MAUT Newsletter: McGill Association of University Teachers
MAUT Newsletter: Special Edition 2018
Dear members of the McGill academic staff,
MAUT’s Newsletter is normally sent to its members, but once each year we circulate an issue to the entire academic staff so that, in addition to informing our members, we can give prospective members an idea of MAUT activities.
If you haven’t yet joined MAUT, now is a great time to do so (see below for application information).
Good News for Canadian Science
The federal budget released on February 27th had good news for fundamental research in Canada thanks in part to a nation-wide lobbying effort by Canadian scientists, academics, students and medical research charity organizations. The central discussion point for these efforts was the Fundamental Science Review, authored by David Naylor and colleagues, which accurately described recent difficulties faced in the Canadian research ecosystem, and proposed solutions, including a significant increase in funding for basic research.
MAUT is proud to have been an active participant in the successful lobbying effort, ensuring that the voice of McGill’s academics was part of the national discussion. MAUT participated in several important ways. We held a well-attended forum on the recommendations of the Fundamental Science Review at the Faculty Club last June and we were active in the campaign to reach out to members of parliament. We participated in CAUT’s Parliament Hill Day (see December 2017 MAUT Newsletter) speaking with MPs on the Hill, and encouraged our members to make connections with their MPs. Several members of the MAUT Exec participated in meetings with local MPs and with Science Minister Kirsty Duncan, keeping on the message of the positive recommendations of the Fundamental Science Review. This work, carried out via a sustained and unified effort, sent a clear and consistent message from Canada’s researchers and academics at every career stage which was echoed by faculty associations across the country. This message was augmented by strong support from university administrations, including significant efforts at McGill by Principal Fortier and VP Research and Innovation, Martha Crago, who was one of the authors of the Fundamental Science Review.
The increased funding announced in the Federal budget will have a positive and tangible impact on basic research in Canada, including at McGill. We didn’t get everything that the Fundamental Science Review recommended, but there are significant gains in Tri-Council funding in the budget that will impact generations of Canadian researchers and Canadians in general going forward. MAUT’s efforts to promote this outcome are a good example of the relevance and importance of the association for the professional well-being of its members.
MAUT VP Finance
MAUT Past President
MAUT Tenure & Mentoring Workshop
"Even after attending a few times, it’s good to be reminded of the basic concepts"
"Helpful to hear about others’ experience"
"The discussion at the table sessions... was the most useful in that such advice could not be gotten from reading material"
"Personal stories, record keeping, differences in assigning items to teach/support/service"
These are examples of types of comments we have received from colleagues who have attended The MAUT Tenure and Mentoring Workshop. We will be offering the 17th edition of this workshop on April 20th.
If you are in a tenure track position, even if you have just joined McGill, you will find this workshop helpful in understanding processes and expectations. You will learn about resources available to you and will hear about the experiences others who have gone through the process. Most importantly, you will get ideas about organizing yourself well in advance to avoid being overwhelmed when you have to go through the exercise yourself.
This workshop is open to MAUT members, including those who are enjoying a bonus free first year membership. Please note that you are also invited to stay for the MAUT Spring General Meeting which starts immediately after the Tenure and Mentoring Workshop.
Date and Time: Friday, April 20th, 8:45 – 11:45
Location: The Faculty Club
Refreshments will be available for the workshop and a light lunch will be served after the workshop. The Spring General Meeting is from 12:00-2:00. Advance registration for both the Tenure and Mentoring Workshop and the Spring General is required. Please email: email@example.com
Update: Tenure Service Portfolios
Colleagues up for tenure this year will be busy arranging their tenure dossiers in the upcoming months. One important document for this process is The Regulations Relating to the Employment of Tenure Track and Tenured Academic Staff which includes guidelines for developing a teaching (Appendix A) and research (Appendix B) portfolio. This year an Appendix C (Guidelines for Developing a Service Portfolio), developed together with the Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) and MAUT, has been approved by Senate on 21-02-2018 and will be added to the Regulations. Guidelines for Developing a Service Portfolio for Librarian Staff, for whom the definition of service is slightly different, is presently being developed by The Office of the Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic), MAUT, and the Trenholme Dean of Libraries. It is foreseen that these service portfolio guidelines will form Appendix C of the Regulations Relating to the Employment of Librarian Staff.
