Message from the Association President
As you are aware, the Association has made a number of proposals to the Administration to assist faculty and librarians in coping with the adjustments made necessary by COVID-19 disruptions. I am very pleased to inform you that the Administration has responded positively to these proposals, as detailed below and in this Letter of Understanding (LOU).
This LOU demonstrates that the Administration is aware of the stresses you are facing at this time, and is willing to try to mitigate these pressures. The LOU includes agreements on the following issues:
RPT Deferrals for Pre-tenure and Pre-continuing Appointment Faculty
The LOU notes that where your academic and professional responsibilities have been affected by COVID-19 related restrictions in the period January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020:
a) the Faculty Member may apply in writing to the Dean of the Faculty for an automatic deferral of consideration for Reappointment, Continuing Appointment or Tenure by one year;
b) the Librarian on probationary status may apply in writing to the University Librarian for an automatic deferral of consideration for a confirmed Regular Appointment by one year.
Such a request must occur no later than April 15 in the calendar year of consideration, except that the deadline for considerations in 2020 shall be May 15, 2020.
You are not required to take an additional year before you are considered for tenure (which also includes being considered for promotion), continuing appointment or a regular librarian appointment, but this LOU gives you the option to do so if you are currently in any year prior to achieving reappointment, tenure or continuing appointment. And since all faculty and librarians currently at UVic have had their academic and professional responsibilities affected by COVID-19 related restrictions in some or many ways, if you apply to defer tenure or continuing appointment by a year you will receive an automatic deferral. This year you must apply to defer by May 15th, and in later years, by April 15th.
Those faculty members whose professional or academic responsibilities have been particularly negatively impacted by the pandemic can apply for special consideration to delay their tenure/reappointment etc. consideration for an additional year.
The Administration has agreed to the same arrangement for CES for the Summer Session as previously agreed to for the Winter Session. The LOU states that:
Course Experience Surveys (CES) for the Winter 2020 and Summer 2020 terms only will not be shared with unit leaders or used in evaluation processes except that Faculty Members may access their survey results and, if they wish to have them used in evaluation processes, must include the results in their teaching dossiers.
Deadlines for Career Progress Reviews and for Reappointment, Promotion etc.
The LOU notes that:
Collective Agreement deadlines will be extended forward one month for the 2020 cycle only in Article 26 (Review of Career Progress) and Article 33 (Consideration Process for Reappointment, Continuing Appointment, Promotion and Tenure).
This means that pre-tenure and pre-continuing appointment faculty, who are normally required to meet with Chairs or Directors to discuss their career progress by May 15th, now have until June 15th to do so, and Chairs and Directors now have until June 30th to provide letters based on these discussions that give feedback regarding career progress to pre-tenure and pre-continuing appointment members.
This also means that all other deadlines regarding consideration for re-appointment, tenure, promotion and continuing appointment are moved up a month. These deadlines are detailed in Article 33 of the Collective Agreement. Most immediately, this means that you have until May 15th, instead of April 15th, to inform your Chair whether or not you want to be considered for promotion in the coming year.
Pre-tenure candidates who are going up for tenure, re-appointment or continuing appointment this year have until May 15th to submit relevant documentation (or to request a one year deferral, as noted above).
The LOU also means that all other deadlines, including for agreeing on referees, for candidates submitting material for consideration to their Chairs, and the deadlines when ARPT committees have to submit recommendations regarding reappointment, continuing appointment and promotion cases to the Dean have all been moved forward by a month. This should give everyone (including external referees) a bit more breathing room at this very difficult time.
Deferring Current and Future Study Leaves
The Administration recognized the Association’s argument that many current study leaves, and planned future study leaves may have been seriously disrupted by travel and research restrictions, lack of childcare and other issues caused by the pandemic. They have therefore agreed that those on current study leaves can apply to retroactively cancel those leaves, back to the end of February, and receive credit for the unused study leave time towards future leaves, while those with future planned study leaves can defer the leaves, and again receive credit towards future leaves.
