Report of the Chair of the Appointments Committee, 2015–2016

April 26, 2016
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The Appointments Committee advises UTFA Council and Executive on all matters related to the University administration’s many policies on academic appointments. This includes procedures for hiring, promotion, tenure, and termination encompassing all librarian and faculty ranks – full-time and part-time – including tenure stream, teaching stream, contractually limited, visiting adjuncts, and emeriti/ae (sessional instructors are, of course, represented by CUPE).

The Committee focused on four main activities this year. First, it offered support to the Librarians Committee for its proposal to draft a new policy for librarians, specifically advising with respect to appointments language. Second, the Committee is following through on the results of last year’s survey of Associate Professors in the tenure stream regarding promotion to full professor. The majority of respondents indicated they intend to go forward for promotion. The Appointments Committee is working with the UTFA Membership Committee on material to encourage promotion and develop resources to inform and educate on the University’s Policy and Procedures on Promotion. A third activity has been to refine the survey mentioned in last year’s AGM report on the University’s Policy on the Appointment of Academic Administrators. We were hoping that this survey and analysis of the results would have been finished in time for the AGM. However, the survey was delayed in order to consider more closely the concerns of our members. The survey has been sent out.

The fourth and most extensive activity of the Committee this year has been to address the issue of precarious academic employment. Following the strike by CUPE 3902 last year, the chairs of the Appointments Committee, the Equity Committee, and the Teaching Stream Committee called a special meeting of their members to discuss precarity both as a province-wide higher education problem and as an issue within UTFA’s membership. At the provincial level, faculty associations at Ontario universities are concerned with the increasing numbers of contract academic staff, their lack of job security, and the negative impact that this is having on academic freedom. Seven members of UTFA’s Council participated in the OCUFA-sponsored conference on precarious academic employment held in Toronto in February, which helped to raise many issues. On the level of UTFA’s membership, the aforementioned three committees, with the assistance of UTFA’s Grievance portfolio, are preparing to consult with UTFA members who have part-time appointments. These consultations should help us to better understand the working conditions of part-time members and to aid in clarifying and strengthening the University’s policy related to part-time academic staff (1994). Among the methods that will be used to consult, the Committee is planning to hold focus groups on all three campuses of the University.

The chair of the Appointments Committee continues to serve on other UTFA committees when possible in order to contribute to appointments-related matters. These committees include the Librarians Committee and the Teaching Stream Committee. The chair also serves this year on the Executive of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA), of which UTFA is a member.

As chair, I want to thank the members of the Committee for their support and contributions to our work this year.

Michael Attridge
Chair, Appointments Committee