Joint Statement for CUPE Members from Dalhousie Re. COVID-19 Supports and Resources

We are pleased to present the following joint statement is issued from to CUPE 3912 Members from Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic and Karen Harper, President, CUPE Local 3912:

MEMORANDUM

To:                   CUPE Members

From:               Frank Harvey, Provost and Vice-President Academic

Karen Harper, President, CUPE Local 3912

Date:               January 19, 2021

Re:                   COVID-19 Supports and Resources 

Online Teaching Support

Dalhousie University has a variety of supports and resources to aid part-time academics making the transition to online teaching. Our Academic Technology Services (ATS) is now providing closed captioning support: https://www.dal.ca/dept/online-teaching/teaching-support/closed_captioning_support.html.

Educational Developers at the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT) are available to offer help and support with your course design and course development plan. They can help you select online learning and assessment strategies to meet your course and learning objectives. Part-time faculty members can also join the Going Online Together community on Brightspace by contacting clt@dal.ca

Equipment and Resources

Part-time academics may require additional equipment, software and/or Teaching Assistant support. Those seeking additional equipment, resources and support should contact their Department Chair/Head/Director.

Access to Libraries and Campus Spaces

Dalhousie University’s libraries are offering a variety of virtual services, as well on-campus bookable work spaces. Part-time academics can also access bookable recording space on campus to record their online lectures.

Home Office Expenses

Dalhousie University is looking into the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRAs) regulations on home office expenses. If and when a part-time member’s circumstances meet the CRA eligibility criteria for a T2200 tax slip, one will be issued upon request.

Professional Development Fund

For the 2020-21 academic year, CUPE and Dalhousie University have agreed to waive the requirement that part-time academics hold an appointment at the time of the conference and/or events. Part-time academics only need to be on the precedence list to be eligible to apply for professional development funds.

Teaching Evaluations

Dalhousie University’s Senate has made the decision that course evaluations collected for the period of Winter 2020 to Summer 2021 will only be used for formative purposes. Instructors will receive their course evaluations and these evaluations will be sent to Department Chairs/Head/Directors but they will not be used for evaluative purposes.

Once again, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication during this very difficult time.

Special General Meeting – December 18 @ 3 pm

On December 18, at 3 pm, we are holding a virtual general meeting to hold a by-election for a new Vice-President for Saint Mary’s University. Other items may be added to the agenda.

If you are interested in standing for election for this position please contact us. To be nominated, you must attend the meeting or submit your nomination before hand to president.cupe3912@gmail.com.

Nominations of members of marginalized groups are encouraged. 

To RSVP for the meeting, contact our Membership Officer, Kim Robinson (kimrobinson1945@icloud.com), by December 16. A link will be sent to those who have RSVP’d prior to the meeting. 

All members are welcome.

Download (PDF, 74KB)

Digital Duty Form for Dalhousie TAs and Markers

A “Digital Duty Form” is now available.

Submitting a jointly signed Duty Form, agreeing on the description of duties, and the corresponding hours for payment, is a Teaching Assistant individual course contract requirement, and a Marker course contract or hourly rate activity recommendation. The first financial payment from a course contract to a TA or Marker typically happens after a signed Duty Form is submitted and processed.

If you might be an academic service provider for a class starting in 2021, consider using this digital version of the form in Appendix C of the CUPE 3912 – Dalhousie University Collective Agreement.

This “Digital Duty Form” version is an effective equivalent in content and layout to what is presented in Appendix C of the Collective Agreement. It can be a simpler, equivalent alternative to a paper process (ie. download – print – 1st signature – scan – send – print – 2nd signature – scan).

This “Digital Duty Form” is similar to one used by the Civil Engineering Department. Duty Forms have also been used for some engineering course Marker contracts in recent years.

This “Digital Duty Form” is also an available option for Dalhousie University Instructors and administration representatives, involved with the employer side of TA and Marker contracts.

Work hours = Contract hours = Paid hours

When TA’s and Markers have better documentation of their course specific agreements, there is a better case for all those originally signing a Duty Form, to later choose to mutually agree to changes in the scope of work, such that work hours = contract hours = paid hours.

If you have any questions of comments, please feel free to contact the CUPE 3912 office, or Dave Banoub, CUPE 3912 Outreach, or the relevant CUPE 3912 Vice President.

Fall General Meeting – Friday November 13 @ 2 pm, Online

Our fall General Meeting will be held, online, on Friday November 13 at 2 pm.

To RSVP for the meeting, contact our Membership Officer, Fallen Matthews (kittiefallen@gmail.com), by Nov. 11. A link will be sent to those who have RSVP’d prior to the meeting.

The meeting will include updates on bargaining and the elections for:

  • VP, Dalhousie Truro Campus
  • VP, Teaching Assistants at Dal (Studley Campus)
  • VP, Part-time Instructors at MSVU
  • Trustee
  • Additional members of the bargaining committees

Ideas and nominations for CUPE 3912 committees are welcome!

