As you start your second week of studies following the strike, we understand that many of you still have questions and concerns about changes made to the academic schedule and how they impact you.
Please be aware that:
* The Registrar's Office will send out an email this afternoon regarding the new Voluntary Withdrawal dates as well as other important information about date and deadline changes.
* The University will be closed December 23 - January 2 as originally scheduled. There will be no classes or exams held during this time.
* All students enrolled in classes that were affected by the strike will return to class on January 3 to make up for missed time and to complete final exams. Where travel was booked before the strike, we expect that instructors will be sympathetic and that alternative arrangements can be made for course work and exams (with appropriate documentation).
* An updated exam schedule for classes interrupted by the strike is expected in early December. We will post that schedule as soon as it is available.
* The exam period for classes not impacted by the strike will be held December 12 - 22. Some exams have been rescheduled from the original date. You can find the updated exam schedule in Aurora through MyExams.
* Because classes affected by the strike will run concurrently with the exam period for continuing classes, timetabling conflicts may arise. In the event of a conflict, please consult with your instructors, faculty, college or school office to make alternative arrangements.
* The start of the winter term for all students will be pushed back to January 18. However, the winter midterm break (Feb 21 - 24) and convocation (June 5 - 9) will continue as originally scheduled.
We recognize these changes present challenges for many of you. Please know that we continue to listen to your concerns and are committed to providing you with all the information you need to successfully complete this term and next.
The FAQs posted on www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo<http://www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo> have and will be updated regularly. For information on supports and resources available to help you cope with the extra challenges you face, please visit the strike support for students<http://www.umanitoba.ca/student/strike-supports-students.html> web page. And if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us by emailing strikeinfo(a)umanitoba.ca<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
This has been a stressful and trying time for our community, in particular for you, our students. We recognize that there is now a great deal of work ahead in setting the academic year back on course.
Today, UMFA membership will vote on a new collective agreement recommended for ratification by its executive. We respect that process. Should the outcome be positive, I commit to ensuring that the February Reading Week will remain entirely intact, so that students can use the week as they choose.
We know how important Reading Week is to you and your academic success under normal circumstances, and especially this year.
As well, as indicated in previous communications, the December 23 - January 2 holiday break also remains intact.
Vice-Provost (Students) Susan Gottheil and her team are working hard to ensure as smooth a transition as possible for students. Please take the time to read her message<http://news.umanitoba.ca/message-to-students-from-vice-provost-students-sus…> about class changes, exam schedules and available student services. An updated academic schedule is also available here<http://umanitoba.ca/admin/strike_info/academic-schedule-changes.html>.
The entire University community is committed to providing a rapid transition back to class so that you can successfully complete the academic year.
We look forward to welcoming back all professors and students tomorrow.
David T. Barnard, Ph.D., President and Vice-Chancellor
202 Administration Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg MB R3T 2N2 Canada
Office: +1-204-474-9345<tel:%2B1-204-474-9345> FAX: +1-204-261-1318<tel:%2B1-204-261-1318>
The University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) today reached a tentative agreement.
UMFA Executive is recommending acceptance of the agreement to its members, who will vote Monday. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday, November 22.
Over the weekend, negotiating teams made progress on key issues related to teaching workload, performance metrics, and job protection, resulting in a tentative agreement that the UMFA Executive is recommending their members ratify.
"The last few weeks have been challenging, and at times divisive, but it is my hope that our community will reunite in support of our commitment to our shared mission of teaching, discovery and engagement," said David Barnard, President and Vice-Chancellor.
"To our students, I want to say that I understand and appreciate the extent to which the events of the past few weeks have disrupted your academic programs and shaken your perceptions of this institution. Please know that we are committed to providing a rapid transition back to class so that you can successfully complete the academic year."
The University negotiating team expressed gratitude for the assistance provided by the conciliation officer appointed by the Province of Manitoba, who was instrumental in bringing the parties together.
The University will not discuss details of the tentative agreement until the UMFA Executive has briefed its members. Students should continue checking umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo<http://umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo/> for updates. All students can expect to receive an email tomorrow with detailed information about class and exam schedules, as well as available student support services.
Conciliation between the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) came to an unsuccessful end Sunday afternoon.
