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Know Your Rights

With over 130 pages, 34 Articles, and 16 Schedules the Faculty Handbook contains a lot of rights for ULFA Members. Nonetheless, these rights can become unclear as language changes over the iteration of many negotiations. This section of our website is intended to bring clarity where there was once ambiguity.

Please feel free to contact the Association if you have any questions about either the Faculty Handbook or the Sessional Lecturers Handbook.

Professional Supplements

Each year, our Members receive professional supplement money. Full time Faculty Members receive $2,000, full time Instructors/Academic Assistants receive $1,600 and part time Members and those who are on reduced load receive proportional amounts.* Prior to 2014, Members were permitted to carry forward an unlimited amount of unspent monies; however, with the 2014 Faculty Handbook we saw the implementation of a new 4-year cap on the maximum accumulation of unspent monies. A Faculty Member can accrue up to a maximum of $8,000 and Instructors/Academic Assistants can accrue up to $6,400. For those of you who do not carry forward a balance on your professional supplement accounts, this notice will not be relevant to you. But for many of our Members, there have been questions about the logistics of ensuring access to the maximum allotment of professional supplement.

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Academic Freedom

After a series of perplexing events at UBC involving the unexpected and immediate resignation of the University’s President, all eyes are on the outcome of an academic freedom matter that has since erupted between the Board of Governor’s Chair and a tenured Professor. The Professor, who wrote a blog post speculating on the resignation of the President as it related to her research, has come forward with allegations of interference from the Board Chair w.r.t. her right to academic freedom. While an investigation is currently underway, CAUT has called on the resignation of the Board Chair and has begun the arduous process of wading through the case. There are obviously more complicated series of events that contribute to this situation, and much of it will be revealed in time; however, now is as important a time as any, if not more so, to assert the principle of academic freedom in the Institution of Academe and to highlight its place at the University of Lethbridge.

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Employer’s Duty to Accommodate

While it may not be explicitly stated in the Faculty Handbook or the Sessional Lecturers Handbook, federal and provincial legislation dictates an employer’s duty to accommodate the needs of its employees. The duty to accommodate is a legal principle that requires an employer to provide an environment that is barrier free and one in which all people have equal access to opportunity, to the point of undue hardship.

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External Professional Work

In addition to a Member’s roles on and within the university community, any Member can engage in external professional work. A Member must, however, get approval from their Dean/University Librarian prior to accepting any remuneration for external work.

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Confidential Letters of Reference

One type of document that can be included in your Personal File is a confidential letter of reference. The letters address a Member's performance and, unless otherwise stated by the author, will be kept confidential. In order for a letter of reference to be entered into a Personal File, however, the letters must be signed and dated. Letters that are not both signed and dated will either be returned to the author or destroyed. A Member is entitled to received a fair summary of the letters that are present in a Personal File or, in cases where more than three letters are present, the Member is entitled to either a fair summary and/or the names of authors.

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Personal Files

There exists a Personal File for each and every academic staff member on campus that contains information related to employment and educational history. In fact, all materials considered by a personnel committee (such as a Search or STP Committee) and all materials forming the basis of a disciplinary decision (Article 25) or complaint (Article 11.02) are entered into the personal file. This file is maintained by the Dean/University Librarian and is held in his/her/their office. It is also subject to the university-wide records management policy for retention and disposal.

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Hiring Practices

When a prospective member has applied for a tenure track position only to be offered a 3-year fixed term appointment after interviewing. This process may be unfair at an especially vulnerable point in one’s academic career and, moreover, it may conflict with the guiding language in our collective agreement.

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Personal Notes Created while Serving on Personnel Committees

It is a common practice in the University for committee Chairs to ask to collect and dispose of the materials used by members in their deliberations. The Member's notes are then governed by the policies and responsibilities of the University; the Member has no further role to play in the disposition of the materials. The notes are placed into a sealed envelope and kept secure for one year, following which they are shredded.

It is also an option for individual Members to take personal responsibility for disposal of their own notes and annotations. In this case the Member assumes sole responsibility for maintaining the security and confidentiality of this material.

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Composition of Personnel Committees

It is expected that if a member of a personnel committee (such as a Search Committee or an STP Committee) has a conflict of interest or a reasonable apprehension of bias, that s/he would not participate in the committee and its deliberations. In the event that a Member believes a person on such a committee has a conflict of interest or a reasonable apprehension of bias, the Member may request for that person to be removed from the Committee. To initiate this process, submit a written request to either the University President or the Association President following the procedures outlined below.

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