“They won’t hire tenure-track and we can’t find sessionals. We all end up taking overloads year after year just to keep the program running. How are we meant to do research at the same time?”“We are chronically understaffed. We are beyond tired, with no recognition of how it’s impacting the other areas of our work.
– FA Members

Last Fall, many of you completed a survey and participated in a series of consultations to ensure that your priorities are reflected in the next round of collective bargaining. The stories you shared make it clear that although we work in a variety of positions and locations across campus, our concerns and priorities are remarkably similar. Over the last decade, UPEI has expanded in scope and in enrolment. At the same time, resources for existing programs and support for academic staff has declined. Despite our university growing significantly, within the last decade the number of full-time faculty has remained virtually unchanged. 
Increasingly, UPEI academic staff have found it necessary to:
take on overloads to maintain programs; teach larger and larger courses without any additional support; spend their remaining time completing downloaded administrative tasks. In addition, the over-reliance on contract academic staff (sessional and term instructors) has led to the exploitation of individuals who teach – in some cases for decades at a time – for poverty-level wages with no job security, pension, or benefits. 

Without sufficient research space and dedicated backfill, faculty often struggle to maintain research programs or initiate new lines of research. Many departments and programs lack a critical mass of faculty to undertake much-needed curricular renewal.
 
Many of you have made it clear that you are exhausted, burned-out, and disheartened. 
 
The pressures on faculty have only been made worse by the pandemic. We have risen to the occasion and met every challenge that has been thrown at us since the beginning of this global health crisis. Yet in contrast to our colleagues across the country, we have done so with few supports.

Our Working Conditions Are Our Students’ Learning ConditionsOur students are not unaffected by this lack of investment in faculty: among other things, they experience larger class sizes, struggle to find the courses needed to complete their degrees, and receive less support from instructors who are overworked and under-resourced.

You are UPEI
 As we head into bargaining for our next Collective Agreement, we have an opportunity to make sure that UPEI Administration hears our concerns and acts on them. There has never been a better time for us to work collectively on issues that affect academic staff, students, UPEI workers, and the entire Island community.
 
Here’s how you can do your part:
 Talk to us: Tell us how these issues have been affecting you HERE
Get involved: Join us for regular meetings, and consider joining an FA committee or serving as a grievance officer.
Show your support: Use our downloadable logos as your photo for online meetings and lectures. Download them HERE
Stay in the loop: to prevent communications disruptions as we head into negotiations, share your personal email address HERE
Stay social: share social media content to help spread the word. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking on the icons below. 
 
Together, We Are UPEI.