Suggestions for Department/Centre Rules of Procedure

General Principles

The process for making recommendations for course assignments must be transparent and equitable.

The process should be specified in the Department/Centre Rules of Procedure, as well as a within-unit process for resolution of disagreements about workload recommendations.

Overall, it is better to identify Department/Centre strategies for handling potentially contentious issues (e.g., how long a faculty member can teach the same course before someone else can teach it; who gets first choice of overload courses) in principle before a dispute involving specific individuals must be addressed.

Required by the Collective Agreement:

Recommendations regarding course assignments are part of the Department/Centre’s Annual Workload Plan (AWP), which is approved by Department/Centre and submitted to the Dean for the Dean’s approval (Articles 24.05 and 24.06).

Although course assignments are recommended by the Chair/Director, subject to Departmental approval, the assignments themselves are made by the Dean (Article 27.01k).

The teaching load equivalencies for specific courses may vary as a result of a number of different factors (e.g., class size, practicum requirements, format). The value of these equivalencies should be specified in the Department/Centre’s Normal Workload Standard (Article 24.04c) and should apply to all BUFA members. In addition, when faculty members engage in forms of course preparation or delivery than require more time than teaching traditional courses, with the approval of the Department and Dean, they may apply to the Dean for altered teaching loads (Article 24A.01c).

Individuals also may have workload distributions that differ from 40-40-20, with the approval of the Dean (Article 24.03d). These altered workloads need to be reflected in the AWP.

Suggestions for Rules of Procedures.

Well in advance of the deadline for submission of recommendations for course assignments, Department/Centre members should be asked for their teaching preferences. Members can be asked to indicate the following:   (a) courses they would most like to teach; (b) courses they would be willing teach; and (c) courses they would teach “in a pinch” but would be difficult for them.   For each course, faculty should indicate the preferred term. Teaching releases also should be indicated.

Faculty members’ course preferences should be followed, whenever possible. The individual(s) with responsibility for balancing faculty preferences and Department/Centre needs for course assignments should be clearly specified in the Rules. In some units, the Chair alone has this responsibility. In other units, there is a Workload Committee who undertakes this task; such a Committee could comprise the Chair, GPD and one or more others who are familiar with program needs. In all cases, though, the recommendations for course assignments must be approved by the unit as part of its AWP.

We recommend that units establish an “appeal” process that could be implemented when a faculty member is unhappy with the Chair/Director’s or Workload Committee’s decision about course assignment. For example, the faculty member could bring the issue to the Department/Centre Committee as a whole for resolution. As another example, if it were the Chair/Director’s decision that was at issue, a small Workload Committee could be elected to try to resolve the matter.

One area of contention within some academic units is the extent to which faculty members can “hold onto” courses that they are teaching when other faculty members want to teach them. Some units have agreed upon rules to address this problem, such specifying that a faculty member can teach a course twice and then the course goes “back into the pool” for others to teach.

Some units have specified in their NWS that faculty members are normally expected to teach one large FCE service course and then can expect to teach one smaller FCE upper year or graduate course. A unit also may state, in its NWS, that core courses should be taught by full-time faculty members, whenever possible.

Departments/Centres should also specify a principle for deciding overload course assignments, when multiple qualified faculty members want to teach the same (or one of a limited number of) courses on overload. We recommend a system in which first choices are rotated among interested faculty, in the context of program needs.

July 27, 2016

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