Scholar Strike – Virtual Sit-In
On September 9 and 10, academics in Canada are planning to pause their regular teaching and administrative duties to participate in activities and actions to protest racism and police violence. In particular, scholars across Canadian universities are organizing a series of virtual teach-ins.
NUFA would like to host our own virtual teach-in on Thursday September 10th and we are looking for faculty who would like to draw from their teaching and research to participate as panelists or as moderator in a one-hour virtual event on the topics of racism, and police brutality and violence in our communities from both historical and contemporary perspectives.
If you would like to be a panelist or to moderate the event, please contact our Membership Engagement Officer, Natalya Brown ([email protected]) by noon on Monday, September 7th.
For more information on Scholar Strike Canada and their activities, please visit: https://scholarstrikecanada.ca/
NUFA In Solidarity – Black Lives Matter
To acknowledge the ongoing issues of systemic racism and inequality affecting all universities in Canada, including our own, NUFA is encouraging its members to attend one or both of the Black Lives Matter events taking place this Saturday in North Bay:
1. Black Lives Matter March: Saturday, June 6, 2020, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM (Memorial Gardens football field)
In support of the Black Lives Matter movement and in honour of the recent murders of George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Ahmaud Arbery. This event will be held in North Bay and will be starting at the football field behind Memorial Gardens at 1pm, from there we will march our way to City Hall. At City Hall, we hope to set up a vigil to honour the lives of those who have passed, not just recently but over the past countless years of police brutality and racism.
We will continue to remind everyone and encourage everyone who wishes to participate to obey COVID-19 restrictions and remain six feet apart. Attendees are asked to bring masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. to the rally with them. Should some show up without a mask, or some display concern about attending due to not having a mask, we will be giving out masks to those who need it (the people handing them out will have masks on and gloves, and we will set up a table for the masks to be put down on and picked up at so that the six feet regulation is still in place).
2. Black Lives Matter Demonstration: Saturday, June 6, 2020, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM (Kiwanis band shelter)
This event is an information and community-building session. We will have Black speakers from the community, some scheduled (as well as time at the end for any non-scheduled speakers). If any Black NUFA members would like to say anything, they can reach out to the organizer, [email protected] to be added to the list. Or they can show up and speak at the non-scheduled speaker time. Anyone attending should note we will not have any non-Black speakers either scheduled or unscheduled.
The idea is to build community and show solidarity for Black members of our community, while reaching across the community to people who may not be involved yet in the movement. To this end we are also providing COVID-19 supplies such as hand sanitizer, masks, grocery gift cards for people to take home if they are in need.
Furthermore, following the example of our colleagues in OPSEU, NUFA will be making a contribution of $500 to the endowment fund being established at Nipissing University to provide educational opportunities for Black students. Any members interested in making a further contribution can contact the Advancement department to discuss options.
FAQs During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to change the normal trajectory of the academic year. It will impact each of us differently and so it is important to assess and account for that impact in your annual or sabbatical reports. Please keep NUFA apprised if you need to discuss terms with your Dean.
FAQs last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2020
1. Is the NUFA Office open?
No. The NUFA Office will remain closed until provincial restrictions are lifted and the university reopens. In the meantime, we may be reached at [email protected]
2. What can I do if I haven’t been able to spend my Professional Expenses Reimbursement (PER) and the carry-over period is over?
While professional expenses reimbursement funds for full-time faculty will be disbursed as usual, it will be subject to an additional 12 month carry-over period extending the carry-over currently outlined in the FASBU Collective Agreement from three years to four years.
3. Have Student Opinion Surveys been cancelled for all fall/winter and spring/summer courses?
Yes. The SOS (see Appendix R of the FASBU CA) and Teaching and Learning Committees have been tasked with coming up with an alternative to SOS. Any alternative will need to have JCAA and Senate approval before it can be used.
4. When and how can we get access to offices?
The employer sent out an e-mail to the University Community on April 23rd through Nipissing University Communications, outlining steps that must be taken for access to the campus. This will be reassessed after the May 12 government update.
5. I am currently on sabbatical and the inaccessibility to my office, the library and the university has compromised my research during this time. What, if anything, can be done?
Faculty currently on sabbatical or who are scheduled to begin sabbatical on July 1, 2020 should contact their Dean immediately to discuss options regarding the completion of their sabbatical plans.
6. I am planning to apply for tenure and/or promotion this year. The COVID-19 closure of the university has affected my teaching, service and research productivity. How will this be viewed in my application and what is being done regarding tenure and promotion and its deadlines?
