Assignment of Duties

A Participatory Process

This is the time of year when the process for the assignment of duties begins. Article 11 of the Collective Agreement covers this process. It is an open and transparent process that requires your participation. It is through your participation that transparency and fairness are ensured in the same manner as other collegial processes.

Duties are assigned by your Department Head, or in the case of non-departmentalized colleges, your Dean, "following consultation with departmental [College] faculty in committee." Consultation with faculty "in committee" means a face-to-face meeting that includes all department (or college) faculty. It is at this meeting that assignments of duties are discussed.

Duties must be assigned equitably among all members of an academic unit. The assignment must take into consideration the full range of your academic responsibilities including service to the USFA.   Relevant standards for renewal of probation, tenure and promotion must be considered and Guidelines for the Assignment of Duties which have been developed and approved by your Department, or non-departmentalized College, need to be followed.

The assignment of teaching schedules requires consideration of the individual preferences of employees in addition to the priorities and integrity of academic programs. In the Library, individual preferences must be considered in addition to the full range of responsibilities required for the Library's effective functioning.

In departmentalized colleges assignments of duties are approved by the Dean and you should know by April 30 what your assigned duties will be for the next academic year.

Guidelines to Enhance Participation

Guidelines for the Assignment of Duties (Article 11.5) are intended as a means to enhance faculty participation and ensure fairness in the assignment of duties. The Guidelines are also a means to help manage the volume of faculty work.

Academic units must have Guidelines for the Assignment of Duties that have been developed by the unit itself, discussed at one or more faculty meetings, and approved through a secret ballot vote. The Guidelines must reflect all facets of the work of faculty and the range of work required to meet the standards for renewal of probation, tenure and promotion.

The Guidelines along with the rank, status and appointment type of individual members must be taken into account when assigning duties.

A regular review of your Guidelines is part of Collective Agreement provisions and serves to keep the Guidelines relevant. As well, information relating to faculty complement and your workload collected as part of regular reviews of the Guidelines is a valuable reference for academic units in planning exercises and discussions related to resources.


It is important to know that, although few, there are limitations on the assignment of duties. Article 11.2 of the Collective Agreement specifically addresses these limitations.

You are required to perform your duties on a twelve-month basis unless something different is part of your letter of appointment. Your academic responsibilities are not carried out just between September and May. You also need time away from teaching to fulfill those other responsibilities. Not to mention you are entitled to six weeks vacation during those 12 months!

Teaching in Spring and Summer sessions is voluntary. If you are assigned to teach during these terms it is considered to be in addition to your regular duties – that is overload – and you will receive extra compensation of $9,900 for a 6 credit unit course or $4,950 for a 3 credit unit course (Article 18.5). However, you can agree to be assigned teaching during Spring and Summer as part of your regular duties. In this case your duties would be adjusted at other times during the year in lieu of extra compensation.

Another limitation is that you cannot be required to teach extension, off-campus or non-credit classes, unless you were required to teach such classes as part of your duties in the past. Here again this teaching is overload except when you have agreed to reduce your duties in lieu of extra compensation.

Your duties are assigned by your Department Head, or Dean. You are not required to perform duties outside of your academic unit or your field of training experience. If you have a joint appointment or an associate membership in another department or college, any teaching outside of your primary academic unit will be described in your joint appointment or association membership agreement (Articles 13.8 and 13.9). Your duties will still be assigned by your Department Head, or Dean.

Common Questions

Each year the USFA receives many questions from members about their Collective Agreement rights with respect to the assignment of duties:

  • "Do I have to teach an extra half class?"
  • "Can I be assigned to teach a course for which I am unqualified?"
  • "Can my Department Head/Dean assign me additional non-teaching duties?"

If you are assigned a duty (or duties), with which you disagree:

  1. Raise your concerns when it is first discussed by the faculty in committee (Article 11.1) or if this is not possible ensure that your Department Head or dean is aware of your concerns and your full range of academic responsibilities (Article 11.4).

  2. In general, you should not refuse to carry out an assigned duty.   You should notify your Department Head and Dean in writing that you are doing so under protest and provide a copy to the USFA.

  3. If you have not already done so, contact the USFA office.   We can offer advice to you on how to express your concern and we can pursue the matter informally and formally if it is warranted. If you do not contact us, we cannot help you!

Get to know the process for the assignment of duties! Knowledgeable participation is the best way to ensure transparency, fairness and smooth functioning of this key process.