Recently, the CAS deans sent an email to all CAS department heads regarding the development of unit professional development policies. You may have seen this email forwarded by your department head.
The deans suggest that units can just send their current policy to CAS so the deans can modify the current policy and implement what they think best without faculty input.
We strongly urge units to not send any professional development policies to CAS without faculty input.
The deans’ email noted that the union and administration have agreed that the development of these policies can be delayed until October. The email went on to describe further “guidance” that imposed new restrictions on the development of the unit-level professional development policies. We felt it was important to make clear that the union did not approve, nor does it support, these new restrictions. The template and the latest guidance are not approved by United Academics.
Unfortunately, what should have been a relatively simple process of converting current unit policy or practice into an approved policy protected by the grievance process has become unnecessarily complicated.
First, these policies were supposed to be discussed by faculty in winter term, completed by faculty in March, and approved by the deans in spring. For unexplained reasons, in CAS all of this work was pushed back until late May, leaving no time for thoughtful policy development.
Second, the CAS deans have sought to control the unit policies to the point where most units will need a serious re-write of current policy or practice, adding additional bureaucracy where none is needed.
Lastly, CAS is seeking to impose a new barrier to receiving professional development funds, insisting that departments put in place an undefined “minimum performance” standard in order for faculty to receive travel or other professional development funds. The CAS communication to department heads expects departments to add yet another level of faculty review, diminishing departmental autonomy for small but meaningful travel and professional development allocations to faculty.
We will continue to work with Academic Affairs over the summer in an attempt to have a straightforward and simple policy development plan in place when faculty return in fall. We strongly encourage you and your department to not send your current policy to CAS for dean-driven modification and approval.
Please feel free to share this with your department head and, as always, reach out to the United Academics office with any questions or concerns.