2020-2021 Awards & Scholarships Committee Update

The Awards and Scholarships Committee oversees awards and scholarships that are sponsored and co-sponsored by the Faculty Association, as well as the events celebrating FA award recipients. As Chair, I was capably assisted this year by committee members Cora Gilroy, Barry Linkletter, Shafiqul Islam, Raquel Hoersting, Nadja Bressen and Armin Bodaghkhani.

Despite all the disruptions of this past year, activities to recognize the efforts of our members continued. We were pleased to assume responsibility for adjudication of the Janet Pottie Murray Award for Educational Leadership in the fall and issued a call for nominations for this award during the winter semester along with our other Faculty awards. At the time of writing this report, nominations were about to close with files being turned over to the four adjudication sub-committees. We may have some results to share during the AGM. Another change that you’ll see starting in the summer semester is a call for nominations for Hessian Merit Awards for Excellence in Teaching for Sessional and Full-time members will be issued every semester. This is in recognition that colleagues in some programs (e.g., Education) are teaching year-round.

During a virtual FA Time on March 19th, we celebrated the 2020 Faculty Association entrance scholarship recipients and medalists. Thanks to the support of the Social committee, many members picked up delicious appetizers earlier in the afternoon to enjoy during the event. Our Entrance Scholarship recipients were Briana Creed and Hannah Lawlor. Recipients of the Undergraduate Medals were Bronze Medal – Mengyu Zang; Silver Medal – Logan Anderson; and Gold Medal – William Taylor-Melanson. The Graduate Medals were awarded to Joyce Ferguson – Masters Medal and Matthew J. Dunlop – Doctoral Medal. Many of the student recipients were present and spoke to those in attendance, sharing their appreciation for the support and recognition provided through the FA. The entrance scholarships and medal awards are funded entirely by the Faculty Association, including through individual contributions by members. If you are interested in supporting our awards, go to the UPEIFA website https://www.upeifa.ca/get-involved/donate/ for details on how to set up a donation through payroll deduction.

We would not be able to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and colleagues without the service of quite a few people. The four subcommittees that adjudicate nominations for our FA awards are highly valued for the careful consideration they give to these nominations and we really appreciate their contributions. This year the Merit Award for Scholarly Achievement Subcommittee was chaired by Edward Chung. Gloria McInnis-Perry, Aitazaz Faroque, Caroline Ritter, Carolyn Thorne, Esther Wohlgemut, Mike MacLellan, Yolanda Hood and Blake Jelley are the other members of this sub-committee. Henrik Stryhn is chairing the Hessian Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching Subcommittee, joined by Kathy Snow, Andrew Carrothers, Charlie Pye, Grant McSorley, Kate Scarth, Chris Vessey, and Patrice Drake. Our third subcommittee for the Merit Award for Outstanding Service is chaired by Shannon Murray, joined by Zain Esseghaier, Gail Macartney, Stevan Springer, Kerri McCaffery and Xiao Chen. Finally, our fourth sub-committee for the Janet Pottie Murray Award for Educational Leadership was adjudicated by Sue Dawson as chair and Jason Pearson, Cora Gilroy, Libby Osgoode, Philip Smith, Ann Braithwaite, Rosie LeFaive, and Don Wagner. We are grateful for the time and care each of you dedicated to the adjudication of awards and we are looking forward to celebrating this year’s recipients.

Finally, we have scheduled a date for a virtual Faculty Recognition Celebration on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. We will be celebrating our award recipients from 2020 and 2021 as well as recognizing retirees from both years. If you haven’t ordered tickets yet, we recommend doing this ASAP. It promises to be an exceptional event.

By Charlene VanLeeuwen (Chair)

2020-2021 Research & Advocacy Committee Report

The formal mandate of the UPEIFA Research and Advocacy Committee states that the Committee is: “tasked by the Executive with completing research and making recommendations on issues being discussed by the Executive. In addition, the Committee serves an advocacy function to external groups and organizations, and to governments.” In practice, the Committee has generally focussed on its research role, supporting the FA Executive (and the Negotiating Team in years when negotiation positions are being prepared), and this continued in the most recent reporting period.

The main area of Committee activity over the past year has been to assist the Executive in crafting and delivering several surveys of the FA membership on issues of interest and concern. In addition to the September 2020 survey focussing on members’ experiences and impressions of UPEI’s COVID-19 response (findings of which were presented at the FA’s December 2020 general meeting), there have also been two surveys targeting more specific issues.

• A December 2020 “mini-survey” focussed on member experiences working with UPEI’s Accessibility Services Office on student accommodation requests.
• A January 2021 survey on member experiences with the 2020 online delivery of Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys (SOTS)

The April 16th FA AGM will include a report on highlights of these two surveys’ findings. I should share here, however, a general note of thanks to all the members who took time to provide such careful and considered responses to the above surveys: the quantity and quality of feedback provided in all three surveys was very good, and the more impressive in light of all the extra burdens our members have been carrying this year.

Thanks are also due, of course, to the Research and Advocacy Committee’s members, including Brian Wagner, Shafiqul Islam, Justin Kakeu, Rebecca Reed-Jones, and Jean Mitchell, for their assistance in developing the surveys. As preparations for deferred Collective Agreement negotiations gather steam in the coming year, I expect that this Committee will be called on with increasing frequency, and I know I can continue to count on the wisdom and cooperation of colleagues in this important work.
In closing, I should note that I have made a beginning at creating and sharing electronic research folders in Google Drive, to provide the Executive with ready access to current e-publications and other resources on particular issues (e.g. student evaluation of teaching surveys, understaffing and precarity in academia, etc.). I encourage members to pass along suggestions for contributions to these files, either to myself or one of the other Committee members.

By Simon Lloyd (Chair)

2020-2021 Equity Committee Report

The role of the FA Equity Committee is to promote and advocate for equity in its broadest sense through research and education, and work to advance equity issues in University and Association policies, practices and activities. Members this year were Ali Ahmadi, Susan Dawson, Gary Evans, Yuliya Rashchupkina, Margot Rejskind (Chair), Marva Sweeney-Nixon, and Omeasoo Wahpasiw.

This year was relatively quiet, mostly as a result of the increased workloads for many members. However, the committee did meet and make several recommendations to the FA executive Committee, including that the Joint Equity Committee (which had not met in some time) be revived with an eye to influencing the then-unreleased UPEI EDI Strategic Plan, which was done. We also recommended that the FA members of the JEC suggest to administration that an EDI “environmental scan” be undertaken as a first task of implementing the FA-relevant portions of the Strategic Plan. Finally, we sought to meet with our then-newly-appointed University EDI Officer to understand the scope of her position, and discuss how the FA and could work together; unfortunately, our request to meet was declined. 

The work of the Committee will gear up this coming year in preparation for for contract negotiations next spring, as we will work with the executive and the bargaining team to ensure that equity issues are addressed in our collective agreement. 

By Margot Rejskind (Chair)