COVID-19: Responses to some questions

Dear USFA members,

USFA is committed to working with senior administration as it endeavours to ensure the safety and security of everyone at the university. We will continue to work to ensure that consequences of any approach to dealing with this crisis in terms of your current and future work and well-being are carefully examined by both sides.

Yesterday we received some questions about sabbaticals in response to our e-letter. We had a quick response from Vice-Provost Faculty Relations Ken Wilson, who reassures us that the employer will work to make sure that people are not disadvantaged by travel bans. Senior administrators will be assessing how to deal with not only travel and reimbursement in general, but also how to ensure faculty on sabbaticals are not disadvantaged by this crisis.

Dr. Wilson also notes the need to be thoughtful going into next year as faculty start putting together case files for tenure, renewal, and promotion, as well as for salary review. Files may have to be assessed in a different light when some faculty will be unable to perform research, or be unable to have their teaching evaluated. Some of our colleagues will be balancing moving classes into the online realm, while worrying about parents, and looking after children as the schools close.

The employer is rightly prioritizing safety, health, and student supports at present. Once those issues are taken care of, it will deal with outstanding questions around sabbaticals, travel, research funds, and other impacts on collegial processes. 

We are in regular email contact with Dr. Wilson, who has reassured USFA he intends to make sure, to the best of his ability, that no one is unfairly disadvantaged by this disruption. We will keep you informed on these and other issues of concern to you.