Report of the Chair of the Membership Committee, 2019-2020

July 2, 2020
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The Membership Committee planned for an exciting and engaging year, with continued focus on supporting strategic outreach with respect to the salary discrimination initiative, creating a plan to fill vacant constituency seats on UTFA’s Council, and engaging our broader membership through a meet-and-greet update initiative.

Salary Discrimination Outreach Campaign
The Membership Committee continued to provide logistical support to UTFA’s Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload, Terezia Zoric, and Council on the salary discrimination project (which includes an Association grievance —see the report of the Vice-President for further information). The first phase of focus group meetings, with female faculty and librarians, took place in June and July 2019 and was highly informative. Between December and March 2020 UTFA continued to collect stories from our members about their experiences in connection with bias and discrimination in compensation at the University of Toronto. Meetings with equity-seeking groups such as Black faculty were especially important for outreach. We look forward to continuing this work.

Representation on the UTFA Council
Last year the Membership Committee committed to creating a plan every year to address filling vacant seats on Council.  The Committee identified five vacancies that it would work toward filling by the end of the 2019–2020 academic year. This effort was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic but we look forward to resuming it when that becomes possible. Representation on Council that demonstrates the diversity of thought, perspectives, and opinions of all constituents strengthens UTFA’s ability to negotiate and speak on behalf of all UTFA members.

The ability of Council representatives to communicate with their constituents was enhanced this year with the creation of a group email address for each constituency for the use of constituency representatives. They had an opportunity to use it to send their constituents a message from the President on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meet-and-greet update meetings
UTFA is a member-driven organization and each member is important to the organization. Accordingly, over the course of the year, Council members began to connect with their constituents to have meet-and-greet update meetings. The objectives of these 15–30 minute meetings are: (1) to acquaint constituents with their Council representative, (2) to share updates with respect to key UTFA initiatives, (3) to encourage community among UTFA members, and (4) and to hear from our members about their unique experiences. Before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, several such meetings took place. Over the coming months the venue for these meetings will have to move online.

The Membership Committee looks forward to building and promoting community within the UTFA membership.

Keith Adamson
Chair, Membership Committee