Click on the image in the left column on the main page to access submissions to the Senior Administration Responsibility Review Committee from AUNBT as well as from individual members. If you submitted feedback and would be willing to share it here, either with attribution or anonymously, please forward it to us for posting.
Members will remember that the University community received a message from Kathryn McCain, Chair of the UNB Board of Governors, on June 27 2013. As AUNBT was to meet with the employer in front of the Arbitration Board over the FT contract the following week, we sent out a message declining comment. In the meantime, the Academic Council sent off an excellent open letter to Ms. McCain on July 16 which was subsequently printed in the Telegraph-Journal on July 19. The Arbitration dates having now passed, we also turned our attention to responding. The letter was sent to Ms. McCain and the rest of the BoG earlier today, and circulated via email to the members (see below for full text; click for PDF).
Over 50 people from unions across both STU and UNB rallied today in support of the St. Thomas Support and Administrative Union, four years post-certification yet still without a first contract. Those giving greetings emphasized the need for solidarity against the increasingly anti-labour tactics of our employers.
Today’s letter to the editor, written in response to another letter, “Give students skills they need” (11/6/14):
As a teacher, I find it disheartening to see how many times available information is ignored. A recent letter to this paper, “Give students skills they need,” is another example.
The letter writer assumes that all students view higher education as training. They do not. Many reasonably expect employers to do their own training as they did in the past.
The writer assumes that there is a “skills shortage,” though that idea is rejected by many economists. The classifieds of this very paper should demonstrate the point.
Commentary by former AUNBT executive member Fred Donnelly in yesterday’s Telegraph-Journal:
On public sector wages
June 9, 2014
In recent times there has been unrest, including strikes and lock-outs, at several of New Brunswick’s public universities. These disputes have taken place within the legal context of the province’s collective bargaining legislation and partly involve efforts of faculty to keep pace with national salary scales for their profession.
In a recent commentary on this situation (Telegraph-Journal, June 5) Fred Hazel made a number of contentious statements with a populist spin. (more…)
Program prioritization programs, or PPPs, are the latest trend in the neoliberal university. Leo Groarke, Provost and Vice-President Academic at the University of Windsor, and Beverley Hamilton, Research and Projects Officer in the Provost’s Office at the University of Windsor, offer some thoughtful cautions in “Doing the PPP: a skeptical perspective” (Academic Matters, June 2014):
It is not hard to imagine the disruptive effects of rank and yank on the morale and well-being of individual employees. PPP is rank and yank at the program level. It exacerbates the morale issues in a university by pitting programs against one another. Some departments win because others lose. The whole point is to separate the winners from the losers, to separate the wheat from the chaff. In the process, PPP encourages a view of that tends to favour cutting programs as a way to deal with budget problems instead of considering other possibilities like reconceptualization, the identification of solvable problems, and re-organization.
….It must be said that some of the data PPP collects can be useful. In making difficult decisions about resources, it is important to know the cost of a program. The quality of research and teaching in a program is relevant in an attempt to assess it. But a university with a transparent budget does not need a PPP exercise to discover the costs and revenues associated with particular programs. A PPP ranking exercise is not needed to provide such data. In the case of academic programs, systems of review established at the provincial level already mandate the rigorous review of all programs, usually involving the input of external reviewers. A PPP exercise is not needed as an additional form of quality assurance.
Today AUNBT sent the following document to the Senior Administration Responsibility Review Committee. We would invite any of our members who wish, to send us your submissions for posting on a dedicated page that will remain publicly available.
May 20, 2014
Dear Members of the Senior Administration Responsibility Review Committee,
We thank you for the opportunity to address you on the subject of the structure of the upper administration at UNB.
We are the faculty union representing over eight hundred full-time and contract faculty, instructors, librarians, archivists, and nurse clinicians at the University of New Brunswick. We were founded as a faculty association in 1956 and certified as a union in 1979.
UNB has just come through a difficult job action. Our members struck with over a 90% strike vote and were locked out the next day. This was the first time either had happened in the history of UNB, where academic staff have traditionally had collegial relationships with the administration. In the past, most grievances did not make it to the formal stage and between 1984 and 2010 we had not a single arbitration. The current administration, however, has brought about a dramatic change in climate. Grievances have multiplied. The relationship had deteriorated for several years and its breakdown was foreseeable. (more…)