2019 « WLUFA

AGM 2019: Members Approve Interim Dues Increase to Bolster Association Reserves

April 17th, 2019

The WLUFA AGM held on April 16 saw a large majority of members voting in favour of a dues increase from the current 0.95% to 1.1%, beginning on this coming July 1. The increase will be an interim measure, put in place to increase Association reserves to $1.5 million (in 2019 dollars) over the next few years.

As was made clear to the members attending the AGM, once that target is met, dues will be returned to the current 0.95% rate as of the July 1 following the meeting of the threshold.

David Monod, President of WLUFA, explained that increased demands for member services related to grievances and internal disputes, as well as the legal fees that accompany these, and the increased need for – and rising cost of – mediation and arbitration are some of the key factors affecting the need to strengthen WLUFA’s financial foundations.

Additionally, Monod noted the effect of a current political climate that may make future bargaining of collective agreements more contentious than it has been in the past. In Monod’s words, “the best way to prevent a labour stoppage is to demonstrate to our employer that we are strong enough and united enough to sustain one”.

WLUFA Treasurer, Jim Gerlach, presented information on dues paid province-wide by other faculty associations and assured the membership that WLUFA – even with the interim increase – is still well within the provincial norm.

OCUFA Budget 2019 review-follow up

April 16th, 2019

Sent on behalf of OCUFA Executive Director, Michael Conlon:

 

Dear colleagues,

 

Following our review of the budget document on Friday, we have been further looking into the details of the different provisions and changes in the Ontario budget bill. We have identified a new amendment to the Ministry of Training, Education and Universities Act in the budget bill which proposes the addition of a new and problematic section to the Act, allowing the Minister to make regulations governing the “reduction, limitation and alteration of compensation due to certain individuals” – these individuals being defined as employees older than 65 who are eligible to collect a pension.

 

This is of course in line with what we had heard from the Ministry in February regarding their interest in a policy that would address the matter of individuals working past the age 65 and collecting pension while employed. While the language in the budget document itself is pretty vague on the government’s plan, the budget bill (the extended piece of legislation) includes more detailed language.

 

We have attached the proposed language of the bill to this email for your information (www.ocufa.on.caBudget bill- MTCU act). OCUFA is currently actively working with different partners and seeking legal opinion on how best to respond to this new provision. We will keep you all updated as more information becomes available to us.

 

Regards,

 

Michael Conlon, 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: mconlon @ocufa.on.ca

Web: www.ocufa.on.ca

www.academicmatters.ca

www.weteachontario.ca

Mina Rajabi Paak

Policy Analyst, Community and Government Relations

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA)

Tel: (416) 979 2117 X 223

Direct Tel: (416) 306 6032

Cell:  647 546 2523

Email:   mrajabi @ocufa.on.ca

 

Ontario university strategic mandate agreements: a train wreck waiting to happen

April 12th, 2019

Ontario university strategic mandate agreements: a train wreck waiting to happen

 

The Bombshell in the Ontario Budget

April 12th, 2019

 

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The Bombshell in the Ontario Budget

 

April 12th, 2019 – Alex Usher

 

 

Morning all.

 

Yesterday at Queen’s Park, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli brought in the Ontario Conservatives’ first budget of their new mandate.  There were cuts of various sorts, particularly in social services, but in many ways it was gentler than people expected: the plan involves getting the budget to balance in five years, which frankly is what the Liberals probably would have done anyway (though they wouldn’t have got there exclusively by reducing the spend side). It’s not even a strict zero-growth strategy – though some expenditures are being cut for fiscal 19-20, heath, education and post-secondary are all expected to grow at least a tiny bit in the coming years (albeit in nominal terms, not real ones).

 

There were six major points of note for the post-secondary sector.

 

First, we finally found out the aggregate size of the OSAP cuts for next year, something the government resolutely refused to do back in January: it’s $671 million from projected 18-19 levels (though only $428 million from budgeted 18-19 levels because program costs were, as the government said a few months ago, running well ahead of expectation).