MAUT VP Internal
McGill Group Retirement Savings Plan
The McGill Group Retirement Savings Plan could be an interesting option for your RRSP contributions. As a group plan, the management fees are very low, and the possibility of making contributions on a per-pay basis can also be beneficial in terms of immediate tax relief. This is worth checking out, even for those who think of retirement as being on a very distant horizon.
MAUT VP Finance
Taking Concrete Actions for Turkey’s “Academics for Peace” in Canada
In January 2016, 2,212 scholars, the majority of whom reside in Turkey, signed a petition entitled “We will not be a party to this crime,” also known as the Peace Declaration, calling for the end of violence against the Kurdish civilians in the southeastern part of Turkey. Since then the signatories have been subjected to heavy pressure and persecution of various sorts ranging from criminal and disciplinary investigations, custody, imprisonment, and violent threats to dismissal, suspension and forced resignation.
As public awareness about the repression in Turkey is growing in Canada, it is important to undertake concrete action plans to strengthen the solidarity with the peace signatories in Turkey at individual as well as collective levels. Potential plans of action at university level include expanding outreach to networks such as Scholars at Risk Network, Scholars Rescue Fund, the Council for At-Risk Academics and Students at Risk and organizing efforts for the temporary recruitment of visiting scholars. Public demonstrations and public forums are being organized, the press coverage of the issue might be increased to further public awareness on the issue.
Academics for Peace (BAK) Montreal plan of action includes organizing panel discussions, and other public events throughout 2018. Where possible, we will invite speakers from Turkey who are actively involved with the movement. We hope to create dialogue around this issue and also increase awareness among academics in Montreal as well as with unions, community organizations and solidarity groups.
For more information on international support for this important effort and how you can get involved, please visit the Academics for Peace website or the International Solidarity for "Academics for Peace" blog.
Aysenur Ipek Tureli,
Canada Research Chair in Architectures of Spatial Justice, McGill University
MAUT Campaign to Fight Administrative Overload
As we reported in the December issue of the MAUT Newsletter, MAUT’s survey asking our members to tell us about instances of excessive administrative burdens and practices that could be eliminated or simplified, elicited a very large number of responses. The working group in charge of the survey, consisting of Nathan Hall, Sarah Severson, Renee Sieber and Axel van den Berg have since analyzed the responses to get an idea of what the major sources of frustration and inefficiency reported by our members are.
From the more than 230 responses we received we were able to identify over 550 distinct items of concern. For the purpose of writing a summary report we sorted these items into about 20 broad categories. The six most frequently mentioned issues were, in descending order of frequency: Expense Reports (63 mentions), inadequate administrative support (53), too many/inefficient meetings (42), forms and regulations related to teaching (41), inefficient purchasing practices (34), and expense reports (travel; 33).
The summary report will be made public shortly and presented to the administration as the starting point for the formation of a Joint Standing Committee on Elimination of Administrative Overload consisting of representatives from the administration, MAUT, MUNACA, and MUNASA. This committee will have the mandate to actively solicit members’ complaints about unnecessary and/or wasteful administrative practices and find ways to eliminate or alleviate them on a continuing basis. MUNACA and MUNASA may conduct similar parallel surveys among their own members. The FQPPU (Fédération Québécoise des Professeures et Professeurs d’Université) has expressed great interest in the results of MAUT’s survey and is working on a parallel survey to be conducted by its member unions and associations throughout the province..
