MAUT Newsletter   |   McGill Association of University Teachers  |   October 2018

 

President's Message

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

As you will see below in this Fall Newsletter, your Association has been active on a number of fronts since you received our June Newsletter. Starting this summer MAUT has been engaged in regular discussions with representatives of the SSMU about the issues surrounding sexual harassment and violence. In this connection, MAUT has launched a very brief but important survey intended to gauge your views on the main question being considered by the Ad Hoc Senate Committee on Teaching Staff-Student Intimate Relationships: whether such intimate relations should be banned outright. I strongly encourage you all to answer this one-question survey (available here) before the October 30 deadline.

 

In our regular meetings of the Committee on Academic Staff Compensation (CASC), MAUT continues to remind the University of its long-standing commitment to bring McGill faculty salaries to the middle of the pack of Canada’s U-15 universities. A new CASC Working Group has been established to discuss the University’s long-term salary policy strategy. There is an ongoing discussion with the administration about possible revisions of the Regulations Relating to the Employment of Academic Staff (RREAS) with the aim of creating an arbitration process for cases of possible dismissal that includes the possibility of reinstatement. MAUT’s campaign to combat administrative overload for faculty members and departments has begun in earnest this Fall. MAUT also continues to closely monitor the availability and accessibility of daycare for colleagues with young children. You can read more about these developments in the sections below.

 

The main point that I’d like to make is that MAUT is a voluntary association. This means that we can only continue to pursue all these activities on behalf of our members if you, the members, continue to volunteer to participate actively. And serving as an officer of MAUT in Council, the executive committee, our standing and ad hoc committees, or the host of university committees and working groups in which we have representatives, will strengthen your service portfolio when you are up for tenure, promotion or merit! So do not hesitate. Consider nominating yourself and your colleagues for active service in your association long before the call for nominations goes out next April for next year’s elections!

 

Axel Van den Berg,

MAUT President


 

 

TLS Seminar Invitation

 

How can we assess students in ways that enhance their learning and motivation? How can we provide students with ongoing feedback given time constraints? Wondering what students have to say about assignments that have helped them learn?

 

Teaching and Learning Services and the Assessment and Feedback Group invite all McGill instructors to attend a 1-day symposium where we will engage you in learning about creative and effective assessment strategies to help improve students’ learning and inform teaching practices. Through panel and round-table discussions, and informal networking, participants will share a wide range of strategies relevant across disciplines and applicable in both large and small classes. You will also have opportunities to reflect on the application of strategies to your teaching context. Please click below to register:

 

Beyond Grading: Effective Assessment Strategies for Better Learning

December 7, 2018, 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

 

Mark the date in your calendars and join us for what promises to be a stimulating and informative exchange!

 
Carolyn Samuel,

Academic Associate, McGill TLS


 

 

Commuting Study Invitation

 

You are invited to participate in a study on the sustainability impacts of commuting for a chance to win great prizes including: 2 gift certificates for a two-day Tesla rental from Evoto; 2 one-night stays in an eco-friendly cottage in the Townships from Le Vertendre; 2 $50 gift certificates from Lola Rosa. What’s involved? Use an app that tracks your commutes for 4 weeks. To participate head to myko.org or fill out our participation form (Questions? Contact karine@myko.org).

 

Richard Janda,

Professor, Faculty of Law


 

 

Prescription Drug Benefits after 65

 

At age 65, residents of Quebec are automatically registered for the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan administered by the Régie de l’assurance-maladie du Québec (RAMQ). McGill employees are no exception although they can also retain their membership in McGill’s Health Plan and continue paying full premiums for this plan in order to benefit from other services such as travel insurance and health practitioners and drugs not covered by the RAMQ drug plan. Their drug reimbursement, however, will be through RAMQ which reimburses at a lower rate than the McGill Health Plan and this is a concern for MAUT.

