2011 « WLUFA

No quick fix for universities

November 15th, 2011

Dear Colleagues;

Constance Adamson, OCUFA President, has an Op-Ed in today’s Toronto Star, both print and online. The article takes issue with recent comments that the decline in teaching quality is the fault of professors. The full text is attached below, and the original can be viewed at: http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/1086896–no-quick-fix-for-universities

Please distribute to anyone who may be interested.

Best Regards,
Graeme

Graeme Stewart
Communication and Government Relations Manager
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
300-83 Yonge St. ~ Toronto, ON ~ M5C 1S8
416 979 2117 x232 (Office) | 647 280 3175 (Mobile)

gstewart@ocufa.on.ca | www.ocufa.on.ca | www.twitter.com/ocufa

Back to No quick fix for universities
No quick fix for universities

November 14, 2011

Constance Adamson

Among Ontario’s thousands of professors and academic librarians, there are scholars who specialize in irony.

We are grateful for their expertise; at times like these, their guidance is sorely needed. For it is certainly a sublime irony that, after decades of sounding the alarm bell over declining quality at our universities, university faculty are now being singled out as the cause of this decline.

A small coterie of columnists and pundits are convinced that professors are to blame for a disappointing undergraduate experience. They claim we spend too little time teaching. We focus too much on research, they say. As a result, class sizes are getting bigger, universities are turning to part-time faculty to teach, and students can’t engage with their instructors.

The critics are right about the consequences, but wrong about the cause. We need to get serious about the reasons why quality is threatened at our universities. Like most things, it comes down to money. The amount of per-student funding provided to universities by the government of Ontario has declined by 25 per cent since 1990, adjusted for inflation. Since 2001, enrolment has increased by 60 per cent. Think about what that means: universities are trying to accommodate significantly more students while receiving significantly less funding for each of those students. It doesn’t take a mathematician to realize this is a bad equation for the quality of higher education in Ontario.

The decline in per-student funding has had a variety of negative effects. Universities have simply been unable to hire enough full-time professors to meet the rise in student demand. Our student-to-faculty ratio is now 27-to-1, the worst in Canada. In 1990, it was 18-to-1. So let’s be clear: the problem is not that faculty are not teaching enough. It’s that they cannot possibly teach enough to compensate for the acute shortage of faculty in the university system. We simply need more professors.

True, research does take up a lot of time for most full-time faculty in the university system. But this is a matter of survival. Ontario’s underfunded universities have become exceptionally good at chasing dollars. It just so happens that a lot of new dollars – particularly those from the federal government – are for research. The government of Ontario has also emphasized research and commercialization through their funding policies. No surprise then that the entire reward and career advancement structure at our universities has become research focused. Many professors would like to spend more time teaching, but find the current system filled with too many disincentives.

To address this problem, critics offer the bromide of “teaching-only” professors or “teaching only” institutions. This, they claim, will allow us to teach more students without making additional public investments. Giving faculty the option to focus on teaching is not necessarily a bad idea. But let’s be clear: teaching-focused professors should not be seen as a way to deliver university education on the cheap. To be successful, our universities must always be adequately funded. And we have to recognize that scholarship is an important part of being a professor, and an important part of a university education.

Scholarship – which I define as the creation of new knowledge, the critical analysis of existing knowledge, and the communication of these insights – is central to the university. The teaching and scholarship equation is not zero-sum. Teaching is scholarship, and the two are inextricably linked. The critics will point to research that says being a good researcher does not make you a good teacher. This misses the point. You simply cannot have university-level teaching without the kind of intellectual inquiry that scholars are trained to do. If you remove scholarship from the professoriate or from our universities, you are no longer giving students the education they expect.

The critics of Ontario’s professors and academic librarians need to get real about what ails our university system. Right now, they’re only advocating for a system that offers more teaching. Meanwhile, faculty are talking about what they have always been talking about: a system that does more and better teaching. Surely our students deserve nothing less.

Constance Adamson is president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations.

Library and Archives Canada Under Threat

November 10th, 2011

La version française suit

Please forward widely!

Friends and Colleagues,

Library and Archives Canada (LAC), the federal institution responsible for preserving Canada’s history and cultural heritage, is under threat. Badly conceived restructuring, a redefinition of its mandate, and financial cutbacks are undermining LAC’s ability to acquire, preserve and make publicly available Canada’s full documentary heritage.

Click here to send a letter to the Federal government to Save Library and Archives Canada.

Circulate this email to your networks to help take action to save this vital national institution.

Join our facebook event for updates on the campaign.

_____________________________________________________________________________

Réexpédier ce message au plus grand nombre de personnes possible!