Members who are planning to apply for tenure and/or promotion should be discussing the impacts on their application with their respective Dean. This is particularly important for faculty who may not be applying for tenure soon, but are worried about the impact of COVID-19 on their application over the long-term. Please be sure to outline the specific ways in which your file will be or has been compromised in terms of teaching, research and service, including identifying the shift in workload from time for research to time for teaching as a result of changing delivery mode. As well, note lost or delayed opportunities to engage in or disseminate research, including the cancellation of conferences, lack of library resources, closed lab and fieldwork opportunities, and the disruption of collaborations.
7. I am a part-time instructor who has been asked to change my on-campus course to an alternative delivery and online course. Where can I get help?
Contact the Dean of Teaching and Learning, and the Dean of your faculty, for support in online delivery. NUFA would ask you to please track the added workload involved in preparing an online course and contact us if you feel it significantly exceeds the workload of an in-the-classroom course.
8. Are annual reports still due on June 30 from full-time Members?
Yes they are, and it will be especially important this year and in June 2021 to identify specifically and in detail the impacts of COVID-19 on your teaching, research and service for the year. Keep track of projects, publications and presentations that have been delayed or opportunities lost due to the effects of COVID-related closures and cancellations. As well, make sure to report the way in which your workload has shifted from the normal distribution between teaching, research and service. We need to be clear that changing delivery mode constitutes a major increase in teaching preparation which will necessarily displace the work of research and/or service. For faculty who may have primary care duties for children or elders at home, it is also important to note that your capacity for working from home is significantly affected by these duties, and that what often gets lost in that situation is sustained time for research. make sure you do not suffer a career disadvantage because of your caretaking roles at home.
9. When will we know how our courses will be run in the fall?
If only we knew the answer to that one! The Provost, Deans, Registrar and Chairs/Directors are in ongoing conversations about this question and developing contingency plans based on different scenarios. The best strategy for faculty is for departments/schools to be engaged in a similar process, so that faculty have maximum input into whatever changes might be put in place for the fall (also see #12 below).
10. Can the employer tell us which platforms to use?
In the winter term, many of us moved our course material into different platforms, such as Zoom or YouTube because Blackboard simply could not accommodate the sudden surge in content and activity. If delivery continues to be largely or partially online for the fall term, NUFA anticipates that Blackboard’s capacity will be enhanced and that faculty will have much more direct and timely support for their alternative delivery of content. While there is nothing to preclude faculty from moving outside of Blackboard, there are compelling reasons to be careful about how, where and how often you might do that. Blackboard is the best means of maintaining accessibility for students who have accommodations, and it is much more secure than many other platforms. As well, NUFA strongly encourages all faculty to take the cyber security training module offered through the university.
11. Can the employer make me teach online?
The answer is “it’s complicated”. Our collective agreements have two provisions which cover this area – Academic Freedom and Rights and Responsibilities. For full-time faculty, Article 18: Rights and Responsibilities, affirms that the decision to move courses into online delivery lies with a faculty member’s department/school. In the winter term 2019-2020, the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, in which the Ontario government forced the sudden closure of the building, temporarily over-rode the collective agreement language and the collegial bi-cameral decision-making processes usually in place at the university. As we contemplate the fall term of 2020-2021, we can make two assumptions: 1) that any specific directive from the government to the university will trump the specific language of the collective agreements, and 2) in the absence of any direct order, whatever circumstances might compel us to change our delivery modes need to be determined within the language of the collective agreements. All that said, we imagine that we will all be balancing these things: our best practices in teaching; some king of social gathering restrictions relating to COVID-19; the needs and desires of our students; the requirement to follow accommodations for both students and faculty; and our collegial decision-making processes. Our recommendation to faculty is to begin consultations with your academic unit ASAP about delivery of courses in the fall and develop some contingency plans based on the notions that: 1) all our courses might be online; or 2) none will be; or, 3) the most likely scenario – course offerings will be altered in some way to accommodate social isolation or distancing.
12. Will I be reimbursed for additional costs incurred by working from home?
For the remainder of the restricted access period, the employer will reimburse employees for any pre-approved office expense and internet connection assistance. The equipment must be appropriate for the purpose of professional teaching, research or administrative activity. The university will retain ownership of any supplies or equipment purchased. For full-time faculty, please use your P-card for any purchases, and code expenses to object code 75640 in your cost centre.
