I'll be direct. This is a call to action.
We find ourselves during this academic year in a pivotal moment for shared governance at the University of Oregon. To the degree we rise to meet it, we have an opportunity to shape our units, our jobs, and our institution for the better.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) ratified in July left several key issues to an appendix of implementation agreements to be worked out over the following months and beyond, including caregiving supports; proposed changes to the Tenure Reduction Program (TRP); the role of service in our work; pay equity; and our units’ policies on merit, performance and promotion reviews, and professional responsibilities.
Additionally, there are several openings for internal and external roles to further the work of United Academics here on campus and across the state.
My favorite part of being on a university faculty is working in common cause alongside hundreds and hundreds of brilliant, creative, and passionate experts across a vast array of disciplines. The potential of our combined knowledge and skills is overwhelming to contemplate.
Harnessing a portion of our collective talent will enable us to work wonders.
Take a few moments to review the opportunities below. There are many to choose from, with varying levels of commitment. We would love for you to join us in any of these endeavors to the extent that you can.
At the very least, we ask that you take a moment to fill out any of the brief surveys linked for some of the topics below.
Send us an email at [email protected] to express interest in joining us in this work. Feel free to reach out to ask any clarifying questions you might have.
Thank you for your time. Thank you for your efforts. Thank you for your solidarity!
Senior Instructor, Economics
President, United Academics of the University of Oregon (UAUO)
AAUP/AFT Local 3209, AFL-CIO
Revision of Unit Policies
Implementation Agreement #2 of the CBA requires that unit merit policies be revised by June 2023—in advance of distributing merit raises (out of a 3% pool) in January 2024.
Similarly, unit policies on professional responsibilities (i.e., workload and assignment of work duties), performance reviews, and promotion and tenure reviews need to be revised by June 2024.
In consultation with deans, the administration is preparing policy templates for units in part to ensure that new unit policies will be in line with the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) language. The use of templates is fine—and helpful!—as long as everyone is clear that they are starting points rather than ends in themselves.
It may be tempting to speed through the process of revising policies, and there would be clear benefits to reducing ambiguity or uncertainty sooner rather than later. However, it’s even more important that this process of reviewing and revising unit policies be thorough, transparent, and genuinely participatory.
This is where the rubber meets the road in terms of shared governance. As with local elections, we have the most power to influence the outcomes within our own units. If we want to transform the nature of our work, how our duties are assigned, or how our performance is measured and rewarded, this is our opportunity. Let us seize it.
ASK: We are looking for faculty to form a unit policy study group. What are different units across campus already doing that might be helpful as we reflect on our local practices? What can we learn from our colleagues here at UO—or elsewhere—that might improve how our own units approach workload, assignments, and reviews?
SCOPE: This is a bit open-ended. Some folks may be excited to dig into the current unit policies posted on the Provost’s Office website and report on what they find. Others may prefer to work on publicizing best practices through communications to our membership, UAUO’s newsletter, or elsewhere on UAUO’s website. The time commitment for either effort could certainly vary by interest and availability. It would be good to have coordinating meetings as needed.
Proposed Changes to TRP
There will be a separate message on the proposed changes to Article 31 (Tenure Reduction Program) later this week.
The brand-new Caregiving article (Article 34) in the CBA:
- underscores that caregiving responsibilities should be taken into account for scheduling, clock stoppage, and leaves
- commits UO to providing access to Care.com to faculty to help identify potential caregiving solutions
- creates an annual $150,000 Travel Support Fund to oﬀset work-related caregiving costs
Furthermore, Implementation Agreement #5 of the CBA establishes a one-time $500,000 Childcare Community Partnership Investment Fund to address the local shortage of care providers.
ASK: We are looking for faculty to monitor the implementation of the provisions of Article 34 and to serve on a joint committee of representatives from United Academics and administrators that will decide how to structure and disburse grants from the one-time fund to childcare facilities working to expand capacity.
SCOPE: Likely two or three meetings per term, perhaps more if needed.
The burdens of service assignments are not generally distributed equitably among faculty along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, classification, category, or rank. Inequities in service burdens lead to professional advantages for those who avoid or neglect service obligations while creating professional obstacles for those who take on more service responsibilities or discharge them more diligently. Negative impacts may include foregone merit increases, delayed promotion, failed promotion, nonrenewal, or layoff.
Implementation Agreement #3 of the CBA calls for a joint committee to consider how to enhance the equitable distribution of service, informed by the ongoing work of the UO Senate Task Force on Service.
ASK: We are looking for faculty to review the work of the Task Force on Service and to serve on a joint committee to engage with the administration on what potential changes should be made to the CBA to assign service more equitably.
SCOPE: The work on our end will primarily happen in the winter and spring terms, once the Task Force on Service has made more progress. It will likely amount to a few meetings per term with some prep time in between to review materials and consider possible proposals.
Bargaining resulted in two parallel mechanisms for focusing on pay equity issues on campus:
- The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on salaries ratified in December 2021 affirmed that the administration and United Academics will form a joint study group to discuss how inflation and equity impact faculty salaries generally.