The University immediately called on the UMFA negotiating team to take the University of Manitoba offer to UMFA members for a ratification vote before November 16, in an effort to minimize any further disruption to students' academic schedules. The University will continue calling for a vote in order to precipitate an end to the strike, which is about to enter its third week.
"It is our belief that the UMFA negotiating team will not accept anything the University offers," explained John Kearsey, Vice-President (External) at the University of Manitoba. "They rejected our March offer, intended to allow them to settle before a possible change in government. They rejected our September 13 offer, which provided salary increases of seven per cent over four years. They rejected offers we made during mediation, with a mediator they chose. They rejected offers we made during conciliation. It has been disheartening, to say the least. We are bargaining with ourselves. Given the circumstances, we feel compelled to ask the UMFA negotiating team to present the University's offer to UMFA members for a vote. We want this strike to end. Our students want this strike to end."
The conciliator's report is expected early this week.
"UMFA negotiators have told us that two issues remain to be resolved, both of which the University indicated during conciliation that it would be willing - in the interest of ending the strike - to have sent to arbitration. This, too, was rejected by UMFA negotiators. It's extremely frustrating, particularly as we watch the distress this is causing our students."
The University is advocating for the UMFA negotiating team to take the University offer to its members for a ratification vote before November 16, at which time further impacts on the academic schedule are triggered.
Students are advised to continue checking umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo<http://umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo/> for updates on the strike, changes to the academic schedule, a list of continuing classes and answers to common questions.
Today, Senate, the governing body of the University, approved changes to the academic schedule resulting from the ongoing UMFA strike. Because the length of the strike will determine the extent of changes required, four scenarios with detailed plans were presented and approved.
All approved plans can be found at http://umanitoba.ca/admin/strike_info/academic-schedule-changes.html, and include potential adjustments to the Voluntary Withdrawal date, exam period, the end of Fall Term and start of Winter Term. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the revised schedules at this time. As you will see, we are now at a point where the strike will impact this academic year, and the longer the strike continues, the greater that impact will be.
We understand this is a challenging situation for many of you. Please know we continue to listen to your concerns, and that across the campus, members of our community are working diligently to ensure you have every opportunity to complete a successful academic year.
As always, we encourage you to continue checking www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo<http://www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo> for important updates to the FAQs, the official list of continuing classes, and other important information. If you have any questions not answered there, you can always contact us through the site or by emailing strikeinfo(a)umanitoba.ca<mailto:email@example.com>.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding.
Forging a collaborative path forward
Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Janice Ristock shares message with community on UMFA strike
Two issues are at the heart of the strike by the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) - workload and research metrics.
In an interview this week, the University of Manitoba's Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Janice Ristock addressed these concerns, and her hopes to find common ground and a positive path forward for students, staff and faculty.
On the issue of workload, Ristock noted that UMFA's current proposal would create a lengthy, cumbersome process - and one that is not viable as it would take away the Deans' role to determine workloads.
Under the UMFA proposal a Dean would decide on a teaching policy and bring that forward to faculty members, who would vote on it by secret ballot.
If faculty voted against the teaching policy, the Dean would have to revise it and present a second version for another secret ballot vote. If that version was also rejected, it would then go to the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) and the executive director of UMFA for resolution.
"If we're unable to come to an agreement, then it would go to an external arbitrator who is not a member of our community and who is not an academic," said Ristock. "To me, it's not a viable process. It's a process that is very time--consuming and if it gets to the stage of an arbitrator, it's also very costly."
In contrast to UMFA's proposal, Ristock drew attention to the importance of the roles of Deans, and their broad consideration of students and faculty.
"Deans have the responsibility to consider the academic programs in a unit, to consider the needs of students, the timetable," she said, "and they also have a responsibility to consider the other aspects of an individual professor's workload - research and service commitments."
These considerations have to be made on an individual basis, she added.
Ristock notes the University has proposed a fund, worth $1.5 million, to help with teaching workloads by providing opportunities to hire a range of support for faculty, including teaching assistants, graders/markers and sessional instructors.
In its compromise offer, the University has also proposed creating a joint committee with faculty to examine faculty members' concerns over workload increases due to administrative duties.
