|A Tale Of Three Professors |
“We have to face the real issue that affects all teaching staff at UPEI: that the existence of a low-paid underclass of professors devalues teaching and research, and provides the basis for administration’s arguments that these do not need to be supported. The Academy doesn’t value the very things that the Academy exists to provide: knowledge and education.”
– FA Member
Spot the difference:
|Increasingly, full-time FA members report feeling overwhelmed. As UPEI continues to rely on Contract Academic Staff (Sessional Instructors / Term Appointments) to cover teaching, a shrinking number of tenured and tenure-track faculty are having to shoulder heavier service and administrative commitments all while struggling to maintain a productive research program.|
It is in our collective interest to acknowledge and address the challenges faced by Contract Academic Staff at UPEI. Their working conditions have significant implications not only for our students’ education but for all of us who value reasonable workloads, collegial governance, and academic freedom.
Myths About Contract Academic Staff at UPEI:
Myth #1: Sessional Instructors and Term Faculty are temporary backfill, which is necessary to provide flexibility for research leave etc.
The Truth: Many Sessional Instructors (SI) at UPEI have been teaching multiple courses per year for years, sometimes for decades. A quick look at the Sessional Seniority Roster reveals 70 SI who have taught 25 or more 3-credit courses, and a number who have taught as many as 60 or more. This is not temporary backfill. It’s exploitation. Likewise, many departments count an increasing number of Term Faculty within their ranks, many employed for only 8-10 months of the year. It is not unheard of for FA members to remain on these precarious, often part-year contracts for years at a time with little prospect of converting to more secure employment.
Myth #2: Contract Academic Staff at UPEI receive equal pay for work of equal value
The Truth: A 5-course teaching load at UPEI is generally understood to encompass 50% of a full-time member’s employment responsibilities. Take, for example, an Associate Professor on Step 4 at $108,174 per year salary plus another 20% for benefits: the value of each course taught by that faculty member comes to $12,981. Meanwhile, the maximum per-course stipend available for a Sessional Instructor with 10+ years of teaching experience in 2021/2022 is $7140, including 6% “in lieu of benefits”. In addition, many Contract Academic Faculty provide service by sitting on department committees (departments are required to include a Sessional representative in departmental decision-making), often for little to no additional pay.In the classroom, full-time faculty and Contract Academic Staff have identical duties and responsibilities. If UPEI values teaching and is committed to providing students with a world-class education, how do we reconcile poverty-level compensation for a significant proportion of our teachers with UPEI’s commitment to teaching excellence?
You are UPEIAs we head into bargaining for our next Collective Agreement, we have an opportunity to make sure that all teaching staff at UPEI are treated fairly and equally. There has never been a better time for us to work collectively on these 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 or your department. HERE
* Stay in the loop: to prevent communications disruptions as we head into negotiations, share your personal email address. This is especially important for Sessional and partial-year Term Members! 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 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.