TUFA Update – Pension update, Crisis at Laurentian, and other matters

Dear Colleagues,

Please see below for a number of updates of potential interest:

1. Conversion of TUFA Pension Plan to University Pension Plan (UPP)

Last month the UPP Joint Sponsors announced that they had reached agreement in principle with Trent University to convert the Contributory Pension Plan for TUFA Employees of Trent University to the University Pension Plan (UPP) effective January 1, 2022. The conversion is conditional on a consent process now underway, regulatory approval, and the finalization of formal agreements with the Plan’s Board of Trustees and Joint Sponsors. The consent process should be completed at the end of March, and TUFA will provide consent on behalf of all bargaining unit members as negotiated in our ratified collective agreement with the Employer.  We will update our members as we learn of the other requirements being met.

2. Appeal from the Laurentian University Faculty Association

Most members will be aware that Laurentian University filed for creditor protection: a move precipitated by poor administrative decisions and the erosion of public university funding. Our provincial and national affiliates are working closely with our sister Association to respond to this extraordinary turn of events. TUFA will also do what we can to help. Our colleagues are appealing to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Ross Romano, to provide the resources necessary to get the University back on a stable footing.  Ontario universities are in the unenviable position of being situated in the meanest province in the country when it comes to per-student university funding and Laurentian’s crisis is simply a reflection of that parsimony.  Our colleagues in LUFA have asked that we call consider signing on to their letter to the Minister – please take a moment to add your name.

3. OCUFA – Henry Mandelbaum Graduate Fellowship

The committee responsible for the Henry Mandelbaum Graduate Fellowship for Excellence in Social Sciences, Humanities, or Arts will be accepting applications until March 5, 2021. The application guidelines are available here, and applications must be submitted online. OCUFA provides one fellowship for a student at the Masters’ level with an award of $2,500, and one fellowship at the Doctoral level with a value of $5,000. The doctoral level recipient will be asked to deliver a short talk to OCUFA’s Board of Directors’ meeting in May of the year following the award.

4. OCUFA – Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards

Each year OCUFA recognizes outstanding teachers and academic librarians in Ontario universities through its Teaching and Academic Librarianship Awards. Teaching, in the context of the OCUFA awards, embraces virtually all levels of instruction – graduate and undergraduate, continuing education, and faculty development. Activities such as course design, curriculum development, organization of teaching programs and other significant forms of leadership are often important contributions to the instructional process. Those who excel in any of these are eligible for the OCUFA Teaching Awards. Academic librarianship, in the context of the OCUFA Awards, embraces all aspects of librarianship that contribute to the scholarly achievement of all members of the university community. Activities such as development and delivery of services, provision of educational materials, collection development and management and other contributions to academic librarianship are important to the intellectual functioning of the university. Those who excel in any of these are eligible for an OCUFA Academic Librarianship Award. Nominations are invited from individuals, informal groups of faculty or students, or both and must be received by 28 May 2021.

5. CAUT Bulletin

The most recent issue of the CAUT Bulletin (December/January) includes a number of interesting perspectives on the pandemic and PSE. The complete CAUT Bulletin is available for download in a PDF version on the CAUT website here.

In Solidarity,

Marcus