TUFA Update – Research and SETS

Dear Colleagues,
We hope this message finds everyone healthy and well. TUFA has remained in close contact with the Employer throughout this extraordinary period of adjustment and wishes to commend our colleagues in the Administration for their thoughtful efforts to protect Trent students, personnel, and the broader community from the COVID-19 virus. Our role in all this has been to ensure that members’ rights are protected and that your work and contributions are appropriately recognized. The University has very quickly shifted its entire pedagogical operation to remote delivery and we know that this was only possible because of the thousands and thousands of extra hours put in by TUFA and CUPE members over the course of the last month.
To facilitate resolution of any employment issues arising from the current crisis, TUFA and the Employer are holding more frequent Joint Committee meetings. These meetings provide us an opportunity to raise issues from the membership and so please do let us know if you have feedback or concerns that ought to be considered. Meantime, we would draw your attention to the following:
1. Updated Directives – University Research Activities
On March 31st, Trent’s Office of Research circulated new directives in regard to the conduct of research. It is not clear how long these restrictions will be in place. Members — especially those in probationary appointments — should advise their Dean and TUFA if these restrictions will have a significant impact on their research productivity. We have raised with the Employer the possibility that some adjustments may be warranted, either with respect to probationary timelines or the interpretation/application of permanency/tenure/promotion standards.
2. SETS (Student Experience of Teaching Surveys)
As the Deans’ Office previously communicated, TUFA and the Employer have formally agreed that members will not be required or expected to provide SETS from F/W 2019/20 or W 2020 in any future employment process. We would, however, also remind members that as a consequence of the last bargaining round, these are no longer to be considered or termed “evaluations of teaching” in recognition of the significant problems identified with the fairness and accuracy of all such instruments. TUFA and the Employer have struck a subcommittee that will work through the implications of this change in the nature of SETS for departments and individual members involved in peer-review processes.

In Solidarity,

Marcus Harvey,
Executive Director