COVID 19 Update: February 10th, 2021
Message from the Association President
I hope all is well with you, and you are feeling that you will be able to hold on until Reading Break.
I’m writing to let you know that we have come to some agreement with the Administration about how to address COVID impacts for those faculty members and librarians coming up for salary evaluation this term (in HSD, Social Science, Engineering, Fine Arts and the Library). We tried, in several rounds of negotiation, to come to agreement with the administration on more robust methods of recognizing the impact of COVID on our members over the next several years. However, the administration’s proposals placed too many limitations on our members and on the Association’s ability to bargain for you, given future uncertainties, and the Association’s proposals were not acceptable to the Administration.
The attached Letter of Understanding (LOU) with the Administration provides two main avenues for recognizing the impact of COVID on salary evaluation.
The first states:
Members are encouraged to provide, as part of their salary evaluation materials under s. 50.28, a statement outlining the impacts of COVID-19 on their Academic or Professional Responsibilities. This “COVID-19 Impact Statement” may not exceed 800 words. The COVID-19 Impact Statement will be carefully considered along with the other materials provided under s. 50.28 in making an assessment of performance under s. 50.30.
The Association very much encourages you to provide such an impact statement, and we would encourage you to describe the nature, scope and severity by which COVID-19 conditions may have impacted your ability to undertake your regular Academic and Professional Responsibilities, including teaching, research, scholarly activity, service and professional responsibilities.
The second section focuses on the impact for those members who might not “meet expectations” if the 2020 COVID year is included in their evaluation, and states that:
For any Member who is assessed as “does not meet expectations”, the academic record for 2020 will be removed from the review period and a second “fresh” review will be done extending the review period backward by one year (e.g. 2016 – 2019 for faculty and 2018-2019 for librarians. If the Member “meets expectations” for the revised review period, then they will be assessed as a “meets” for the evaluation. If they “do not meet” for the revised review period, they will be assessed as “does not meet” for the evaluation.
So in the first round of evaluation (which will include 2020), if a member “does not meet expectations” based on their department’s Unit Standard, a second evaluation will be done, which will exclude 2020 and extend the review period back a year, to assess whether or not you meet expectations.
Since we have only just come to this agreement, the Administration and the Association have also agreed that salary evaluation materials, including COVID impact statements, are not due until February 22nd. If you have already submitted your salary evaluation materials, you can still add your COVID impact statement to your materials, as long as the statement is submitted by February 22nd.
I also want to remind you that there are two additional options available to you regarding salary evaluation that are already possible under our current Collective Agreement and earlier agreements with the Administration:
(1) Earlier this year we negotiated an agreement with the Administration that waives the six month notice if you wish to change your salary evaluation ratios for any period of the time in which you will be evaluated. If you would prefer, for example, to change your salary evaluation ratio for the 2020 year, so that research is counted less (so for research stream faculty, for example, changing the ratio from 40-40-20 to 20-60-20, with research to be weighted less and teaching more) you can submit a request to your Chair to make this change. You can reduce any part of your academic responsibilities (teaching, research, scholarly activity or service) to a minimum of 5%. The Collective Agreement states that you can request a change to your salary evaluation ratios because of reasons including “unanticipated fluctuations in a Member’s duties during the period of review,” a reason that very much applies to many of our members as a result of COVID.
Attached to this email you will also find an evaluation ratio calculator, provided by our very talented Association Treasurer, Elisabeth Gugl. As you can see in this calculator, a change in evaluation ratio in one year can make a significant difference to your overall evaluation ratio. You can put various percentages into the excel spreadsheet to determine the evaluation ratio that best reflects the nature of your workload over the past year.
(2) I would also encourage you to use your teaching dossiers or salary evaluation forms to describe the additional work you undertook to develop and teach online courses in a new LMS. The additional time involved in such work should also be noted. This could be part of your COVID 19 impact statements, but it can be included in your regular teaching dossier or salary evaluation forms, as you explain the extra teaching responsibilities you undertook in 2020.
I would remind you that through an earlier LOU agreed to between the Association and the Administration, you are not required to include any CES material in your teaching dossier or salary evaluation materials for 2020. CES can only be used as part of your evaluation for 2020 if you choose to include this material in your evaluation package.
I would also like to remind you that unless you are judged to “not meet expectations” in salary evaluation, you will continue to receive CPI increments. The “drop offs” for such increments only begin in July of 2022, following the end of this Collective Agreement. By July of 2022 we hope to have completed the bargaining of a new Collective Agreement.
In this salary round if you are judged to not meet expectations you will receive .5 CPI in the first year of salary evaluation. You will be re-assessed in the second year, and if you are now meeting expectations you will receive a CPI, and if not, you will get no CPI in the second year.
I would like to remind you that this agreement only applies to those coming up for evaluation this spring. We were unable to reach agreement on addressing COVID impacts in the Spring 2022 evaluation cycle, but hope to do so before the end of 2021.
Finally, I would like to remind you that you have the right under the Collective Agreement to appeal decisions regarding CPI or PPI (the main new merit award available to 30% of members) if you are not satisfied with the outcome of your salary evaluation. OPR (the merit award only available to 10% of members) cannot be appealed. If you are considering an appeal, I would encourage you to contact one of our very capable membership services officers, Ben Johnson and Reuben Kellen. Anything you say to them will be kept in strict confidence, and they would never proceed with any action without your full consent.
I know that this is a lot of material to digest, but it is important for you to be aware of this. Please let us know if you have any questions. And I hope Reading Break provides you with some respite.
All the very best,