- Implementation Agreement #6 of the CBA calls for “Request for Proposal” (RFP) during Fall 2022 for an external consultant to review internal pay equity for Career instructional faculty “to determine if inequities exist that cannot be explained by legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons such as performance, years of experience, education, discipline, specialization, rank, and position expectations. The study's parameters ultimately shall be decided by the University, with input from the Union.”
These two mechanisms are in addition to the ongoing work of UO’s Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance (OICRC) and the role of Oregon’s Bureau of Labor & Industries in enforcing the Oregon Equal Pay Act (OEPA). Individual cases of pay inequity can always be explored—and hopefully resolved—through these channels. Our goal with the pay equity studies is to tackle many potential cases in parallel in the interests of efficiency.
ASK: More immediately, we are looking for faculty interested in offering feedback on the administration’s drafted RFP for the instructional Career internal equity study, which will be sent along to United Academics soon. Responses to the survey linked below will also help with this.
In the coming terms, we will be looking for faculty to contribute to the joint study group on inflation and broader pay equity issues.
SCOPE: Comments on the RFP will likely happen over the next few weeks and will be limited to this term.
The joint study group on inflation and broader pay equity issues won’t convene until the winter or spring terms. That eventual work will involve multiple meetings and time to review data and proposals.
Tenure Track Review Appeals Committee (TTRAC)
The revisions to Article 21 (Review Decision Appeals) establish the Tenure Track Review Appeals Committee (TTRAC) to replace and broaden the work of the Promotion and Tenure Review Appeal Committee (PTRAC) to include decisions to place tenure-track faculty members on a terminal contract after an unsuccessful mid-term review.
ASK: We and the administration are looking for several full professors to serve on TTRAC (or act as alternates), where these full professors have served for at least one term on a college-level tenure and promotion review committee, as a member of the University Faculty Personnel Committee, as a department or unit head, or equivalent experience (as determined by the Office of the Provost).
SCOPE: The workflow of TTRAC is outlined in Article 21 of the CBA. The number of cases to be considered in any given year will vary.
Chair of the Representative Assembly
ASK: The Representative Assembly of United Academics is in need of a Chair, who would need to be one of the representatives.
SCOPE: Conduct the meetings of the Representative Assembly, which are held twice per term. Attend—at your option—any (or none) of the meetings of the Executive Council (held this term 3:30-5:00pm at the UA office and Zoom).
ASK: To better help us connect with both our local membership and external organizations we are looking for faculty to re-form a UA Communications Committee to work with our new Secretary, Pat Curtin.
SCOPE: Meet weekly to discuss communications strategies, or to draft or edit outgoing messages, newsletter items, or other materials.
ASK: We are looking for a few faculty members to join the existing Finance Committee to ensure that the funds raised from our dues continue to be used efficiently and responsibly.
SCOPE: Meet a few times per term to review financial statements and ask any and all pertinent questions.
ASK: We are looking for roughly five faculty members to form an ad hoc Elections Committee to oversee elections for UA officers and representatives as well as delegates to AFT or AAUP conventions. Understandably, no one on the elections committee can be running for election to any of the positions.
SCOPE: This will require a couple of hours total over the course of this academic year.
AAUP Oregon Leadership Positions
- ASK: There are two vacancies in the leadership of AAUP Oregon, the state level conference of our affiliate the Association of American University Professors:
- Vice President for Communications
- Vice President for Membership & Organizing
Having UAUO members in one or both of these positions would strengthen our lines of communication with our affiliate and help our concerns be better represented at the state level.
SCOPE: Meetings are quarterly, and there is also one large annual meeting. There is precedent for a course release for taking on an AAUP-OR executive council role provided that the member also actively participates in at least two UAUO committees.
AFT-Oregon Executive Council At-Large Position
ASK: Serve on the Executive Council of AFT-Oregon, the state level organization of our affiliate the American Federation of Teachers.
Having a UAUO member in this position would strengthen our presence with AFT-OR and help better represent the needs of our local union as well as unions from our part of the state.
SCOPE: Meetings are two or three times per quarter, with an understanding that a virtual option will continue to be available. There is likewise precedent for a course release for serving in one of these roles provided the member actively participates in at least two UAUO committees.
Safety Advisory Committee
ASK: We are looking for one representative from United Academics to join UO’s Safety Advisory Committee (SAC) to discuss workplace health and safety concerns and how best to address them.
SCOPE: Per the group’s website, meetings are held 9-10am on the third Thursday of each month.
UOPD Complaint Review Committee (CRC)
ASK: We are looking for one representative from United Academics to join the UOPD Complaint Review Committee (CRC) to help provide oversight for UO’s police department. The CRC is an advisory group whose mission “is to provide recommendations to the Vice President for Finance and Administration to help ensure that complaints regarding UOPD policies and the conduct of UOPD personnel are resolved in a fair, thorough, reasonable, and expeditious manner.”
SCOPE: Meetings are held quarterly at a minimum, with the possibility of additional meetings if the need were to arise.