Here are some of the key issues on which I have been working over the last few weeks:
One of the important goals identified by the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators’ Open the Doors campaign leading up to the May 2017 provincial election was encouraging whichever party assumed government to conduct a review and revision of the post-secondary institutions’ funding formula. Those faculty who were at UCC in 2004/2005 will remember that our former administrators told government “give us the name ‘University’ and we will not ask for additional funding.” The result has been 12 years of per-student funding that has not met our institution’s expanded mandate, including research and graduate studies. In addition, as a ‘regional’ university, TRU has not been able to fulfill our legislative mandate under the TRU Act to serve the educational needs of the entire region. Underfunding has left TRU unable to provide our Williams Lake campus with sufficient resources, and ‘storefront’ delivery of Adult Basic Education (ABE) and other foundational courses in smaller centres—Lillooet, Lytton, Barriere, Clearwater—has been reduced. On the Kamloops campus, underfunding has meant a gradual increase in class size—particularly troubling since national student surveys over the last few years have identified “small class sizes” and “opportunities to interact with professors” as the number one reason students choose TRU. Aside from larger class sizes, the current funding formula has resulted in fewer course offerings, pressure on student support services, and fewer permanent faculty.
In order to convince government that a revised funding formula is needed, TRUFA has undertaken the following initiatives:
While the new provincial government is facing unprecedented demands for the funding of new programs, I know that post-secondary education has been identified as a priority in its role of promoting strong economic opportunities and in reducing social and financial inequalities. TRUFA will work alongside the TRU Student Union and their “Fund the Future” campaign and TRU administration in convincing the government that increased investment in TRU is good public policy.
On Wednesday, October 4th from 11 am to 1 pm, the TRUFA Communications Committee will have a “Fair Funding for TRU” booth on Student Street in Old Main, soliciting signatures on petitions. If you are able to help staff the booth, please let Marian Griffin know (firstname.lastname@example.org). Thank you.
The TRUFA Table Officers meet with senior TRU administrators monthly to discuss issues of mutual concern. At the most recent meeting on Wednesday, September 20th, TRUFA put forward the following:
The TRUFA Executive has approved a bigger role for TRUFA in orienting new faculty to TRU. TRUFA has always presented at new employee sessions organized by TRU Human Resources, and this year, at a new faculty session organized by the Centre for Learning and Teaching; however, the Executive felt that TRUFA should be doing more to educate new faculty about their rights and about the role that the Faculty Association plays in the life of the University. I have asked for the names of new faculty—all those hired within the past couple of years—so that we can invite them to a welcoming event in October. If you are a new faculty member or you know of new faculty members in your department, please contact me at email@example.com.
Over the next few months, I will be representing TRUFA in the following meetings/conferences:
If you have any questions about any of the above, please contact me.
Tom Friedman, TRUFA President