A Lecturer is defined in the Collective Agreement as a person holding an appointment without review for a term of twelve (12) months or less with responsibilities limited to teaching and related duties. Those related duties may include administrative responsibilities normally undertaken by faculty members (i.e., not work normally undertaken by administrative staff). The university has proposed adding service to the duties of Lecturers, something to which the Association is not opposed in principle, although we recognize that with additional responsibilities should come additional compensation.
Lecturers are now the fastest growing component of our membership. In fact, over the past few years the size of the professoriate has shrunk, while there has been an increase in the Educational Leadership stream and Lecturers. As of September 2016, there were 308 Lecturers, with one third of all current Lecturers having received their first appointment in 2015 or later.
Historically Lecturers have typically had their appointments renewed year after year. In fact some Lecturers have had their appointments renewed for over 25 years. Oddly, while there is no right of reappointment for Lecturers, the Collective Agreement is structured such that they are entitled to annual progress-through-the-ranks increases (increments, merit, and PSA). Because the Lecturer classification was structured as if members in that classification were to be renewed on an ongoing basis, Lecturers are effectively appointed to indeterminate contracts.
This increased use of Lecturer appointments by the university has created a number of issues that we are attempting to deal with in this bargaining round.
Part-time, and Part-year
The vast majority of Lecturers are on full-time 12-month appointments. However a few have been appointed to less than 12-month contracts or less than full-time appointments. A few are listed by UBC as 20% of full-time, which we consider to be more appropriate for a Sessional Lecturer appointment. There are a handful of Lecturers on 11-month appointments. These appointments create certain problems in terms of vacation time, and in terms of the application of progress-through-the-ranks increases. In fact we have discovered that UBC has not been paying increments to part-time Lecturers, contrary to the Agreement, a matter currently being grieved. The Association has proposed that all Lecturer appointments should be full-time, full-year.
Minimum Salary, Maximum Teaching Load
The current top of scale salary for a full-time Sessional on the Arts sessional scale is $5,304 per month. There is currently no minimum salary for 12-month Lecturers but we know many Lecturers are earning salaries much lower than that, with some as low as $4,167 per month ($50,000 per year). It is the position of the Faculty Association that the lowest salary for a full-time Lecturer should be no lower than the highest salary on the minimum Sessional Scale. We have not yet made a proposal on the minimum Lecturer salary but when we do it will be consistent with that objective.
However, salary is only half the story. Sessionals get paid by the credit, so a full-time Sessional in Arts is teaching 9 credits (three courses) or equivalent per term. There is no limit to the number of courses a Lecturer can be assigned so it is entirely possible for Lecturers to earn significantly less per course than Sessionals. We have heard from some members that, having been converted from full-time Sessional to Lecturer, they experienced a reduction in per-course salary. This is something to which we are strongly opposed. Consequently we have proposed that Lecturers continue to be assigned teaching in accordance with the usual practices and policies in their departments, but in any case not more than 8 three-credit courses, or equivalent, in any academic year. By tying the maximum teaching load to a minimum salary we intend to ensure that Lecturers are not paid less than Sessionals for the same amount of work.
Under the Collective Agreement, Lecturers have no automatic right to reappointment. Their appointments are sometimes not renewed, even after years (or decades) of loyal service, with excellent teaching records, and where there is no shortage of work. Imagine how much academic freedom someone has who can possibly be dismissed, without even severance, for no reason whatsoever. The Association is proposing that Lecturers have the same right of reappointment as Sessionals currently have.
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Next up on the blog: General Wage Increase