 

Second, the government is promising to bring in measures to “improve faculty renewal” at universities, which basically means “we’d like to stop faculty over the age of 71, who are required by law to start drawing down their pensions, to ALSO stop drawing a full goddamn salary for a workload which is often significantly lighter than what the early career folks have.” I am not sure about the legalities of this – double-dipping is certainly annoying, but it would seem quite difficult to stop without the legislation being changed in such a way that undoes existing collective agreements – but it seems to me likely this quickly ends up in court. Universities and colleges will be cheering, because they’d certainly like to hire more younger faculty, but quietly because, let’s face it, this is not a fight they really want to get dragged into.

 

Third, the government is promising an Expert Panel to deliver “an action plan for a provincial intellectual property framework and maximizing commercialization opportunities specifically related to the post-secondary sector” (they are talking research commercialization, if that’s not clear). When in doubt, study the problem, I guess. Not 100% sure what the province can do about this on its own – nearly all the legislative power around this is in federal hands as far as I know (I’m not a specialist in this area), but hey, I guess we’ll see.

 

Fourth, there is a ton of stuff in here around reviewing apprenticeships and skilled trades (some of which was already announced, like increasing the allowable ratios of apprentices to journeypersons to allow greater throughput), a long-overdue redesign of ‘Second Career” (a McGuinty-era initiative to provide skills to laid off workers that never really met initial hopes), and a frankly flaky-sounding initiative to “provide better labour market information to job seekers”, which, you know, whatever. I have never seen an example of this kind of initiative having much of an effect on anything, but governments seem to like it.

 

Fifth, on paper at least (though see below) no cuts to base operating funds. No increases either, but hey, small victories.

 

But sixth – and this is the big one – the government wants to tie significant amounts of funding to performance outcomes – 25% starting in 2021 and increasing in stages up to 60% in 2024-25 (which, of course, is somewhat theoretical because it’s after the next election). These outcomes will be a subset of ten measures currently in the Strategic Mandate Agreements that each institution has with the government (currently the SMAs have 30-odd different measures; getting rid of the remainder is part of the “anti-red-tape” plan).

 

This is – potentially – revolutionary. And certainly a very good example of a government getting at least partially serious about higher education, as I advocated back on Tuesday. In principle, its a good idea, to be applauded. But there are some enormous devils in the details.

 

First of all, let’s give them credit for understanding some basics about good performance metrics. Although institutions are going to be measured on a set of common metrics (or almost common – my understanding is each institution will be allowed to pick one institution-specific metric to suit its own mission), institutions will not be held to a common standard on each metric. A “good result” for, say, graduation rates or graduate salaries (both likely outcomes measures) will not be the same for Algoma as it is as at U of T; rather, each institution will have some kind of target based on past performance. Moreover, it seems as though the plan is for institutions to get their performance measure based on some kind of “composite score” across all ten outcome measures, because the budget makes reference to institutions having the ability to “weigh the metrics so that they best reflect their own differentiated strategic goals”. This is all good stuff.

 

There are two big challenges here, however, and I get the impression no one has really thought these through. The first and most important one is that the full financial implications of making 60% of grant funding (technically a bit less than this, because special purpose funds are excluded from the base) performance-based are not in the least bit clear. There’s two ways this could work. First, imagine the provincial budget allocates $3.5 billion to universities (and $1.5 B to colleges) and each institution gets a “notional” share based on students, as they currently do. Then 60% of that gets clawed back and each institution has to “win back” its share by meeting its performance target. Second, the government could allocate the $3.5B to universities (and $1.5B to colleges) as a whole and let them compete for it.  In the latter system, if U of T has a bad year, and lost $100 million of its current allocation, that money would be available to others to win. In the former, that money goes back to the treasury and there could in fact be quite significant cuts in practice even though the budget says there won’t be.

 

The second is that is that although giving each institution an independent target based on recent history sounds good, it does have the potential to somewhat penalize institutions that have done well lately (they will be given relatively hard targets) and favour the institutions which have done poorly recently (who will be given relatively easy ones). You can imagine how this will go: each institution will therefore try not so much to game the indicators as to game the actual initial targets and make them as low as possible and therefore easier to achieve (“oh man, it would be a total stretch for us to hit a 20% graduate employment rate, we’d have to work so hard for that”, etc.). The losers from this process could well simply be the ones least able to keep ministry expectations low.

