Q and A from Collective Agreement 101 Sessions

Article 20: Outside Activities

Will there be a firm deadline for when to receive all Annual Reports of Outside Activities from the Chair/Dean?

These reports are kept with the Dean on the understanding that the VP, Academic can go back and look at them if needed. These have a completion deadline of January 15. Faculty Relations checks in with the Dean's office late January/early February to ensure the reporting is done.

What other employment is considered an Outside Activity? 

Any work that faculty does for an employer that is not SFU.

What do we do about obtaining pre-approval for Outside Activities? Will a form need to be completed by faculty members?

Faculty Relations will send out two forms in January—one for reporting outside activities and another for pre-approval of activities.

Per section 20.5, A Member must inform the Chair and the Dean, in advance and in writing. And, per section 20.8, In January of each year, every Member must submit an Annual Report of Outside Activities to their Chair. 

Article 27: Research Faculty Workload

How consistent should the normal annual faculty workload be across departments or faculties?

Variation in workload will reasonably occur across faculties. The Dean, in consultation with the Chair, will have final authority over workloads to ensure that the unit meets its curricular and enrolment obligations.

Article 28: University Criteria for Appointment, Tenure and Promotion

Regarding the change in criteria, as in 28.7 (recognizing extraordinary service loads) and 28.18-28.22 (specific recognition of non-traditional scholarship), when will the TPC’s/department’s criteria need to be updated?

TPCs will receive a request from the Provost to review and revise their criteria based on the new Collective Agreement. This should be done prior to the next round of tenure and promotion consideration (2017).

Regarding the change in criteria, for committees meeting next spring, how should I proceed when members have been working over last two years under the current criteria?

Candidates for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor are to be assessed against the criteria in place when they were hired unless they opt to be evaluated against the most recently approved criteria for tenure.  A candidate might decide that the current standards are more advantageous to them if, for instance, they do non-traditional scholarship.

Article 29: Establishment of Tenure and Promotion and Faculty Review Committees 

Must the TPC always elect a Teaching Faculty Member? What will be done if there is only one Teaching Faculty Member in the department, particularly when they are being reviewed?

If there is only one Teaching Faculty member in a unit, then the TPC composition should be discussed with the Dean. It would be unreasonable to expect that a single Teaching Faculty member should serve on the TPC every year.

Faculty Relations will provide more detailed information relating to TPC composition prior to election of new TPCs in the spring.

When will the new TPC composition come into play?

With the election of new committees in Spring 2017.

Will there be a process outlined to gain approval from the external faculty member’s Dean? Is there some way of generating a list for the Chair of TPC for people to contact, rather than contacting any individual?

This will be discussed at an upcoming Deans’ Council.

Article 33: Biennial Reviews and Step Awards (Research and Teaching Faculty)

If a term position is ending, should a performance review still occur?

All term appointments should be reviewed as in Article 33. It is helpful when considering rehiring in the future.

Per Article 33: Biennial Reviews and Step Awards (Research and Teaching Faculty), section 33.14, Term appointments of more than one year, or with two consecutive one-year appointments, will receive one step award on September 1st of the second year of appointment. They will be subject to a formal evaluation in the second and fourth years of appointment. If they are reappointed, their step placement will be determined according to the evaluation. In this case, the review is not based on points for step awards. 

Article 34: Unsatisfactory Performance

Some departments have consistently used a 0.5 step award as “satisfactory performance”. Should departments continue to do this or should there be consistency across departments?

Article 34 makes it clear that a 0.5 step award does not constitute satisfactory performance under the new Collective Agreement.

Is there technically any difference between a 0 and 0.5 step award when both require meeting with the Chair of the TPC and Dean to discuss how the individual might improve their performance before the next biennial review? In both cases, a step award of 0 or 0.5 in two consecutive biennial reviews means that a member may be required to undertake a program of appropriate remedial action. 

0 is a very serious case of non-performance; 0.5 is unsatisfactory and the new language gives an opportunity to have a discussion about how to improve performance before the next review.