 

Here are some details about how the two plans work:  A single member of the McGill Health Plan currently pays an annual premium of $634.82 (including 9% tax) and a family member pays $1,250.64 per year. Currently, the RAMQ annual maximum premium is $616 per person.1 For the McGill Health Plan, prescription drug purchases are reimbursed at a rate of 80% of the cost.2 The maximum amount a member of the health plan will pay out of pocket for a given year is $400 ($800 for family coverage). Any further expenses, including drug costs, are fully reimbursed (i.e., rate of 100%).3

 

For the RAMQ drug plan, the first $19.90 of any prescription drug purchases in a given month (“deductible”) is paid by the plan member. The remaining cost of drugs is reimbursed at a rate of 65.1%. In a given month, if the plan member’s costs add up to $90.58, any further drug costs are fully reimbursed. This means that the maximum annual payment by a plan member for drugs is $1,087. Since only individual plan memberships are available, such costs are doubled for a married couple.

 

The disadvantage in reimbursement rates for McGill employees who are 65+ and who opt to continue their membership in the McGill Health Plan has been raised in the past by Nicholas Acheson (MAUT Internal VP, 2003-2005; member of Staff Benefits and Compensation Committee (SBAC) from 2014-2017). MAUT’s position is that individuals who are 65+ and are paying full premium to the McGill Health Plan and to RAMQ should also be reimbursed at the rate of the McGill Health Plan and not the lower rate offered by RAMQ.

 

We have now brought this concern to the attention of Yves Beauchamps, Vice Principal, Administration and Finance. He has informed us that “his office is working with the University’s Benefits Consultant, Willis Towers Watson and Manulife, to develop an option which would enable active staff members over age 65 to retain drug coverage under the McGill Health Plan at a reasonable additional cost if they choose to do so”. We are expecting this issue to be addressed soon and will be monitoring progress towards a fair solution.

 

1 Premiums vary based on earnings.

2 When a generic version of a brand name drug is available, the Plan reimburses 80% of the cost of the least expensive generic. This is a common cost containment clause in group health plans.

3 An important point to consider is that there are drugs which are not reimbursed by RAMQ, and the Supplemental McGill Health Plan plays an important backup role, because it may reimburse such drug costs at a rate of 80% to plan members over 65 if they are on Manulife’s coverage (drugs covered by the insurer). On occasion, these can be very expensive, life-saving drugs. The Supplemental McGill Health Plan, available to all individuals regardless of age, serves as a catastrophic insurance policy for those few individuals who need to take expensive drugs not reimbursed by RAMQ.

 

Alenoush Saroyan,

MAUT Past-President


 

 

Policy Against Sexual Violence Working Group

 

A series of meetings have been set over the 2018/2019 Fall and Winter term for the review of McGill’s Policy against Sexual Violence. Representatives of the stakeholder groups and associations named under this policy have already convened twice in October. These meetings aim to merge policies on sexual harassment, sexual assault and prevention, and response for survivors/victims that currently exist in two separate policies (Policy on Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination, and Policy against Sexual Violence). This review process revises and proposes amendments to the Policy to ensure that we meet the requirements of Quebec’s recently passed legislation, Bill 151 (an Act to prevent and fight sexual violence in higher education institutions) and that we, as a community, know how to better respond to sexual assault.

 

Petra Rohrbach,

MAUT President-Elect



Redmen Petition

 

An open letter from SSMU to McGill administration calling for the immediate renaming of the varsity men’s team was posted earlier this week to express concerns on the continued use of the offensive Redmen name raised by Indigenous students, staff, and community members. Interested faculty are invited to visit the online petition to express their support for this initiative.

 

FQPPU Bulletin

 

The Fall 2018 edition of the FQPPU Bulletin is now available online and addresses issues facing Quebec higher education following the recent provincial election. The Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d’université (FQPPU) is an advocacy organization representing most of the faculty unions and associations of Quebec’s universities, including MAUT.

 

Become a Member

 

To join MAUT and continue to be informed of or participate in our efforts to improve the working environment for faculty and academic staff at McGill, please download an application form or email membership.maut@mcgill.ca with any questions. Thank you for your support!

 

Nathan C. Hall,

MAUT VP Communications


 

 

New Academic Hire at McGill?