Chers amis et collègues,

Bibliothèque et Archives Canada (BAC), l’institution fédérale responsable de la conservation du patrimoine historique et culturel du Canada, est menacé. Une restructuration mal conçue, la refonte de son mandat et des restrictions budgétaires affaiblissent la possibilité donnée à BAC d’acquérir, de préserver et de mettre à la disposition du public le patrimoine documentaire intégral du Canada.

Cliquez ici pour faire parvenir au gouvernement fédéral une lettre l’incitant à sauver Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.

Faites circuler ce courriel dans vos réseaux : ainsi d’autres personnes agiront sauver cette institution nationale indispensable.

Pour prendre connaissance des dernières nouvelles sur la campagne, consultez la section Événements publics de notre page Facebook.

James L. Turk

Executive Director/Directeur général

Canadian Association of University Teachers/

Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université

2705, promenade Queensview Drive

Ottawa (Ontario) K2B 8K2

Tel/Tél: 613-726-5176

Mobile: 613-277-0488

Fax/Téléc: 613-820-7244

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jameslturk

CAUT to Yamamoto re Bill 18 (2011-11-08)

November 10th, 2011

The Government of British Columbia has introduced legislation that would prohibit any faculty association executive member from being the elected faculty representative on the board of a university, college or institute. Attached is CAUT to Yamamoto re Bill 18 (2011-11-08) protesting this proposed legislation.

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Le gouvernement de la Colombie-Britannique a déposé un projet de loi qui interdirait à tous les membres de la direction des associations de personnel académique de siéger à titre de représentant élu du personnel au conseil d’administration d’une université, d’un collège ou d’un institut. Vous trouverez ci-jointe la lettre que l’ACPPU a adressée à la ministre pour protester contre ce projet de loi.

James L. Turk

Executive Director/Directeur général

Canadian Association of University Teachers/

Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université

2705, promenade Queensview Drive

Ottawa (Ontario) K2B 8K2

Tel/Tél: 613-726-5176

Mobile: 613-277-0488

Fax/Téléc: 613-820-7244

Twitter: http://twitter.com/jameslturk

CAUT responds to AUCC’s new academic freedom statement

November 9th, 2011

CAUT responds to AUCC’s new academic freedom statement

In an open letter) to the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, CAUT raises serious concerns about the organization’s revised statement on academic freedom issued in October 2011 on the of AUCC’s 100th Anniversary.

The 2011 AUCC Statement on Academic Freedom is the first change to its position on academic freedom since 1988. CAUT’s open letter is highly critical noting “There is a certain perverse irony that AUCC chose its 100th Anniversary to attempt to undo many of the advances that have been achieved in the understanding of academic freedom over the past 100 years.”

CAUT to AUCC re Academic Freedom (2011-11-04)

Réponse de l’ACPPU à la nouvelle Déclaration de l’AUCC sur la liberté universitaire

Dans une lettre ouverte destinée à l’Association des universités et collèges du Canada (AUCC), l’Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université (ACPPU) se dit fortement préoccupée par la nouvelle version de la Déclaration sur la liberté universitaire que l’AUCC a rendue publique en octobre 2011 à l’occasion de la commémoration de son centenaire.

Dans ce texte, l’AUCC modifie, pour la première fois depuis 1988, sa position sur cette question. L’ACPPU, quant à elle, se montre très critique dans sa lettre ouverte et y mentionne ce qui suit : « En effet, nous voyons une ironie malsaine dans le fait que votre Association choisisse précisément la commémoration de son centenaire pour aller à l’encontre de nombreux progrès qui ont été réalisés dans l’interprétation de la liberté universitaire au cours des 100 dernières années. »

CAUT to AUCC re Academic Freedom (2011-11-04)- fr

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Canadian Association of University Teachers / Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université / 2705 promenade Queensview Drive, Ottawa, (Ontario) K2B 8K2

James L. Turk, Executive Director / Directeur Général

tel: (613) 726-5176

fax/téléc: (613) 820-7244

mobile (613) 277-0488

turk@caut.ca

http://twitter.com/jameslturk

Library and Archives Canada

November 3rd, 2011

For immediate release

Canadian Association of University Teachers launches campaign to

Save Library and Archives Canada

(OTTAWA: November 2, 2011) – The Canadian Association of University Teachers today unveiled a national campaign to protect Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

The “Save Library and Archives Canada” is being launched by CAUT in response to funding cuts and internal managerial decisions that are threatening the quality and integrity of Canada’s only national public library and archives.

“Badly conceived restructuring, a narrowing of its mandate, and financial cutbacks are undermining LAC’s ability to acquire, preserve and make publicly available Canada’s full documentary heritage,” James L. Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers said at a news conference in Ottawa today.