13. As a part-time Member who had to do additional work beyond my contract in the winter, due to COVID-19, will I be compensated for that additional work?
The employer has responded “no” to our requests that part-time members be compensated for additional work (late exams, assignments, INCs, etc.) related to COVID-19 completed beyond the dates of their contracts. The employer has also made clear that moving forward, contract faculty has the right to refuse this kind of additional work if it will mean that you will have to work beyond the dates of your contract. But if you agree to a student’s request to mark a late submission or exam that takes you beyond the dates of your contract, then there will be an expectation to do the work even though the contract has expired. In the future, we recommend that contract faculty forward all student requests for such extensions to their Dean to ensure that all student work can be graded. No contract faculty member should be expected to work for the university when they do not have an active contract.
14. As a part-time Member, will I be compensated for the additional work required to turn my onsite course into an online course?
The employer has responded “no” to our requests that part-time members receive a reasonable stipend for the additional work beyond their contracts and/or to obtain training to move their courses into alternative delivery. All training offered through the Teaching Hub is open to contract faculty, but participation is optional.
15. Since we are working from home, are we able to obtain a signed Canada Revenue Agency T2200 form from the employer?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated. From the CRA perspective, the use of the T2200 in the past was fairly restrictive. It was used primarily under two conditions: 1) for those who met with clients regularly from home, and 2) for those whose principal place of employment was their home. So, pre-pandemic, faculty would not have qualified, since most faculty meet with students on the campus which is the principal place of employment. Since the pandemic, this has become a grey area and these rules don’t necessarily apply when we are all working from home. Appreciating the situation, the CRA is set on clarifying the rules for all. Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been bombarded with questions on this issue from all sectors of employment, and they expect to be coming out with more information on the T2200 and who may qualify, prior to the start of the tax season. Here’s a link to employment expenses found on the CRA website: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-229-other-employment-expenses.html Here’s a link to work space in the home expenses for salaried employees (found within the link to employment expenses above): https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-229-other-employment-expenses/salaried-employees/work-space-home-expenses.html
CASBU Emergency Fund during COVID-19
These last few weeks have been strange and uncertain times for all of us in the Nipissing University community, and the future looks equally strange and uncertain. It’s hard to know what the next few months will bring, but we do know that contract faculty will be disproportionately affected because of the precarious nature of their jobs.
In acknowledgement of that, NUFA has established an emergency fund for our CASBU Members to help offset financial difficulties caused by COVID-19. Members who have taught at Nipissing on part-time contract in the last two years can request financial assistance of up to $100/month. The CASBU Emergency Fund Request Form 2020 will explain the application process, and we hope part-time Members will apply–this money is here to help you.
Thanks go to our FASBU Members whose contributions have made this fund possible. More than 90 of them raised almost $7,000 in under a week in an incredible show of solidarity.
In closing, I hope that you are well, and please stay in touch if you have any questions or concerns that we can help you with.
The NUFA Office is closed until further notice. Union work will continue, but in the interest of the health of our employee, and to follow recommendations for social distancing, the office is closed to walk-ins. The NUFA email ([email protected]) will be the first point of contact for Members with questions and concerns until the office opens again.
Precarious Historical Instructors Manifesto
In its March 3, 2020 meeting, the NUFA Executive voted to endorse the Precarious Historical Instructors’ Manifesto, http://activehistory.ca/2020/02/precarious-historical-instructors-manifesto/, and committed to implement its recommendations for faculty associations.
We call on all faculty, provincial, and national associations in the university sector to do the same.
Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards – Nominations
The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) is once again calling for nominations of outstanding teachers and librarians for the annual Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards 2019-2020. Deadline is May 22, 2020.
NEW! They are excited to announce the added category for nomination of Contract Faculty members. Check the guidelines for details.
Please find attached the nomination guidelines and flyers.
OPSEU “Pins and Pizza” Event
Breaking out of the Binary
CANCELLED March 24th at 11:30 am in A236 – This is a follow-up workshop to one presented in February entitled Inclusive Language Training. The event is sponsored by NUFA and presented by the students of the Equity Centre. The PPT presentation from the previous event was sent to you on February 12 and a video link is available at: http://live.nipissingu.
Inclusive Language Workshop
On February 4, 2020 NUFA sponsored a workshop on Inclusive Language which was hosted by the Gender Equity and Diversity Committee and presented by students from the Equity Centre. For your information and that of your students, a video link to the presentation is available at http://live.nipissingu.ca/