On May 7, 2016 in Toronto, OCUFA held its third and final Board meeting of the year. It was an opportunity to review progress made on the organization’s key priorities – faculty pensions, contract faculty and faculty complement, and university governance. It was also an opportunity to recognize those who have made important contributions to OCUFA, and to award the 2016 Mandelbaum Fellowships to two deserving graduate students.
The 2015-16 academic year was a busy one for OCUFA, particularly in its priority areas. Work continues on the University Pensions Project, an initiative aimed at creating a multi-employer jointly sponsored pension plan (JSPP) for interested faculty associations. OCUFA is also active in developing pension solutions for associations not interested in a JSPP option.
On the contract faculty/faculty complement front, OCUFA launched a new web pledge as part of the We Teach Ontario campaign. The pledge allows faculty, students, and community members to show their support for good academic jobs for all. A conference examining precarious academic work was held in February, alongside a province-wide day of action. OCUFA’s ad hoc Contract Faculty and Faculty Complement Committee is now planning its activities for 2016-17 with a focus on campus-based initiatives.
University governance continues to be a concern of OCUFA’s members. In 2015-16, OCUFA provided support and resources to local associations dealing with campus-specific governance challenges. We also conducted a survey of our members on governance issues, the first step of developing principles and best practices for effective collegial governance. This work will continue in the coming year.
The May meeting is also when new members are elected to OCUFA’s Executive Committee. President Judy Bates (Laurier) and Vice President Gyllie Phillips (Nipissing) are halfway through their two-year terms, and will continue in their roles. The following positions were elected by the Board:
- Treasurer: Glen Copplestone (King’s)
- Members-at-Large: Sue Wurtele (Trent), Michael Attridge (Toronto), and Rob Kristofferson (Laurier)
- Chair of Board: Brian E. Brown (Windsor)
The Board was notified that there would be a proposal, for Board consideration at the October 2016 meeting, to transform OCUFA’s Status of Women Committee into a Equity and Social Justice Committee. The proposal will include changes to the committee’s mandate and composition.
Finally, the 149th Board meeting was an opportunity to celebrate a few exceptional individuals. Former OCUFA Presidents Constance Adamson (Queen’s) and Kate Lawson (Waterloo) were presented with OCUFA Service Awards at a lunchtime ceremony in recognition of their leadership and dedication to protecting the rights of faculty and the quality of Ontario’s higher education system. The 2016 Mandelbaum Fellowships were also awarded at the luncheon. This honour was established in memory of former OCUFA Executive Director Henry Mandelbaum to recognize exceptional young scholars using their research to make a difference in their communities. This year, the fellowships went to Chérine Stevula at the Master’s level and Karen Marie Olsen Lawford at the Doctoral level. They both will be invited to give presentations on their research at the meeting in May 2017. Abena Kwatemaa Offeh-Gyimah, last year’s Doctoral winner, also presented her research during the ceremony.
The next OCUFA Board of Directors meeting will be held on October 29-30, 2016.