Sep 232019

 Last Thursday, University Council passed the following motion:

 Educators at the University of Saskatchewan recognize that students may wish to participate in climate action events on Friday September 27th. Members of the University Council recommend that educators identify alternatives for the participating students so they are not subject to any academic penalties.

 Events will be taking place around the world this Friday. In Saskatoon:

Rally and march

12:00 p.m.

City Hall Square


Sep 112019

As mentioned in a previous e-Letter, faculty are about to embark on the salary review process, which is carefully described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Faculty submit an annual report that is evaluated by a Department or College Salary Committee, a College Review Committee (if applicable) and the university level President’s Review Committee, each of which may award bonuses to the faculty member’s base salary based on the case presented. The bonuses are multiples of a Career Development Increase (CDI).

The recently negotiated collective agreement made four significant changes to salary review:

  1. The total number of CDIs has been reduced by more than 50%, from 610 to 300 CDIs.
  2. The rule dictating that about as many full merits as half merits must be awarded has been struck down.
  3. The maximum number of CDIs that an individual employee may receive has been capped at 2 CDIs.
  4. The rule that the College Review Committee may only recommend employees to the President’s Review Committee that have already been awarded one full CDI has been struck.

The net result of these changes means that the merit pool is much smaller, but what remains can be stretched further.

Although our members disagree as to whether there should be a merit process, the Association has consistently maintained that if there is to be a salary review process, it should be fair and transparent. In particular, all members of faculty should be aware of the standards in place and have access to reasonable summaries of how the merit process played out.

In this year of change, we urge lower level committees to request higher level committees communicate their standards before the process starts at the lower levels and that expectations made clear. In the past, we have heard that departments that have made a large number of smaller awards and then asked for additional merit for high performers are questioned why the department did not make larger awards to the high performers if it felt so strongly. But we have also heard that departments who make larger awards to high performers and then ask for small awards for colleagues who did not received a departmental award are asked why the department itself did not itself make an award to the colleague. Faculty work hard enough without having to deal with this double bind.

We also remind all parties that all tasks faculty perform are potentially meritorious and should be considered in the Salary Review process. Individual units are free to set their priorities, but they must also consider the faculty member’s assignment of duties: a case may be made that it is far more meritorious to make a single peer-reviewed contribution with a high assigned teaching load than to produce several such contributions with a low one. Faculty members may include any other materials they consider relevant and committees should consider them.

Sep 102019

Such was the title of a series of USFA e-Letters sent at the time the merit pool was increased to 600 Career Development Increases (CDIs) in the 2010-13 Collective Agreement. Merit has been the subject of many stormy debates at the University, both between USFA and the Employer, and within our own ranks. Some of […]

May 242019

Online applications for the USFA Scholarship will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019. The USFA Scholarship Program is open to students who are immediate family members of USFA members.  Immediate family includes spouse/partner, sons, daughters or children whom USFA members have served as legal guardians. The application form for the 2018-2019 USFA […]

May 082019

The nominations deadline for the USFA executive by-election passed Monday, May 6.  We received two nominations: Jason MacLean, Assistant Professor in the College of Law Sina Adl, Professor in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources The Elections Committee met, and acclaimed both candidates. Professor MacLean will commence a 2-year term starting July 1, representing category A, […]

Apr 162019

Recently, the Joint Committee for the Management the Agreement (JCMA) met with Vice-Provost, Teaching, Learning and Student Experience Patti McDougall and Teaching and Learning Centre Director Nancy Turner to discuss concerns raised by the Ryerson arbitration decision and a recent report from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). JCMA also heard about their […]

Apr 042019

As faculty members, we have dual interests in copyright protection. Many of us create copyrighted materials including textbooks, videos, podcasts and expect our work to be protected. As educators, many of us find it occasionally useful to use pieces of copyrighted materials in the classroom for illustrative purposes – a few pages of a text […]

Apr 032019

The 2019 annual election of Executive Committee members has completed.  As you recall, we called to elect six members: one in Category A (Instructor, Lecturer, Special Lecturer, Assistant Librarian, or Assistant Professor) one in Category B (Associate Librarian or Associate Professor) one in Category C (Librarian or Professor) three in Category D (membership at large) […]

Apr 012019

The grievance filed on June 7, 2017 regarding the medical disclosure requirements for short-term disability benefits or salary continuance has been successfully settled. The forms provided by the private corporation contracted to manage short-term disability benefits, Lifemark Health Group, have been revised and can be accessed through the following link: The medical information now […]

Mar 272019

Nominees for the Executive committee are as follows: Category A (Instructor, Lecturer, Special Lecturer, Assistant Librarian or Assistant Professor) Category B (Associate Professor or Associate Librarian) Geraldine Balzer, Curriculum Studies, College of Education Lenaic Couedel, Physics and Engineering Physics, College of Arts and Science Category C (Professor or Librarian) Doug Chivers, Biology, College of Arts […]

Mar 272019

Claims for reimbursement for any expenses from any of the benefit plans must be submitted to Sun Life within 90 days of the end of the calendar year in which the expense is incurred.   This means that the deadline for submitting claims incurred between January 1 and December 31, 2018 is March 31, 2019.  […]

Mar 182019

Duties assigned to faculty at the ranks of instructor and lecturer differ from the duties assigned to the professorial ranks, which include research, scholarly, and artistic work: instructors and lecturers are expected to focus on the delivery of instruction in support of academic programs. Assignment of duties for Instructors and Lecturers is in accordance with […]

Mar 152019

CUPE 1975 is continuing to work on achieving a new collective agreement at the bargaining table. Earlier this month it reached out, through a mediator, to University administration requesting a meeting. CUPE’s intent for this meeting is to discuss questions and concerns the employer has raised on its website about the Jointly Sponsored Pension Plan […]

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 […]

Mar 112019

Online applications for the USFA Scholarship will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. Saturday, June 1, 2019. The USFA Scholarship Program is open to students who are immediate family members of USFA members.  Immediate family includes spouse/partner, sons, daughters or children whom USFA members have served as legal guardians. The application form for the 2018-2019 USFA […]

Mar 072019

On March 1, 2019, The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) released its report investigating complaints of misuse and inappropriate interpretation of the scores on student evaluations of teaching. The report points out that many factors figure in students’ responses, some of which have nothing to do with quality of teaching: class size, time […]

Mar 062019

This is the time of year when the process for the Assignment of Duties is underway. Provisions for the assignment of duties are covered in Article 11 of the Collective Agreement. Department Heads, or Deans in non-departmentalized Colleges, “following consultation and discussion with faculty at a meeting,” assign duties. This annual meeting is an important […]

Feb 252019

In a recent arbitration hearing, Arbitrator Anne Wallace Q.C. considered the issue of audio recording of College Review Committee (CRC) meetings and deliberations.  The Association filed a grievance when it appeared that one College’s CRC deliberations were being recorded without the knowledge or consent of some of its committee members and without the matter having […]

Feb 142019

The USFA Executive is concerned about the current state of labour relations on campus. We are working hard to improve these relations and we call upon USFA members to help with this effort. The USFA shares a common interest with the other unions on campus in negotiating fair compensation, job security, and safe working conditions […]

Jan 022019

To our USFA colleagues, happy new year and best wishes for the coming year! With the beginning of the winter term, we are setting up more meetings with the Employer. We continue to work toward conclusion of a prolonged, and occasionally contentious, process. Since we began negotiations with the Employer in July 2017, many of […]