Leaves and the Academic Year

The Task Force on Leaves and the Academic Year has made recommendations to improve flexibility with respect to when time is available for scholarship. Such recommendations, such as banking time so the teaching load could be reduced, in a subsequent semester, need to be negotiated. This would require accounting for the SICH across academic years: both banked and owed. The only recommendation made by the Task Force Regarding the Academic Year was to consider moving tenure evaluations from the spring to the fall or winter so that there would be more time available for scholarship and course and program development in intersession.

·         A process needs to be put in place to adjudicate secondments and leaves without pay.

·         The Negotiating team is working on improvements to parental leaves.

·         Improved consultation with the library is regarded in relation to Spring and Summer course offerings. Increased course offerings in the spring/summer are affecting the librarians based on the library services required to offer these courses.

·         Maternity Leave provisions have been improved. When the new CA is put together it will be available here.


Notes From Meetings


Q: There is no process to adjudicate secondments and leaves without pay, unlike other leaves such as four-for-five; they are simply approved by the VPA and there is no transparency in this. There does not seem to be any limit on the length.

Q: Will there be improvements in parental leave? Ours is not as good as some other universities.

      A: Our Executive asked the Negotiating Committee to include this in their statement of interests last January. We attached the Thompson Rivers University parental leave article to our submission. We won’t know whether there will be any improvements until after the mediation.

Q: A member on leave does not have enough PD support to do the work he has planned

Q: The Task Force on Leaves and the Academic Year made recommendations regarding increasing flexibility with respect to when time is available for scholarship. Continuing Education cut an accounting course that we tried to run last spring and this limits the options for our students.

A: Whether to cut a course will always be a budget decision and there won’t be anything in the CA limiting management’s right to make these decisions. Higher enrollment is the only way to prevent such course cancellations. David noted that a green sheet had been signed on sabbaticals.

Example: Let’s suppose I am on TSS and wanted to teach a course in the spring so that I would have more time for scholarship in the fall or winter and my spring course was cut. I would argue with my Chair that Article 14.5.1 states that I normally teach 288 SICH annually, that and provide a range, and that states that exceptions below 240 SICH require the Dean’s approval. I would argue that cancellation of the course was beyond my control and the teaching I had done in the fall and the winter should be considered to be my annual teaching workload. Sometimes when this happens, the member is considered to “owe” a course and is required to pay it back by teaching an extra course the following year, but I suspect that could be successfully grieved because workload is stated in annual terms. A member pointed out that the department average stipulated in Article 14.6 would be violated in this case. That is true, but I am not aware of this article actually being enforced.

-Another member mentioned that the task force had also recommended banking time so the teaching load could be reduced, perhaps to zero, in a subsequent semester to provide more concentrated time for scholarship. This went to negotiations because it would require accounting for the SICH across academic years [which would then probably also require deficits such as the one in the above case to be made up]. It could be that the negotiating committees did not resolve this.

Issue: Please update us on the changes to the academic year that the Task Force on Faculty Leaves and the Academic Year was discussing last year.

A: A report was submitted to both negotiating committees, as required by a Memorandum of Understanding in the CA. The only recommendation concerning the academic year was to consider moving tenure evaluations from the spring to the fall or winter so that there would be more time available for scholarship and course and program development in intersession.

Q: The nursing department does a lot of teaching during the summer in order to get clinical placements (they are also using evenings and weekends). Some nursing faculty are taking their two months of vacation and two months of intersession in the fall. Fall and winter are better times than the summer for some types of research such as visiting archives.

A: The task force had an interest in facilitating this, but was not advocating it. Spring and summer teaching are decisions that are made within academic departments.

There are also implications for Chairs. Nursing does not appoint an Acting Chair during the Chair’s vacation period.

Q: A member stated that more and more courses are being scheduled in the spring and summer and there is a lack of consultation with the Library regarding the library services expected for these courses. The issue has been raised at Deans’ Council by the University Librarian, but this has not alleviated the concerns. Most librarians work until the end of June and take six weeks’ vacation in the summer, with the remainder during the academic year. Article 15.2 states that the annual vacation entitlement for full-time counsellors, educational developers and librarians shall be 45 days and that the dates shall be arranged by mutual consent between the employees and the Vice-President or designate. Many librarians have expressed concern over the effects a full summer semester would have on them, particularly in courses where library instruction is key to the completion of research assignments.

Q: Could maternity leave pay be extended from 3 months to 6 months?

A: The Executive makes a submission to the Negotiating Committee at the beginning of each round of negotiations. We requested improvements in the maternity leave provisions in this round and included the maternity leave article from the Thompson Rivers University agreement with our submission, because it is better than ours. We will have to wait until after the mediation to see if there have been any improvements. But keep in mind that there are two parties in negotiations and you can’t always get what you want.

Q: There is a grid increment for a four-for-five leave, but not for a maternity leave. Why?

A: Our negotiating committee was able to get a grid increment when the four-for-five leave was added to the collective agreement. We tried to get a maternity leave increment in the 2010-2012 agreement, but were only able to get the right to apply based on scholarship or service performed. The CA is an agreement between two parties and you can’t always get everything you want. Hopefully, the next step will be to make it automatic. Maternity leaves were discussed again in this round.

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