 

This is all going to make people very upset; and I’m not even mentioning how apparently one of the metrics the ministry may want to use are the results of how each institution’s graduates do on a set of PIAAC-like tests that HEQCO has been touting for awhile, which will outrage some people. So, expect both some hard-headed discussions about how to make these ideas workable at the same time as a lot of screaming about some specific metrics.

 

And of course, to be ready for the implementation as part of the SMA discussions for 2020-21, this is all basically going to have to be decided over the next four months. Looks like a fun summer ahead.

 

One View on the Ontario Budget and Education

April 12th, 2019

Found here:

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/One-Thought-to-Start-Your-Day–The-Bombshell-in-the-Ontario-Budget.html?soid=1103080520043&aid=pk2SzrjDnLc

 

OCUFA Report

April 4th, 2019
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In this issue…

You’re invited to Worldviews 2019: An unconventional convention

First OCUFA Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism awarded to Nicholas Hune-Brown

McMaster University Faculty Association makes significant gains in faculty benefits in latest agreement

New articles from Academic Matters

 

 

You’re invited to Worldviews 2019: An unconventional convention

This June, join participants from around the globe for the 2019 Worldviews on Media and Higher Education Conference in Toronto, Canada.

Register for Worldviews 2019: Democracy at risk? Reflecting on the future of higher education and media in a post-truth world.

Taking place June 12-14, the three-day conference will focus on democracy and the changing power relations of higher education and the media in the global north and south – specifically examining the concept of expertise in a “post-truth” world and the types of voices amplified by emerging technologies.

 

 

Watch the conference teaser video and learn more.

The conference will bring together a diverse group of academics, students, higher education leaders, communications professionals, and journalists with a wide range of experiences, insights, and opinions.

Through a series of keynote talks, panel discussions, interviews, and interactive exhibits, conference participants will focus on the challenges and opportunities presented by the democratization of higher education and the media, engage in an ongoing and lively exchange of ideas, and explore innovative possibilities for partnerships.

Register today to qualify for a special early bird rate.

Learn more about the conference sessions and speakers by visiting the Worldviews website or downloading the conference application for your phone and using the code wv2019.

 

 

First OCUFA Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism awarded to Nicholas Hune-Brown

Nicholas Hune-Brown has been awarded the inaugural OCUFA Fellowship in Higher Education Journalism. Hune-Brown is a Toronto-based magazine writer whose work has appeared in Toronto Life, Slate, The Walrus, The Guardian, and other publications. He is the winner of multiple National Magazine Awards and is the features editor of The Local.

The Fellowship was established to help address the shortage of informed investigative reporting on Canadian higher education issues in the Canadian media. Open to full-time, part-time, and freelance journalists, including students, the fellowship is designed to support those wishing to pursue in-depth and innovative journalism on higher education.

A year-long Fellowship, Hune-Brown will spend the next several months engaged in research and is expected to have his work published by early 2020.

 

 

McMaster University Faculty Association makes significant gains in faculty benefits in latest agreement

The McMaster University Faculty Association (MUFA) has ratified a three-year agreement with their university administration. Significant achievements include extensive improvements to benefits in areas such as mental health, hearing aids, and medical device coverage. MUFA also successfully negotiated increases to its professional development allowance and dependant tuition bursary program. Among other improvements, the association achieved across-the-board salary increases comparable to other faculty associations.

 

 

New articles from Academic Matters

There is more to Academic Matters than just the print issue. New articles are being added to the Academic Matters website every week. Here are some recent articles you might find interesting:

Healthy research ecosystem – healthy researchers? The researcher as an organism of focus within a ‘research ecosystem’
By Michelle L.A. Nelson and Ross Upshur
“The academic research environment is changing and researchers report struggling to adapt in order to be successful. Funding shortfalls are perennial, but what systemic shifts should occur to enable researchers at all career stages to be productive and successful?”

