TUFA Advisory – Workload and SETS

Dear Colleagues,

Please be advised as follows.

Assignment of Duties for 2024/25

Departmental discussions about staffing plans and the allocation of work in 2024/25 will be upon us soon. In the last round of bargaining, the language dealing with Teaching Support was substantively revised to allow for earlier confirmation of available support, including GTAs, graders and markers. Last year’s enrolment figures will be used as a baseline with an opportunity to adjust later for courses that experience significant change.  With this new language, Chairs and Directors will be collecting more information through the staffing plan process than in the past. As with any new process there may be some growing pains but ultimately this new approach should ensure that faculty members know what teaching-related resources they will have well in advance of finalizing course syllabi. If you haven’t already done so, we encourage you to review the relevant articles at VIII.3 (Allocation of Teaching and Departmental Duties – Faculty) and IV.8 (Teaching Support) of the Collective Agreement.

We would also stress the gains that have been made in the last two bargaining rounds to better capture the extent and variety of members’ contributions to the University. In recommending teaching duties and departmental service assignments, Chairs/Directors are expected to factor in graduate supervision, service, and teaching as well as any responsibilities that may fall disproportionately on members from underrepresented groups. As always, you may need to work with your Chair/Director if you feel there are considerations that are not being factored in. 

Please note that both the allocation of teaching support and the overall assignment of workload are appealable (see IV.8.4 and VIII.5), but we anticipate that the new system should clarify and rationalize support for members more efficiently than previously was the case.

Student Experience of Teaching Surveys (SETS)

TUFA has done much in the past several years to ensure both the improvement of SETS (as instruments) and their appropriate application and interpretation; however, we remain concerned with elements of online submissions. Research demonstrates that online SETS have lower response rates and may result in more negative feedback.  For these reasons, we consistently advise members to ensure that their students receive in-person/paper surveys rather than an online link.  We are concerned that some decanal units may be defaulting to online SETS contrary to Article VII.16.3. We will raise this issue in Joint Committee and, if necessary, through the grievance route, but meantime members wishing to receive paper SETS should be sure to confirm that preference when/if asked.

In Solidarity,


Dr. Marcus Harvey

Executive Director