OCUFA News « WLUFA

Report of the OCUFA Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching Working Group released

February 7th, 2019

The Report of the OCUFA Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching Working Group has now been released. The report may be accessed directly, or via an OCUFA Report Briefing Note or OCUFA’s press release (also reproduced below).

OCUFA report reveals systemic discrimination and harassment in use of university student questionnaires

TORONTO, February 6, 2019 – A new report published by a working group of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations exposes substantial issues with student questionnaires on courses and teaching (SQCTs), including endemic bias and systemic discrimination. These end-of-term student questionnaires are common practice at universities across Canada.

The report finds that student questionnaire scores fail to accurately reflect teaching quality and that their results are not suitable for determining faculty pay, promotion, tenure, or contract renewal. Student questionnaire results are skewed by many factors outside an instructor’s control, including class size, time, subject, and the professor’s race, gender, or accent. Additionally, the report finds that current SQCT practices facilitate the harassment of faculty, compromise educational quality, and are not an appropriate metric for determining university funding levels.

“Faculty understand that student feedback is vital for improving teaching and course development,” said Gyllian Phillips, President of OCUFA. “But, as this report clearly demonstrates, using student questionnaires to evaluate faculty performance is counterproductive and harmful, and it raises serious equity questions. The goal of student questionnaires should be to inform a better understanding of the teaching and learning experience, not to penalize faculty for their class size, instructional innovations, gender, or skin colour.”

The report is one of the most exhaustive of its kind in Canada and examines the methodological, research ethics, and human rights implications of student questionnaires. It finds that:

  • Women, racialized, and LGBTQ2S+ faculty, as well as faculty with disabilities, receive lower scores than their white male colleagues. Using SQCTs to determine pay and promotion risks marginalizing these equity seeking groups even further, impacting their career prospects and limiting academic diversity.
  • It is impossible to adjust SQCT scores to account for their bias.
  • Anonymous SQCT comments are regularly used to target faculty members with abusive, harassing, and harmful comments.
  • Students are not adequately informed about how SQCTs are used, or how their information can be shared.
  • Using SQCT scores to evaluate teaching discourages innovation and undermines student learning.

“Given the serious problems with student questionnaires detailed in this report, it is evident that universities must stop using these questionnaires to make decisions about promotion, tenure, or the reappointment of contract faculty,” said Phillips. “Instead, our universities should invest in more effective and accurate, qualitative methods for evaluating teaching, particularly peer evaluation. The government should abandon any idea of using these flawed metrics to determine university funding levels – research has clearly shown that SQCT metrics not only don’t work, they perpetuate inequity.”

The report proposes several recommendations for refocusing student questionnaires so they can be used to improve student learning and education quality. First and foremost, the report recommends limiting the use of student questionnaires to formative purposes to provide instructors with student feedback on how to improve their teaching and course development. The report also recommends using peer evaluation, where trained faculty members audit classes and evaluate instructors.

Putting these principles into practice will require resources and the willingness of both the provincial government and university administrations to support faculty and students and invest in the effective evaluation of teaching as a vital component of the academic mission.

OCUFA thanks the members of the working group for their hard work in putting together this comprehensive report. The full report can be downloaded here: https://ocufa.on.ca/assets/OCUFA-SQCT-Report.pdf

Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty and academic librarians in 29 faculty associations across Ontario.

–30–

To arrange interviews or for more information, please contact:
Ben Lewis, OCUFA Communications Lead at 416-306-6033 or [email protected]
Michael Conlon, OCUFA Executive Director at 416-306-6030 or [email protected]

 

Other inquiries may be directed to me.

 

Russell Janzen, Senior Research Analyst

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

17 Isabella Street

Toronto, ON     M4Y 1M7

 

Tel: 416-306-6037

416-979-2117 ext. 233

Fax: 416-593-5607

Web: www.ocufa.on.ca

 

This message (email and any attachments or linked material) may contain information that is confidential and/or subject to licensing restrictions. It is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s). If you have received this message in error, please contact me immediately and delete all copies. Thank you.

 

OCUFA statement on the Ontario government’s cancellation of the French-language university

November 30th, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

 

Please find attached OCUFA’s statement (in English and French) regarding the Ontario government’s recent cancellation of the planned French-language university in the province.

 

Also, at the CAUT Council meeting last weekend, a motion was also passed condemning the Ontario government’s decision and a letter sent from CAUT to the Ontario Premier regarding the motion.

 

Best regards,

Mark

——————————————————–

Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D

Executive Director

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

17 Isabella Street

Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 1M7

Tel: 416-979-2117 x229

Fax: 416-593-5607

E-mail: mrosenf[email protected]

Web: www.ocufa.on.ca

www.academicmatters.ca

www.weteachontario.ca

 

Nominations for OCUFA’s 2018 Lorimer Distinguished Service Award for Bargaining – deadline December 08, 2018 – Final Notice

November 9th, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

This is the final notice regarding nominations for OCUFA’s  2018 Lorimer Award. This award recognizes outstanding contributions to improving the terms and conditions of employment of Ontario university faculty through bargaining. It was created by OCUFA in 2009 in honor of Doug and Joyce Lorimer.

