Over the last year, the Membership Committee had to find ways to connect meaningfully with UTFA members other than face-to-face contact. The Committee is responsible for promoting members’ engagement with, and participation in, UTFA. The informed engagement of faculty and librarians has been integral to UTFA’s success in our negotiations with U of T Administration.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Membership Committee has sought new ways to engage with our members. One initiative involved showing Committee members how to organize and engage virtually through the CAUT Online Organizing School. In a joint effort involving leadership by UTFA President Terezia Zorić and Executive Director Kathy Johnson, the Membership Committee also organized a well-received virtual orientation for new members on UTFA Council.
CAUT Online Organizing School—Engaging & Mobilizing
Since public health protocols restricted in-person activity on campus, faculty associations across the country have had to think about new strategies for communicating and engaging with members. CAUT delivered an engaging workshop that provided education and guidance to faculty associations on how to build the political power necessary to defend publicly funded post-secondary education; protect members’ health and safety, jobs, and professional rights; and demand a fair negotiation process with university administrations. Committee members who participated in the training appreciated learning new organizing skills. We intend to extend an invitation to participate in a customized version of the workshop to the whole Membership Committee and UTFA Council in the next academic year.
New UTFA Council Member Orientation
Over the past year, the Membership Committee developed a 90-minute orientation workshop for new members of UTFA Council. We created the workshop to address several objectives, including:
- To ensure that each new Council member was appropriately greeted into the Council structure and oriented to how Council is situated within the broader context of UTFA’s Constitution and Bylaws ;
- To discuss the roles and responsibilities of our membership, UTFA Standing Committee members, Council representatives, and the Executive Committee; and
- To ensure that new members had an opportunity to have a dialogue with the facilitators (Terezia Zorić and Keith Adamson) to be able to successfully take on their new roles at UTFA.
The workshops were well attended, and it was noted that considerably more new members had been recruited onto Council this year than in previous years. We are excited to continue to work with Council to ensure a vibrant and engaged membership.
As Chair, I want to thank the members of the Committee for their support and contributions to our collective reflections and work this year.
Chair, Membership Committee