Officially Reducing your Academic Responsibilities

There are three methods of reducing your academic responsibilities in the Collective Agreement, whether by reduced teaching alone (Article 37) or by a customized reduction of job responsibilities (Articles 26 and 32). The purpose and implication for each is slightly different, so it is worthwhile exploring what makes most sense in your case.

Article 26

A reduction in responsibility is intended to enhance a Member’s ability to allocate his/her time and efforts in accordance with his/her scholarly interests or personal obligations. In order to be approved, the reduction must be compatible with the interests of the Unit or the service obligations of the Library/Archives. That means that the Unit Head and Dean (for faculty members) must support the application for it to be forwarded to the Provost for final review and approval. The application itself is sent to the Dean or University Librarian, normally 6 months in advance and for an initial request of no more than 3 consecutive years.

The proportion of a faculty Member’s efforts devoted to each of teaching, research and service may be altered by a Reduced Responsibility appointment. Normally, faculty Members whose appointments include the full range of academic responsibilities set out in Article 15 will be expected to retain some level of activity in each of the three areas.

Salary will be pro-rated to reflect the percentage FTE worked and is paid monthly over 12 months. Time accruing for academic leave is also pro-rated.

Article 32.5.7.2

A Continuing Adjunct Member’s workload and FTE may be renegotiated by agreement between the Member and the Unit Head, and subject to the approval of the Dean. Unilateral changes are not allowed.

A Continuing Adjunct’s FTE may not be tied to teaching alone, although the minimum entitlement under the CA is now determined through teaching load gained through the SRoR and GRoR processes. Some Adjunct Members have service and/or research expectations included in their ongoing job responsibilities, and FTE can range up to 100%. No matter what the job responsibilities or the percentage, it is possible to renegotiate the FTE up (but not past 100%) or down and there is no specific reason required.

Article 37.4

For teaching reduction alone, a Member, normally with a Tenured or Continuing Adjunct appointment, may request and may be granted a period of reduced teaching responsibility in order to allow the Member to concentrate on his/her research or for other professional activities benefitting both the Member and the University.

Provided the program obligations of the Unit can be met, Members may carry a “credit” or “debit” balance in teaching duties by teaching more or less than the normal load described in the Unit’s Workload Standard as long as their total load over a five-year period is consistent with the Workload Standard. The Unit Head shall maintain and make available to Members a list of the running balances of Members in the Unit. (This paragraph refers to Article 37.2.4.)

If a period of reduced teaching responsibility cannot be accommodated through rescheduling the Member’s duties, a Member may apply for a period of reduced teaching responsibility with a reduction in salary equivalent to the cost of replacement teaching. Total teaching buyout is not normally permitted, nor is reduction beyond two consecutive years.

The application itself is sent to the Dean and should be made far enough in advance to allow for planning. The written request shall contain the reasons for the request, including a description of the research activity and an expected completion date or, if the request is to concentrate on other professional activities, a description of those activities and how those activities shall benefit both the Member and University.

Decisions about whether to approve such a reduction takes into account the reasons for the request, the academic obligations of the Faculty or Department, the recommendation of the Head (in departmentalized faculties), the availability and cost of replacement teaching, and any other relevant factors. What the Head, Dean, or Provost cannot weigh or use to distinguish between requests are whether the Member has or has not obtained a research grant from an outside source, or whether that grant does or does not include funding for replacement teaching.

Academic leave eligibility period is not affected by a temporary period of reduced teaching responsibility.

General

For all these provisions, whether the Provost is mentioned or not in the approval process, it is prudent for you to assume that that office plays a role through the Office of Faculty Relations. It is also prudent to check any effect on pension and benefits beforehand to avoid surprise, particularly if you are considering a reduction through Articles 26 or 32.

This year some Members and Units are experiencing unexplained delays with respect to decisions about applications for reductions in academic responsibilities. If you are experiencing problems with any of these provisions, whether it be process or interpretation, the QUFA office is interested in hearing from you and helping whenever possible.

Ramneek Pooni can be reached at poonir@queensu.ca.