BUFA Working to Negotiate Greater Choice, Flexibility, and Protections in Scheduling
Improving Scheduling Provisions will Benefit Faculty and Students, and Help Expand Brock’s Research Capacity
Scheduling issues clearly demonstrate the link between faculty working conditions and student learning conditions. That is why BUFA is working towards achieving greater choice and flexibility in scheduling for the benefit of faculty and students.
During our consultation process we heard from faculty members that the Office of the Registrar has sometimes proven inflexible and unsympathetic to requests for alternate scheduling arrangements designed to benefit student learning.
For example we heard from faculty members who have been repeatedly denied requests to have a seminar component of a course run after the lecture component. Another faculty member was denied a pedagogical request for a flat classroom with moveable tables and chairs. Yet another faculty member was repeatedly denied requests for two side-by-side seminar rooms as part of a simulation course. One faculty member was denied the ability to schedule their course in a room with several adjacent whiteboards to write out math equations and more than a few faculty members complained that they were perennially scheduled to teach at 8:00am.
Brock lags behind many universities in terms of facilitating scheduling requests. BUFA is proposing that the Collective Agreement be amended to provide greater flexibility and options. The Association is proposing that the University expand the existing number of timetable bands to give faculty members more say in course scheduling. For example, under the current system, faculty members cannot even indicate a preference between mornings or afternoons.
Improving choice and flexibility in scheduling would also have the added benefit of helping to expand the University’s research capacity by allowing faculty members to better balance their schedules in a way that can help focus their research efforts.
BUFA is also seeking to expand scheduling protections for faculty members. In the coming months, the University’s Senate is expected to consider a proposal for Brock to adopt a formal trimester system that would amalgamate all Spring and Summer course offerings into one main term with a standard reading week and exam period. While the initiative has merit, it also leaves faculty vulnerable to unfair scheduling provisions. Current scheduling provisions in the Collective Agreement are designed almost entirely around a Fall/Winter course delivery model. For example, the Collective Agreement provisions that define the length of the teaching day, provide notice protections for alteration of teaching assignments, and require the Office of the Registrar to provide academic units with a draft version of the timetable for comment by a certain date only apply to the Fall/Winter terms. Without this protective language, members teaching in Spring/Summer are vulnerable to arbitrary treatment. Thus, BUFA is proposing that scheduling protections for faculty in the Fall/Winter terms be extended to Spring/Summer.
BUFA is also committed to protecting member privacy by decoupling human rights-based scheduling requests from other types of scheduling requests. The Association is proposing that the Joint Timetable Committee no longer be responsible for adjudicating human rights-based scheduling accommodations. Instead, BUFA is proposing that these requests be adjudicated by the Registrar’s Office.
Building a better Brock means improving protections, choice, and flexibility in scheduling options, for the benefit of both faculty and students.