Université de l’Ontario français: a 21st-century university
By Marc L. Johnson, Francophone Hub of Knowledge and Innovation
“Ontario’s French community has been asking for a university governed by and for Francophones. Even without the support of the Ontario government, could the modern curriculum proposed for the Université de l’Ontario français provide a way forward?”

University of California’s break with the biggest academic publisher could shake up scholarly publishing for good
By MacKenzie Smith, University of California, Davis
“The University of California recently made international headlines when it canceled its subscription with scientific journal publisher Elsevier. The twittersphere lit up. And Elsevier’s parent company, RELX, saw its stock drop 7 percent in response to the announcement. A library canceling a subscription seems …”

 

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Citizen science can help solve our data crisis
By Tarun Katapally, University of Regina
“A recent news article in the Globe and Mail highlighted Canada’s data crisis and identified at least 28 critical gaps. These gaps intersect multiple sectors, ranging from health and education to environment, justice and Indigenous issues — a dearth that leaves researchers and policy makers …”

Subsidized privilege: The real scandal of American universities
By Neil McLaughlin, McMaster University
“U.S. federal prosecutors have charged 50 people — 38 of them are parents — for allegedly being involved in fraud schemes to secure spots at Yale, Stanford and other big-name schools. Prosecutors accused some parents of paying millions of dollars in bribes to get their …”

Unrealistic striving for academic excellence has a cost
By Tanya Chichekian, Université de Sherbrooke
“In my past experience as an academic adviser, it was difficult to explain to a disappointed family why their child did not make an admissions cut-off when the student’s overall high school average was over 80 per cent. I also accompanied students who …”

Universities: increasingly stressful environments taking psychological toll – here’s what needs to change
By Luca Morini, Coventry University
“Every year, millions of international students travel to different countries to study at university. This, together with a lack of public funding for universities, has created an increasingly competitive market in which universities work directly against each other to chase students and the money they …”

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April 10: Panel on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Hosted by Women Faculty Colleagues

April 3rd, 2019

On behalf of Dana Lavoie:

The Women Faculty Colleagues at Laurier invite you to an upcoming panel discussion:

Why equity, diversity, and inclusion are still important on University Campuses? Old issues and new challenges.

Please join us for a discussion where our panelists will try to answer the following:

  • Why do we need to be aware of diversity, equity, and inclusion in this day and age?
  • Why do we need to consider multiple marginalized identities in academia and beyond?

Moderated by Dawn McDermott, Senior Advisor: Dispute Resolution and Support

Panelists include:

  • Ciann Wilson, Faculty of Science
  • Ivona Hideg, Faculty of Business and Economics
  • Michael Woodford, Faculty of Social Work
  • Garrison McCleary, Indigenous Field of Study, Social Work

Light refreshments will be provided.

Date: April 10th from noon until 2:00pm

Location: Senate and Board Chambers (Waterloo) with video link to CB100 (Brantford)

Registration is now open

Laurier is committed to providing accessible program. If you require an accommodation because of a disability, please contact accessibility@wlu.ca by April 5th.

Dana Lavoie

Equity and Accessibility Officer
Human Resources Department
Wilfrid Laurier University

P: 519.884.0710 x4469

E: dlavoie@wlu.ca

A: MacHose Residence, 75 University Avenue West, Waterloo, N2L 3C5

Focus on Contract Faculty Newsletter

April 1st, 2019

FoCF Issue 7 March 2019

OCUFA Report

March 29th, 2019

In this issue…
Ontario’s university faculty troubled by results of Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey
OCUFA faculty associations participate in constituency week advocacy
Watch the 2019 Worldviews Lecture by Tanya Talaga: Truth and reconciliation in higher education and the media
UOITFA reaches collective agreement on behalf of newly consolidated bargaining unit

