Many FSA members are active in our Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS), Caucus on Applied Research & Advanced Studies (CARAS), and our Equity Caucus (EC). Descriptions and terms of references for each caucus can be found here. This is a profile of one of the members of COPTS.
Laurie Izgerean, FSA member and a member of the FSA Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS)
BCIT Communication teaching into three BCIT Schools: School of Computing and Academic Studies; School of Construction and the Environment; School of Transportation
How long have you been at BCIT?
Since July 2015.
What do you wish everyone knew about BCIT?
It always surprises me that many students (as well as the general public) don’t know about the many diverse programs we offer and/or how many campuses we have: six schools of study across five campuses all through the Lower Mainland! We are so much more than the cluster of buildings located on the corner of Willingdon and Canada Way.
What is something interesting happening in your Program or Department work right now?
Despite the general challenges facing post-secondary institutions with lower enrolment due to COVID19, it’s interesting that the communications and technical writing courses I teach, which are now 100% online, are full. Online learning, when designed and facilitated with meeting the student’s needs as the priority, can offer both domestic and international learners a fantastic opportunity to continue their studies from home and at a time that is convenient to them.
Why are you a member of the FSA Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS)?
Not long after I started at BCIT, it didn’t take me long to realize there was a gap between full time and part time instructors in terms of pay, benefits, access to instructor resources, supplies, professional development, and more. I came from a post-secondary institution in Ontario that provided T2200 forms for home office expenses for contract instructors and included life insurance and long term disability in their benefit programs. You can imagine my surprise when I learned BCIT didn’t provide any of those. When given the opportunity to sit in on a COPTS meeting, I welcomed the invite and have been a part of it ever since. Sadly, and despite many PTS instructors teaching and supporting students the same or more hours per week as full-time instructors do, we are not provided with an opportunity to claim expenses despite having no office, we are not paid the same, and we do not have the peace of mind of being supported financially in the event of long-term illness or death.
I continue to be a warrior fighting for the provision of T2200 forms for Part-Time Studies (PTS) Instructors who use their homes as their office. Even pre- COVID; specifically online instructors whose home is their office and should be given the opportunity to claim work-related expenses on their tax returns (but cannot do so because BCIT does not provide the signed T2200’s)!
What is important for you about the FSA focusing on the realities of Part-Time Studies?
I think it’s unfortunate that PTS is still looked at like a part-time job that full-time instructors do on the side for extra spending money. Why else would they not pay the same rate? Are we not doing the same job? If BCIT is going to boast they have 50,000 enrolled students, and 30,000 of them are part-time studies students (published numbers), why are PTS instructors not paid or supported as well as the instructors who teach only 18,000 full time students? How is that fair?
What would you improve about the conditions of Part-Time Studies at BCIT?
If instructors are teaching the same hours as full-time instructors, they should be treated the same regardless of the nature of their contracts: and see answers above! 🙂
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