Article 35: Teaching Faculty

Will the 1 semester in 9 with no teaching duties assigned still apply, even with the 1 semester in 8 (University Lecturers) and 1 semester in 16 (Senior Lecturers) as a course equivalent to develop new learning activities, refine curriculum, and/or engage in other activities appropriate to continued scholarly development?

Yes. Teaching Faculty will still be entitled to 1 semester in 9 with no teaching duties assigned. The new course equivalent semesters have assigned workload, just not classroom teaching.

Is it possible for a faculty member to do an overload teaching contract during the 1 in 9 semester with no teaching duties assigned?

No. The 1 in 9 semester is an obligation and no teaching should be assigned.

What happens if a term Teaching Faculty member has been in a position for four years (50% or more) and need for a continuing position is not identified?

If the decision is not to fill the position on a continuing basis, the department may not appoint any new limited term Teaching Faculty to teach the same or substantially similar courses for a period of two years following expiry of the appointment that triggered the consideration.

What is the criteria and process for promotion to University Lecturer?

There are university criteria and promotion procedures (Article 35, section 35.50 to 35.56). Each unit will develop department/faculty criteria as well.

Article 39: Overload Teaching Contracts

Who does this policy apply to?

A faculty member who is assigned teaching over and above their required workload, and also to APSA and CUPE members teaching a class.

What should be done about an Overload Teaching Request from another department/faculty?

If you are considering offering an OTC to a faculty member from another department, you should speak to the faculty member’s Dean prior to doing so.

Where 39.2 states that “Normally a full-time faculty member will have no more than one OTC at a time”, what exactly does this mean per semester?

One OTC per semester (or two per year, given the normal T-T-R rotation). However, if OTCs are being used this frequently, consideration should be given to a limited term lecturer position.

If a department decides that there is not a continuing need for a term position after 4 years, what are the restrictions on who can teach those courses?

The Department cannot appoint a term Teaching Faculty to teach the same or substantially similar courses for a period of two years following expiry of the appointment that triggered the consideration.

Article 40: Grant Tenure

For Grant Tenure appointments, if the position is funded by an endowment, can the position be terminated if funds are no longer available to pay the portion of the faculty member’s salary that was anticipated at appointment?

If endowment-funded, yes, the funds would be considered external as they are not part of continuing university base budget and termination under these circumstances could occur pursuant to the requirements in Article 40.

Article 42: Salary

When will the cap for Market Differentials come into play?

In January 2017. The cap will be university-wide. VP, Academic will discuss the cap and allocations for each faculty with the Deans.

Are there any insights as to how to define experience as referred to in section 42.24: “Initial salary placement will be commensurate with academic achievement and previous relevant and related experience”?

Experience is not defined as it can be very different between faculties and units, but should be applied consistently within each unit. For example, in some units, industry experience may be considered relevant, while in others it might not.

Article 46: Study Leave for Bargaining Unit Members 

Do academic administrators receiving a reduced teaching assignment still accrue eligibility for study leave at one-half of the normal annual teaching load?

Yes, see Article 51, section 51.34. If Chairs are given teaching reduction, they will accrue eligibility for study leave at half the normal rate.

Article 49: Retirement

Will there be room for Senior Lecturers to be conferred the emeritus/a title during this transitional period? 

Emeritus is limited in the Agreement to University Lecturers. Any exceptions would be at the President’s discretion.

Article 51: Academic-Administrative Appointments within the Bargaining Unit

Is there any stipulation regarding the timing of Research Leave?

No. Timing of Research Leave is to be worked out with the Dean.

Letter of Agreement 3: Teaching Professors

What occurs to the rank of Teaching Professor?

Letter of Agreement 3 says that no further applications for the rank of Teaching Professor will be accepted and those previously appointed as Teaching Professor are grand-parented at that title, following the same terms and conditions as Research Professors, as outlined in Policy A 11.10 (Teaching Professors).

Academic (A) Policies

When will the Academic (A) policies be taken off the policy gazette?

Anything that is found in the Collective Agreement now supersedes policies. We are working with the University Secretary to decide which policies are completely superseded and which might have sections that are not superseded.


For questions requiring more complex interpretation of the new Collective Agreement, contact:

Jennifer Perry
Executive Director, Faculty Relations
(778) 782-7593