If you are interested in standing for election for any of these positions please contact us. To be nominated, you must attend the meeting or submit your nomination beforehand to president.cupe3912@gmail.com

Nominations of members of marginalized groups are encouraged.

All members are welcome.

Download (PDF, 75KB)

Update re. possible faculty strike at Dalhousie

To CUPE 3912 members at Dalhousie: We stand in solidarity with our colleagues in the Dalhousie Faculty Association. Please see the latest email update for a message about the impact of a possible DFA strike on TAs and part-time instructors. Also note Karen Harper, our president, will email further information after meeting with Dalhousie administration next week.

Fair Employment Week – October 19-23

CAUT’s Fair Employment Week is from October 19-23. Fair Employment Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness about precarious employment on university campuses, and the issues that contract academic staff face. There are a series of online events planned. You can check out the schedule here: http://makeitfair.caut.ca

We will be sharing updates and information on our social media throughout the week.

Rally for NS Needs Students – CANCELLED

Unfortunately, today’s rally has been cancelled, because of the inclement weather. The plan was always for the rally to be the first of other advocacy and education events in the NS Needs Students Campaign. These events will continue, but the rally will not be rescheduled due to conflicts with other unrelated events.
Below is the text of the speech Karen would have presented at the rally:

Hello Nova Scotia students! both in person or online.

We have all made the transition to online education but at what cost?Students – you are paying more (3% more this year) even though you are getting less while not being able to participate in-person in classes, at libraries and in other on-campus activities. Many of you have not been able to get summer jobs, which adds to the cost of this pandemic for you.

Faculty continue to put in their best efforts, often juggling kids at home at the same time. But teaching remotely is a steep uphill learning curve that takes more time, particularly with large class sizes.

Students and faculty understand that there is a cost for everyone during this pandemic. That is why the government introduced the CERB and other benefits. But where is the emergency benefit for students? for faculty? for post-secondary education?

The federal government has not provided emergency funding for universities. This impacts all of us. Students are suffering and so are precarious employees, many of whom are your instructors.

Without government funding, university administrators have been hiring fewer instructors. This impacts you. You now have fewer course options as courses have been cancelled or you find yourselves in larger classes as course sections have been merged. Teaching more students online in fewer courses results in layoffs of part-time instructors and impacts your education. Larger class sizes also increases the workload and stress for remaining instructors, which impacts your learning even more.

The pandemic has brought into focus the precarity and vulnerability of many aspects of our society including post-secondary education. Student tuition keeps rising every year at a rate that is much greater than the increase in salary for part-time instructors. Where is the money going? Certainly not to many of your instructors. At some universities in Nova Scotia, about a third of your courses are taught by part-time instructors who have to apply to teach every course, are paid the worst stipends in Atlantic Canada and among the worst in the country, and have virtually no benefits. They are excellent professors, but the precarious and vulnerable nature of their employment impacts YOUR education.

We need to freeze or lower student tuition so that ALL members of our society can attend university. We need to substantially increase government funding so that post-secondary education does not have to rely on tuition from international students and can afford to provide all employees with a decent wage and benefits. Our working conditions are your learning conditions. Post-secondary education should be affordable for all faculty and all students!

 

Treaty Day and Mi’kmaq History Month

October 1 is Treaty Day in Mi’kma’ki. Since 1986, on this day, all citizens of Nova Scotia are invited to remember and reaffirm the treaties signed between Mi’kmaq People and the British Crown. The purpose of Treaty Day is to promote the public awareness of Mi’kmaq history and culture for all Nova Scotians, and to recognize the continued importance of these treaties. As such, since 1993, October is recognized as Mi’kmaq History Month. This is a month to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaq culture, and to educate ourselves on Mi’kmaq history. Across the provinces there are events that showcase this history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Treaty Day, we acknowledge that our members work in institutions that are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. This territory is covered by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, which Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik, and Passamaquoddy Peoples first signed with the British Crown in 1726, and were reaffirmed in subsequent treaties. These treaties did not deal with the surrender of land and resources, but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Wolastoqiyik title, and established rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.

You can read these treaties here:

https://archives.novascotia.ca/mikmaq/results/?Search=AR5&SearchList1=all&TABLE2=on

The ongoing validity of these treaties means that we are all Treaty people. As educators, CUPE 3912 members have particular opportunities to include treaty recognition and education, and Mi’kmaq culture and knowledge in our work. There is a growing list of resources on diversifying our classroom practices on our website, and look for upcoming workshops on diversity and inclusion. Take some time to learn about treaties, decolonization, and Mi’kmaq culture and heritage this month, and to reflect on how this can be incorporated into our teaching.

For more information on Mi’kmaq History Month: https://mikmaqhistorymonth.ca

To learn more about Treaty Day visit: https://www.unsm.org/treaty-day