Report of the Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee, 2014–2015

April 15, 2015
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This has been an exciting year for full-time members of the teaching stream. The successful completion of the SJAC negotiations has brought about very positive changes for them. As Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee I joined the SJAC team in the final days of negotiation of the tentative agreement between UTFA and Governing Council in December 2014, and I was present at the Governing Council meeting on February 26, 2015, when the changes were approved in principle by a unanimous vote.

The December 2, 2014, tentative agreement is posted on the UTFA website.

One momentous policy change concerns rank and title (Item 14). Full-time members of the Teaching Stream may soon elect to use new professorial titles. The title Lecturer will become Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, and Senior Lecturer will become Associate Professor, Teaching Stream. In today’s academic context, these new titles reflect more accurately the contributions and status of members of the Teaching Stream. A new rank, Professor, Teaching Stream, will be attainable through a review process that will be negotiated in the coming months. An SJAC Teaching Stream negotiating team is currently working on a proposal based on Item 15 in the December 2 agreement: “Promotion shall be based on excellent teaching, educational leadership and/or achievements, and ongoing pedagogical/professional development, sustained over many years.” On February 3, UTFA held a consultation on the St. George Campus with teaching stream faculty from across the disciplines. This successful event provided the SJAC team with useful feedback to use in its proposals on promotion to full professor in the teaching stream. UTFA is planning similar consultations at UTM and UTSC this spring. 

Other welcome changes are security of the initial appointment (Item 4), an interim review akin to that in the tenure stream (Items 5 and 6), and recognition of “discipline-based scholarship in relation to, or relevant to, the field in which the faculty member teaches” (Item 12). This latter change will allow members of the teaching stream to be rewarded for scholarly activities in a discipline rather than restricting them to pedagogy.

Both the teaching stream and the tenure stream will be on a six-year clock. After successful completion of the probationary review, the new policy will allow teaching stream faculty one academic term of reduced teaching to let them prepare for the continuing status review (Items 8–10). 

The Standard for Probationary Review, the Continuing Status Review Process, and the Performance Standard (Items 7, 11, and 12) strengthen and clarify the methods and standards by which members of the Teaching Stream will be assessed and promoted by unifying practices across units and disciplines.

Replies to the most frequently asked questions about the implementation of these changes are posted on the UTFA website.

These positive results for the Teaching Stream have been achieved through the hard work and dedication of several UTFA members. Special thanks go to Cynthia Messenger, Vice-President Grievances and Chair, SJAC Teaching Stream Subcommittee, a tireless long-time advocate for the Teaching Stream. Let me also thank everyone else who served on the subcommittee from its early to most recent versions: Connie Guberman, Brock MacDonald, Jun Nogami, Terezia Zoric, and Scott Prudham. The subcommittee has been ably assisted throughout its work by Alison Warrian, UTFA’s General Counsel.

The Teaching Stream Committee has also discussed other issues this year, including the creation of the University of Toronto Early Career Teaching Award, for which members of the Teaching Stream are eligible, and the University of Toronto Teaching Fellowships, which are restricted to the Teaching Stream; the evaluation of teaching, through student evaluation and other means; and critical workload issues. 

Teaching Stream Promotion Workshop

UTFA will host a workshop to assist Teaching Stream faculty preparing for the promotion process. It will be held on Friday, May 1, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., in Room 205 of the Claude T. Bissell Building and will be followed by lunch. All members of the Teaching Stream are welcome to attend. To register, please email before April 28.

I want to express my appreciation to the members of the Teaching Stream Committee this year: Michael Attridge, Alistair Dias, Kristie Dukewich, Connie Guberman, Azita Hojatollah Taleghani, Jody Macdonald, Brock MacDonald, Teresa Lobalsamo, Cynthia Messenger, Judith Poë, Margaret Procter, Scott Prudham, Harriet Sonne de Torrens, and Terezia Zoric.

Claude Evans
Chair, Teaching Stream Committee