DCFA Update

DCFA Update aims to engage and inform DCFA members with updates, information, and direction on topics related to DCFA membership at Douglas College.


Updates – February 6, 2024

UPDATES

Item 1 – REMINDER: Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation Process Information Sessions & 2022-2025 Collective Agreement
Item 2 – DCFA Special Topics Information Session:  Academic Freedom & Its Discontents
Item 3 – FPSE Calls for Immediate Resignation of the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills
Item 4 – DCFA Member Questions

1. REMINDER: Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation Process Information Sessions & 2022-2025 Collective Agreement

As you are likely aware, in the recent round of contract negotiations, the Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation process was amended. While most of the process remains unchanged, a new aspect of the process entails the mandatory sharing of faculty development insights with their respective Responsible Administrator.

Because the process is new, and it is important that faculty adhere to the process as it was intended to be implemented, the DCFA will conduct two “Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation Process Information Sessions.”

Session 1 – February 9th, 2024 @ 3:30-5pm via Zoom

Session 2 – February 23rd, 2024 @ 3:30-5pm via Zoom

2. DCFA Special Topics Information Session:  Academic Freedom & Its Discontents

You may not have as much Academic Freedom as you think.

At the February General Meeting, after a short amount of business, the DCFA will host a special topics meeting. FPSE Executive Director Michael Conlon will lead a discussion titled “Academic Freedom and its Discontents.” We hope members find this an engaging and informative learning and discussion opportunity.

Date: Monday, February 26th, 2024 @ 9:30am-11am
Location: Hybrid Meeting
Room New Westminster Main Campus – N2214

&

Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84652056232?pwd=MUNjUm16KzhnMVBKVHBKbTZCQ0NaQT09

3. FPSE Calls for Immediate Resignation of the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills

FPSE Press Release: February 1, 2024

The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC (FPSE) joined today with our national partners, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), in writing to Premier David Eby to call for the immediate resignation of Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. Minister Robinson inappropriately intervened in the termination of a Langara College employee for controversial remarks on the war in Gaza. The Minister’s subsequent statements on the matter undermine the democratic principles of freedom of expression, academic freedom, and a college and university system free of direct manipulation by the provincial government.

Continue reading: https://fpse.ca/news/fpse-news/news-release-240201


Updates – January 30, 2024

UPDATES

Item 1 – DCFA President’s Resignation & By-Election
Item 2 – TransLink Strike
Item 3 –  Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation Process Information Sessions & 2022-2025 Collective Agreement
Item 4 – DCFA AGM Date Change
Item 5 – FPSE-Langara College Joint-Letter
Item 6 – DCFA Member Questions

1. DCFA President’s Resignation & By-Election

DCFA President Sam Schechter has tendered his resignation, effective January 26, 2024. In his resignation letter, he writes:

“While my term was unfortunately truncated, I want to express my appreciation to the DCFA and its members for the opportunity to serve in this role. When I accepted the role, I set high expectations for what I sought to achieve as President on behalf of our members. Unfortunately, I now believe that there is no viable path forwards whereby I can meet the expectations I set for myself or achieve for members what they deserve from their President. Consequently, I now believe my resignation is in the best interests of our membership, so that they may select a new President who will be better positioned to fulfill the duties of this office and reach the achievements that our membership collectively sets for our union.” 

As per DCFA Bylaws, Executive Council has appointed VP Negotiations, Devin Shaw, as Interim DCFA President. A separate announcement regarding a by-election, to fill the DCFA President’s term from May 1, 2024 to August 31, 2025, will be forthcoming.

The DCFA thanks Sam for his contributions, and wishes him well in his future endeavors.

2. TransLink Strike

On Sunday, January 21st, the employer issued a communication about the TransLink Strike. In this communication, the employer stated that Instructors are requested to exercise consideration and understanding when making decisions about student attendance or lateness during the strike.  Students have been asked to contact their instructor if the strike is expected to impact their ability to attend class.  Ultimately, decisions about attendance and lateness are the sole discretion of individual instructors.  The DCFA has engaged the employer to attain further insight about this topic, and we are awaiting this information.

3. Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation Process Information Sessions & 2022-2025 Collective Agreement

As you are likely aware, in the recent round of contract negotiations, the Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation process was amended. While most of the process remains unchanged, a new aspect of the process entails the mandatory sharing of faculty development insights with their respective Responsible Administrator.

Because the new process could be somewhat confusing, and it is important that faculty adhere to the process as it was intended to be implemented, the DCFA will conduct two “Post-Probationary Faculty Development Evaluation Process Information Sessions.”

Session 1 – February 9th, 2024 @ 3:30-5pm via Zoom:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84652056232?pwd=MUNjUm16KzhnMVBKVHBKbTZCQ0NaQT09

Session 2 – February 23rd, 2024 @ 3:30-5pm via Zoom:

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84652056232?pwd=MUNjUm16KzhnMVBKVHBKbTZCQ0NaQT09

A link to the new collective agreement is included below:  
https://dcfa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/01/Douglas-DCFA-Collective-Agreement-April-1-2022-March-31-2025_Combined.pdf

4. DCFA AGM Date Change

Due to lack of suitable room availability, the DCFA needs to change the date of the upcoming DCFA Annual General Meeting from April 30th to May 1st. The meeting will take place @ 9:30am in Hybrid format and the new Room Number will be announced closer to the meeting date.    

5. A FPSE-Langara College Joint-Letter Regarding the Termination of Dr. Nathalie Knight

We were surprised and disappointed to learn of the arbitrary termination for cause of Langara College faculty member Dr. Natalie Knight. As was widely reported in the media, Dr. Knight was put on paid leave pending an investigation by the College into remarks she had made at a rally on October 28, 2023, regarding the war in Gaza. After an exhaustive investigative process, including consideration of a thorough, thoughtful internal report by the College’s Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression Advisory Committee that rigorously examined these matters in the context of Langara’s policies on academic freedom and the Charter right to freedom of expression, the College found that Dr. Knight had not violated any Langara policy. On January 18, 2024, Dr. Knight was reinstated without restriction or discipline under the collective agreement.

On January 23, Dr. Knight participated in a lawful demonstration and informed participants that she had been reinstated to her role without any discipline under the collective agreement, both of which were factually correct statements. Dr. Knight also made comments related to the ongoing war in Gaza. Approximately 72 hours after that demonstration, and without a fulsome investigation or due process, Dr. Knight was terminated for cause today, January 26. Langara President Paula Burns announced the termination to the Langara community, the media, and the public prior to providing a written letter of termination to our member.

Dr. Knight’s termination comes one day after the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, Selina Robinson, used her X account to share a statement by the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) reiterating its call for Dr. Knight’s termination. The Minister added a comment in which she accused Dr. Knight of spewing hatred and vitriol, despite the College having found otherwise; expressed her disappointment that Dr. Knight continued to be employed by the College; and revealed that she had met with Langara College leadership prior to the termination. This was an unprecedented and inappropriate intrusion into the institutional autonomy of Langara College and an astounding statement for a Minister to make about a faculty member at an institution under her jurisdiction. The timing and political meddling by the Minister in the process taint the College’s actions and fatally undermine the notion of institutional independence.

While we understand that some members of the community may be offended and distressed by the remarks made at these demonstrations, the remarks, as evidenced by Langara’s own report, are clearly protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and do not constitute hate speech. It is shameful that a post-secondary institution would attempt to police protected speech under external pressure instead of supporting academic freedom and freedom of expression.

In its initial investigation, Langara College was guided by the principles of freedom of expression, natural justice, and institutional autonomy. External pressure clearly prompted Langara College to revisit this principled approach. Charter rights, labour law, and academic freedom should not be subject to political interference, and it is a difficult day for due process and the idea of colleges and universities as independent of government control. Post-‍‍secondary institutions fulfil their societal role most effectively when they allow space for difficult, even painful conversations. Langara College failed the entire community today by failing to allow for that space.

Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of British Columbia
Michael Conlon, Executive Director
info@fpse.ca
Langara Faculty Association (FPSE Local 14)
Pauline Greaves Aylward, President
info@yourlfa.ca


Updates – January 15, 2024

UPDATES

Item 1 – February Special Topics Meeting: Academic Freedom & Its Discontent
Item 2 – Know Your Steward / Concerns & Questions for Stewards
Item 3 – Faculty Matters Magazine
Item 4 – DCFA Member Questions

1. February Special Topics Meeting: Academic Freedom & Its Discontent

At the February General Meeting, after a short amount of business, the DCFA will have its special topics meeting. FPSE Executive Director Michael Conlon will lead a discussion titled “Academic Freedom and its Discontent.” We hope members find this an engaging and informative learning and discussion opportunity

2. Know Your Stewards / Concerns & Questions for Stewards

There are DCFA Stewards in every faculty. These area stewards are available if you have questions about working conditions, how your work is impacted by decisions made by management, and/or your rights under the new Collective Agreement. DCFA Stewards work with the VP Stewardship, Kim Trainor. A list of current DCFA Stewards is listed below:

FACS

Cathy Curiel
Liz Hagerty (Alternate)

SAS

Trevor Smith
Allison Parry (Alternate)

S&T

Lynette Signola
Peter Sinclair (Alternate)

LLPA

Melanie Young
Chris-Anne Stumpf (Alternate)

HSS

Darcy Cutler
Jill Fellows (Alternate)

HS

Pam Piddocke
Vacant (Alternate)**

C&BA

Simon Parker
Rosilyn Teng (Alternate)

**There is currently a Steward vacancy in Health Sciences. Please contact Kim Trainor if you are interested — dcfa.kim.trainor@gmail.com

3. Call for Submissions – Winter 2024 Edition

CALLING ALL RESEARCHERS, WRITERS, AND SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS

The Faculty Matters Editorial Team cordially invites you to contribute an article to an upcoming edition of the publication. The mandate of Faculty Matters is to provide insightful, honest, intelligent, and well-informed commentary on the academic and societal events and issues that impact Douglas College faculty. The past two years have provided many commentary-worthy events, so we encourage you to provide your expert evaluation and editorial. If writing an article is of interest to you, please contact the FM Editorial Team via the DCFA Update Feedback box (at the bottom of this update). Past editions of Faculty Matters are electronically available here: https://www.dcfa.ca/faculty-matters/

If you have an article topic in mind, please contact FM Editor, Ashton Howley @ howleya@douglascollege.ca to get your article into the Winter 2024 edition. The deadline for Winter 2024 submissions is February 1, 2024.


Updates – November 29, 2023

UPDATES

Item 1 – Supplemental Professional Development Fund Applications
Item 2 – Retro Pay
Item 3 – End-of-Semester Party
Item 4 – DCFA Member Questions

1. Professional Development Fund Applications

Per Article 9.02 e, Professional Development Committees have “…the responsibility of drawing up guidelines for the recording and disbursement of Faculty PD Funds, whether in the form of individual accounts, general pools or supplemental funds, and of receiving from faculty members applications for the use of such funds. Such applications, together with the Committee recommendations, shall be forwarded to the Responsible Administrator. Disbursements shall be over the Responsible Administrator’s signature, which will not be unreasonably withheld. If the Responsible Administrator does not sign the request, then the Chair of the PD Committee shall be informed immediately and the reason shall be supplied.” 

In situations when the Responsible Administrator withheld his/her signature, the DCFA recommends that faculty members seek a written record (ie: email) of the ‘reason for the denial.’ In the event that a Responsible Administrator advises the faculty member in an undocumented format, the DCFA recommends sending a follow-up email to that Responsible Administrator to document the ‘reason for denial.’ The DCFA is available to review any declined applications.

2. Retro Pay

Retro pay for Regular Faculty Members will be deposited in member accounts on Thursday, November 30th.   Retro pay for Contract Faculty Members will be deposited in member accounts on Friday, December 15th.

3. End-of-Semester Party

The DCFA cordially invites all members to the annual ‘End-of-Semester Party.’