Ontario’s university faculty troubled by results of Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey
Ontario’s university faculty were troubled to learn the results of the Ontario Government’s Student Voices on Sexual Violence survey released on Tuesday, March 19. It is deeply disturbing that over 63 per cent of university students surveyed disclosed an experience of sexual harassment and that sexual violence remains so pervasive on campus. These results point to the hard work still needed to create campuses and communities free of sexual harassment and violence.
“It’s deeply disturbing to see just how pervasive sexual harassment and violence is for students attending Ontario’s universities,” said Gyllian Phillips, President of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. “As faculty, and as members of the university community, we are committed to continuing to work with students and universities towards eliminating sexual violence on our campuses.”
University faculty are pleased to see the provincial government focusing on efforts to support universities and students, including increasing funding for the Women’s Campus Safety Grant. However, the money will do little to make up for the hundreds of millions of dollars pulled out of the university system earlier this year. Faculty will be looking for the government to demonstrate a commitment to postsecondary education and the vital support services universities provide by increasing investments in Ontario’s universities in the coming budget.
It is also important to acknowledge that it is campus students’ unions and campus media who have been leaders in pointing out the shortcomings in university, college, and government policy on sexual violence and sexual harassment campus. They have been at the forefront of the work to create better sexual violence prevention policies on campus. It is, therefore, unfortunate that the government made today’s announcement while continuing their attacks on the very student organizations that have been so instrumental in raising awareness and driving progress on these issues.
“The government should stop undermining the ability of students’ unions to support and advocate on behalf of their members through the Student Choice Initiative,” said Phillips. “Instead, this government should support students by investing in postsecondary education and ensuring that universities and students’ unions have the resources to support a campus free from sexual violence.”
Sexual violence is unacceptable. The results of this survey demonstrate the severity of the problem on university and college campuses and the need for substantial resources and strong students’ unions and campus media to effectively address these issues. Faculty are committed to this work and to partnering with students, staff, university administrators, and the provincial government to create safer campuses.

OCUFA faculty associations participate in constituency week advocacy
During the week of March 11th, OCUFA member associations from across the province participated in a series of advocacy meetings with MPPs in their ridings. These meetings were organized during a “constituency week” – a week when the provincial legislature is not sitting and many MPPs return to their ridings to hold meetings with their constituents.
Constituency week provided an important opportunity for faculty to discuss important postsecondary issues with MPPs, including:
• committing to a faculty renewal strategy that supports full-time hiring at universities while creating pathways to secure jobs for contract faculty;
• moving away from punitive university funding models based on performance metrics and urging greater consultation with faculty about university funding frameworks; and
• improving access to postsecondary education through protecting and expanding funding for postsecondary education in Ontario.
This is the first time that OCUFA faculty associations strategically engaged in a series of coordinated meetings with MPPs in their ridings during constituency week. Faculty association representatives have provided positive feedback on the meetings with their MPPs. It is an important step in building a strong relationship with their local representatives and increasing the awareness of faculty priorities. Moving forward, OCUFA will continue to support faculty associations wishing to participate in constituency week meetings with their MPPs.

Watch the 2019 Worldviews Lecture by Tanya Talaga: Truth and reconciliation in higher education and the media

