SMU Ratification Document

Below is a summary of the proposed changes to the collective agreement between CUPE 3912 and SMU.

Information sessions with the Negotiating Committee will be held on Friday Mar 15, 3-6 pm in Loyola 275 and Monday Mar 18, 6-8 pm in Loyola Private Dining Room.

In person voting on the agreement will be on Thursday Mar 21, 6-9 pm in Loyola Private Dining Room & Friday Mar 22, 3-6 pm in Loyola 275.

Members will also have the option to vote online.

Download (PDF, 123KB)

Download (PDF, 158KB)

SMU Tentative Collective Agreement Information Sessions and Ratification Votes

The executive has announced the dates for the information sessions and the ratification votes for the tentative collective agreement at SMU.

Information sessions:
Fri, Mar 15, 3-6 pm in Loyola 275 and
Mon, Mar 18, 6-8 pm in Loyola Private Dining Room (L298)

During the two information sessions the Negotiating Committee can give further information on the tentative agreement and answer any questions from members. A ratification document will be distributed.

In person voting:
Thurs, Mar 21, 6-9 pm in LA PDR
Fri, Mar 22, 3-6 pm in LA275

There will also be an option to vote online.

All members that have had a CUPE contract at SMU within the last three years are eligible to vote.

“Life Hacks for Online Teaching: How to Make It Work for You” — March 15, 4:30

On Friday March 15, we are hosting “Life Hacks for Online Teaching: How to Make It Work for You,” a workshop on online teaching with Shiva Nourpanah in collaboration with Bonita Squires.

Shiva Nourpanah (PhD, 2018) has been a contract academic since 2012, teaching at Saint Mary’s University, Dalhousie University, and Vancouver Island University. She has experience teaching and developing several online courses, learning what works and what doesn’t through trial and error. She will share with you what she wished she’d known the very first time she taught an online course as a contract academic.

Friday, Mar. 15th, 4:30 – 5:30pm

There are two options for attending:
In person at Saint Mary’s University, Loyola rm. 171
Or, online, through the following Youtube Live link, at the start time
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJtS04FO-gI (requires Google Chrome)

OCUFA report reveals systemic discrimination and harassment in use of university student questionnaires

The Report of the OCUFA Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching Working Group has now been released.

TORONTO, February 6, 2019 – A new report published by a working group of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations exposes substantial issues with student questionnaires on courses and teaching (SQCTs), including endemic bias and systemic discrimination. These end-of-term student questionnaires are common practice at universities across Canada.

The report finds that student questionnaire scores fail to accurately reflect teaching quality and that their results are not suitable for determining faculty pay, promotion, tenure, or contract renewal. Student questionnaire results are skewed by many factors outside an instructor’s control, including class size, time, subject, and the professor’s race, gender, or accent. Additionally, the report finds that current SQCT practices facilitate the harassment of faculty, compromise educational quality, and are not an appropriate metric for determining university funding levels.

“Faculty understand that student feedback is vital for improving teaching and course development,” said Gyllian Phillips, President of OCUFA. “But, as this report clearly demonstrates, using student questionnaires to evaluate faculty performance is counterproductive and harmful, and it raises serious equity questions. The goal of student questionnaires should be to inform a better understanding of the teaching and learning experience, not to penalize faculty for their class size, instructional innovations, gender, or skin colour.”

The report is one of the most exhaustive of its kind in Canada and examines the methodological, research ethics, and human rights implications of student questionnaires. It finds that:

” Women, racialized, and LGBTQ2S+ faculty, as well as faculty with disabilities, receive lower scores than their white male colleagues. Using SQCTs to determine pay and promotion risks marginalizing these equity seeking groups even further, impacting their career prospects and limiting academic diversity.

” It is impossible to adjust SQCT scores to account for their bias.

” Anonymous SQCT comments are regularly used to target faculty members with abusive, harassing, and harmful comments.

” Students are not adequately informed about how SQCTs are used, or how their information can be shared.

” Using SQCT scores to evaluate teaching discourages innovation and undermines student learning.

“Given the serious problems with student questionnaires detailed in this report, it is evident that universities must stop using these questionnaires to make decisions about promotion, tenure, or the reappointment of contract faculty,” said Phillips. “Instead, our universities should invest in more effective and accurate, qualitative methods for evaluating teaching, particularly peer evaluation. The government should abandon any idea of using these flawed metrics to determine university funding levels – research has clearly shown that SQCT metrics not only don’t work, they perpetuate inequity.”

