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With the summer (and potentially fall semesters) scheduled to be delivered remotely for most programs, the College has assigned an unprecedented amount of curriculum and online development work for the May/June period.  Please see important updates about this.

We know that curriculum and development work has been streamed by the College into two models:

1)   Fully online for continued use in the future

23 programs in the Schools of Hospitality and Business have been identified to transition to a fully online format with course delivery beginning May 25. The programs were chosen based on high rates of international enrolment. The College has contracted out technical and instructional design to three external companies, with contract and full-time faculty providing subject matter expertise. The College has confirmed that it intends to continue with development for all semesters for these programs. Our understanding currently is that this model of delivery is intended to operate in an asynchronous mode.

Despite repeated requests to the College, we have not been able to confirm compensation for, or expectations of, contract faculty working with the external developers. Anecdotally, we understand that contract faculty assigned to this work have been provided with contracts. If you are engaged in this work and have not yet received a contract, we encourage you to speak with your Chair without delay.

2)   “Teaching at a Distance”

The remainder of programs with course offerings in the summer (and likely the fall) are transitioning to ‘teaching at a distance’. Our understanding currently is that ‘teaching at a distance’ may involve a combination of synchronous or asynchronous delivery; however, the College has told the union that the faculty teaching the course can use their own judgment about which modality is preferable.

The majority of faculty (contract and full-time) are working at this time on the curriculum and evaluation changes necessary to ‘teach at a distance’. If you are a contract colleague and are presently engaged in this work, the Local has confirmed the following information with the College:

  • During the non-teaching period, contract faculty are welcome to attend any COLT training offered during this interim period. Please note, although access is available, the training is unpaid.
  • During the non-teaching period, contract faculty are welcome to attend School, department, and program meetings. However, only some departments are paying contract faculty to attend some of these meetings. We have asked the College to direct academic managers to explicitly clarify, which meetings will be paid and which won’t. If this is not being clearly communicated, you can ask your manager or contact the union.
  • Contract faculty who are teaching in the summer semester will have their teaching contract begin one week earlier than their teaching start date to provide the time to transition to teaching at a distance. This one week will be paid at the teaching rate and for the number of hours per week you are scheduled to teach (i.e. if you are scheduled to teach 9 hours you will be paid 9 hours the week before you begin). We believe that one preparation week is not fair or adequate for contract faculty, but this is the most the College would commit to.
  • Contract faculty who have been, or continue to, work on ‘teaching at a distance’ conversions (e.g. populating eCentennial shells, participating in teams, meeting with program clusters/course leads/coordinators, redesigning evaluations, refining/developing class activities that can be delivered remotely, etc.) will only be paid for this work on an exception, case-by-case basis. It is critical that you confirm with your Chair without delay if you are unclear if/what you are being paid for work done between the end of the winter semester (for most, April 17) and the one week prior to the start of the summer semester (for most, May 19).

If you are a contract colleague and wish to review your individual situation confidentially with the Local, please get in touch with us at OPSEU558@gmail.com and you will be connected with an officer.

If you are a full-time faculty member and you are working with contract faculty on the development work to transition to ‘teaching at a distance’, please think before putting our contract colleagues in the position of having to work for free if they are without a development contract. It is very difficult for contract colleagues to say “no” at the best of times, and they feel especially vulnerable now. Contract colleagues are an integral part of our community and our knowledge base; we absolutely need their expertise and innovation. Support them by advocating with your Chair that their valuable contribution is reflected in a tangible fashion for the work they are doing.

Let’s work together to ensure that the way this important work goes forward is consistent with our shared values of respect and fairness.

In solidarity,

RM Kennedy, President
Allan Reid, 1st VP
Aparna Halpe, 2nd VP
Patricia Steger, Chief Steward
Kumaran Mahathevan, Secretary
Kathleen Conroy, Member Engagement Coordinator
Debra Warren,  Local Union Administrator and Faculty Liaison