KNOW YOUR COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT: ACADEMIC FREEDOMS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The Collective Agreement (CA hereafter) is what governs your relationship with the University as a LUMUN member. It should be noted that, as with all CAs, the common law duty of fairness applies. This means that both sides cannot undertake actions that, even though they might follow the letter of the CA, are patently unfair and unreasonable.

Duties, responsibilities, and discipline

14.01 All Per Course Instructors have certain duties and responsibilities that derive from their positions as teaching scholars and that includes a professional duty to develop and maintain their scholarly competence and effectiveness as teachers.

14.02 The duties and responsibilities of Per Course Instructors include course preparation and delivery and student evaluation and consultation, recognizing that there are approved non-standard teaching formats (including but not limited to Laboratory Courses, and intern, clinical, thesis and other academic supervision of undergraduate and graduate students in the Academic Unit). These duties and responsibilities shall be discharged in accordance with all regulations, resolutions, guidelines and policies of the University, including those of the Academic Unit

20.04 Per Course Instructors with primary responsibility for the content and/or presentation of a course shall be accorded academic freedom in the design and/or presentation of that course, in accordance with the course description in the University calendar, and subject to the regulations, resolutions, guidelines and policies of the University, including those of the Academic Unit.

Implications:

  1. the same regulations, resolutions, guidelines and policies as regular faculty apply to LUMUN members
  2. you are required to follow them and you can be disciplined if you do not

 

While policies within Academic Units (in most cases departments) can not be outlined here, there are a number in the University that are of particular importance to you as a per course instructor. From the 2010-2011 Memorial University Calendar:

5.5 Attendance

1. Attendance regulations must be approved by the Senate and will be allowed only in cases where the academic unit has demonstrated that attendance is necessary for safety reasons, for teaching practical skills, or for attaining other clearly specified objectives. This may include an attendance regulation that may, by itself, cause a student who contravenes the regulation to fail or be dropped from a course.

2. The course where an attendance regulation is to be enforced must have the statement "attendance required" included in the calendar description.

Implications:

you may not require attendance, though obviously this does not preclude work or assignments that require class attendance (e.g., class participation), unless such work or assignments are clearly simply attempts to make attendance mandatory.

5.6.2 Informing Students of the Method of Evaluation

1. The method of evaluation and required prerequisites or co-requisites shall be made known to students before the end of the first week of lectures in any semester or session.

2. This information shall be in typewritten or computer-generated format and shall be provided in paper form to the students present in each class during the first week of lectures. In the case of Web-based courses, this information may be provided electronically.

Implications:

you have to hand out a printed syllabus or outline in the first week of class with the grading scheme and required prerequisites or co-requisites where applicable.

3. The following shall be included in the explanation of the method of evaluation: 

the allocation of marks for all parts of the evaluation, e.g., assignments, laboratory projects, presentations, tests, mid-term examinations, final examinations; · the approximate dates of all parts of the method of evaluation that will take place in class, e.g., tests, mid-term examinations, presentations, and assignments; and the dates on which all parts of the evaluation to be completed out of class are due.

4. Methods used for notification of grades earned in all parts of the method of aluation and for the return of graded evaluative instruments will be in keeping with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

5. When it is determined that there will be a common final examination for day and evening sections of a course, students must be so informed in the explanation of the method of evaluation for the course and prior to the end of the registration period.

5.6.3 Changing the Method of Evaluation

The explanation of the method of evaluation, as made available to the class in the first week of lectures, shall be changed only if:

exceptional circumstances warrant the change; and · the head of the academic unit approves the proposed change; and · accommodation is made for students who demonstrate to the faculty member that they are disadvantaged by the change.

Implications:

the grading scheme for the course must be given in the first week of classes and it cannot be changed thereafter. Many people believe that the grading scheme can be changed with the unanimous approval of all of the students in the class. While this may work in practice, a complaint by a student or anyone else in the University could lead to disciplinary measures under the Collective Agreement (ARTICLE 16 ­ Discipline and Dismissal). This also means that you may not assign extra work. Returned papers shall not be left out for students to pick up and grades should not be posted on office doors even if only ID#s are listed.

5.7 Examinations

5.7.1 Scheduling of Examinations

1. No laboratory examinations totalling more than one laboratory period in length shall be given in any laboratory course in any week during a lecturing period in any semester or session. Such examinations shall be administered in the laboratory time period assigned for that course section.

