Getting to Know Your Collective Agreement

Moving from Non-Regular to Regular Status: Routes to Regularization

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large (Contact)

The one question KFA non-regular members ask most often is: “How do I become a regular faculty member?” It’s easy to understand why a member would ask this question; less straightforward is the answer to this question.

The meanings of the various statuses. What is a regular position? In Article 1.05 of the Collective Agreement, the different kinds of status are defined. In 1.05(a), a regular position is defined as, “one that exists or is established to meet the ongoing needs of the Employer on a half-time basis or greater basis.” The Collective Agreement, in 1.05(f) Employment, says, “A regular faculty member, after successful completion of the probationary period, will be offered continuous employment subject only to those terms and conditions as may be contained in the Collective Agreement.”

So, a regular faculty position is an ongoing position that provides continuous employment to the faculty member. The securing of regular faculty status thus provides some measure of stability and job security, as well as the enjoyment of all of the rights and benefits described in the Collective Agreement.

A regular position may be full time, 100% workload, or part-time, at least 50% of a workload up to anything less than 100%. The status is the same for part-time regular positions, but of course the commitment to provide ongoing and continuous employment is limited to the percentage at which the faculty member is regularized.

What is a non-regular position? “Non-regular faculty members are those that do not hold a regular position or who have not satisfied the requirements for regularization in Article 1.05(e),” according to article 1.05(d). (The section “Regularization processes” below includes a discussion of the requirements for regularization.)

Article 1.05(d) defines these non-regular positions further as Non-Regular Type 1 and Non-Regular Type 2. These are generally referred to as NR1 and NR2 positions. An NR2 faculty member is one “who is assigned or reasonably anticipated to be assigned an annualized workload of 50% or greater for a future 12-month period.” An NR1 faculty member’s work falls outside the annual workload provisions described for NR2 and “may only be hired for specialized requirements, experimental offerings, timetabling anomalies, substitution, vacation replacement, short-term emergency circumstances, [or] work that is not expected to be ongoing.” For both NR1 and NR2 positions, there is no expectation of continuing employment past the end of the specified contract end date.

Regularization processes. Changes from non-regular to regular status generally occur in 2 main ways. A non-regular faculty member can make application for a posted regular position, and as the successful candidate for the position, s/he becomes a regular faculty member. This is the simplest route to regularization.

Meeting the requirements described in Article 1.05(e) Entitlement to Conversion to Regular Status is the other main way a non-regular faculty member can achieve regular status. The basic requirement is that the faculty member has worked at least 50% of an annualized workload over 2 consecutive years, that there be a reasonable expectation of ongoing work at a minimum of 50% in the 3rd year, that the faculty member is qualified for the work in question, and that the faculty member’s most recent evaluation is satisfactory. Article 1.05(e) says the regularization “will occur” when these conditions are met.

In addition to achievement of regular status by either being the successful candidate for a posted regular position or being entitled to conversion, 1.05(e) also points out that, “Nothing in the section above prohibits the employer's rights to regularize any position as it deems necessary.”

All of these routes are subject to a 2-year probationary term, and the details of probation can be found in Article 4.06.

If you have any comments or questions about regularization or faculty status, please contact me.

Pots and Pots and Pots of Money: Regular PD funds, Personal PD funds and 0.6% PD funds

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large (Contact)

Our KFA has negotiated multiple sources for PD funding, and we have three different main “pots” of money for PD. We have the regular grouped PD fund, the personal PD fund, and the Faculty Professional Development Fund (aka the “0.6% fund”).

Professional Development (or PD) is defined in the Collective Agreement under Article 16.03 (a) as being

[F]or the maintenance and development of the faculty members' professional competence and effectiveness. It is agreed that maintenance of currency of subject knowledge, the improvement of performance of faculty duties, and the maintenance and improvement of professional competence, including instructional skills(…).

The three different funds are available to help enable KFA members to pursue such activities. Article 16 in the Collective Agreement describes the PD program for faculty members at Kwantlen. This article lays out the organization of PD funding, the different funds that exist, and how members can access these funds.

