mandate the first lost teaching day to be made up on the first weekday in the period between the last day of classes and the start of examinations?
  6.  Is it a good or bad thing that UW staying open February 2 made the national and international news and lit up social media (UW was trending 3rd in North America on social media on Monday)?
Addressing the above questions directly, among others, will  better prepare UW to repspond to future inclement weather. 




Leave a comment and let us know what you think along with other stories about February 2nd.