The application of this clause in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Faculty of Medicine is subject to interpretation by the appropriate committee on undergraduate studies. The Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies may grant a waiver of this clause for laboratory examinations in individual courses in a given term upon recommendation of the appropriate committee on undergraduate studies. Such waivers will be considered only if it can be shown that such laboratory examinations do not conflict with regularly scheduled sessions of another course for any student involved.

2. Any other examinations shall not extend beyond the class period assigned to that course section in any week during a lecturing period in any semester or session. The application of this clause in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Faculty of Medicine is subject to interpretation by the appropriate committee on undergraduate studies. The Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies may grant a waiver of this clause for examinations in individual courses in a given term upon recommendation of the appropriate committee on undergraduate studies. Such waivers will be considered only if it can be shown that such examinations do not conflict with regularly scheduled sessions of another course for any student involved.

3. During the last two weeks of the lecturing period in any semester or the last week of the lecturing period in any session, no examinations or assignments, whether in-class or take home, shall be administered or assigned. However, assignments of which students have been notified under Evaluation may be submitted and oral and laboratory examinations may be administered. Courses taught outside the regular time-frame are exempt from the application of this regulation. The appropriate faculty or school undergraduate studies committee may, upon the recommendation of the head of an academic unit, grant a waiver of this clause with the proviso that the total value of all examinations or assignments thereby permitted in a course shall not exceed 20% of the final mark in that course. Such waivers will be considered only in exceptional circumstances or in the case of particular courses where it can be shown that the nature of the course determines the need for evaluation during the normally prohibited period. In the latter case, students must be notified of the method of evaluation in accordance with Evaluation. At the end of each semester, the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Studies must be notified of waivers granted.

4. No examinations of any nature shall be held between the last day of lectures and the start of the formal examination period in any semester or session. The application of this clause to the Faculty of Education (with respect to accelerated courses), the Faculty of Medicine, the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation (with respect to accelerated courses and courses offered outside the normal time frame during the Spring semester) and the School of Nursing is subject to interpretation by the appropriate committee on undergraduate studies.

5. In the event of an officially declared emergency which results in the cancellation or interruption of in-class examinations or tests previously scheduled and notified to be held in the final class period of the third last week of lectures of a semester or the second last week of lectures of a session, teaching units may reschedule such examinations or tests in the next regularly scheduled class or as early as possible in the second last week of lectures of a semester or the last week of lectures of a session. In no circumstances can the rescheduled examinations or tests be held in the last week of lectures of a semester.

Implications:

1) You may not schedule exams or lab exams outside of the assigned period of the class or lab.

2) You may not schedule or give exams during the last two weeks of lectures (or the last week of Spring or Summer Intersessions), exams must be in the final exam period or before the last two weeks of lectures (or last week for Intersessions).

3) If classes are officially canceled (i.e., by the University, not by the instructor) in the third to last week of classes (or second to last in Intersessions) and an exam was scheduled then, they can be made up in the next week, but not the last of lectures. If you are unable to give an exam due to the reasons outlined in "ARTICLE 27 ­ Leaves" of the Collective Agreement in the third to last week, you should try to get someone else to do so and if that is not possible you should arrange it with your Administrative Head.

4) Assignments (e.g., reports, papers) can be due in the last two weeks of lectures but only if they were assigned in the course syllabus or outline given out in the first week of class.

Again, while we have all heard of people ignoring these regulations (or being ignorant of them), if you do and there is a complaint, this could lead to disciplinary measures under the Collective Agreement (ARTICLE 16 ­ Discipline and Dismissal). All of these regulations have been in the Calendar for a number, in most cases many, years. The fact that they may have been overlooked by the University in the past does not guarantee that they will be in the future.

 

TEXTBOOKS:

While it is the right of an Academic Unit to decide on and require a single text or set of texts for a course, it is not reasonable that such a requirement apply only to per course instructors. It is LUMUN's view that requiring only LUMUN members to use required texts is arbitrary and an unreasonable limit on the academic freedom protected by the Collective Agreement. While an Academic Unit may recommend a single text or set of texts, that is a recommendation only and not a requirement. Disciplinary action cannot be taken against members who do not use the recommended text or texts.

Per course instructors presently on the probationary list are also not required to use texts from any recommended list and cannot be disciplined for not using recommended texts. However, per course instructors on the probationary list should remember that, until they are on the seniority list, Academic Units are free to hire them or not in the future (within the very broad limits set by human rights legislation). If per course instructors on the probationary list believe that not using 'recommended' texts would be viewed in a negative light by their Academic Unit, they should consider their choice of texts accordingly.