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    Collegial Governance: Departments Jointly Appoint Departmental Administrative Positions

    Collegial Governance: Departments Jointly Appoint Departmental Administrative Positions

    Originally published in the FSA Voice, January 2016 edition.

    The rights of members to participate in decision-making and administration is one of the cornerstones of our collective agreement and one of the things that sets post-secondary institutions apart from other workplaces. Collegial governance is based on the principle that our faculty and staff have the knowledge and skills required to exercise judgment and organize the work required by their particular disciplines.

    One way collegial governance is protected by our collective agreement is by ensuring that our members and their manager together determine which members will hold leadership roles in the workplace. Several years back, the FSA and BCIT agreed that compliance with this provision of the Collective Agreement (Article 5.2.4) was spotty. The Collective Agreement violation we frequently observed was this:

    • FSA members were being hired to serve permanently in roles, known as “Departmental Administrative Positions” (DAPs), rather than having the Department’s members select or appoint a colleague to serve on a rotational basis.
    • These DAPs include such familiar positions as Program Head and Coordinator, as well as lesser known positions, like Clinical Coordinator (School of Health) and Team Lead in ITS.

    The Institute agreed with the FSA that it would double down and enforce the provision. Despite the consensus, we continued to see violations and are intent on enforcing the terms of Article 5.2.4. We need our members help with this.

    DAP Checklist: Things to Know

    1. Terms of Reference and Limits on Duration of Appointments

    The Department is entitled to develop terms of reference for these positions, including provisions for recall and the term of the appointment. However, in no case can the term exceed three years and it must be renewable (Article In other words, incumbents are not supposed to be “hired” to fill DAPs “permanently,” which is what has happened in the
    recent past.

    Image of group of people holding up yes or no signs2. Departmental Right to Select Incumbents and Determine Release Time of DAP

    The right to appoint the incumbents to these positions belongs not to management but to the “members of the Department.” This phrase means the non-managerial employees (FSA members) and the related manager. In exercising this important departmental right of appointment, each Department member – including the manager – has a single voice and a single vote (Article 1.8.5). The Department also has the right to determine the release time for these positions (Article Departments recognized for Collective Agreement purposes are listed in Appendix 3 of the Collective Agreement.

    3. Compensation for DAPs: Administrative Allowances

    The incumbents of DAPs are entitled to a form of special remuneration known as an “administrative allowance.” Article 15.6 sets out two levels of allowance and the higher Level 1 allowance is the default and should be paid in all cases. If BCIT wishes to pay the lower Level 2 allowance, they need to first obtain the FSA’s agreement (Appendix 5).

    Final Thoughts

    Remember that your Department is defined as the nonmanagerial Employees (i.e. FSA members) plus the “related manager.” Each member of the Department has an equally weighted voice or vote. The departmental right to appoint the incumbents of DAPs is a right that FSA members should exercise. Part of feeling safe and healthy in your workplace is having clear, transparent processes, and exercising some level of control over how work is designed and organized (see p. 7 or our Sept 2015 newsletter for the article Psychological Safety, Health Risk). Appointing your program head or other DAP is an important FSA Collective Agreement right that gives FSA members the authority to participate in workplace decision-making. Be sure to flex this right!

    If you have questions or think your Department is not filling these positions correctly, or that you or a colleague are not being paid an administrative allowance, please contact the FSA at fsa@bcit.ca.

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