"We have been listening to the concerns expressed about administrative workloads and have offered a solution to begin to address those issues," said Ristock. "It's a point where we can begin discussions."
An additional fund of $500,000 would support implementing recommendations by the joint committee for real improvements to administrative burdens.
On the issue of research metrics, Ristock noted that UMFA appears concerned the University may in the future impose research metrics on performance evaluations and decisions around tenure and promotion.
"I think it's important to clarify that currently there are no provisions in the collective agreement that speak to the use of research metrics, nor do any of the faculties' tenure and promotion criteria impose the use of research metrics in making assessments," she said.
The University has reasserted that research metrics will not be used as a substitute for comprehensive assessment.
"The University's position is that it has to be a decision amongst colleagues to decide whether or not it's appropriate to use research metrics as one indicator of the quality of research - and that's very discipline-specific," said Ristock. "There's not one research metric that can be used to assess all research. And we think it's also very important to say that research metrics alone can never be a substitute for a thorough assessment based on the quality and the quantity of research output."
Ristock urged faculty members and members of the community to read the University of Manitoba's latest proposal<http://umanitoba.ca/admin/human_resources/staff_relations/media/UM_Proposal…>.
As the University and UMFA move through the second week of labour negotiations, we recognize and share your concerns about the impact the ongoing labour disruption will have on your studies.
We expect there will be adjustments to the Voluntary Withdrawal date, exam period and the end of Fall Term, and there could possibly be a change to the start of Winter Term, depending on the length of the strike. Senate is responsible for approving any of these changes and will meet tomorrow. We will share Senate's decisions as soon as they are made.
The longer the strike continues, the greater the impact on the academic year. We are listening to you, and working together with our colleagues across campus to find solutions, answer your questions and provide information to address the challenges you face.
In the meantime, please continue to consult umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo<file:///C:\Users\foggt\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary%20Internet%20Files\Content.Outlook\KH4M9USD\umanitoba.ca\strikeinfo> for updates to the FAQs, the official list of continuing classes, and other important information. If you have any questions not answered there, please contact us through the site or by emailing strikeinfo(a)umanitoba.ca<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Thank you for your ongoing patience during this difficult time. The response from students has been intelligent and respectful. I feel honoured to serve this community, and I know I'm not alone.
Conciliation between the University of Manitoba and the University of Manitoba Faculty Association is ongoing, and we are hopeful that we can reach a positive conclusion soon. Your successful completion of this academic term is our top priority.
You have told us that one of your top concerns is mid-term exams. If your class/section is on the official list of continuing classes (http://umanitoba.ca/registrar/status_of_classes.html), your mid-term exams may take place as scheduled. Check with your instructor.
If your class/section is not on the official list of continuing classes, you are not responsible for any coursework for this course while the labour disruption continues-including mid-term exams. Mid-term exams for these classes/sections will not take place during the strike, but may be rescheduled at the completion of the strike.
Mid-term exams for classes resuming at the end of a strike will not be held on the first day a course re-starts. An appropriate schedule to make up for lost time in courses will be determined once they appear on the list of courses being offered, or at the end of the strike. Please check the official list of continuing classes often as it will be updated regularly.
We are also able to confirm that the holiday break will proceed as originally planned. The University will be closed from December 23, 2016 to January 2, 2017.
We are working hard to answer all questions you may have through our FAQs and the strikeinfo(a)umanitoba.ca<mailto:email@example.com> email. We know that many of you have other questions that we haven't yet answered-for example, the voluntary withdrawal deadline and the impact of the strike on the final examination schedule, as well as how much notice you will have before returning to class once an agreement between the University and UMFA has been reached. We are doing our best to answer these important questions, and will pass on that information as soon as we can.
Please continue to refer to www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo<http://www.umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo> for the latest updates and answers to your frequently asked questions. We want to help guide and support you during this time of uncertainty.
We are hoping for an agreement to be reached as quickly as you are.
We have received a number of inquiries regarding the University closure over the holiday break. I would like to confirm that the University will be closed December 23 - January 2 as originally scheduled.
For other strike-related questions, please continue to visit umanitoba.ca/strikeinfo regularly for updated information. If you have questions that aren't answered in the FAQs, there is a place for you to submit your questions online.