 

Or already established, but a bit perplexed? You are invited to attend an information session on life at McGill from the academic staff perspective hosted by MAUT on November 8, 2018 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Faculty Club, 3450 McTavish, Billiard Room. Topics include university community and governance, academic life and career issues, and role of MAUT in faculty advocacy. Buffet lunch and refreshments are provided; seating is limited. RSVP by November 5, 2018: membership.maut@mcgill.ca.

 

 

 

Octoberfest Apple Picking

 

This year’s apple picking event was once again popular and successful. Despite the cool autumn air, there were plenty of warm friendly smiles and high spirits to kick off the event at full capacity. As guests were greeted at the registration desk, each family was given a special MAUT canvas bag for apple picking at the Macdonald campus apple orchard. The Faculty Club staff welcomed guests and their families into the dining area with a barbecue of choice, delectable salads and after-dinner sweets. For photos, please check out our Facebook page.

 

A big shout-out to the McGill Faculty Club, Tadja Hall, the Mac Campus orchard and the MAUT Membership Committee for their collaborative efforts in making this an event that people of all ages look forward to each year!

 

Jo-Anne Watier,

MAUT Membership Engagement Officer


 

 

Administrative Overload: Feedback Requested

 

Last year, MAUT conducted an administrative overload survey which revealed that one of the most painful aspects which we deal with is expense reports. We have found that there are two fronts upon which we can act: the faculties and the policies/guidelines. We will need your help to make an impact on both of these fronts. 

 

With regards to the first item, we will need to identify which faculties are having a particularly tough time with getting expenses reimbursed and changes that can be made within those faculties. Possible changes can be to move away from the Administrative Centers of Excellence (or Pod) model to an in-house model and/or to have faculties require training updates of their Financial Services Team (FSTs). We are open to pursuing other changes that are brought forward to us or are made clear in the process.

 

With regards to changes in the policies/guidelines, we need to identify specific policies/guidelines that are particularly onerous to follow and, if possible, seek changes to them. For example, I have asked our FST to document what policies/guidelines result in many expense report rejections. You could ask your FST to compile a list or make one yourself as well.  In summary, MAUT is asking for your help to identify which Faculties are having trouble coping with expense reports in a reasonable manner and a list of accounting guidelines and policies that result in needlessly onerous processes to the community. Please communicate all feedback to nate.quitoriano@mcgill.ca and thank you for your assistance!

 

Nate Quitoriano,

MAUT VP Internal


 

Are You Near Retirement?

 

When you retire from the University you automatically retire from MAUT Full Membership. However, MAUT has a “Retired Member” category to serve the interests of retired academics who wish to maintain a social and intellectual connection with their colleagues. The MAUT Retiree Affairs Committee organizes an active calendar of well-attended social events through the year, including events at the Faculty Club.

 

Become an MAUT Retired Member. The cost is nominal, five dollars per year, and is imposed in order for MAUT to have a count of Retired Members for purposes of determining their representation on MAUT Council. It is important to note that MAUT remains the instrument through which the academic staff have input on university policies and procedures that affect specifically retired academic staff and the presence of a Retired Member representative on Council helps ensure effective communication between Retired Members and Full Members.

 

When you become an MAUT Retired Member, you may also join, cost-free, MURA, the McGill University Retirees Association, which includes both retired academic and non-academic staff. MURA likewise organizes social activities and also has a voice in promoting those McGill retiree issues that affect academic and non-academic staff equally. MAUT Retired Members can join MURA without having to pay the usual MURA annual membership fee of twenty-five dollars. If you join MURA as an MAUT Retired Member, you get membership in both associations for a total cost of five dollars. You will never see a better deal than that!

 

Ken Hastings,

Chair, MAUT Membership Committee


 

 

Divestment Update

 

On September 12th, McGill senators rose up and – after withstanding a troubling attempt to convince them it is none of their business – voted overwhelmingly in favour of divesting the endowment from fossil fuel.  It is now up to the Board of Governors to follow through on this palpable mandate.

 

For more information, please feel free to consult the following documents discussed at the September 12th meeting: Senate Agenda | Steering Committee Report | Senate Divestment Motion

 

Gregory Mikkelson,

Professor, Environment & Philosophy


 

 

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