2021-2022 Social Committee Report

This year, the following FA Members served on the Social Committee:

  • Michael Arfken (Co-Chair)
  • Laurie Brinklow (Co-Chair)
  • Pamela Bastante (Member-at-Large)
  • Raquel Hoersting (Member-at-Large)
  • Martha Mellish (Member-at-Large)
  • Jim Sentance (Member-at-Large)

In an effort to build relationships and solidarity across campus, the UPEIFA Social Committee typically organizes regular events for our membership throughout the academic year. Given COVID-19 protection measures, we once again had significantly less events than in past years. The events we did organize occurred largely online and required innovative ways of bringing members together while also keeping them apart.

Late last year, the Social Committee did have an opportunity to sneak in an in-person FA Time at the Fox and Crow. The event was well attended and made clear the importance of in-person events for building solidarity. While we had planned other in-person events this year, unfortunately the Omicron variant had other ideas. As a result, our post-AGM FA time will be held online on Friday, April 8 with food provided by Gallant’s.

We look forward to returning to in-person social events just as soon as it is safe.

Finally, we want to thank  Ashley Hansen for her work in support of the committee.

by Michael Arfken (Co-Chair)

2021-2022 Communications Committee Report

This year, the following FA Members served on the Communications Committee:

  • Michael Arfken (Co-Chair)
  • Kim Mears (Co-Chair)
  • David Hickey (Member-at-Large)
  • Ariana Patey (Member-at-Large)
  • Nia Phillips (Member-at-Large)
  • Chris Vessey (Member-at-Large)

For much the year, the committee provided support for collective bargaining preparations. This included generating stock pictures and video for use in future communications.

In addition, committee members provided support for the “We Are UPEI” campaign in the lead up to collective bargaining. Now that we have entered bargaining and with this campaign drawing to a close, the committee will be focusing on keeping our members updated on bargaining including generating infographics and other content around specific issues and producing reports summarizing bargaining sessions.

By Michael Arfken (Co-Chair)

2021-2022 Awards & Scholarships Committee Report

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 Co-Chairs, we are assisted this year by committee members Cora Gilroy, Susan Graham, Krishna Thakur, Raquel Hoersting, and Armin Bodaghkhani.

During a virtual FA Time on April 8th, we will celebrate the 2021 Faculty Association entrance scholarship recipients and medalists. Thanks to the support of the Social committee, members will be picking up delicious appetizers later this afternoon to enjoy during the event. Our Entrance Scholarship recipients are Emma Ledgerwood and Liam Kelly. Recipients of the Undergraduate Medals are Bronze Medal – Grace Burns; Silver Medal – Allison Winters; and Gold Medal – Desiree Rehel. The Graduate Medal is awarded to Meagan Walker.  We invite all FA members to join us on Zoom to celebrate the accomplishments of these students at 5:00 today. For our new members, 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. 

At the time of writing this report, nominations for FA Member Awards are about to close with files being turned over to the four adjudication sub-committees. You may have noticed a call for nominations for Hessian Merit Awards for Excellence in Teaching for Sessional and Full-time members was issued every semester this year, including summer sessions.  This is in recognition that colleagues in some programs are teaching year-round.  

We would not be able to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and colleagues without the service of quite a few people. We have four sub-committees that will be adjudicating nominations our FA awards in the coming few weeks. We’d like to acknowledge these FA members for the careful consideration they give to these nominations. Amy MacFarlane is chairing the Hessian Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching Subcommittee, joined by Rachelle Gauthier, Grant McSorley, Krishna Thakur, Gail Macartney, Simon Lloyd, Chris Vessey, and Richard Raiswell. The Merit Award for Scholarly Achievement Subcommittee is chaired by Edward Chung with Carolyn Thorne, Mike MacLellan, Christina Murray, Emily John, Aitazaz Farooque, and Kim Mears also serving on this sub-committee. Our third subcommittee for the Merit Award for Outstanding Service is chaired by Laurie Brinklow, joined by Lara Cusack, Xiao Chen, Kuljeet Grewal, MacKenzie Johnson and Christopher Power. Finally, our fourth sub-committee for the Janet Pottie Murray Award for Educational Leadership will be adjudicated by Jason Pearson as chair and committee members Sue Dawson, Philip Smith, Libby Osgoode, Andrew Carrothers, Kathy Snow, and Patrice Drake. We appreciate the time and care dedicated to the adjudication of awards and we are looking forward to celebrating this year’s recipients.

