This is one in a 2016 series from the desk of the FSA Executive Director, Paul Reniers.
October 6th Edition
FSA Attends BC Progress Summit
A delegation from the FSA attended the BC Progress Summit organized by the Broadbent Institute in Vancouver on September 22-23. The Summit brought about 200 thinkers, policy experts, and organizers together to chart a path forward for a progressive BC. It’s hard to say that such a path emerged, but the intersection of many progressive causes were identified, such as the need to eliminate the perceived dichotomy between the economy and the environment. Key issues that seemed to be on everyone’s priority lists included $10 a day childcare, establishment of a living wage standard, and reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Open The Doors
Not present at the BC Progress Summit was the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators and their Open The Doors campaign to encourage government investment in post-secondary education. The campaign calls out the provincial government for cutting per-student funding by 20% while saying it wants to make BC the best educated jurisdiction in the continent. Delegates at the FPSE convention in May pledged $2M to the campaign in the lead up to next year’s provincial election and ads are currently running on TV. The web site allows supporters to sign a pledge and send a message to provincial politicians.
Two Local MLAs Won’t Run Again
Two local NDP MLAs have announced that they will not run in next year’s provincial election. Advanced Education critic and Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA Kathy Corrigan announced her retirement in April. During her tenure, Corrigan took a great interest in BCIT and the FSA, speaking with us several times on post-secondary issues. Burnaby-Lougheed NDP MLA and former FSA member Jane Shin announced she will not run again in August. Shin served only one term in the legislature. The NDP has already nominated new candidates in both ridings: city councillor Anne Kang will run in Burnaby-Deer Lake and school board trustee Katrina Chen will run in Burnaby-Lougheed. Burnaby is expected to be a hotly contested battleground in the election.
StatsCan to Count Part-Time Instructors
The federal government has announced that it is restoring a survey of employment in post-secondary institutions that was cut by the Harper government in 2012. The University and College Academic Staff System (UCASS) is also being expanded significantly to include contract academic staff. Particularly with its added scope, UCASS will provide strong data to support academic planning and policy. To compliment that data, we also need to look at what the working life of contract academic staff is like. An Irish researcher recently asked that question of American colleagues. What emerged was a picture of ‘exploitation and control.’
CAUT Issues Guide to Reading Institutional Financial Statements
As part of its efforts to help faculty and staff exercise their collegial governance rights and responsibilities, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has produced a guide to reading college and university financial statements. The 27 page guide provides some general information as well as a step by step process for conducting your own analysis and a summary of ‘diagnoses & symptoms’ to help determine if your institution is financially healthy. The guide is particularly helpful for faculty associations that use binding arbitration to settle collective bargaining disputes. We have not yet attempted to apply the guide to BCIT’s most recent financial statements.
A recent Conference Board of Canada reports says that BC employers are expecting wages to increase by 2.5% in 2017, beating the 2.2% increase expected this year. Wages in the tech sector in BC are climbing even faster, with annual gains running at 5.4%. Sadly, both these numbers spell trouble for BCIT, where wages will increase just under 2% this year and likely only 1.5% next year. The average salary for software developers with just four years is now $93,000, higher than the top of the FSA faculty scale. Were a developer with four years experience, a masters degree, and a couple of years teaching experience to start work as an instructor at BCIT, they would make about $65,500 a year. If they were to teach full time in PTS, they would drop from $1790 a week to $1370 a week.
Future-Proofing the Classroom
A European researcher is predicting a dramatic change in post-secondary teaching environments by the year 2030, regardless of any dramatic changes in technology. Petra Hauptfeld’s paper for the European Association for International Education imagines students as ‘personal information managers’ and instructors as guides through the learning process. The rise of digital literacy will see video and blogging be used in place of long-form written projects for some students.Leave a reply →