Throughout the past few weeks, Jacques Frémont and his team undertook their annual tour of faculties. During these meetings, the Central Administration announced plans to implement a hybrid/HyFlex/bimodal teaching format for the fall 2021 term. According to the fragmented and limited information provided, 30-50% of courses will be offered in this manner, with the remaining courses being offered entirely in online or distance formats. The hybrid/HyFlex/bimodal teaching format proposed by the Central Administration would require professors to simultaneously teach a portion of students enrolled in their classes in-person (adapted in accordance with public health standards in effect in September) with the balance of enrolled students joining these classes remotely (via synchronous or asynchronous viewing).
We wish to inform members that the APUO and the APTPUO were not consulted about this matter and have yet to receive any written documentation about the Central Administration’s plans. We had to contact the Central Administration to inform them of our need to learn more about their plans for 2021-2022. An initial, very brief meeting between the APUO and the Provost and Vice-President Academic Affairs, Jill Scott, took place last week. A second meeting is scheduled to take place this afternoon. As of yet, there have been no discussions between the APUO and the Central Administration about Letters of Understanding for the academic year 2021-2022.
Like you, we have many questions and very few answers about what the Central Administration is planning and the implications thereof with regard to teaching formats. Let’s be clear, professors and students alike want to see more in-person classes offered on campus in 2021-2022. However, decisions about this matter cannot be made unilaterally and without the necessary safeguards in place to ensure equity, and uphold the highest quality of teaching as well as protect academic freedom, and privacy and intellectual property rights. Equally if not more important is the need to protect peoples’ health and safety, including their mental health, which has been seriously compromised since the start of the pandemic last March. We are working closely with the other unions and student associations on campus to ensure that our concerns are both heard and recognized.
In the light of these developments, we strongly recommend that members avoid committing themselves to teaching in any specific instructional format for 2021-2022 courses until such time as the APUO and the Central Administration have signed Letters of Understanding for 2021-2022. If course selections for 2021-22 were presented to you with pre-assigned pedagogical formats (e.g. in-person, online, bimodal) and you have already communicated your selections to your Department Chair and your Dean, we strongly recommend that you inform them in writing that:
- your course selection cannot be linked to any particular pedagogical format until such time Letters of Understanding for the academic year 2021-2022 have been agreed upon and signed by the Central Administration and the APUO; and
- you have the academic freedom to choose the appropriate teaching format for your courses.
With this in mind, we remind you that as per Article 9 of the Collective Agreement, members’ academic freedom allows them to decide whether a course is to be taught in person, online or in a hybrid model. Furthermore, Article 188.8.131.52 specifies that courses that are “taught in whole or in part over the Internet [which includes the hybrid/HyFlex/bimodal format], may be included in a member’s teaching load only with the prior consent of the member and, if applicable, once any special arrangements that may be required have been agreed upon.“
If you have any questions or concerns about teaching in 2021-2022, we invite you to contact the APUO: firstname.lastname@example.org.