This blog entry was actually posted on December 10, 2015.
This article is from the WLUFA Advocate 1.2 December 2012.
Garry Warrick, Associate
Contemporary Studies & Indigenous Studies
WLUFA members perform service that is integral to Laurier’s functions as a university. This service, upon which the Administration relies, can occur at department/program level, university-wide, or with the wider academic and non-academic community outside of Laurier, which can enhance its profile and reputation.
Full-time (FT) faculty and professional librarians are required to provide “academic, professional and community service”, in addition to teaching and research. Part-time (PT) librarians must provide “academic and community service within the University” beyond their specified work duties and responsibilities. The proportion of work time spent on teaching, research and service is not specified in the collective agreements (CAs).
For FT faculty and both FT and PT librarians service is to be combined appropriately with teaching or professional practice, and research. For contract academic faculty (CAF), if WLU request their presence on a committee or other collegial body with the member’s consent, they are paid for their time ($35.00 per hour).
Only PT faculty are not required to provide service and, yet, if they are not asked to serve but volunteer (or feel compelled) to do so out of loyalty to WLU or to assist colleagues, they are not eligible for compensation. Consequently, few CAF volunteer their services, resulting in poor representation of their interests at Laurier. At Brantford, faculty and librarians have a long history of service out of proportion to their colleagues at the Waterloo Campus. The April 2011 report of News from your Brantford Faculty
Liaison: the “Bilateral Committee on Brantford Campus Workload” clearly shows that FT faculty and librarians at Brantford have a service workload that is two to four times that of their Waterloo counterparts.
This excessive workload is the result of two main factors: (1) the Brantford Campus is a relatively young campus with a disproportionately high number of pretenure or junior faculty; and (2) a disproportionately high number of limited-term appointments (LTAs) whose ability to serve on University committees is limited.
Since many WLUFA members at Brantford are striving to earn tenure or continuing appointment, the excessive service workload is very troubling. In addition, more senior members, some of whom have been serving for over a decade, are experiencing “burn-out” and a few are even opting out, placing a heavier burden on junior faculty.
Nevertheless, some altruistic senior faculty shoulder an excessive burden to lighten the load of more junior faculty, realizing that tenure and promotion committees are evaluating tenure applications primarily on research and teaching. In only rare instances would a member be denied tenure or promotion for a poor service record.
The FT CA clearly states that a good research record can lessen the standards for a poorer teaching record and vice versa. However, since a good or excellent service record cannot be used to lessen the standards for teaching and research, it puts Brantford faculty and librarians at a distinct disadvantage.
If Brantford members are required to continue to bear a service burden that is two, three or four times that of Waterloo members, the Administration must reward Brantford members for their excessive service by explicitly giving it due consideration in tenure and promotion cases when the research record is borderline.
Unfortunately, the CA limits the ability of DAPCs and SPAT to consider service as a mitigating factor in the case of members who have excellent service, satisfactory teaching, and borderline research records.
The Bilateral Committee recommended solutions to excessive service workload at Brantford: increase the number of tenure-track (TT) faculty (and reduce the percentage of LTAs), hire more senior tenured faculty, or award course releases to faculty with exceptional service records.
To my knowledge, none of these recommendations has been implemented. Until exceptional service workload is recognized formally in the CA and/or other hiring practices change, Brantford faculty should limit their service workload to the same level as Waterloo faculty.