Attached to this email, please find promotional flyers in English and French which you can share with your association. Additional information, nomination forms and guidelines can be found at:

http://ocufa.on.ca/awards/lorimer-award-bargaining-award-2/   The nomination deadline is December 7, 2018.

The 2018 Lorimer Award will be presented at the February 9, 2019 awards lunch during the OCUFA Board meeting at the Westin Habour Castle Hotel in Toronto.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,
Mark

——————————————————–
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Executive Director
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
17 Isabella Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 1M7
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Fax: 416-593-5607
E-mail: [email protected]
Web: www.ocufa.on.ca
www.academicmatters.ca
www.weteachontario.ca
Subscribe to the OCUFA Report

 

 

OCUFA response to government announcement tying funding to university speech policies

August 31st, 2018

Dear colleagues,

 

Attached, please find OCUFA’s response to the government’s announcement that they will require universities to adopt and enforce news free speech policies or risk cuts to their operating grants.

 

The government’s announcement can be found here:

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2018/08/ontario-protects-free-speech-on-campuses.html

 

Regards,

 

Ben

 

 

Ben Lewis

Communications Lead

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

416-306-6033

www.ocufa.on.ca

 

OCUFA submission on Bill 148, Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act

July 24th, 2017

Dear colleagues,

 

OCUFA has submitted recommendations on how Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act can be improved. The recommendations focus on delivering fairness for contract faculty, and follow two weeks of public committee hearings at which more than ten faculty associations presented their priorities for improving the bill.

 

OCUFA’s response to Bill 148 focuses on five key areas:

  • Closing gaps in the equal pay for equal work provision
  • Promoting more secure and stable jobs
  • Providing reasonable notice of work
  • Improving options for bargaining unit consolidation
  • Ensuring the right to join a union

 

The full submission is attached and available online here.

 

The committee hearings will wrap up in Toronto tomorrow (Friday, July 21), and any changes to the bill are expected to be finalized in August. The government has signaled that the legislation could be passed as soon as late September, but continued political pressure will be important to ensure positive measures are adopted without delay.

 

In the coming months, OCUFA will continue to work with the Fight for $15 & Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour to support ongoing efforts to improve employment and labour law to bring more fairness for workers across the province.

 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch.

 

Best,

Brynne

 

Brynne Sinclair-Waters

Policy Analyst, Community and Government Relations

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)

Office:  416 979 2117 x230

Cell:  647 226 7184

Email:   [email protected]

 

Ontario government updates framework governing compensation of university executives

July 14th, 2017

Dear Colleagues:

 

We have just posted an update on changes to the Ontario Government’s Executive Compensation Framework – the regulation under which compensation is determined for presidents and executive members in the broader public sector, including universities.

 

This regulation was updated largely in response to the controversy of this past January when it was revealed that colleges proposed they be able to increases their presidents’ salaries by an average of 32% (in many cases by almost $100,000).

 

As part of the Framework, university boards of governors are required to post their proposed executive compensation policies on their websites for public feedback. It is important that faculty associations actively engage in responding to these documents once they are posted. In order to have their compensation programs approved, university administrations are required to collect and submit to the government a summary of the feedback they have received and what, if anything, they have done to address that feedback.

 

As far as we are aware, the University of Windsor is the only university to post their proposal online to date, but if your university has publicized a similar document, please send a link or pdf of the document to [email protected].

 

Regards,

 

Ben

 

 

Ben Lewis

Communications Lead

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations

416-979-2117 x232

www.ocufa.on.ca

 

Tweet and Facebook about contract faculty with the rest of Ontario on March 3rd

March 1st, 2017

On March 3, OCUFA is asking faculty, students, staff, and supporters across Ontario to engage in a day of action on social media to raise awareness about the need for fairness for contract faculty. This initiative is a project of their Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee, and will build on the momentum generated during last fall’s Fair Employment Week.

Throughout the day, university community members are invited to send their Boards of Governors a message about their priorities for the institution, including improved contract faculty working conditions and the quality of education offered to students. To our knowledge, Laurier’s Board of Governors, its chair, and Dr. Blouw do not have Twitter accounts but Laurier does and Board members are bound to notice.

Here are a few sample tweets:

Hey @Laurier BoG: #OurUniversity should be a model employer but #contractfaculty work without job security! #Fairness4CF #CdnPSE

Hey @Laurier BoG: #OurUniversity should be supporting its #contractfaculty #teachers, not just the top tier admin. #Fairness4CF #CdnPSE

Hey @Laurier BoG: #OurUniversity should respect #contractfaculty! Equal pay for equal work. #Fairness4CF #15andFairness

And, a sample Facebook post:

It’s time for fairness for #contractfaculty at @WilfridLaurierUniversity! Contract faculty deserve equal pay for work of equal value, job security, and access to benefits. #OurUniversity #Fairness4CF #CdnPSE

…or post something else you think would be supportive and raise awareness! Below you’ll find some graphics that can be included with your tweets and Facebook posts.

All Ontario universities are invited to participate. If you’d like more information, contact OCUFA’s Engagement and Campaigns Coordinator, Andrea Calver, at [email protected], or Communications Lead, Ben Lewis, at [email protected].

Others who want to join in should make sure they use the hashtags #OurUniversity or #OurCollege, and #Fairness4CF.

 

respect fair-pay working-conditions