The report proposes several recommendations for refocusing student questionnaires so they can be used to improve student learning and education quality. First and foremost, the report recommends limiting the use of student questionnaires to formative purposes to provide instructors with student feedback on how to improve their teaching and course development. The report also recommends using peer evaluation, where trained faculty members audit classes and evaluate instructors.

Putting these principles into practice will require resources and the willingness of both the provincial government and university administrations to support faculty and students and invest in the effective evaluation of teaching as a vital component of the academic mission.

OCUFA thanks the members of the working group for their hard work in putting together this comprehensive report. The full report can be downloaded here: https://ocufa.on.ca/assets/OCUFA-SQCT-Report.pdf

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 29 faculty associations across Ontario.

OCUFA report reveals systemic discrimination and harassment in use of university student questionnaires

A new report published by a working group of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations exposes substantial issues with student questionnaires on courses and teaching (SQCTs), including endemic bias and systemic discrimination. These end-of-term student questionnaires are common practice at universities across Canada.

The report finds that student questionnaire scores fail to accurately reflect teaching quality and that their results are not suitable for determining faculty pay, promotion, tenure, or contract renewal. Student questionnaire results are skewed by many factors outside an instructor’s control, including class size, time, subject, and the professor’s race, gender, or accent. Additionally, the report finds that current SQCT practices facilitate the harassment of faculty, compromise educational quality, and are not an appropriate metric for determining university funding levels.

The full report, including several recommendations for refocusing student questionnaires so they can be used to improve student learning and education quality, can be downloaded here: https://ocufa.on.ca/assets/OCUFA-SQCT-Report.pdf

Pub Night – Friday January 18 @ Dalhousie University Club, 5 pm

Our first pub night of 2019 is in the games room at the Dalhousie University Club at 5 pm Friday January 18. All members are welcome (not just from Dalhousie). Join us in the games room (across from the pub) to meet fellow members and share your concerns and comments about your work and your union. Look for the CUPE 3912 banner.

Pub fare and a drink will be provided to the first members to arrive.

MSVU Strategic Planning Working Group: Call for CUPE Representative

MSVU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mary Bluechardt will be chairing a Strategic Planning Working Group in 2019 and is inviting CUPE to have a representative. This will be a full year commitment and participants from the working group may be asked to volunteer in focus groups both on and off campus (not necessary to attend all focus groups, but welcome to do so).  Member are invited to self-nominate.

Please see below for the experience required for this role:

– Experience with planning, implementation and measurement

– Experience with student life, wellness, and inclusion

– Experience with recruitment and retention initiatives

Nominations are required by January 21, 2019. Please submit to Steve Cloutier (CUPE 3912, President) at president.cupe3912@gmail.com

Job Posting – Database developer

Job Posting – Database developer

CUPE local 3912 has a short-term opportunity for someone to develop a system to manage a database for our union that represents part-time faculty at Dalhousie, Mount St. Vincent, and St. Mary’s Universities; TAs, demonstrators and markers at Dalhousie University; and the Language Centre instructors at Saint Mary’s University. Applicants should be proficient with Microsoft Excel and possibly contact management or database software. No previous work experience with unions is required.

Working with, and reporting to, the local’s Executive Committee, the goals of this position are to develop a system for managing CUPE 3912’s membership database that can be used by any member of the executive.

The developer is an employee of CUPE 3912 and, as such, will be asked to sign a contract for a set period of time decided by the Executive. The Executive sets the primary goals and terms of employment.

Preference will be given to a member in good standing of CUPE 3912. No training will be provided by CUPE; the suitable candidate will be expected to have enough knowledge to complete the task.

The expected time commitment of the position is 10 hours per week for two months with a possible extension for a third month.

The developer will be responsible for the following:
1) Develop a user-friendly system that works with MailChimp for managing membership contact information with input from Excel files from the universities’ administrations and taking into account member teaching assignments in different semesters and at multiple departments and institutions.
2) Determine methods for calculating the number of members in different departments, at different institutions and for different time periods.
3) Ensure that the system can be used by others with limited competence in technology (i.e., very user-friendly).
4) Write a set of clear, easy-to-follow instructions.
5) Provide a monthly written report to the Executive.
6) To meet with the Communications Officer on a monthly basis to review activities of the previous month and to establish the priorities for the upcoming month.
7) Attend executive meetings at the discretion of the executive.
8) Attend CUPE 3912 general meetings during the contract.

Salary: Hourly rate will be $21.52.

Application (letter and cv) deadline: 14 January 2019
Applications should be submitted to: cupe3912@dal.ca, subject line: Database developer
(please let us know if you are a member)