At the February 7-8, 2015 OCUFA Board meeting, it was noted that a short article discussing the deliberations at the Board meeting would be written for those who wanted to include it in their faculty association newsletters or in other forms of communication with their members. Below is the article that has been written, which also appeared in the OCUFA Report today (March 4, 2015).
Please feel free to reprint all or part of the article in your communication with your association’s members.
Mark Rosenfeld, Ph.D
Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations
17 Isabella Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y 1M7
Tel: 416-979-2117 x229
Moving OCUFA’s priorities forward: OCUFA’s February Board meeting
On February 7th and 8th, 2015, OCUFA held the 145th meeting of its Board of Directors. At the previous meeting in October, OCUFA approved its priorities for the year: contract faculty and faculty complement; online learning; and university pension plans. The February meeting was all about ensuring that these priorities continue to move forward.
On the contract faculty/faculty complement front, a special panel session was held with contract and full-time faculty leaders from across the province. The panel, moderated by OCUFA Vice-President Judy Bates (Wilfrid Laurier) feature Jim Gerlach and Herbert Pimlott (also from Laurier) and Alison Hearn, President of UWOFA. The panel outlined the scope of the challenges currently faced by contract faculty, and concluded with a call for greater solidarity between full- and part-time faculty to achieve common goals- the preservation of the academic profession and the provision of high-quality university education.
Directors were also briefed on the We Teach Ontario initiative, a campaign designed to highlight the work of contract faculty and the challenges they face. This campaign launched on Feb. 25, 2015, and can be accessed at www.weteachontario.ca.
The discussion on online education centred on the lack of faculty representation on the Ontario Online Learning Consortium (OOLC) Board of Directors. The OOLC was created by the Government of Ontario to increase online learning options in Ontario and is being run primarily by Colleges Ontario and the Council of Ontario Universities. The Board is currently top-heavy with administrators, and OCUFA’s position is that a faculty leader – with experience in online learning, policy development, and collective bargaining – should be given a seat in order to ensure the faculty perspective is heard. A draft letter calling for faculty representation will be prepared by OCUFA staff and circulated to member faculty associations. OCUFA will coordinate the letter-writing campaign.
As many of you know, OCUFA has been leading a project to examine the feasibility and advisability of creating a jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) for member faculty associations looking for new pension options. Directors were briefed on the progress of the project, which will be making recommendations in the summer of 2015. A good discussion was also held at the Board meeting about the potential benefits and drawbacks of the project. As a result of the discussion, a group was created to look more closely at the government’s proposed pension regulations. More information on the pension project can be found at www.ocufapensionreview.ca.
The 145th Board meeting was also an opportunity to recognize several individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the lives of professors and academic librarians in Ontario. At a special luncheon, winners of OCUFA’s Status of Women Award of Distinction and Lorimer Award for Collective Bargaining were presented. The Award of Distinction winners are: Sandra Acker (University of Toronto); Melanie Campbell (University of Waterloo); Kathryn Church (Ryerson University); Haideh Moghissi (York University); and Marcia Rioux (York University). Winners of the Lorimer award are: Sheila McKee-Protopapas (Wilfrid Laurier University) and Edward Carter (University of Guelph).
The next OCUFA Board of Directors meeting will be held on May 9, 2015