Education is always threatened by latent utilitarianism
PQ proposal: If elected, cut budgets to English CEGEPs
The VCTA Executive would like to welcome teachers back to Vanier for the 2017-18 academic year. We hope that you all had a pleasant and relaxing summer.
Welcome Back BBQ
Unfortunately, this fall, we will not be having our Welcome-Back BBQ. Since the Vanier administration reduced VCTA union release time for the Executive, the resulting VCTA budget shortfall led the VCTA General Assembly to cut VCTA expenses, including the BBQ. We will, however, be able to organize a couple of Happy Hours and social events for teachers this year.
The VCTA membership has asked that General Assemblies not always be scheduled during the evening, that some be scheduled for Universal Break, and that the dates of General Assemblies be announced well in advance. The dates of this semester’s General Assemblies were sent to you near the end of last semester and again last week. We hope to see you at our first G.A. on September 13th. Be sure to add to your calendar: UB Oct 4th & Nov 1st .
Teachers continue to experience problems with Human Resources Services, so do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns with responses they may give you. They have gotten better at issuing full-time contracts to non-tenured teachers, but for non-tenured teachers near the bottom of the seniority list, you may sign a full-time contract only after your workload for the winter semester has been validated.
Welcome to the new administrators
The VCTA Executive hopes that the progress that was made last year, in relation to the consultation of teachers, will continue. With this in mind, we would like to wish Annie-Claude Banville, our new Academic Dean, and Isabelle Delisle, interim dean of the Faculty of General Studies, well as they assume their new functions.
And we wish all teachers an enjoyable and rewarding semester.
Vanier’s Colour Palette and Teachers’ Offices
A colour palette has been determined by the College for the entire campus, including teachers’ offices. The VCTA has outlined some issues.
Branding: The dominant choice of Vanier’s brand colours, grey and red, are the worst choices according to colour psychology as grey is considered depressing and red, aggressive. Also, the branding effect creates a “gimmicky” and “tired” feeling, which is de-energizing as well.
Autonomy: Teachers are now limited in their own offices: 2-3 walls will be pale grey, and 1-2 wall(s) will be from a limited palette: “brand-colours” or red or medium grey and “non-brand” colours, brown-grey, blue-grey, yellow, or aqua. Teachers should have much more autonomy in the design of their own office space, as not only do we all have different spaces and lighting, greater control over one’s own workspace increases energy and morale.
Let’s remember, this is a space where many of us will be living for decades to come!
The VCTA’s Accent Palette
Two more choices: The College has advanced a little, in allowing us to propose 2 more colours to add to the palette. We are asking teachers to come down to our office to pick their favourite 2 colours from our assembled accent palette. We will be passing on the majority choices to the College in April.
Requests for painting should come through renovation requests, which are completed by your coordinator and signed by your faculty dean (before budgets are allocated, usually between December and February).
If no request is formally placed, teachers can contact Joanie Robert directly who, after consultation with the Service department, will determine if they can include the job. If approved, the teacher will be contacted with the specific instructions on how and when to pack their belongings. At that time, they should identify their chosen accent colour (in order to advise the painter) and indicate the choice on the 1 or 2 walls as well by attaching a note with the colour number.
For more information on the importance of colour in the work environment, please see, the following sites:
Contractual Obligations II: Continuing Education Hourly Pay
Hourly paid continuing education teachers also have contractual obligations that they can find in the definition of an hourly paid teacher. (Article 1-2:11 and 1-2:12 of the Fneeq Collective Agreement). Essentially they are hired to teach classes and supervise and correct examinations and course work in a certain discipline. This means that if you cancel a class, you do not get paid. (To cancel a class, phone Cont Ed before 6:30 or if you cannot reach anyone, report the absence to Security and you could let your students know on Omnivox). You can make up the missed class, and get paid for the time, with the unanimous agreement of the students. This could involve adding an extra evening or making up the time by adding time to the existing classes. If you get a substitute for a missed class, the teacher must be on the department list and the substitute will be paid. (In this case, you must fill out an absence sheet and the substitute fills out an absence sheet).
