Letter to the members of the VCCFA
Eyes on the Horizon
Welcome back! I hope you had a restorative break and enjoyed the relative quiet of a Covid holiday season. I feel some optimism. Cases of the virus are trending downward, and flu season is offering up its last gasps. Spring is around the corner, and with it the possibility for spending more time outdoors, and hopefully a loosening of the limitations we have all been living under. I have taken to referring to life right now as “living in the closet”. There is a whole world out there, but we just have to stay in the closet. It is boring and frustrating and lonely and downright unhealthy. We are all struggling. Please do what you need to do to care well for your mental and physical well-being at this time and reach out for help if you need it.
We understand that many requests to carry-over vacation are being denied. We have taken this up with the college. While we agree with the college that faculty should take their holidays for reasons of faculty well-being and providing work for term instructors, we also know that extenuating circumstances (such as global pandemics) can get in the way of the best laid plans. We have said to the college that it is our view that as per the collective agreement, faculty had until January 15th to submit their carryover forms, and that reasonable carryover claims should be approved. If your request for carryover is denied, please contact John Demeulemeester (firstname.lastname@example.org) as he will be working with the college on this issue.
Financial Costs of Working Remotely
I just want to assure you that we have not dropped the ball on the issue of reimbursement of costs incurred due to the change to remote working. We have filed a grievance with the college on this matter. We are also part of a joint application to the BC Labour Board, along with other Post-Secondary faculty unions supported by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators and its legal services, around similar issues. Both of these avenues will take a long time to be resolved, but in the meantime, please hold on to your receipts. If you have questions, please reach out to Frank, John, or me.
VP People Services (AKA Human Resources)
The college has engaged a headhunting firm to search for a new VP of People Services. This position will replace the position that Clodine Sartori held as Interim VP of People and Culture. The search firm is meeting with all the stakeholder groups to get our input about what qualities and skills we think are important for the role. We are very pleased to be in on the consultation around this important role.
Two New Committees (VCC/VCCFA)
I am pleased that two new joint committees will be convening soon. The EDI committee (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) committee will be chaired by Dean Reba Noel, and I will represent the VCCFA on that committee. There will also be a Wellness Committee, initiated by VP Clayton Munro. This committee will focus on mental health of faculty, students and staff. Nona Coles from Counselling will represent the VCCFA on that committee. I am excited about the potential for positive change of both these committees.
The deadline for applying for “regular” PD funds is February 28th. In addition, the committee overseeing the Adjudicated and Common Funds are still accepting applications. If you have questions about the different funds, please go to our website: http://vccfa.ca/professional-development/. The differences between the funds are explained, as is the application process.
Evaluations and Appraisals
We have agreement with the college that the only faculty appraisals going forward are those for department leaders or ones that were already started when the pandemic hit. All other appraisals are in abeyance for the time being. As for evaluations for term faculty, we have agreed that if a person is nearing regularisation, (and hasn’t been evaluated in two years), evaluations for these people should be done. We have a list of the faculty who are in this situation, so department leaders who are not sure should get in touch with us.
As always, I thank you for your tremendous work and good humour as we muddle through this mess of a time.