At the 2019 Worldviews Lecture, Ojibway author and journalist Tanya Talaga addressed the need for better education for Indigenous students in Canada and how higher education can be a part of the solution. After her lecture, Talaga joined a panel discussion about the responsibilities higher education and the media have regarding truth and reconciliation.
Watch the 2019 Worldviews Lecture by Tanya Talaga on truth and reconciliation in higher education and the media.
Talaga’s started her lecture by stating that the history of what has happened in this country needs to be remembered when searching for paths forward. Many of the problems Indigenous students face when trying to access education stem from the generations of oppression that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples have endured. She reminded the audience that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action were particularly meant for non-Indigenous Canadians to embrace as steps toward reconciliation.
Talaga noted that while promoting her book, Seven Fallen Feathers, after every event at least one audience member would come and tell her that they did not know about Canada’s residential school system. She pointed to the omission of this history in Canada’s schools as the cause of this lack of awareness. Talaga recalled that even in her history classes at the University of Toronto, Indigenous peoples were only reference in a couple of paragraphs about the fur trade. This historical ignorance feeds into how and why many Canadians fail to understand the issues preventing Indigenous students from accessing education today.
Talaga explained that there are very few high schools in Indigenous communities, forcing young teenagers to move away from home to receive an education. These students have to leave their family, their culture, and their languages to attend high school in cities hundreds of kilometres away.
Even though education is a fundamental right in this country, the schools Indigenous youth attend are often understaffed and underfunded. Talaga referenced Journalists for Human Rights’ most recent report Emerging Voices, where they reported that a lack of internet and computer access, as well as distance and funding are some of the main barriers that Indigenous students face when trying to access education.
Talaga suggested that, in order to get Indigenous students better access to postsecondary education, universities and colleges need to reach out to nearby Indigenous communities. For example, in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School has partnered with Confederation College so high school students can get college credits to help them transition to Lakehead University through a bridge program. Talaga said that if postsecondary institutions want to learn about creating a better relationship with Indigenous communities, they should pick up a phone, make an appointment, and go and talk to members of the community to figure out how they can improve their programs, services, and supports.
To conclude her talk, Talaga urged the audience to use their knowledge and tools to try to make a change. She said that Senator Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, once told her that education got us into this mess, but education will also get us out.
Talaga’s lecture was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jesse Wente and audience questions.
David Newhouse, a professor of Indigenous Studies in the Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies at Trent University, focused on the importance of using Indigenous knowledge at universities and in research. He said that there is now a foundation that can be used to move forward, but universities need to do better. He was critical of universities that create Indigenous programming that only meets some of the needs of Indigenous communities and that, without using Indigenous knowledge, universities are continuing the work of the residential schools. He hopes that by including Indigenous knowledge at universities, Indigenous students can see what they can contribute to the world.
Susan Hill, Director of the Centre for Indigenous Studies at the University of Toronto, spoke about the importance of restitution in order for there to truly be reconciliation. Hill illustrated that there are many uncomfortable conversations that have to happen. In order to achieve reconciliation, Indigenous peoples need fair compensation for the dispossession of their lands and resources. As well, there need to be more educational supports for language revitalization and a recognition of our collective environmental responsibility. She said the reality is that no one is going anywhere, so we need to find a way to make this work.
Hayden King, Executive Director of the Yellowhead Institute and Advisor to the Dean of Arts on Indigenous Education at Ryerson University, echoed Talaga’s frustration with the lack of settler knowledge around Indigenous history in Canada. Even though Indigenous leaders have been speaking out about the atrocities that their peoples have faced for generations, King said it is Canadians’ willful ignorance and colonial amnesia that has allowed this history to go unacknowledged for so long. He argued that Indigenous history is not a story of victimization but of resistance and that in order for reconciliation to happen there needs to be meaningful action.
Jesse Wente, an Ojibwe writer, broadcaster, producer, and Director of the Indigenous Screen Office in Canada, spoke about the fact that Canadians are stuck in the “truth” part of truth and reconciliation. He said that the truth part is easy but it also forces Canadians to confront the fact that they benefit from what has happened, and continues to happen, to Indigenous peoples. Reconciliation is harder and fundamentally challenging for Canada – a country known as a respectful, free, and inclusive nation, but which, in reality, was built through killing, stealing from, and oppressing Indigenous peoples. Wente also pointed out the role that education and media have played in supporting colonialism and hundreds of years of injustice and suffering. He challenged educators and journalists to teach the truth and tell different stories that build understanding and help envision a path forward that recognizes the rights of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples

UOITFA reaches collective agreement on behalf of newly consolidated bargaining unit
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology Faculty Association (UOITFA) has ratified a three-year agreement with their university administration. This is the first agreement UOITFA has achieved with its newly merged unit after they consolidated bargaining units last year. The agreement applies to tenured and tenure-stream faculty and teaching faculty (who previously had separate agreements), as well as limited term faculty, for whom this is their first agreement. The association achieved across-the-board salary increases comparable to other faculty associations. Significant achievements included extensive improvements to benefits in areas such as vision care, paramedical, and hearing aid coverage. The UOITFA also successfully negotiated increases to the contributions for its defined contribution pension plan as part of its effort to enhance the retirement security of its members.

Spring Social 2019

March 26th, 2019

spring flowers surrounding the invite that states WLUFA Spring Social, Honouring our retirees and contract faculty award winners, Tuesday April 16th, Hawk's Nest, Beside the Turret, Beverages and light snacks will be served