SFUFA President’s Message, November 2011


Welcome to the 2011-2012 academic year.
I’d like to introduce you to this year’s Executive and highlight some of our upcoming priorities.
·       Carla Graebner (Library) President
·       Michael Ling (Education), Past President
·       Natalia Gajdamaschko (Education) Treasurer
·       Yolanda Koscielski, Librarian Representative
·       Carl Schwarz (Statistics and Actuarial Sciences)
·       Russell Day (Psychology)
·       Karen Kavanagh (Physics)
·       Slava Senyshyn (Education)
·       Glenn Chapman (Engineering)
For those of you who are new to SFU (or those who just need a refresher), I’d like to provide some context for the Association. In 1998, Members agreed on the following Constitution for our Association:
The purposes of the Society are:
·       To assert the integrity of the academic profession.
·       To defend academic freedom in teaching and research.
·       To promote the welfare of all faculty members.
·       To foster high standards of excellence in teaching and scholarship.
·       To act as the sole bargaining agent of all faculty members employed by Simon Fraser University and to regulate relations between the faculty members and the University through collective bargaining.
Expressed differently, it means SFUFA exists to:
·       represent its members in bargaining
·       provide support for members in terms of offering workshops relevant to the tenure and promotion review process
·       assist members in finding answers to questions they don’t comfortable bringing forward to administration
·       advocate on behalf of members on issues ranging from physical infrastructure to policy changes to university relations
Our association needs to be likewise supported by its members. How can you do that? By volunteering some of your time to serve as a member of the Executive or by participating in committees like the Economic Benefits Committee or by offering to assist in drafting reports in reply to university initiatives such as governance, teaching and learning, workload or other issues. And, you can express your support by attending your SFUFA general meetings either in person or by video conferencing at SFU Vancouver and SFU Surrey, by engaging with your colleagues at our various social events or by inviting us to your Departmental meetings so we can meet you face-to-face.
At its planning session held Thursday, September 8th, the SFUFA Executive identified the following priorities for the upcoming year building on momentum established by the previous Executive:
·       Bargaining
·       Communication and outreach
o   SFUFA E-news newsletter
o   SFUFA website
o   Departmental visits
o   Social events
·       Participating in the process informing the Teaching Evaluation revisions
·       Exploring how to apply the ‘enVISION’ statement as articulated by President Petter
And, with bargaining a priority, we have struck an Economic Benefits Advisory Committee composed of members from various departments and are about to release our second bargaining bulletin. Carl Schwarz is heading our negotiations team again this year and has presented the results from our preliminary survey at this fall’s General Meeting on October 24th.  We received an impressive 60% response rate from our membership—our best yet—and appreciate your taking the time to respond.
I look forward to meeting and working with you over the next 12 months and beyond.