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