Check back periodically for our latest communications regarding the COVID-19 situation at STU

September 21, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to extend a warm welcome back. It has been a summer and a September like no other. 

You will soon be receiving an invitation from FAUST to a “welcome back town hall” on Friday 2 October at 2pm. We would like to hear from you about how you are doing, and give you our latest update on ongoing FAUST work, including negotiations for a Letter of Understanding, an upcoming survey on “how the remote teaching is going” and more. Stay tuned for it. 

However, today, in this message I would like to invite you to share any immediate and unexpected issues you have faced since you started teaching. We have received a few questions already, and the FAUST office is in the process of compiling these questions and concerns since the start of the semester. We will ask the Administration to address them. 

If you have any unexpected and urgent concerns, or questions you would like me to raise immediately with the Vice President (Academic & Research) please email them to us at faust@stu.ca and/or faustprez@stu.ca.

Sincerely,

Gül Çalışkan, FAUST President


July 29, 2020

FAUST President to Consult Members Ahead of LOU Discussions

Dear Colleagues,

These trying times have proven our resourcefulness, and shown how strong we are together. We completed a tough end of semester, and many of us are still teaching with great strength and commitment. We successfully completed our bargaining process and signed our Collective Agreements – all despite the uncertainties we continue to face. Kudos to us all for that.

During this exceptionally unusual summer as we prepare to do remote teaching, this seems like a good time to reflect on the work FAUST has been engaged in on your behalf regarding our workplace. Here, I’d like to give an overview of what we have done so far, the challenges ahead of us, and our strategies in addressing them.

I. AGM Echo: Motions

You have given us clear directions by means of a set of motions we passed during our AGM on April 14, 2020 (https://www.faustnb.ca/gmm-minutes). I want to highlight these motions, as they are significant for the substance of my message:

MOTION 1:

Recognizing that online teaching requires significant additional hours of work, and often access to additional resources, compare to in-person teaching; and

Convinced that it is essential for Part-Time instructors in particular to be fairly compensated for and supported in work they are obliged to take on in addition to their regularly-contracted hours;

Be it resolved that: FAUST condemns the St Thomas University administration’s failure to provide additional compensation or resources for Part-Time instructors who agree to teach courses online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MOTION 2 a)

Whereas collegial governance is essential to university life; and

Whereas collegial governance requires the full participation of university faculty members in all important decision-making; and

Whereas FAUST is the sole authorized bargaining agent for faculty working at St Thomas University;

Be it resolved that: FAUST condemns the St Thomas University administration’s refusal to collegially negotiate a Letter of Understanding for the purpose of regularizing COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions.

MOTION 2 b)

Whereas collegial governance is essential to university life; and

Whereas collegial governance requires the full participation of university faculty members in all important decision-making; and

Whereas FAUST is the sole authorized bargaining agent for faculty working at St Thomas University;

Be it resolved that: FAUST demands that any future COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions must be collegially negotiated in a formal Letter of Understanding.

MOTION 2 c)

Whereas collegial governance is essential to university life; and

Whereas collegial governance requires the full participation of university faculty members in all important decision-making; and

Whereas FAUST is the sole authorized bargaining agent for faculty working at St Thomas University;

Be it resolved that: FAUST hereby provides notice that its members will not agree to any future changes in faculty working conditions that are not collegially negotiated in a formal Letter of Understanding.

MOTION 3:

Be it resolved that FAUST calls upon the St Thomas University administration to immediately engage in serious collegial discussions with faculty concerning possible changes to the University’s regular functioning that may be necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic during the teaching year 2020-21.

II. An outline of the work we have done since the last AGM

It is your commitment to and trust in FAUST, and your continued demands for our collective needs to be met in a more equitable workplace, that have allowed us to make some crucial strides:

- We formed a faculty-led COVID-19 Task Force (April).

- We established a Part Time Liaison position under the Executive (June).

- We had our first Part-Time only Town Hall, and we have conducted a follow up survey with the Part-Time faculty (June).