When: Wednesday Dec 6, 2023, @ 2:30 to 6:30
Who: All Douglas College Faculty Members Welcome
Where: DCFA Office – New Westminster – Room N2320
Why: Laugh, talk, unwind and rejoice with Douglas College Faculty peers


Updates – November 14, 2023

UPDATES

Item 1 – DCFA Holiday Hamper 2023
Item 2 – Green Commute Allowance
Item 3 – End-of-Semester Open House
Item 4 – Updated PD Form
Item 5 – DCFA Member Questions

1. DCFA Holiday Hamper 2023

Every year, the DCFA sponsors a student in need during the holidays. This year, the DCFA will make a medium-sized family donation: 2 children (Approximately $250.00). If you wish to donate to this family, please bring a cheque to the DCFA office or arrange an e-transfer (please do not bring cash to the DCFA office).

2. Green Commute Allowance

Per the DCFA-Employer joint communication circulated by email, regular faculty members may elect to receive a Green Commute Allowance instead of accessing free parking on campus. The deadline for this election is November 24, 2023. The Green Commute Allowance is a taxable benefit and will be paid on December 15, 2023, for the Fall semester.

The procedure for implementing this new benefit is as follows:

a.       Faculty who currently have a parking pass (ePermit) and wish to change to the Green Commute Allowance

i.      Send an email to GreenCommute@douglascollege.ca by November 24, 2023, including your name and Banner ID#. State that you would like to elect the Green Commute Allowance and that the “Organization” on your Douglas College parking profile needs to be updated to “Faculty Green Commute Allowance.”

ii.      Your Organization will be updated in the Parking Portal and any active ePermits for parking will be cancelled. The Green Commute Allowance will be paid on December 15, 2023, for the Fall semester, and every semester thereafter, unless you reverse your election at a later date. Once the Green Commute Allowance or parking pass option has been selected for a given academic year, faculty are locked in for the full academic year, but can switch their choice before September 1st of the next academic year.

b.       Faculty who do not have a parking pass (ePermit) and want to elect the Green Commute Allowance

i.      First, set up a profile on the College’s Parking Portal by following the instructions on DC Connect regarding Employee Parking. Here is a link to the Faculty Green Commute Allowance Registration Guide.

ii.      In order to set up a profile on the Parking Portal, you will need an active hangTag account. If you do not already have a hangTag account, you can set one up from the log-in screen on the College’s Parking Portal. If you have a pre-existing hangTag account, simply sign into your hangTag account from the Parking Portal and follow the instructions in #1, above.

iii.      Once you have set up a profile on the Parking Portal, send an email to GreenCommute@douglascollege.ca, no later than November 24, 2023. The email must include your name and Banner ID#, and state that you would like to elect the Green Commute Allowance.

c.       New regular faculty will have an opportunity to elect the Green Commute Allowance at their time of hire, to be effective at the beginning of the immediately following semester.

d.       Additional information:

i.      Once set up, there is no need to renew your election from year to year.

ii.      Faculty members who are in receipt of the Green Commute Allowance, but needing to park on campus from time to time, will need to pay for parking as a member of the public would.

iii.      After this initial implementation, regular faculty wishing to forgo free parking and elect the Green Commute Allowance may do so at the start of the next academic year, no later than September 1st.

iv.      The year for the Green Commute Allowance is September 1 to August 31. Those who elect the Green Commute Allowance will not be eligible for free parking for the duration of that year. Faculty members who are in receipt of the Green Commute Allowance and decide to cancel may only re-enroll at the start of the next academic year, no later than September 1st.

3. End-of-Semester Open House

Save the date!

When: Wednesday Dec 6, 2023, @ 2:30 to 6:30
Who: All Douglas College Faculty Members Welcome
Where: DCFA Office – New Westminster – Room N2320
What: Light refreshments, conversation, and meeting colleagues
Why: Laugh, talk, unwind and rejoice with Douglas College Faculty peers

4. Updated PD Forms

The College and the DCFA recently agreed to revise the Faculty Professional Development (PD) Funds request form. The new PD request form is now available on DC Connect.

