Report of the Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee, 2015–2016

April 26, 2016
Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Momentous changes have happened this year for full-time members of the Teaching Stream: Senior Lecturers and Lecturers have had the opportunity to elect to change their titles to Associate Professor, Teaching Stream and Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream. Negotiations are ongoing regarding policy language prescribing the process for promotion to Professor, Teaching Stream.

Significant improvements have also been made in the area of compensation for the Teaching Stream (see Memorandum of Settlement Between the Governing Council of the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Faculty Association). Section 7 of the University of Toronto Workload Policy and Procedures For Faculty and Librarians (WLPP), revised as of October, 2015, is directed at Teaching Stream faculty. The document includes the following: “While… duties may vary from individual to individual, these duties, namely: Teaching and related Administrative Responsibilities; Scholarship, and Service, constitute the principal obligations of faculty members in the Teaching Stream.” Section 7.2 defines scholarship for teaching stream faculty as “any combination of discipline-based scholarship in relation to or relevant to the field in which the faculty member teaches, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and creative/professional activities.” Consequently, Teaching Stream faculty must have reasonable time in their schedule to allow for pedagogical/professional development. For additional information and advice please consult UTFA’s WLPP Guidance for Teaching Stream. We have achieved important gains on behalf of the Teaching Stream. I would like to express heartfelt gratitude to the members of UTFA’s bargaining team. 

As Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee I organized and hosted a Workshop on Promotion in the Teaching Stream which took place on May 1, 2015. Twenty-nine members registered including at least two Senior Lecturers. The aim of the workshop was to assist Teaching Stream faculty members preparing for the promotion process. There were presentations by Megan Burnett and Pam Gravestock, Center for Teaching Support & Innovation; Alison Warrian, General Counsel, UTFA; and Cynthia Messenger, Vice-President, Grievances. Azita Taleghani (Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations, UTSG and Language Studies, UTM) and Alistair Dias (Human Biology, UTSG) spoke about their recent experiences with promotion. A similar workshop, “Promotion to Continuing Status for the Teaching Stream”, is planned for Friday, April 15, 2016, 8:30am–12:00pm in room 1200, Bahen Centre. 

Because of rising concerns about student evaluations which can affect PTR and promotion, I have organized and will host an UTFA-sponsored event, Evaluating Effective Teaching: Problems & Possibilities, taking place on Thursday, April 28, 8:30am–1:00pm. Lunch will follow. The venue is Room 108, Koffler House, 569 Spadina Crescent. The full program can be accessed at The keynote speaker is Richard Freishtat, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning, University of California, Berkeley. Dr Freishtat has done extensive research on student evaluations. In particular, he co-authored, with statistician Philip B. Stark, the article An Evaluation of Evaluations which puts into question the validity of the averaging of scores based on student evaluation results. Because of this publication, Berkeley’s Senate has changed its teaching evaluation policy on campus. Dr. Freishtat will speak on Opportunity out of Scrutiny: a Model for Improving (the Evaluation of) Teaching. The parentheses in the title around “the evaluation of” indicate that he plans to discuss the nexus between evaluating teaching and improving teaching. There will also be three local speakers: Emma Phillips from Goldblatt Partners; Katherine Rehner, UTM, OISE; and Cynthia Messenger, Vice-President, Grievances. To register, please email before noon on Monday, April 25.

In conclusion, I want to express my appreciation to the members of the Teaching Stream Committee this year.

Claude Evans
Chair, Teaching Stream Committee