As we wrap-up this report, we are happy to let members know about plans for our annual Faculty Recognition Celebration on Wednesday May 4, 2022, at the Charlottetown Rodd Hotel. We will be celebrating our FA award recipients as well as recognizing retirees and tickets will be available in the next week or so.  We hope to have an excellent turnout so keep an eye on your email in-box.  You don’t want to miss out on tickets. After a two-year hiatus on in-person award celebrations, it promises to be an exceptional event.

By Charlene VanLeeuwen (Co-Chair) & Nadja Bressan (Co-Chair)

2021-2022 Research & Advocacy Committee Report

According to its formal mandate, the UPEIFA Research and Advocacy 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 2021-2022.

The main area of Committee activity over the past year has been to assist the Executive in crafting and delivering a number FA membership surveys on issues of interest and concern.

As noted elsewhere, it has, unfortunately, been necessary for the FA to apply considerable pressure on the employer over the past year to ensure any action on the University’s responsibility to provide safe and fair working conditions for our members, and the UPEI community at large. To inform and guide these efforts, a number of membership surveys have been conducted, including:

  • June 2021 survey on members’ experiences and expectations in preparing for the Fall 2021 semester, after the University announced plans for more “in-person” [on-campus] learning in the 2021-2022 academic year.
  • August 2021 survey on a campus vaccination requirement [vaccine mandate].
  • September 2021 survey on members’ experiences of the start of the Fall 2021 semester.
  • October-November 2021 survey, “Improving Access to Physical Activity for Members” (survey developed by UPEI researcher Dr. Travis Saunders)
  • January 2022 survey on members’ experiences and expectations regarding UPEI supports for their work as the University reverted to primarily online learning, in response to the Omicron surge.
  • February-March 2022 “mini-survey” on the experiences of any members who requested extensions to online course deliver, as the University reverted to predominantly in-person learning at the end of February.
  • March 2022 survey on members’ expectations on continuing UPEI COVID precautions, in the context of the PEI Government’s stated intention to end most provincial pandemic measures on April 7th.

Further, as reported in detail at the FA’s December 2021 AGM, detailed bargaining surveys were also sent to members of both bargaining units in late October 2021.

Great appreciation is due to the many members who took time to provide such careful and considered responses to the above surveys: the quantity and quality of feedback provided in all surveys was very good, and the more impressive in light of all the extra burdens our members have continued to carry over the past year. Members’ survey responses have been absolutely critical for the FA Executive’s ongoing efforts to engage with the employer on issues of concern.

Thanks are also due, of course, to the Research and Advocacy Committee’s members, including Nino Antadze, Jean Mitchell, Rebecca Reed-Jones, and Javier Sanchez — as well as former members Andy Trivett and Tess Miller (who had to finish their terms early to take up other appointments) — for their readiness to assist and advise. Unfortunately, the focus on preparing and analyzing surveys, often on very tight time-lines, has meant that there has been far less opportunity for consultation with the Committee than I would have liked, but Committee members were nevertheless been most helpful and supportive when called upon, and this was appreciated.

Looking to the coming year, I am (cautiously) hopeful that there will be opportunity for a more deliberative and proactive approach to the Committee’s research mandate. While we must remain ready to deal with time-sensitive issues as they arise, the development of a planned research agenda has the potential to ease the heavy workload of the Executive — and especially our President and Vice-President —and better draw on the collective wisdom of the Research and Advocacy Committee’s members. In this context, I am especially thankful to those who are remaining on the Committee, and those who will be joining us at the AGM. We have an exciting year of learning ahead.

By Simon Lloyd (Co-Chair)

2021-2022 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 Ann Braithwaite, Elizabeth Blake, Susan Dawson, Philippe Messier, Yuliya Rashchupkina, Margot Rejskind (Co-Chair), and Marva Sweeney-Nixon (Co-Chair).

The Equity Committee held a half-day retreat last summer to discuss issues of concern and priority, and made recommendations to the FA Executive Committee regarding bargaining priorities. The Committee will play a key role in negotiations providing comment and support on proposed language for the collective agreement. Finally, it is hoped that the current third-party investigation of harassment and sexual violence policies and procedures at UPEI will offer an opportunity to update these policies, and that the FA Equity Committee can play a role in developing new policies which can better reflect the needs of our members today and into the future.

By Margot Rejskind (Chair)