A New Semester, New Challenges, New Events

A welcome to all members beginning their fall semester. If you are a new member or require any information, please contact the Association. A “Survival Guide” along with other useful information is available online on the CUPFA website.

The Fall semester begins at Concordia on September 5th. It was to be Tuesday the 4th, but Concordia has shifted to September 5th to account for the disruption of the provincial Election. (Go VOTE!!) The results of the election will no doubt have a large impact on shaping our fall semester.

We hope government will be prepared to address the numerous issues in higher education that were raised during the protest events of this past spring. We cannot as of today predict what will happen next week and shortly thereafter . Accordingly, we offer the best advice we can in a world still governed by the dictates of Bill 78 (also known as Law 12). As an Association, we disagree with the provisions contained in the law, but we simultaneously recognise that we must obey those same provisions. (See below)

Bill 78 is not the only thing that is new at Concordia this fall, and we would be remiss if we did not advise the membership of other key changes. Happily, these changes are of a more positive nature.

Come out and Meet our New President!
Dr. Alan Shepard began his term on August 1st as Concordia’s new President and Vice Chancellor. CUPFA was pleased to welcome Dr. Shepard, and we believe he has the mandate and the leadership to bring a new vision needed to the institution. As Dr. Shepard has indicated previously, a key component of his preliminary activity will be to visit with faculty, staff and students in order to fully familiarise himself with the task at hand. In the regard, Dr. Shepard has set up two “informal events” for faculty and staff to come and meet with him. These meetings will take place:
Thursday, September 6, from 8 to 10 a.m.
Atrium, Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Integrated Complex (EV Building) — Sir George Williams Campus

Wednesday, September 12, from 8 to 10 a.m.
Atrium, Communication Studies and Journalism Building (CJ Building)
Loyola Campus

These forums will give our President the opportunity to meet and hear our perceptions of life at Concordia. You can drop by between 8 and 10 a.m. Coffee, tea, muffins and bagels will be served (please bring your own mug). The Association urges its members to take the opportunity to come out and participate in the President’s informal discussion.

Conforming to the demands of Bill 78

As you are aware, last 18 May, Bill 78 was formally adopted by the Quebec National Assembly. Barring either a change of mind by the government or a court striking down the law, it remains in effect until 1 July 2013. While Bill 78 was presented to the province as the government’s response to the student actions, it contains provisions which have immediate and consequential meaning for Concordia. During the period in which this law is in effect, we – CUPFA- are obliged to respect its provisions and its limitations on our Rights. To do otherwise would be to risk extreme and punitive penalties.

I) You must report for work
You will recall this past spring, when answering the question as to when it was appropriate to consider holding your course, our response was to consider the efficacy of teaching a class when a substantial number (perhaps a majority) were absent. We suggested that your best common sense should be your guide.
Bill 78 now instructs you differently. If you have one student present in your class, you are obliged to hold that class. You are further obliged to present your class as a normal class (that is to your highest professional standard, as if you had a full complement of students).
If you encounter an “incident” while teaching your class, you should file a written report of this event to your Department Chair as soon as possible. Ensure you send a copy to the Association. Again, do your best to remain calm during an incident.

II) Be sure to print out and save a copy of your class list at the Drop/Add deadline
Due to expected volatility with enrollments this fall, we caution members to be vigilant in keeping a record of their course enrollments at the conclusion of the Drop/Add period (Monday, Sept 17.). This record is important this year, as the make-up term for CEGEPs runs August – September. As a result, there may be cases of students added to your course after the University deadline. Should this occur, members need the record to establish that all proper large-class stipends are correct. Members should be aware that CUPFA has see electronic versions of class lists vary now and again, so be sure to print out a physical copy or store a version of it on your home computer.

III) Course Syllabus, Assignments, Teaching Obligations

Members may wish to add a note to their syllabus this fall to inform students that, in the event of major course disruptions or a large influx of new students into your course, it could become necessary to reallocate or redesign course assignments. You should be clear that, that if this occurs, every effort will be made to find equivalent evaluation criteria with any new or existing assignments. The Association continues to advocate a policy of flexibility with students who may be registered late in your course, or who continue to engage in any protest. Continue to the upmost, to fulfill the teaching obligations you have been hired to perform.

Upcoming Events of Note

Members are advised that CUPFA will be participating in the CONCORDIA SHUFFLE, an event which helps raise funds for student scholarships and bursaries (Sept. 28th). Campus Equity Week activities are also scheduled during the last week of October and information will be sent to you.
Register for the Shuffle and let’s walk as a team to raise funds and support for the precarious financial needs of the students we serve!

The best wishes to you all for your new year,

Dr. David Douglas,
CUPFA Executive,
Chair of Communications