These changes, Turk added, have already led to a reduction in the number of specialist archivists and librarians, reduced public access and services, and the loss of rare and important materials.

Liam McGahern, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers of Canada, said a growing number of Canadian materials are not being collected by LAC because of reduced funding and a change in its acquisitions policy.

“Canadians recently lost a unique and irreplaceable set of journals chronicling late 19th Century stories of settlers and First Nations people of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Labrador Coast. This is just one of many examples,” McGahern explained. “Rare military documents, sheet music, and literature that would otherwise have gone to Library and Archives Canada are quietly all slipping away.”

CAUT is calling on the federal government to amend the LAC Act to ensure its mandate includes developing a comprehensive, not selective, collection of Canadian material.

“Our nation’s artistic, historical, and cultural heritage is at stake,” said Turk. “Genealogists, historians, researchers, graduate students, Aboriginal communities, and the general public are all affected by what is happening at LAC.”

The Canadian Association of University Teachers is the national voice of 66,000 academic and general staff at 120 universities and colleges across the country.

More information on the campaign can be found at www.savelibraryarchivescanada.ca.

Contact:

Angela Regnier, Communications Officer, 613-726-5186 (O); 613-601-6304 (cell);

regnier@caut.ca (email)

Diffusion immédiate

L’Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université lance une campagne en vue de sauver Bibliothèque et Archives Canada

(OTTAWA, le 2 novembre 2011) – L’Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université a dévoilé aujourd’hui une campagne nationale en vue de protéger Bibliothèque et Archives Canada (BAC).

L’ACPPU lance la campagne « Sauvons Bibliothèque et Archives Canada » en raison des réductions apportées au financement de BAC et des décisions administratives internes prises, qui menacent la qualité et l’intégrité de l’unique bibliothèque et des seules archives publiques du pays.

« Une restructuration mal conçue, le rétrécissement de son mandat et des restrictions budgétaires affaiblissent la possibilité donnée à BAC d’acquérir, de préserver et de mettre à la disposition du public le patrimoine documentaire intégral du Canada », a déclaré James L. Turk, directeur général de l’Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université lors d’une conférence de presse à Ottawa aujourd’hui.

M. Turk a ajouté que ces changements avaient déjà entraîné une réduction du nombre d’archivistes spécialistes et de bibliothécaires, une diminution de l’accès et des services assurés au public et la perte de documents rares et importants.

Liam McGahern, président de l’Association de la librairie ancienne du Canada, a fait valoir qu’un nombre croissant de documents canadiens n’étaient plus collectionnés par BAC en raison des compressions budgétaires et d’un changement apporté à sa politique d’acquisitions.

« Les Canadiennes et Canadiens ont récemment perdu une série unique et irremplaçable de journaux retraçant l’histoire des pionniers et des peuples des Premières nations du golfe du Saint-Laurent et de la côte du Labrador de la fin du XIXe siècle. Ce n’est qu’un exemple parmi de nombreux autres », a expliqué M. McGahern. « Des documents militaires rares, des partitions et des œuvres qui, en d’autres circonstances, auraient été acquis par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, disparaissent subrepticement ».

L’ACPPU exhorte le gouvernement fédéral à modifier la LBAC pour faire en sorte que BAC ait pour mandat de monter une collection complète et non sélective de documents canadiens.

« C’est le patrimoine artistique, historique et culturel de notre pays qui est en jeu », a repris M. Turk. « Les généalogistes, les historiens, les chercheurs, les étudiants de troisième cycle, les collectivités autochtones et le grand public sont tous touchés par ce qui se produit à BAC ».

L’Association canadienne des professeures et professeurs d’université est le porte-parole national de 66 000 membres du corps professoral et autres répartis dans 120 universités et collèges du Canada.

Pour obtenir de plus amples détails sur cette campagne, veuillez consulter www.sauvonsbibliothèqueetarchivescanada.ca.

Personne-ressource :

Angela Regnier, agente des communications, 613-726-5186 (bureau); 613-601-6304 (tél. cellulaire); regnier@caut.ca (courriel)

Save NSCAD!

November 3rd, 2011

Emergency! We need to Save NSCAD!

Howard Windsor, a former Policy Analyst with Labour and Advanced Education for the province of Nova Scotia, has been appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education to examine the future of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD). He has carte blanche to consider any reorganization imaginable, including eliminating programs, the forced merger of programs with other institutions and/or the complete disappearance of NSCAD as an independent university.

NSCAD Faculty and Staff Unions are in the middle of negotiations which have stalled and are fast approaching strike deadlines. Negotiations have been complicated by the instability introduced by the provincial review. Our colleagues in Nova Scotia need us and all of us need an independent NSCAD, the only full-service art and design university east of Ontario.