Applicants should note they are no longer required to explain how their PD request “benefits the College.”

The new form states that “the purpose of professional development is to encourage ongoing intellectual growth and scholarly activity, so that faculty members will maintain currency in subject matter, instructional processes, technological developments, learning materials, library holdings and professional skills and competencies relevant to their position with the College.” Applicants should make sure they no longer use the old PD request form; please feel free to download the attached form.


Updates – September 19, 2023

UPDATES

Item 1 – DCFA Contract Ratification Vote Results
Item 2 – Common Teaching Tools & Methods
Item 3 – Standing Up Against Anti-Trans Hate on September 20th, and Always
Item 4 – National Truth & Reconciliation Day
Item 5 – FPSE Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee – Call for Expressions of Interest
Item 6 – Douglas College Board Meetings – Meeting Minutes & Attendance Opportunities
Item 7 – DCFA Member Questions

1. DCFA Contract Ratification Vote Results

On Monday, the DCFA announced the ratification of its collective agreement with a 96.8% “yes” vote (449 in favour, 15 opposed). In case you missed it, more information can be found in Bargaining Bulletin #9 on the DCFA website: https://dcfa.ca/welcome/bargaining-bulletins-2022-2023/.

2. Common Teaching Tools & Methods

The DCFA has been engaged by faculty across the College about the intersection between faculty rights afforded in the College’s Academic Freedom Policy A35 (https://www.douglascollege.ca/sites/default/files/docs//A35%20Academic%20Freedom.pdf) and requests to utilize common teaching tools (i.e.: assignments, examinations, textbook selection, course shells, and so on). The purpose of this update is to provide faculty with an interpretation to guide their actions.

The Academic Freedom Policy A35 affords individual faculty the right to “conduct teaching, including the setting of educational activities and content in any media, and engage Students in related discussion.” Hence individual faculty are free to collaborate and develop common teaching tools, but individual faculty may also elect to opt out of using such tools. Academic freedom rights of individuals cannot be suppressed by departmental decisions, nor is Academic Freedom a collective right, but rather it is an individual right. Any faculty member who decides to opt out of utilizing common teaching tools must still adhere to College academic policies and official course curriculum guidelines.

The aforementioned principles apply to all faculty members across the College and these principles are applied to all programs (including programs that adhere to industry certification standards, and/or regulations). Please contact the DCFA should you require any additional information and/or support relating to this matter.

3. Standing Up Against Anti-Trans Hate on September 20th, and Always

The British Columbia Federation of Labour stands firmly and proudly with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in the face of a surge of anti-trans hate speech and actions across the country.

The same forces who have been using fear, disinformation, conspiracy theories and hate to whip up anti-trans bigotry are now coalescing in hate rallies in communities throughout Canada and BC on September 20. These rallies directly attack the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and the principles of equity and inclusion that are at the heart of labour solidarity.

It’s important that our community and our movement show, as we have time and again, that we reject hate and bigotry in all their forms. There are many ways to show your support:

  • Join BCFED and union leaders and members at one of the many grassroots counter-protests being organized throughout BC. You can find information on them here.
  • Encourage our political leaders and your MLA to condemn these actions. You can find their contact information here.
  • Consider making a financial or in-kind donation to local groups and networks that are coordinating counter-protest actions, as these are often led by trans and queer volunteers. Contact a local group to see what help they need most.

Counter-protests

These are protests organized by grassroots community groups. As we get information about counter-protests, we’ll add them here. Aim to arrive half an hour before the protest begins. Things are changing quickly, so email bcflyingsquad@protonmail.com for the latest information.

  • Coquitlam — Coquitlam City Hall, Lot A 1299 Pinetree Way — 9 am
  • Surrey — Education Minister’s Office, 9030 King George Boulevard — 12 noon
  • Vancouver — Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street — 12 noon

More information is available at, and has been sourced from:

https://bcfed.ca/statement/no-space-for-trans-hate#:~:text=The%20British%20Columbia%20Federation%20of,this%20month’s%20federal%20Conservative%20convention.

