Short: No. Sessional faculty members and part-time CBUFA positions are teaching-only. Limited-term appointments are not teaching-only. CBU is aligned with progressive Canadian universities which are trying to adjust the contractual status quo to create a faculty model that is responsive to changing circumstances and developing interests of all post-secondary education stakeholders.
Extended: No. Sessional faculty positions and part-time CBUFA positions are teaching-only. Limited-term appointments are not teaching-only. Responsibilities of faculty in limited-term positions go beyond diligently meeting required number of teaching contact hours and performing teaching delivery duties competently. Nevertheless, these positions lack an institutional career trajectory and cannot be considered holistic academic positions. CBU has recently made a managerial decision to help mitigate this problem. By contrast with many other universities which are increasingly hiring faculty on four- and eight-month terms, CBU recently started to consistently hire term faculty on one- or two-year contracts. Nevertheless, CBU recognizes that placing firm contractual limits on the term of an academic appointment invariably narrows the appointees’ professional scope. We want to expand that scope.
CBU, then, conceived the Full-Time Continuing Track/Continuing Teaching Scholar proposal as an adjustment to the faculty model which would significantly increase job protection for a small, negotiated number of faculty members required by the University to deliver courses in high-risk programs (currently, the Post-Baccalaureate programs). Teaching Scholars would now occupy a holistic position. It would have a different focus and encompass a different mix of scholarly elements relative to traditional faculty positions, but it would not be teaching-only. Indeed, a Teaching Scholar position (whether Continuing Track/Continuing or a smaller number of Tenure Track/Tenured positions) would be more expansive than the latter. And in defined scholarly ways, it would also be more inclusive. Much depends on negotiated contractual details. That is why CBU is open to all suggestions for improving the proposal. It would not be reasonable to suggest that a well-rounded academic position must consist of a pre-established harmony of unchangeable parts. By contrast, CBU’s proposal is aligned with progressive Canadian universities which have tried to adjust the contractual status quo to create a faculty model that is responsive to changing circumstances and developing interests of all post-secondary education stakeholders.
Faculty at Xavier College sixty years ago, for example, did an enormous amount of institutional and community service in addition to delivering their courses. All CBUFA faculty must now perform some service along with a lesser amount of teaching, but they must now spend a substantial amount of time and energy on basic research activities. The well-being of a contemporary university depends on all these activities being performed. However, within the prevailing contractual framework, deeply embedded cultural assumptions and various conventional trade-offs (interacting with other variables) impact the performance of each of these activities.
For instance, X and Y might both be contractually necessary work, but “everyone knows” that X is more important than Y. Or a, b, c and d might all meet contractual criteria for consideration as Y, but “everyone knows” that (a) is the “gold standard.” The weight of culture and convention is exemplified by the 40/40/20 principle used to define the percentage of time that ought to be devoted to teaching, research and service. For although this principle is frequently invoked as an academic a priori, it is an informal rule of thumb which is often helpful and sometimes not. In short, the existing reality is as much unsettled as it is stable. Increasingly, moreover, many universities are recognizing that work in the scholarship of teaching and learning must be accommodated in the overall mix because it is a demonstrated driver of teaching excellence within an institution founded on that value.
For all the above reasons, universities have expanded their faculty models over the years and made incremental adjustments to allow individuals to engage in a different mix of activities. It is normal at most universities for special (short or long-term) provisions to be in place so that some faculty will spend more time on particularly significant research projects and less on teaching. In some cases, they are expected to do minimal teaching and service. Similarly, some universities have worked with faculty associations on contractual adjustments that remove (in a limited number of cases) the responsibility to engage in traditional research activities so that they can devote time and energy to the scholarship of teaching and learning, broadly construed. This work may include discipline-based educational scholarship, curriculum development and evaluation, dissemination of pedagogical strategies to colleagues at one’s own institution and elsewhere, contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning at conferences or workshops, significant institutional service that enhances the educational environment or students and/or colleagues and professional service to regional or national post-secondary organizations.
It must be acknowledged that CBU did propose teaching-only positions in the past. Before the start of this round of bargaining; however, CBU made a conscious decision to reject that option. Instead, CBU proposed Teaching Scholar positions (whether those in Tenure Track/Tenured or Continuing Track/Full-Time Continuing appointments) that would help prevent the invidious trade-offs that many faculty are compelled to make. To reiterate, CBU proposed that a Teaching Scholar would not be contractually responsible for traditional basic research but would be responsible to engage in the kind of scholarly work just described. Such positions would constitute a small percentage of the overall CBUFA faculty appointments (in addition to School and program-based limits, there would also be strict Department limits). On the one hand, CBU is proposing to adjust the contractual meaning of a holistic academic job in accordance to changes in the post-secondary education sector. And on the other hand, it is committed to ensuring a balance of activities (within Schools, Departments and CBU as a whole) that prioritizes traditional values and conventions.