Regular Grouped PD Fund.  One of the pots of money described in Article 16 is the regular PD fund.  The money for this PD fund is budgeted to each grouping as a total and is based on the figure $550 for each full-time equivalent faculty member in the grouping. This money is allocated through PD Committees that are based on the groupings listed in Article 16.01 (a).

The PD Committees are composed of faculty members elected from each area (one member of each PD Committee is selected to serve on the Educational Leave Committee).  These faculty PD committees are responsible for drawing up guidelines for the disbursement of these funds, for receiving applications and making recommendations for disbursement based on the applications. So, your application for regular PD funds goes to your grouping’s PD committee and they make a recommendation for disbursement based on the guidelines established.

Administrators have a role in signing off on the committee’s approved applications. The administrator responsible, usually the appropriate Dean, signs off on disbursements and, as the Collective Agreement says in 16.01 (f), “Approval will not be unreasonably withheld.”  In addition, 16.01 (g) states that “The administrator may not expend the funds allocated in this article that have not been recommended by the Professional Development Committee.”

Personal PD Funds. In addition to the regular PD funds, we have personal PD funds. The dollar amount available is $100 to each regular and NR2 faculty member in each fiscal year (the institution’s fiscal year is April 1 through March 31).

The process for you to access these funds is quite different from the process to access the regular PD funds. Applications are made on a KPU Expense Report form, available here or in campus mailrooms. You also need to make sure you attach your receipts and that they are dated in the current fiscal year. You send your completed application directly to Financial Services and the deadline for applications is March 15th. Because your dean is not involved in this process, you send your completed Expense Report directly to Financial Services and not to your dean.

Personal PD funds can be used to cover a number of eligible expenses, including such items as books, subscriptions (pro-rated for the fiscal year), memberships in scholarly societies or professional associations, and so on. A more complete list of potential eligible expenses can be found here or in Article 16.04 in the Collective Agreement. 

An interesting note on the Personal PD Funds is that any money not claimed in each fiscal year is carried forward either to the Educational Leave fund or to a fund for NR1 faculty sick leave.

Faculty Professional Development Fund (the “0.6% fund”). The third pot of money available for faculty PD is the Faculty Professional Development Fund, otherwise known as the 0.6% fund. The total annual allocation for the fund is set at 0.6% of the total annual faculty salary budget. It’s important to note that, “Any monies in the Fund not spent at the end of any fiscal year shall be retained by the Employer.”

The purpose for this fund is, like the other funds, to support professional development activities. According to the description of the 0.6% fund, “Such professional development is for the maintenance and development of the faculty members’ professional competence and effectiveness. The purpose is to assist faculty to remain current and active in their discipline and program.”

There are a number of ways the 0.6% PD funding is different from the other sources. This is a university-wide fund, and all faculty members are eligible to apply for the funding, but preference is given to post-probationary faculty members. Another important way the fund is different is in the dollar amounts available. There is a minimum award amount, $1000, and the there is no upward set limit, though applications for amounts over $20 000 require more substantial and detailed explanation and support than applications for amounts under $20 000.

Access to the 0.6% PD fund is by an application and review process, and the process and criteria are different from the other two funds. The process and criteria are described in the Collective Agreement in Article 16.03. Other funding guidelines can be found on the Office of Research and Scholarship website.

Applications should be submitted to “the senior administrator responsible,” usually the Dean, who must support the application with a letter of recommendation. Applications for $20 000 or more require an external letter of reference. Applications are accepted three times a year, on February 1, June 1 and October 1. Once the applications have been submitted, they are reviewed by a joint committee made up of three senior administrators and three faculty members appointed by the KFA.

After completing the project, faculty members receiving this funding also have to report on the outcomes of their PD.  

There are some stipulations around service required after receiving this funding. According to 16.05 (c), if a faculty member receives funding and then resigns, the funds are fully recoverable “if subsequent service is one year or less,” and half is recoverable “if subsequent service is two years or less, but greater than one year.”