4. National Truth & Reconciliation Day

On March 9, the Province of British Columbia passed legislation to make September 30th a statutory holiday in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This year, National Truth & Reconciliation Day will result in the College being closed on Monday, October 2nd. Faculty members can display solidarity and commemoration by attending the assorted Truth & Reconciliation Day Events, which are scheduled over the course of the September 30th weekend:

https://www.newwestcity.ca/calendar-of-events/events/6721.php

Vancouver Best Places

5. FPSE Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee – Call for Expressions of Interest

This is a call out for expressions of interest to be the Douglas College Faculty Association representative to serve on the FPSE Human Rights and International Solidarity Committee.

The Committee works on strategies for achieving equality in our institutions and in our communities. This Committee also organizes an annual Speaker’s Tour, inviting leading human rights activists to our member locals to share their knowledge and experiences. 

More information:  https://fpse.ca/committees/HRISC

If you are interested in the position, please provide a short statement of interest (100 words or less) by Monday September 25, 2023 at 4:00 pm.

Time Commitment: Three meetings a year. Usually Friday evening and Saturday 9-3, via zoom or face to face.

The next meeting is Friday, October 27th and 28th. Service is for a two-year period from Sept 1st, 2023 – Aug 31st, 2025.

If you have questions please contact Sam Schechter at dcfa.sam.schechter@gmail.com.

6. Douglas College Board Meetings – Meeting Minutes & Attendance Opportunities

Meeting Attendance Opportunities

All faculty are welcome to attend all open session meetings of the College Board. The 2023/2024 meeting schedule is posted below. Guests are asked to register on a sign-in sheet provided in the boardroom or pre-register via email for a virtual meeting, so that their attendance can be recorded in the minutes.

Open Session meetings are held in the New Westminster Campus boardroom (S4920) or virtually via Zoom.

NOTE: When meetings are not able to take place in person, those interested in attending may contact the College Secretary (dsmith93@douglascollege.ca) for a link to attend the virtual meeting.

This meeting dates for the coming academic year are September 21st, November 23rd, January 25th, March 21st, May 23rd, and June 20th.


Updates – September 12, 2023

UPDATES

Item 1 – New DCFA Contract & Ratification Information Sessions
Item 2 – Faculty Matters – Fall 2023 Edition
Item 3 – Message from the Climate Emergency Action Committee
Item 4 – DCFA Member Questions

1. New DCFA Contract & Ratification Information Sessions

The VP Negotiations cordially invites faculty to attend one of the following information sessions:

  • Tuesday, September 12th at 10:30am
  • Thursday, September 14th at 2:30pm
  • Friday, September 15th at 3:30pm (meeting block)

2. Faculty Matters – Fall 2023 Edition

Call for Submissions – Fall 2023 Edition

CALLING ALL RESEARCHERS, WRITERS, AND SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS

The Faculty Matters Editorial Team cordially invites you to contribute an article to an upcoming edition of the publication. The mandate of Faculty Matters is to provide insightful, honest, intelligent, and well-informed commentary on the academic and societal events and issues that impact Douglas College faculty. The past two years have provided many commentary-worthy events, so we encourage you to provide your expert evaluation and editorial. If writing an article is of interest to you, please contact the FM Editorial Team via the DCFA Update Feedback box (at the bottom of this update). Past editions of Faculty Matters are electronically available via the following weblink – https://www.dcfa.ca/faculty-matters/

If you have an article topic in mind, please contact Ralph Ferens @ dcfamemberatlarge@gmail.com   to get your article on the Fall 2023 Edition roster.

3. Message from the Climate Emergency Action Committee

The Climate Emergency Action Committee cordially invites faculty to the following events:

Global Climate Strike
Date: 1:00 pm September 15th @ 1pm
Location: Vancouver City Hall to Art Gallery

UBC Green Building Walking Tour
Date: September 16th @ 11am
Location: UBC – Institute of Urban Ecology


DCFA Update Archive:
DCFA Update 2
DCFA Update 1