The roots of Nipissing University date back to the opening of the North Bay Normal School in 1909. Teacher education has been part of the North Bay community for well over 100 years.
In 1947, residents of North Bay formed a committee with the goal of establishing a university within the city. The 1958 Northeastern University Committee continued their efforts in the following years and by 1960, Northeastern University was established. To ensure its funding as a university-level institution, Northeastern University signed an affiliation agreement with Laurentian University in 1967 and was renamed Nipissing College.
In 1972, the College Education Centre officially opened. This building, which is still home to Nipissing University, was shared between multiple other educational institutions including Canadore College, a school of nursing, and a teachers’ college. In 1973, the North Bay Teachers’ College was incorporated into Nipissing University as the Faculty of Education.
Nipissing University received its charter as an independent university in 1992, allowing the school to grant baccalaureate degrees. In late 2001, the government of Ontario passed a bill revising the university’s charter to permit it to grant graduate degrees. Today, students can obtain bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees in various fields.
The governance of Nipissing University is modeled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906, which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens), who exercise control over financial policy and operational matters. The president, appointed by the board, is the link between the two bodies, providing institutional leadership.
Until the 1990s, faculty members did not have a formalized voice speaking on their behalf. As the newly minted university was small, terms and conditions were negotiated individually based on past practice and problems were resolved informally. While that worked reasonably well in the beginning, it quickly became apparent that something more structured and equitable was needed.
The Nipissing University Faculty Association (NUFA) received its certification from the Ontario Labour Board on January 11, 1994. The Association is structured as a representative democracy with a 11-person Executive headed by the President. It also has a number of sub-committees with varying foci. A General Membership Meeting (GMM) is typically held in the fall with the Annual General Membership (AGM) Meeting held each spring.
As the exclusive bargaining agent for full-time academic Members, NUFA began negotiating its first collective agreement outlining terms and conditions for academic work at Nipissing University soon after its certification. NUFA’s first collective agreement with the Employer was signed on November 29, 1994. The current full-time collective agreement is set to expire on April 30, 2019.
The university’s contract academic staff obtained their certification from the Ontario Labour Board on February 13, 2001, forming a separate but equal bargaining unit of NUFA. The formation of the Contract Academic Staff Bargaining Unit (CASBU) prompted the renaming of the full-time unit to the Full-Time Academic Staff Bargaining Unit (FASBU), with both under the administrative leadership and direction of NUFA. The first CASBU collective agreement was signed on May 1, 2002. The current CASBU collective agreement is set to expire on April 30, 2019.
Currently, NUFA and the Employer are exploring the possibility of merging the two bargaining units.