Please take a moment to sign the petition found here: http://www.change.org/petitions/keep-nscad-university-intact-and-independent

In sol,
Leslie Jermyn, CUPE 3902
University of Toronto

Status of Women Committee Award of Distinction

October 25th, 2011
Good Afternoon,
OCUFA has forwarded the Status of Women Committee Award of Distinction details as attached.  The deadline for nominations is May 25, 2012. Nominators must be members of an OCUFA-affiliated faculty association. For nomination information, please see www.ocufa.on.ca, “Awards” section.
Send nominations to the Chair,
OCUFA Status of Women Committee,
c/o OCUFA, 83 Yonge Street, Suite 300,
Toronto, ON M5C 1S8.

WomenDistinctionAdFINAL

WomenOfDistinctionAd_French

New Website devoted to the Women’s Faculty Colleagues

October 18th, 2011

Hi everyone,

On behalf of Rebecca Godderis at Brantford and myself, I am writing to announce the new website devoted to the Women’s Faculty Colleagues on both campuses: http://www.wlu.ca/homepage.php?grp_id=12921 (it can also be found under “Resources” on the Laurier homepage) The website is designed to offer information about the role and responsibilties of the WFC and as a way to keep track of events on both campuses. Eventually we will include documents relevant to the issues concerning us all. We hope you will enjoy some of the images from the archives! If you hit ‘refresh’ or ‘reload’ on your browser, you can move through the selection of images. We would like to thank Grace McLure, our student assistant, who has created the website.

We look forward to hearing from you,

Maria

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Maria DiCenzo
Associate Professor
Department of English and Film Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3C5
(519) 884-0710 ext 3985

Letter to the Editor from OCUFA President Constance Adamson

October 12th, 2011

Good Afternoon;

Please find attached (below) a letter to the editor from OCUFA President Constance Adamson regarding an editorial published in today’s Globe & Mail, “Canadian Universities Must Reform or Perish”. The editorial can be found at:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/canadian-universities-must-reform-or-perish/article2195025/

This letter has been submitted to the Editors of the Globe as of this afternoon. If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,
Graeme

Graeme Stewart
Communication and Government Relations Manager
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
300-83 Yonge St. ~ Toronto, ON ~ M5C 1S8
416 979 2117 x232 (Office) | 647 280 3175 (Mobile)
gstewart@ocufa.on.ca | www.ocufa.on.ca | www.twitter.com/ocufa

Constance Adamson
President
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
300-83 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M5C 1S8

Dear Editor;

Your editorial “Canadian Universities Must Reform or Perish” (October 11, 2011) is correct about one thing: there are serious challenges facing undergraduate education in Ontario and Canada, and these challenges need to be addressed in order to preserve the quality of education at our universities. Huge classes and high student-to-faculty ratios do not make for an excellent student experience.

No question, reform is needed. But we must be very careful about which vision of reform we embrace.

Your editorial suggests that the primary purpose of a university education is job training. This is not a view embraced by Ontario’s professors and academic librarians. Education is, as it has always been, about human development. Universities provide an education; people get jobs. Transposing this relationship distorts the purpose of our institutions, and leads to a variety of incorrect conclusions.

While I do not have the space to enumerate all of the errors and misconceptions in your editorial, I do wish to take issue with one particularly harmful one: the idea that the lack of teaching or over-emphasis on research is somehow the fault of faculty themselves, or odder still, the salary they receive. Ontario’s professors and academic librarians are passionate defenders of the quality of higher education in our province. The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario – an organization you are fond of quoting – noted in a 2010 report that 96 per cent of Ontario’s faculty view teaching as “important or very important to their professional practice.” The same report found that over three quarters of faculty surveyed were active users of their campus teaching development centre. However, only 46 per cent of faculty felt their university supported their development as teachers. If there is a problem with undergraduate teaching in Ontario, the fault does not lie with the professors themselves.

The simple fact is that, in an under-funded university system faced with perpetual enrolment growth, Ontario’s professors face serious barriers to providing a quality student experience. No matter the technology used or the strategies employed, a student in a 500 person class will not receive the same experience as a student in a class of 30. Until we get serious about hiring more full-time faculty, we won’t be able to improve the student experience.

Finally, I would caution those who are quick to blame faculty but last to ask for their input. Professors and academic librarians make their careers on being thoughtful and well-informed. Strange, then, that the mandarins who rush to press with prescriptions for the university system are so loathe to consult with faculty in the first place. If university administrators and government are serious about reform, then they must make a concerted attempt to engage faculty in the process. They may end up being surprised with the kind of meaningful reform that results.

Yours sincerely,

Constance Adamson
President, OCUFA

Andrew Street Family Health Centre

October 11th, 2011

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