Table of Contents
- Teaching for the 2021-2022 academic year
- Request for an independent inquiry
It has been brought to the APUO’s attention that as faculties begin to prepare their respective 2021-2022 teaching workload assignments, some members have been asked to choose between continuing to teach online or remotely, teaching in-classroom, or some combination thereof. The APUO cautions that the Central Administration may seek to use the pandemic-induced transition to online and remote education as a pretext for transforming a substantial number of courses into total and/or partial online formats once in-classroom teaching is re-authorized. Given that this year’s temporary move to online and remote teaching has coincided with increased class sizes for some courses, we are concerned that some faculties may be seeking members’ consent at this time to continue with online and remote teaching in 2021-2022 as a stepping-stone for increasing class sizes; a shift with serious implications for workloads and the quality of education.
While many currently are required to teach online or remotely in accordance with public health guidelines and restrictions, the current constraints may no longer be in effect for the 2021-2022 academic year. As per Article 126.96.36.199 of the Collective Agreement:
“Courses which: (a) are taught by correspondence or at off-campus locations, or (b) are videotaped, recorded, broadcast or televised, or (c) call for unconventional methods, such as teleconference teaching, (d) delivered entirely or partially via the Internet, may be included in a Member’s workload only with this Member’s prior consent and, when applicable, only after any special arrangements that may be required have been agreed upon.”
As defined in Article 9 of the Collective Agreement, members’ academic freedom allows them to decide if a course should be delivered in-person, online, or through a hybrid model. It is essential that members who look forward to returning to the classroom in the autumn do not forfeit their right to in-person teaching by consenting at this time to deliver their courses online for the 2021-2022 academic year. Those wishing to return to in-classroom teaching in 2021-2022, are advised to clearly express this preference when asked in order to ensure that appropriate rooms are reserved for your classes. There will be time to modify your choice at a future date in accord with public health guidelines.
We also wish to remind members who are willing to continue teaching some or all of their courses online or remotely that, as per Article 188.8.131.52.3: “Where a Member develops or teaches an online course, professional development and technical support assistance will be made available so that she is prepared to teach in this environment.”
Request for an independent inquiry
In October, the APUO re-affirmed its commitment to procedural fairness and “vigorously defending the rights of all of its members as outlined in our collective agreement, including academic freedom.” We also made clear that “in the defence of one principle, like academic freedom, we cannot abandon our objective of addressing systemic racism and ensuring a respectful, safe, and equitable university community for all.”
As many members are no doubt aware, markedly different accounts of the timelines and events associated with the case of the sessional instructor Verushka Lieutenant-Duval have been presented by the Central Administration and the Association of Part-Time Professors of the University of Ottawa (APTPUO). In the light of this troubling situation, the fundamental principles at play, and the APUO’s long standing promotion of collegiality, procedural fairness, and transparency, we stand in solidarity with calls for an independent third-party inquiry into this matter.
The APUO continues to engage with the Central Administration through multiple avenues and means to ensure that it honours both its legal obligation to protect the health and safety of every member of the uOttawa community, and its commitment to take “immediate actions to fight racism in all forms on our campus, moving quickly to improve our processes and approach.” In moving forward, 2021 will be a year in which we will all need to work together to ensure the Central Administration is accountable for its actions and inactions on this front, and more generally. Again, the APUO asks for respect, empathy, solidarity, and dialogue among members, our students, our APTPUO and SSUO colleagues, and every member of the uOttawa community.
President Frémont announces new Action Committee on Antiracism and Inclusion, November 23, 2020, https://media.uottawa.ca/news/president-fremont-announces-new-action-committee-antiracism-and-inclusion