Workload

We measure instructional workload in SICH, which is an imperfect measure of real workload. When workload is measured by the number of courses taught, the Collective Agreement can list factors, such as marking and the number of preparations, affecting real workload that are to be considered in the assignment of courses. Other universities take these factors into account when assigning workload and this is something we need to improve in our Collective Agreement. The MRFA Workload Committee’s Recommendations (see pg. 3) will assist members in maintaining workload. The first recommendation referred to the definition of SICH in Article 1.24 of the CA which states that "Credit for other forms of teaching, including but not limited to practica, open laboratories, studios, directed study, computer-assisted instruction, team-teaching, rehearsals and productions shall be assigned by the Chair in consultation with the members of the academic unit, and is subject to the approval of the Dean" and recommended that Chairs assign SICH credit for other forms of teaching at the rate of 16 SICH for 3 hours of work per week. This also includes supervising honours students. The report provided a rationale for this conversion factor. The second recommendation was that Chairs and faculty report the results of attempting to assign SICH credit for these forms of teaching to the MRFA Executive.

 


Notes from Meetings

     

Issue: A member suggested that perhaps we could do a survey to determine whether our service load was high because of our history as a college.

Q: Is there a way workload credit can be received for independent projects courses? [these courses are listed as 6 hours lab in the Calendar and the description states that students will design and complete a project under the guidance of a faculty supervisor]. There are such courses in Chemistry, Biology and Computer Science.

A: This is work and there are various ways in which workload credit can be received at other universities, typically a course release after supervising a certain number. The MRFA Executive established an ad hoc workload committee last year and it issued a report containing several recommendations at the AGM last May. The report made two recommendations regarding supervision of senior research projects and honours theses.

            The first recommendation referred to the definition of SICH in Article 1.24 of the CA which states that "Credit for other forms of teaching, including but not limited to practica, open laboratories, studios, directed study, computer-assisted instruction, team-teaching, rehearsals and productions shall be assigned by the Chair in consultation with the members of the academic unit, and is subject to the approval of the Dean" and recommended that Chairs assign SICH credit for other forms of teaching at the rate of 16 SICH for 3 hours of work per week. The report provided a rationale for this conversion factor. The second recommendation was that Chairs and faculty report the results of attempting to assign SICH credit for these forms of teaching to the MRFA Executive.

Q: A FT faculty member teaching a lab gets full SICH credit, the same as for a lecture, do they not?

A: Yes, that is correct, but only because labs are not in the list of other forms of teaching in the definition of SICH in Article 1.24. This could be changed by collective bargaining.

Q: Many faculty members within a department supervise two honours students without any workload credit and this limits the size of their honours program. Is there anything that can be done about this in negotiations?

A: This is real workload and you should receive credit for it. The MRFA has already done what it can under the current CA. The Executive established an ad hoc workload committee last year and its first report was discussed at the AGM and in a President’s Report. The report is available on the MRFA web site with the AGM documents and contains two recommendations related to this: 1) that Chairs assign SICH credit for other forms of teaching such as honours supervision at the rate of 16 SICH for 3 hours of work per week (there is a rationale in the report for this conversion factor); and, 2) that Chairs and faculty report the results of attempting to assign SICH credit for other forms of teaching to the MRFA Executive (so we know how much unscheduled workload there is and whether any assignments have been approved by the Dean).

It might be possible to pay out honours supervision SICH [there is provision to do this for List A in Article 14.9.1.6] or assignments could be accumulated into a course release. A member remarked that there were no funds for this in the department’s budget, so they would have to come from somewhere else, perhaps the Provost’s office. This is only the first step and we are not suggesting that these recommendations provide a complete solution, but it is what we can do now.

Q: How can we get workload recognition for the marking we do?

A: We measure instructional workload in SICH, which is an imperfect measure of real workload. When workload is measured by the number of courses taught, the Collective Agreement can list factors, such as marking and the number of preparations, affecting real workload that are to be considered in the assignment of courses. [for example, the Assignment of Teaching Article in the St. Thomas University Collective Agreement states: “It is expected that each Department shall ordinarily assign those courses within the Department which its members are to teach. In so doing, the Department is responsible for ensuring that there is a reasonable balance between small and large classes and that there is an equitable distribution of workload among members of the Department taking into account independent study courses, Honours thesis supervision, the varying demands of alternative teaching and evaluation methodologies. Whenever possible, there shall be prior consultation with Employees on the assignment of teaching duties.”] The Collective Agreement can also stipulate that the Dean is responsible for ensuring that workloads are equitable, which makes workload assignment subject to grievance [although I doubt that this would be any more effective than our workload appeal in Article 14.12, which I think has only been used once].

A member said that there is a high degree of information processing in our marking compared to; for example, marking multiple choice questions [for which machines are better]. The University of Guelph’s collective agreement has some language regarding writing intensive and reading intensive courses.

Issue: We do directed readings courses and receive no SICH for them.

A: Gerry gave the answer from the first report of the workload committee that I had given at a couple of earlier meetings. The member who had first asked about marking suggested that they might be able to use the same argument for it.

 

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