Monday, April 15, 2013

FAUW News Flashes

David Porreca, FAUW President

Today’s blog post aims to bring our readership up to speed on a number of different issues that FAUW is working on at the moment.

FAUW elections

All of the open positions on the FAUW Board of Directors have been filled by acclamation this year.  I am very pleased to welcome the following new faces for the 2013-14 academic year: Vivian Choh (Optometry and Vision Science), Jasmin Habib (Political Science) and Bryan Tolson (Civil Engineering). We also have an experienced hand with Frank Zorzitto (Pure Mathematics) returning to the Board, and I will be continuing as President.

MoA changes

Expect an electronic vote imminently on two separate questions, both of critical importance:
  1. Adding a modification clause to our MoA, which had been absent before; and 
  2. Re-configuring Article 14 on Research Integrity in order to abide by the Framework established by the Tri-Agencies and imposed upon all institutions receiving Tri-Council monies.
In principle, UW has until the end of the month to sort out the latter.  We are still collaborating with the Secretariat to establish mutually agreeable wording before presenting the final draft to a membership vote.

Scheduling

Discussions are ongoing with the Registrar’s Office to improve communications and procedures surrounding the testing of the new scheduling software.  FAUW has been informed that a communications professional has been hired by the Registrar’s Office in an attempt to remedy a long-recognized problem.  We wait to see whether this welcome development will make a positive difference.  FAUW is well aware that this issue rankles faculty members like few others can, so we are keeping a sharp eye on it.

Daycare

Construction is underway on Columbia just north and east of the optometry building.  Since we have a significant financial stake in the operation, FAUW is helping Bright Starts Inc. (the amalgamated daycare operator) negotiate a lease agreement with UW.  Discussions are ongoing – this very morning, in fact. Stay tuned.

Access Copyright

Access Copyright has decided to press a lawsuit against York University for copyright infringement.  This will be a test case for the viability of that enterprise’s approach to academic users of copyrighted materials.  CAUT is paying very close attention to this issue, as is FAUW.

Fallout from our Spring General Meeting

The following items were raised at FAUW’s Spring General Meeting that we plan to tackle over the next weeks and months, in addition to all of the rest of what we are pursuing:
  • We need user-friendly software that allows faculty members to track their research funds in real time.
  • We need to push for the modification of the provisions for choosing membership on university-level committees such that regular faculty members are not placed in a position to run for election against their own Dean.
  • UW needs covered, secure, well-lit bike parking, and/or the ability to park one’s bike in one’s office, while acknowledging that the latter doesn’t work for students.
  • The net effect of full-cost programs has been exactly what FAUW feared it would be: the diversion of the teaching efforts of the full-time professorate to those programs, while leaving our regular students to be taught by sessionals and TAs, thereby de facto relegating them to a second-class student status.  This is a serious problem that will need careful attention, since it arises at the intersection of pedagogy and university finances.
Do you know of anything we need to add to this list? Please leave a comment below!

Work-Life Balance Report

FAUW has been asked to provide a prioritized list from the recommendations contained in the Work-Life Balance Report (full text available in the Senate materials from March) that UW is to tackle first for implementation.  If any of you have strong feelings on this question, please do not hesitate to provide a comment below, or contact the FAUW President.

In conclusion

There are a number of other issues we are dealing with at the moment where discussion is ongoing but there isn’t any concrete progress to report in this forum.  These include:
  • Our concerns over ADDS status.
  • Finding alternatives to the Registrar’s Office restricting student access to LEARN when their fees aren’t arranged on time.
  • Information collection from Short-Term and Long-Term Disability claims.
  • Parental leave salary top-up for families with both parents being university employees.
  • Compassionate care and bereavement leave.
  • Ongoing concerns over scheduling.
All this to say that there’s a lot going on behind the scenes for FAUW on behalf of our membership, and we’re far from idle!

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