Prescription Drug Coverage at Age 65+
When we turn 65 we receive a notice from the University concerning our prescription drug insurance. The document informs us that we will automatically be moved from the McGill Drug Plan to the RAMQ plan for Quebeckers age 65 and over, unless we choose to stay in the McGill Plan. As the latter costs between 7 and 8 times the contributions required by RAMQ (which are about $600/y per individual and $1200 for a family) most of us choose to be automatically registered in the RAMQ plan. What the University’s document does not tell you is that you need to pay the RAMQ contribution yourself (i.e., there is no automatic deduction from our salary).
As a result, several of us, including yours truly, have been confronted with a nasty surprise when Revenu Québec billed us for the contributions retroactively, several years after we had turned 65. After MAUT raised the issue, Human Resources has agreed to include more complete information about how and when the RAMQ contributions must be paid in the notice about drug coverage going out to those approaching aged 65. We hope this will prevent any future unpleasant surprises of this nature!
Axel van den Berg,
MAUT Social Circle
Winter Brunch 2018
MAUT started the New Year with its annual Winter Brunch, where members and their families gathered at the beautiful historical McGill Faculty Club. Friends and families warmed the club with smiles and conversation while the children busily amused themselves by creating their own one of-a-kind t-shirts. A buffet prepared by Chef Niko, offered an exceptional selection of exquisite food choices for all appetites. Indeed a day filled with comfort, enjoyment and companionship.
We would like to express our appreciation and thanks to MAUT Members who came out to the Winter Brunch event and for making the day most wonderful! For photos of the Winter Brunch event, and announcements for upcoming MAUT events, please be sure to follow us on Facebook.
Upcoming: Family Discovery Event
To RSVP for the MAUT Family Discovery Event, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAUT Membership Engagement Officer
Going Beyond Open Science to Lead on Global Access
Drug prices are out of control and this affects all countries, rich and poor. One way pharma companies justify the high prices is the amount of money they claim to be spending on R&D. However, much of the basic research that informs development of drugs, diagnostics and vaccines comes from universities, and a big chunk of that is funded by tax payers. So, it is already paid for, so to speak. So, if a pharma company used a discovery that came out of a university, should that not be factored into final drug pricing?
This is currently not happening, and universities are letting big pharma get away with it. One way to force the issue is for universities to adopt principles to ensure global access to their technologies. Universities like Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Emory are among those who have adopted global access policies. In Canada, UBC has implemented a global access policy. In addition to universities, funders increasingly require grantees to agree to global access.
Today, McGill, led by the Neuro, is a leader in open science. Since McGill researchers care about their discoveries being made more accessible and affordable, it is time we went beyond open science and committed to global access.
Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology & Global Health, McGill University
CEU Accreditation Update
MAUT is proud to have contributed to the successful campaign to have the Central European University (CEU) re-accredited by the Hungarian government. As indicated by a unanimous decision by the Hungary accreditation committee, CEU was praised for their strong research productivity, international higher education collaboration efforts, and exceptional commitment to teaching and student support. More information on this encouraging development, and the continued struggles for survival faced by this private higher education institution in Budapest, is available online in the most recent CEU Rector's Report.
MAUT vs. Social Media
A quick reminder that if you wish to stay informed of upcoming MAUT activities, view photo and video coverage of past MAUT and campus events (e.g., Naylor Report, Academic Freedom Forums), and receive daily curated higher education news of relevance to McGill faculty and academic staff, be sure to follow our social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. As always, feel free to forward any events, announcements, or online content you wish to have promoted via social media directly to the MAUT VP Communications at email@example.com.
Become an MAUT Member
To join MAUT as a member and continue to be informed of or participate in our efforts toward professional development and advocacy for faculty and academic staff at McGill, across Quebec, and internationally, please download an application form or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. Thank you for your support!
Nathan C. Hall,
MAUT VP Communications
Have an event to promote on the MAUT e-Newsletter? Send all details, including date, time, location, event title and contact information at least 10 days prior to the event to: email@example.com. For the latest MAUT news, events, and information, be sure to visit our website and social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.