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Tenure and promotion working group report

Dear APUO Members,

As many of you may remember, in the last round of negotiations, the Employer and the APUO signed a letter of understanding creating a joint working group whose goal was to analyze the challenges and the strengths of the current Tenure and Promotion process and propose ways that it might be improved. This was because both parties felt that the complex nature of tenure and promotion meant it would be best to see if a joint working group could find a reasonable and coherent set of recommendations rather than leave it to the unpredictable, time-limited and piece-meal dynamics that often characterize general negotiation processes.

Because many of you have inquired about the progress of the Joint APUO-Employer working group on tenure and promotion in light of the new round of negotiations, and because the working group recently presented its Phase 1 Report, the purpose of this note is to update you on where things stand on this issue.

The working group itself is made up of two APUO nominated members (Paul Saurette and Richard Blute) and two employer nominated members (David Currie and Dean Antoni Lewkowicz, with Dean Claude Laguë replacing the latter recently). Over the last year, the members of the working group first collected and analyzed data from their respective parties regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the current system (the APUO undertook a comprehensive survey of its members as well as structured discussions with key APUO staff and executive members). After sharing and understanding the perspectives from both sides, the members of the working group then turned to the second task of identifying a set of potential solutions that could improve the process and that should reasonably address the major concerns of both sides.

Last week, the working group met with representatives of both the APUO (including the APUO president) and the employer (including the VP Academic and Provost) to present the Phase 1 Report (which outlines eight key issue areas and potential solutions) and to ask both parties to confirm that they wanted the working group to continue into a Phase 2 (the end point of which would be a final report in Fall 2016 that would propose concrete solutions and the specific text for eventual adoption into the Collective Agreement). It was a very good meeting and the APUO representatives felt that the working group allowed them to be thoughtful and creative in ways that would be much more difficult in a general negotiating setting.

In this context, the working group’s Phase 1 Report was presented to the APUO Executive, who discussed whether the APUO should ask the working group to continue into a Phase 2. We are happy to report that the APUO believes that the working group has made progress. It undertook serious analyses of the existing strengths and challenges and outlined a variety of creative and thoughtful potential solutions. The Executive Committee believes that the overall set of possible solutions represents a reasonable combination of elements that address both the APUO’s and the Employer’s main concerns.

As such, the APUO Executive voted that the working group continue its work into Phase 2. We are waiting for confirmation that the employer also wants the working group to move forward. However, given the collaborative nature of the process so far, the progress made, and the positive energy we perceived in the update meeting, we are hopeful that they will come to the same conclusion as we have.

For your information, please find attached two documents related to this file. The first outlines the main findings of the APUO member survey regarding tenure and promotion from earlier this year. Please note – this is not a document by the working group itself. Rather, it is an analysis undertaken by the two APUO members on the working group for the purposes of identifying the strengths and weaknesses from the APUO’s perspective. As such, we are attaching it in the interests of transparency so that our members know what strengths and weaknesses the membership identified.

The second document is the Phase 1 Report. Please note that this is a preliminary report that identifies the main areas to improve and the potential solutions that could be developed further. The Phase 1 Report, however, is not necessarily a formal recommendation of any given solution. (Please note, the working language of the Working Group has been English, thus their interim report is only in English).

We will keep you apprised of further developments as they emerge. Please contact Michel Desjardins if you have any further questions. As always, your continued support is much appreciated.

Jennifer Dekker
APUO President