Many of the challenges that faculty in the Teaching Stream have been experiencing are described in detail above. The stream has been greatly impacted by the pivot to online teaching and by recent proposed requirements for synchronous and asynchronous learning. These pandemic-related challenges have exacerbated prior problems related to uneven and inequitable working conditions within the Teaching Stream. In particular, the lack of meaningful minimum protections against overwork and inconsistency across the University with regard to teaching assignments have produced severely inequitable teaching loads. Many Teaching Stream faculty are currently being tasked with onerous—if not exploitative—workloads and talk of burn-out is commonplace in the stream.
The Teaching Stream Committee has had wide-ranging discussions this past year on many aspects of work within the stream.
In particular, the Committee worked to plot trajectories for advocacy in the following areas:
- Mental Health: Mental health is a framing issue for UTFA during bargaining, in terms of benefits as well as considerations of mental health as it relates to workload and the additional pressures brought on by the pandemic.
- Support for Pedagogical and Discipline-based Scholarship and Creative Professional Activities: There are many significant impediments within policies and practices at the University that curtail the ability of Teaching Stream faculty to pursue research, scholarship, and creative professional activities, even though these are key vehicles for demonstrating educational leadership, achievement, and ongoing pedagogical/professional development for promotion. The Committee plans to release a report on this issue soon and will be organizing advocacy plans to work toward improved supports for scholarly activities in the Teaching Stream.
- Equity: There are ongoing concerns about equity within the Teaching Stream and in the University’s broader academic landscape. Equity issues feature in the ongoing negotiations and discussions with senior Administration about workload, including work on salary inequities.
It has been a pleasure to serve as Chair of the Teaching Stream Committee for the last two years and I wish the next Chair and Committee all the best in addressing these and other important issues with regard to the working conditions of faculty in the Teaching Stream.
David J. Roberts
Chair, Teaching Stream Committee