If you have any questions or comments about this topic, please contact me.

To Exceed or not to Exceed: Is that the Question?

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large (Contact)

Class size limits are very important to KFA members. According to the last two bargaining surveys, maintaining our class size limits as defined in Article 12.04 is one of the top-ranked priorities for faculty members.

One of the ways that our class size limits are protected is by having a defined process by which students can apply to register in a full class. There is a clear set of conditions that limit whether a student can make this kind of application, there is a process that the student is supposed to follow in order to apply, and it is always the case that the faculty member has discretion to approve or not approve the class size overload. Recently, it seems that some problematic practices have crept in and there are some potential loopholes or difficulties around exceeding class sizes.

There are a limited set of conditions that could allow the student to apply for permission to register in a full class. System failure or data input error is one of these, and this includes cases in which a student in unexpectedly dropped by the system at some point during the registration process due to system failure, input errors for pre-requisites or grades and data coding errors. Another reason a student might apply is medical or compassionate grounds. The last reason a student might be able to apply to register in a full class is if the class in question is the last class the student requires to graduate.

In the first two kinds of situations, the student contacts the Student Enrollment Services (SES) office. The SES office tries first to ensure the student can register without exceeding class size, if possible. If not, then the Registrar or designate contacts the KFA office to seek approval to overload the class. The KFA office consults with the faculty member to determine whether the faculty member will accept or not accept the class overload. There is no compensation due to faculty members who accept these sorts of class overloads.

The third situation, when a full class is the last class a student requires to graduate from a degree, diploma or certificate program, is a different situation. The student obtains a form, Permission to Exceed Class Size, from the Enrollment Services (admissions) counter, and the student meets with an Educational Advisor to determine whether the class is indeed the last one required to graduate. If it is, the advisor forwards the completed form to the KFA office, and the KFA office consults with the faculty member to determine whether the faculty member will accept or not accept the overload. If the overload is not accepted, the form is forwarded to the Dean’s office which will contact the student to advise the request was not accepted. If the class size limit is exceeded as of the stable enrollment date (the 8th week of classes), the faculty member is compensated, and the Guided Study contract rates apply, $75 per credit.

Applying these processes helps maintain the discretion of faculty members to accept or not accept individual requests to exceed class size and to maintain fairness in the equal application of these processes. These guidelines and processes thus protect class size and also allow for ensuring some degree of fairness for students in a particular kind of difficulty. 

If you have any questions or comments about this issue or anything you think might be related to it, please contact me or any of the KFA officers.

 

 

Cutting ESL at Kwantlen: A Decision that is Both Wrong and Wrong-Headed

By Diane Walsh, Member-At-Large (Contact)

"The essence of what we argue for as educators, what we care for as a humanity, would be deemed insignificant if we ignore all of our voices and fail to do what is necessary to educate all that truly seek a higher education." Rashné Jehangir, Urban Education 45(4).

ELST section cuts at Kwantlen and the subsequent faculty layoffs are difficult to understand, and this incomprehensibility is due not only to the situation’s complexity but also due to the lack of sense that can be made of them from educational/institutional or social/economic perspectives.

The cuts have been managed in a way that seems arbitrary, uneven and unfair. In response to a general budget cut, senior administrators have focused only on reductions to educational offerings. At the same time, we have also learned that large sums have been paid, outside the executive compensation guidelines, to a number of members of senior administration. This is all quite puzzling.

These cuts to educational offerings and subsequent layoffs of faculty members are both wrong and wrong-headed.

Educational /Institutional Perspectives. Many students at Kwantlen require academic upgrading and the development of their skills in order to be successful in post-secondary studies. Our colleagues in the English Language Studies (ELST) department are professional ESL educators who design and deliver high-quality English language education. Besides being necessary for employment and in community life, this programming leads directly into and supports students’ success in all Faculties across the institution.