If you are given permission to cancel or defer a leave, you will be required to teach, either in the period when you are now no longer on study leave, or at some point over the next three years, as your Chair requests, subject to CA provisions. To access these provisions, you will need to make this request to your Chair demonstrating how because of various pandemic related issues (eg. travel or research restrictions, lack of childcare, etc) you have been unable or believe you will be unable to undertake your study leave plans.
The deadline to request this cancellation is April 20th, 2020 for those currently on study leave, and April 30th, for those planning study leaves beginning in May, July or September. These are very tight deadlines, but the University is making an important concession here, particularly regarding current study leaves, and these timelines allow Chairs and Deans to make plans for teaching for upcoming terms.
The full language of the study leave provisions is below, and in the LOU:
A Faculty Member may apply to their Chair to cancel or defer a Study Leave on the grounds that they are unable to meet the commitments in their Study Leave plan due to COVID-19 related restrictions on the following conditions:
a) Study Leaves commencing July 1, 2019 (12 month only): Request no later than April 20, 2020 with an end date of February 29, 2020 (date of 100% pay resumption) and a deferred period of 4 months.
b) Study Leaves commencing January 1, 2020: Request no later than April 20, 2020 with an end date of February 29, 2020 (date of 100% pay resumption) and a deferral period of 4 months for a 6 month leave and 10 months for a 12 month leave.
c) Study Leaves commencing May 1, July 1 or September 1, 2020: Request no later than April 30, 2020. The full period of the leave will be deferred.
The Member shall demonstrate in their written request why they are unable to meet the commitments in their Study Leave plan due to COVID-19 related restrictions. The cancellation/deferral must be recommended by the Chair and approved by the Dean. Such a cancellation or deferral shall not be unreasonably withheld.
Accrued and unused Study Leave credit will be maintained, notwithstanding s. 34.11. Faculty Members cancelling or deferring Study Leaves will be expected to undertake teaching equal to that which would have been assigned had there not been a Study Leave. Where such teaching cannot be assigned during the planned Study Leave period, it shall be assigned within 3 years of the cancellation/deferral of the Study Leave. Such assignments of teaching are in the discretion of the Chair/Dean subject to normal Collective Agreement provisions.
Re-scheduling of deferred Study Leaves will be on consent of the Member and the Chair and Dean, subject to the operational needs of the Department/Faculty.
Furniture, Computers and Working Remotely
As you may be aware, the Administration has recently posted resources available to faculty and librarians working remotely. This includes a newly released furniture and equipment protocol for working remotely that I would encourage you to examine. The protocol provides information about what office furniture and equipment you can take home (including chairs, computers, etc) and what requires additional permissions.
Supporting our Students
I was very pleased to see that the University has established a bursary fund for students negatively impacted by the pandemic. This is a very difficult time for many of our students. If you are able to, and are interested in contributing to the bursary fund go to https://extrweb.uvic.ca/donate-online/covid-19
Further resources have been posted on the Association’s COVID-19 Community Chat Facebook group, both regarding online teaching, and managing in these difficult times. One thing that I posted, and that I feel strongly about, is that we should not expect too much of either ourselves, or our colleagues, right now. The University’s agreement to the LOU provisions recognizes these realities.
If you can continue with your writing plans over the summer, that’s great. But if you have to slow down, because of anxiety about the current situation, the need to support friends and family members facing difficulties, the lack of childcare or other dependent care, or other pandemic-related realities, please be kind to yourselves. And I know you are aware of the need to recognize the many pressures facing our students at this difficult time.
If you have any questions about the many issues discussed above, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact me or our membership services officers:
Reuben Kellen – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Johnson – email@example.com
For those celebrating Passover or Easter over the weekend and the previous two nights, Chag Sameach and Happy Easter, and wishing a relaxing weekend to you all.
All the very best,