L’IRIS met à jour ses données sur la dette du Québec
|Alors que le gouvernement du Québec s’apprête à déposer son budget, l’Institut de recherche et d’informations socioéconomiques (IRIS) publie une brochure qui montre, entre autres, que les investissements majeurs dans le Fonds des générations ne constituent pas une stratégie appropriée pour l’économie du Québec en ce moment. Nous actualisons également nos données sur la dette du Québec. En regard des autres économies avancées, le niveau d’endettement du Québec est resté relativement stable entre 2013 et 2015. En classant les économies de la plus endettée à la moins, la dette brute du Québec reste faible (22e position sur 35) et sa dette nette demeure très faible (21e position sur 27). Cependant, lorsqu’on lui attribue une part de la dette fédérale, la dette brute est en légère hausse, passant de la catégorie des dettes moyennes basses en 2013 (11e) aux dettes moyennes hautes en 2015 (9e). Même chose pour la dette nette qui progresse des dettes faibles (15e) aux dettes sous la moyenne (14e). S’il y a une hausse de l’endettement relatif du Québec, elle est donc d’abord causée par l’endettement du gouvernement fédéral qu’on lui attribute.|
Workload Distribution in Departments
Every year in March, the college predicts the number of students in each course and sends this to departmental coordinators. Departments can decide to change the courses given, but the amount of allocation is fixed unless the department can demonstrate a good reason for more allocation. The department then has to distribute the workload equitably (8-6:03) among the teachers in the department (i.e.who teaches which courses) over the academic year. Tenured teachers have to be covered first and then non-tenured teachers by priority. It should be noted that having a right to workload does not mean that any particular teachers have the right to individual courses. Departments should decide on a method of dividing up the workload and coordinators are given the responsibility of actually doing this and submitting it to the department. (Article 4-1:10).
Many departments have found an equitable way to distribute workload by first having each teacher submit their ranked choices to the department, meaning that each department member is aware of everyone’s choices and no teacher is guaranteed choices over anyone else. Then the actual workload distribution proposal is done, on an equitable basis, by the Coordinator/s and presented to the department. If your department has not formalized rules under which to operate, we urge you to do so, as soon as possible. The Fneeq document “A Look at Departments” can be a very useful document to help departments to make such rules. It can be found below
If you have any questions about workload distribution, please come and see a VCTA executive member in C101.
In our Collective Agreement (Article 8-4:01 -Type 1 activities ), there are a certain number of tasks that are considered “contractual obligations” that all teachers are expected to do, from tenured teachers with lots of seniority to brand new non-tenured teachers. The most important duty we must perform is teaching our full courses, but know that holding office hours and attending department meetings are also notable contractual obligations.*
Although this may seem obvious, it bears repeating that teachers are expected to give all of the classes, labs and stages. If you are unable to do so, you must officially either cancel your class on Omnivox or signal your absence on Omnivox and get a substitute teacher. You may also replace the class with a field trip, or guest speaker, etc., having clearly indicated this change to the students. When you are unsure if you are contractually permitted to do something, play it safe and consult your Dean to see if he or she accepts the activity. Furthermore, be aware that the teacher is expected to give the whole class, lab or stage and should students complain that a teacher does not show up, comes late or cuts classes short, there could be a serious problem for the teacher, since this is a violation of your contractual obligations.* (As a courtesy, teachers should end their class 10-15 minutes before the end of the block to facilitate timely arrival to following classes).
Should you find yourself called in to talk to the administration about this or any other disciplinary matter, make sure that you take a union rep with you. However, if you are not upholding your contractual obligations, the administration has the right to apply disciplinary action and the union can do little except ensure that the teacher has due process and is treated fairly, according to the articles of the Fneeq Collective Agreement. In the past year or so, we have had incidences where teachers were found to have violated their contractual obligations and in consequence faced pay cuts, summative evaluations and even withdrawal of the hiring priority for a non-tenured teacher. These situations hurt our profession and are painful to go through for all of us and so we urge you to avoid them.
* For the full list of contractual obligations, look at Art. 8-4.01 (p. 184): http://www.thevcta.qc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/2015-2020-Convention-Collective-FNEEQ-2015-2020-EN.pdf