In fact, Academic and Career Preparation (ACP) and ELST coursework appears in the academic histories of about 23% of all KPU graduates, according to a recent Kwantlen IA&P study. This of course does not take into account the number of registrants across the institution who take coursework in ELST or ACP and also take courses in other Faculties but who do not complete a credential at KPU. Developmental programming—ELST and ACP—is vitally necessary in supporting students’ gaining entry into other programs and their success in post-secondary education at KPU as well as in their successful participation as citizens of our region.

These cuts also make little sense at a time when we can foresee that the region’s demographics are making the same kinds of shifts already witnessed in other regions. The population of 18-24 year old high school graduates in the region will soon be in decline. In addition, Kwantlen’s region has a higher than average population of people who have no knowledge of English, a total of 6.0% of all residents compared with a province-wide average of 3.4% and a GVRD average of 5.7%. At the same time, adult residents of our and neighboring regions tell us they are keenly interested in education that will enable them to advance in their existing careers or to change careers altogether, and this education means their re-entering formal education. Increasingly, our student population will be a mature student population, and many of these mature students will require developmental education to ease their entry into formalized education, to enable them to meet pre-requisite requirements, and to refresh their academic skills.

Thus, cuts in developmental programming make little sense if our goal is to serve the citizens of our region and to provide the educational opportunities they want and need.

Social / Economic Perspectives. These cuts also make little sense from social and economic perspectives. High-quality, professionally delivered English language education is the foundation for social and economic success for a large number of citizens in our region. People who have made the decision to leave their countries of origin where English is not the official language and who come here to make a new life need access to English language education in order to be able to participate fully. Public post-secondary education must be accessible to all citizens, including our domestic ESL students. And these cuts and the way in which they have been managed and interpreted here at Kwantlen lead only toward reduced access.

Furthermore, at the same time as these cuts are being made to seats for domestic students because of a general cut to institutional revenue, we are informed that spaces in ELST for international students will be maintained and increased. The revenue generated in ELST by international enrollments, it seems, will not be used to provide access for domestic ELST students who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents and refugees, people who are citizens of the region. The promise that has always been made is that international enrollments would not serve to displace Canadians, and that they are meant to create opportunities, not take them away.

The provincial government, in its “Letter of Expectations” to KPU, says under the section titled, “The Institution’s Accountabilities” that KPU must “provide […] English as a second language […] programs that meet the needs of its designated region.” Furthermore, the Letter emphasizes that the institution should

Ensure that the Institution's priorities reflect the Government's goals of putting families first; creating jobs and building a strong economy; open government and public engagement; and providing regional access to post-secondary education throughout the province so that students can balance family needs and achieve their educational goals which helps families and benefits communities.

Unilateral cuts to ELST programming for Canadian citizens, permanent residents and refugees do not seem to fit this mandate or advance these goals.

Cutting Only Sections and Faculty. Also, it is difficult to understand why the Kwantlen administration’s response to a general budget cut has focused only on reductions to educational offerings. Other institutions, institutions that in some cases are facing far larger budgetary cuts, have taken the first step of looking at the non-educational side in their budgets for the shortfall and not taking the first (and thus far the only) step of making cuts directly to important educational offerings. This certainly raises some interesting questions about why the administration at KPU is taking the line they are.

Finally, the cause of social justice is not being served by these actions. Education can provide opportunities for individuals to change their lives, for communities to be made stronger, and for citizenship in the broadest and most inclusive sense of that word to be extended to all. And social justice pursued by means of education yields benefits well beyond the scope of the benefit to the individual. There is ample research that shows the value of education to individuals, particularly for those individuals who do not have access due to language, literacy and/or social barriers. There is ample research that shows the value to our society and our communities that can be attained by providing access to high-quality education. Our governments and our administrators must make good on this knowledge locally and immediately by providing affordable and accessible developmental education.

In short, looking at the matter from multiple perspectives, these cuts are both wrong and wrong-headed.

If you have any questions or comments about this issue or anything you think might be related to it, please contact me or any of the KFA officers.