In this issue:
New Subcommittee on Reclaiming Democratic Governance at Carleton
We are happy to report that following coordinated pressure from the members of Campus United, including CUASA, the BOG has postponed its motion to discriminate against union officers by barring them from election to the Board. Although the postponement is a temporary victory, the real concerns remain unaddressed. These include questions about the structure of the Board and the erosion of principles of democracy and faculty self-governance at Carleton as a whole.
On September 25, CUASA held a general membership meeting to discuss issues of academic governance at Carleton. At the meeting, members shared concerns and observations about the current state of campus governance and decided to strike a subcommittee dedicated to addressing these concerns.
This will be a subcommittee of Internal Affairs, charged with developing strategy proposals for CUASA to consider for democratizing governance at Carleton. Several members have already volunteered to serve on the subcommittee, including Peter Gose (Anthropology), Chantal Dion (French), Carmen Leblanc (French), Frances Montgomery (Library), and Rebecca Schein (Interdisciplinary Studies). Any members who are interested in joining this subcommittee should contact Peter Gose, who will be chairing the committee.
Last-Minute Course Cancellations: Advice to Members
At the General Membership Meeting, several members shared experiences in which courses they had prepared were cancelled at the last minute due to low enrollment. These members were then told that they “owed” an additional course to be taught in a subsequent term.
Clearly, this is a concern for members for two reasons: 1) the uncompensated work that goes into preparing courses that the employer decides to cancel; 2) the implication that members are expected to teach a course overload in a subsequent term.
If one of your scheduled courses is cancelled, or if you have had this experience in the past, please contact CUASA immediately and let them know the details of your situation. CUASA also advises you to indicate to your chair that ”owing” courses may violate our current collective agreement.
Locked classrooms, broken equipment, inadequate classroom seating
Also at the General Membership Meeting, a number of members shared their frustration at finding classrooms that were not ready for them to teach in. Members reported finding classrooms locked, chairs and equipment broken, or room assignments inappropriate for the course’s expected enrollment. According to our collective agreement, our employer has an obligation to provide CUASA members with the necessary equipment to carry out our jobs. If you have had these or similar experiences, please contact the CUASA office immediately. We need members to tell us about their experiences on this issue, now and in the past, so that we can collate the data and take action if warranted.
Event of Interest:“Taylorizing Education for Profit”
Gordon Lafer, Associate Professor at the University of Oregon's Labor Education and Research Center and former Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. House of Representatives' Education and Labor Committee
Tuesday October 13, 2015
University of Ottawa
Montpetit Hall (125 University), room 207
We are living through a period of enormous turmoil in the primary, secondary and higher education systems. The content of what students are taught, the ways that content is taught and success is measured, the qualifications instructors should have, the compensation they should be afforded and how much control they should have over what goes on in the classroom -- even the extent to which public or private authorities should have ultimate control over school systems -- all this is up for debate. More legislation has been adopted regarding education reform than any other domestic policy issue in the last decade.
Lafer's analysis tracks education policy changes advocated by the most powerful corporate lobbies, over the past five years and across all 50 state legislatures in the U.S. Lafer's presentation draws on evidence from K-12 reform in the U.S. but serves as a cautionary tale for developments that are either on their way or already here in primary, secondary and post-secondary Canadian institutions.
Sign CAUT’s Solidarity Pledge to oppose the casualization of academic staff
Today, about one third of all academic staff in post-secondary institutions in Canada struggle to find decent work. They are hired on a per course or limited-term basis. These contract positions are often poorly paid, have little or no benefits, no job security, and no academic freedom. This is an issue that all academic unions must confront if we care about the future of our profession and about the core mission of the university as an institution.
As a starting point, we encourage our members to Sign a Pledge of Solidarity initiated by CAUT as part of their Fair Employment campaign. Any CUASA members interested in exploring how we might be able to work more effectively as a union to oppose the casualization of our profession are encouraged to contact the CUASA office.
Sponsorship of Syrian Refugees
One of our members, Travis DeCook in English, is part of a multifaith group in the process of sponsoring a family of Syrian refugees. The family has been identified, and the group is working with one of their Ottawa-based relatives. Members interested in supporting this family should contact Travis.
We also encourage interested members to participate in the campus wide Committee to Aid Displaced Persons and Refugees. Please contact Pauline Rankin if you are interested in getting involved in that initiative.