Important Question: Have you been designated a “non-active researcher”?

USFA has heard from faculty members who have found (to their surprise) that they have been designated by the Employer as “non-active researchers” – something you may wish to explore among colleagues within your academic unit.

Where did this designation come from? Certainly not from any negotiation or collegial process.

Its origin seems to lie in TransformUS, the cost-cutting exercise of several years ago initiated with fanfare and now operating behind the scenes. Two legacies of that era – Responsibility Centre management (RCM) and the Transparent Activity-Based Budget System (TABBS) – were established to find productivity metrics to assist in the ongoing resource allocation exercise, and this seems to be where the metric originated.

It appears that in some cases, “research-active” was unilaterally and without consultation defined as “faculty holding tri-council grants”. Besides being excluded if you have grants from other sources, you may also be excluded if your research funding comes from another unit or institution, if you are involved in interdisciplinary research, or if you are not named as PI on a grant.

Perhaps it was an administrative efficiency, but faculty should be aware this arbitrary designation should not affect terms and conditions of employment. Research activity varies widely across the campus, but for “faculty evaluated under this category, research, scholarly and/or artistic work is creative, intellectual work which is in the public realm and which has been subjected to external peer review. This includes, in the case of artistic work, exhibitions and performances.”

A forthcoming e-Letter will suggest ways of dealing with this appropriately.

You can let us know your concerns simply by responding to this e-Letter.