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December Bulletin

Table of Contents

  • COVID-19 Academic and Professional Leave LOU update 
  • Winter 2021 Course Syllabi
  • OCUFA Survey Results
  • University of Ottawa Library Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant – Winter 2021

Dear members,

We wish to inform you that the Central Administration has refused all our offers to renew the COVID-19 Academic and Professional Leave Letter of Understanding (LOU). This will impact members who began a year-long academic or professional leave on July 1, 2020 and those who have an academic or professional leave scheduled to begin on January 1, 2021. 

Members who have an academic or professional leave scheduled to begin on January 1, 2021 may ask their Dean to defer the leave for one (1) year if they anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect their ability to complete projects planned for their leave. Members choosing this option are advised to confirm with their respective Deans whether they will be permitted to increase their academic leave bank accordingly. Despite the absence of an active LOU formalizing any such arrangement, the Central Administration has suggested that in the light of the ongoing pandemic all such requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  

Members with an academic or professional leave scheduled to begin on July 1, 2021 who anticipate the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect their ability to complete projects planned for their leave may follow article 26.7.7 of the Collective Agreement which states: “If the Member, three (3) months prior to the commencement of the academic leave, becomes aware of any fundamental change(s) to her project, she shall promptly notify her Dean thereof. The Dean or her delegate may, but need not, require a reassessment of the project, but only for the purpose of determining whether the project, as modified, still meets the criteria set out in 26.1.1 and 26.2.1. If a reassessment is required, it will be submitted to the FTPC for re-evaluation. The Dean shall in any event, advise the Member of her reassessment, if any, within fifteen (15) working days of her being notified of the changes. Following the updated recommendation of the FTPC, if the Dean concludes that the modified project does not meet the criteria, she shall:

(a) promptly provide the Member with a written statement of the reasons of her reassessment; and

(b) inform the Members of any consequences or requirements which flow from her reassessment, it being understood that, although the leave may be withdrawn, such consequences or requirement shall be reasonably directed at the avoidance of postponement or cancellation of the academic leave.”

Should you have any questions relating to your academic or professional leave, do not hesitate to communicate with the APUO:

Winter 2021 Course Syllabi

It has been brought to the APUO’s attention that some faculties and units are requesting that particular statements and specific timelines setting out when assignments are due and examinations will occur be included in course syllabi for the Winter 2021 term. Some faculties and units are also sending members course syllabi templates, claiming their use is mandatory. Imposing statements and templates for course syllabi is an infringement on the right to academic freedom as outlined in Article 9 of the Collective Agreement. 

Should members see value in sharing some of the statements shared by their faculty or unit, they can choose to include them in their syllabi or decide to disseminate this information by other means. As such, members are in no way obliged to use faculty or unit course syllabi templates or to include statements or other information provided by their faculty or unit in these documents, nor are they required to adhere to certain deadlines for submitting their course syllabi to their faculty or unit for approval, as is the practice in certain faculties and units.

Members’ rights and responsibilities regarding syllabi are governed by the APUO Collective Agreement. As per article 21.1.2 (b) of the Collective Agreement, members have the right and responsibility to “organize course content and classroom laboratory activities and employ methodology and didactic material, including textbooks for the courses assigned to her, in a manner appropriate to the course and consistent with relevant academic standards and course descriptions approved by the Senate, it being understood that in the case of a multi-section courses the Chair and the departmental assembly may jointly choose common didactic materials, including textbooks, where it can be shown that this choice is justified by valid academic reasons and does not impose ideological conformity on the members concerned.”

Furthermore, as per article 21.1.3: 

(b) members should “determine a reasonable number or regularly scheduled office hours when she will be available to students for consultation, post these at her office door, and communicate them to the students and to her chair”;

(c) members have the right to “inform her students, at the beginning of a course, regarding course requirements, instructional and evaluation methods, and the nature and timing of assignments, projects and examinations”;

(d) members should “not schedule final examinations outside the period designated for that purpose by the appropriate authority.”

OCUFA Survey Results

In November, the APUO encouraged members to participate in a survey led by the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA). As was the case with the surveys conducted by the APUO since the beginning of the pandemic, the OCUFA survey identified concerns relating to the quality of remote and online learning at universities across the province. The OCUFA statement and a full report of the survey results are now available online.  

University of Ottawa Library Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant – Winter 2021

The Library is pleased to offer a grant up to $5,000 to encourage the adoption, adaptation or creation of open educational resources in courses at the University of Ottawa. Projects must meet the following criteria:

  • be led or supervised by a member of the APUO, APTPUO or staff with instruction-related activities
  • be completed before May 1st, 2022

The following types of projects are especially encouraged: 

  • French-language OER 
  • OER to be used in a high-enrollment course
  • OER that can be used in multiple courses

Follow this link for further details and to submit a proposal (until February 12, 2021)

Sign up for an information session