The Participatory Process of Assignment of Duties (Article 11)

It’s that time of year again. The process for the assignment of duties is underway. It is an open and transparent process that requires your participation and 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 and discussion with faculty at a meeting of departmental [College] faculty.” 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.

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 balanced equally with the full range of responsibilities required for the Library’s effective functioning.

Every academic unit is required to have Guidelines for the Assignment of Duties (Article 11.5). The Guidelines, along with the rank, status and appointment type of individual members, must be taken into account when assigning duties.

The Guidelines are intended as a means to enhance faculty participation and ensure fairness in the assignment of duties. They are also a means to help manage the volume of faculty work.

The Guidelines are to 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.

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.

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

Likewise, teaching in Spring and Summer sessions is voluntary unless specified in your letter of appointment. 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 or it is stipulated in your letter of appointment. Here again this teaching is overload except when you have agreed to reduce your duties in lieu of extra compensation.

You are not required to perform duties outside of your academic unit or your field of training and experience. If you have a joint or associate membership you will have a written agreement describing the extent of your involvement outside of your primary academic unit. Your duties will be assigned by the Department Head, or Dean, in your primary academic unit.

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.