Mar 132019

The 2007-2009 Collective Agreement included a new clause on Guidelines for Assignment of Duties (Article 11.5) that defined a process by which academic units discuss in committee and ratify their own workload guidelines.

This article makes it possible for employees to define appropriate workloads that take into account the full range of duties in their unit, in order to ensure both transparency and fairness in assignment of duties.

Decreases in core funding from the province are filtering down to the unit level, and employees are bearing the brunt of this. The Employer has unilaterally increased workloads in various units. While in some cases units have agreed to these increased workloads, at least one with well-developed guidelines was recently informed that teaching loads would significantly increase above what is in their guidelines. Many members across campus have come to the Association to understand how they can respond to such increases.

We are advising all units without Guidelines to write them, and all other units to revisit them, keeping in mind the following:

Your Guidelines for the Assignment of Duties should reflect the amount of work that is reasonable and consider all types of teaching, research, administrative service and, where appropriate, clinical service.

  1. Guidelines should avoid being overly prescriptive concerning future research, although it is not uncommon for them to address teaching releases for research.
  2. Where appropriate, the Guidelines will need to be modified to carefully incorporate new categories for Instructors and Lecturers. While the guidelines for Instructors and Lecturers will typically have more expectations for teaching, they must still be fair in comparison to other members in the Unit. Therefore, guidelines for Instructors and Lecturers will vary depending on the teaching culture in your unit, class sizes, and the number of seminars or labs associated with the class.
  3. It may be useful to include language that ensures, for example, that every effort will be made to assign employees with high teaching loads multiple sections of the same class to reduce preparation time.

Increased teaching loads also has implications for the ability of faculty to meet the Standards for Promotion and Tenure. Standards are fair only if they actually reflect the work that people are doing. It is not reasonable for the Employer to ask you to do more in one area without a corresponding decrease in other areas. Units should, therefore, review their Standards for Promotion and Tenure in light of changes in the balance of teaching, administration, and research. If, for example, teaching and administration go up, expectations for research performance for tenure or promotion should be adjusted accordingly.

Finally, faculty are responsible for academic program design. If the resources available are diminishing, it may no longer be sustainable to deliver programs as they have been previously delivered while expecting faculty to have full and active research programs. Faculty have the ability to lead change to academic program requirements in order to ensure that teaching demands are reasonable in light of all our other duties.

USFA is interested in your opinions and suggestions on this matter. Feel welcome to drop us a note as we address this problem at Grievance, JCMA, and Collective Bargaining.

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