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    • 04 OCT 19
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    Still Relevant: More Work to be Done

    Still Relevant: More Work to be Done

    Written by the FSA Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS)

    In 2016 the BCITFSA produced a series of videos to bring attention to some of the issues that face our members whose work is precarious in nature. These issues disproportionally affect members who work in Part-Time Studies at BCIT but may also impact those in other forms of temporary/contract work. The FSA’s Caucus on Part-Time Studies (COPTS) has been working to bring awareness about issues and advocate for changes to the broader FSA membership, BCIT management, and the provincial government, and participating in CAUT’s Fair Employment Week is part of this work.

    For Fair Employment Week 2019 we asked members of COPTS to re-watch the videos and react to the following questions:

    What still resonates?

    • The lack of fairness and the continued abuse of the PTS model – particularly in BCIT programs like ISEP.
    • Still feel like a second-rate instructor (less benefits, less pay, no job security, short-term contracts, not paid for extra work such as curriculum renewals/revisions, ongoing communications with students, grading exams at term’s end).
    • A real lack of resources for PTS faculty, including the lack of space to meet with students.
    • PTS Coordinators/Program Heads continue to hear about these issues on a regular basis.

    What, if anything, has changed?

    • It feels like very little.
    • We finally have bcit.ca email addresses – up until Fall 2019 we only had access to email using the student (mybcit) system.
    • Seeing some small improvements – like two new computers in the SE6 Instructor’s room but continue to see a slow response to fixing tools we need – like a broken copier in the DTC Instructor’s room.
    • BCIT managers do seem to be more aware of the issues and we hear about an intention to make changes. The role of the AVP, Implementation & Integration gives us some hope.

    Why are the issues still important?

    • The abuse of the PTS model to save on program costs is a real issue. The scope of the PTS model (for employment) has gone beyond what it was intended for.

    “Over 50% of my portfolio consists of online courses (15 + teachable hours per week). This has been the case for several years. I work from home on my own computer with my own internet connection most of the time. BCIT refuses to issue a T2200 so I am able to claim work related expenses (I’ve purchased two laptops to be able to do my job over four years, pay monthly internet bills, printer and supply costs, etc which is all out of pocket to do my job). I cannot claim them on my tax returns without a signed form from BCIT. I have asked why – for over 3 years – to no avail. One answer was – “the contract does not state you have to work from home”. Who commutes to campus to teach an online course? Semantics. Meanwhile, many other Canadian academic institutions have negotiated a T2200 into their collective agreements to help instructors offset employment costs – especially for those who do NOT have office space (PTS) or who teach off campus (online) most or all of the time.”

    How is it important to your working conditions?

    To fairness? To student outcomes?

    • Awareness is improving but I think that the entire BCIT community including all full-time salaried staff need better awareness that compartmentalizing and “auxiliarizing” our core education work under the label of the “PTS model” will ultimately undermine the educational excellence and job stability of ALL of us.
    • People make this institution what it is, so working conditions and fairness are critical.
    • Students end up paying a price as well, as mentioned in the videos, since they don’t have an opportunity to meet with faculty outside of class time. This compromises the connection and community that needs to be developed and fostered in class and between the students and instructor.

    We encourage you to take a few moments to watch these videos and think about what you can do to advocate for change, support your colleagues, and get involved.

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