2015-2016 Executive committee nominee statements

Elections for SFUFA’S 2015-2016 Executive Committee will run from Monday, April 16th to Monday, April 20th.

The following members have been nominated and have agreed to stand for election, all terms to begin September 2015.

Candidates statements for each of the nominees follow, in alphabetical order.


For President-Elect:

Dan Laitsch (Education)

For Director, Teaching Appointments:

Russell Day (Psychology)

For Director, Librarians and Archivists:

Paul Hebbard (Archives)

For Director (two to be elected):

Ronda Arab (English)

Michael Sjoerdsma (Engineering)

Candidates’ Statements

Ronda Arab (English)

Having recently unionized, we are at a significant juncture in the formation of who we are culturally and politically as a faculty body, as well as in faculty-administration relationships. I’d like to be part of this important moment in the creation of our faculty identity and hope to have the opportunity as an executive member of SFUFA to encourage input from a wide array of faculty voices, such that our union becomes a truly united entity. I am keenly aware that members from different schools and faculties do not have entirely the same interests and would like to work towards achieving the interests of all, as much as that is possible. I have recently become Chair Pro Tem of the SFUFA Equity Committee; past SFUFA service has been on the SFUFA Economics Benefits Committee during the 2011-2012 academic year. I’m Associate Professor of English; my research takes a cultural studies approach to class, status, and gender formation in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century England.


Russell Day (Psychology)

 I am Russell Day, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, and I have been the Teaching Appointments Representative for several years. I wish to continue in that role as several initiatives that I believe will benefit all faculty members have yet to come to fruition.

1) SFUFA is changing. SFUFA must do so in response to the new ways that SFU and the BC Post-Secondary Education system more generally are now conducting their business. While we now have a very good relationship with our SFU Administrators, we need to ensure that we can achieve a fair and equitable first contract. That contract needs policies that will encourage a continued good relationship.

2) The university community as a whole (students, staff, teaching faculty, and research faculty) benefit enormously from the work of the members I represent – the Teaching Appointments. After many years we are closer than ever before to establishing a Teaching Faculty third rank that will recognize and challenge members to continue expanding their scholarly practices for the benefit of everyone in the university, nationally and internationally.

3) Our pensions ( or lack thereof) are a major concern for me and many of my colleagues. I am 60+ and my parents, at 90, are still in their own home (with some weekend support). Given the later career start that seems more the norm for new faculty, I fear many will find that the current pension system is not adequate to provide them with the 30+ years of income they will need. We may have the opportunity to change to a better plan – and even if that does not benefit me directly – I will feel great satisfaction if our younger members do not have to deal with the angst now being felt by some of our older colleagues.

If you have any questions; please feel free to contact me at [email protected] or at 778-782-6580. Thank you for your careful consideration and voting!


Paul Hebbard (Archives and Record Management)

 I have worked in the Archives and Records Management Department since 2002, holding the positions of Records Management Archivist, Staff Archivist and, most recently, Digital Records Archivist. I am a graduate of UBC’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies and I hold master’s degrees in both Archival Studies (MAS) and Library and Information Studies (MLIS).

My interest in serving on the SFUFA Executive was ignited by recent discussions to translate the policies and procedures governing librarians and archivists into collective agreement language. I could be an effective voice for the interests of librarians archivists and I would value the opportunity to play an active role in the governing of our Association.


Dan Laitsch (Education)

I am an associate professor in the Faculty of Education, and have been a SFUFA Director for the past year. I have a range of experience and knowledge stemming from 10 years of University service, including three terms as Faculty Senator, serving on five Senate committees, and membership on the Strategic Enrolment Management Committee. The relationships I developed on these committees, as well as the knowledge gained through engagement in governance, will serve me well as President-Elect. As President-Elect, I look forward to continuing work in these areas and in supporting the current President-Elect as he takes office as the new President. My own priorities include continuing to work with you all to fully explore your needs and concerns as SFUFA members, with a focus on engaging the diversity of voices across the institution. I want to make sure I meet members where you live and work, which includes spending time across all three campuses. While we are a large institution, I look forward to getting to know SFUFA members as individuals, and representing your needs and interests within the Executive and with the SFU Administration.

Michael Sjoerdsma (Engineering Science)

 I have been a faculty member in the School of Engineering Science since 2005, where I have taught a range of courses, coordinated the ENSC Communication Program, and served on numerous committees at the departmental and university levels. During this time, I have had the opportunity to teach on both the Surrey and Burnaby campuses. I previously served on SFUFA from September 2007 to August 2010.

I am interested in serving on SFUFA for a variety of reasons. With the recent certification, I want to ensure that the negotiated policy adequately addresses issues regarding remuneration, such as salary ceilings, merit steps, market differentials, and retention awards. I am concerned with the current policy governing the position of Teaching Professor, and I advocate for a realistic, attainable third position for lecturers that reflects the diversity between pedagogy between disciplines. Finally, with the movement towards educational goals / learning outcomes, I am confident that my experience in ENSC dealing with our external accreditation, as part of my duties as a Faculty Teaching Fellow, can provide insights for best practices that are informed by my first-hand experience of the pros and cons of such initiatives.