- We have raised our outstanding concerns with the VP Academic and Research (VPAR), and shared it with you as “Questions from FAUST; Answers from the VPAR” (July)

- We have conducted our third survey, “Online Teaching – Fall Back to Work Protocol” (July).

- We have an initial analysis of both of these surveys on our website (July).

Building on the work we have engaged in since our AGM in April, and as we prepare for the Fall, we are now at a critical moment. We are finally in the position to re-initiate a collegial negotiation of a Letter of Understanding (LOU), with the purpose of regularizing COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions.

- As you know from the “Questions from FAUST; Answers from the VPAR”, in response to our demand the Employer has now indicated a willingness to revisit an LOU, but also indicated a firm position contrary to that of the Union, on compensation.

- We will continue to pursue the issue of compensation for unpaid work on behalf of our Part-Time Members, and other COVID-related issues on behalf of all our Members, but at this juncture we need your further direction. Therefore, we are calling for a GMM on August 13, 2:00 pm.

III. Status of Identified Issues

Our overarching concern is how well prepared and supported we will be for meeting our teaching, research and service commitments in the Fall 2020 semester and beyond. All of these commitments involve “regularizing COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions.” The feedback we received from Survey 3 has revealed the overwhelming level of worry and anxiety around these issues. We are troubled by the prospect of compromises to workplace equity.

The work we have done since April has repeatedly revealed a set of core issues that are not yet resolved, and have become more immediate. The Executive has been consistently communicating our concerns to the Employer, and demanding responses to various questions about how the administration is addressing pandemic-related challenges to our working conditions:

Support for remote teaching

- FAUST has shown that there has been sufficient demand for regularly scheduled group training sessions around remote teaching, and strongly suggested that the administration proactively offer such sessions as soon as possible.

- The Employer is now in the process of responding to the issue FAUST raised on behalf of the membership, with a commitment to offer training in the relevant software, and the training needs assessment recently conducted by the Ad-Hoc Committee.

Safe and equitable access to the campus

- FAUST has been asking for clearer communication with the Part-Time Members on what sorts of access to the campus they can expect. We have insisted that the University provide safe and equitable access to usable offices, and shared university spaces.

- We have also sought clarity on behalf of all Members about what can and cannot be done in person. We have been demanding solutions to these concerns that are both safe and equitable.

- The Employer is now in the process of responding to these issues we raised on behalf of the membership, with a commitment to provide part-Time Members access to office space (or support working from home in the alternative – see below) and recording suites, including a forthcoming needs assessment on office access.

- The Employer has also recently provided clarification about the use of assigned classrooms for in-person meetings with students.

Equitable and just working conditions

- FAUST has been advocating equitable access to hardware and software in preparing for and delivering our courses.

- We have recommended a needs-assessment concerning access to technology and teaching resources, and office spaces.

- We have also insisted on having the T2200 made available for our Part-Time Members who would be working from home (through which the Canada Revenue Agency allows employees who work from home to deduct certain home-office related expenses when an employee files their income tax return).

- The Employer is now in the process of responding to these issues we raised on behalf of the membership, with a commitment to provide the necessary hardware and an individual office space/hardware needs assessment about to take place, as well as the software training commitment and needs assessment that recently took place.

- The Employer is also now working to make the T2200 available to our Part-Time Members if they choose to use a home-office, during 2020-21 academic year.

Reasonable accommodation and remote technology

- More recently, FAUST has also pressed for serious responses to inquiries regarding reasonable accommodation for members with disabilities, experiencing accessibility-related issues regarding the technology required for remote teaching, research, and service.

- We continue to seek assurance that reasonable accommodation will be provided where necessary for all faculty, staff, and students, in accordance with the University’s obligations under the Collective Agreements and the New Brunswick Human Rights Act.

- The Employer has not yet formally responded to the issue, but following a prompt from FAUST is now in the process of preparing a response.

Compensation for Part-Time faculty

- Being aware that preparation for online teaching is considerably more intense than normal teaching, and that the time commitments required constitute unpaid labour for Part-Time faculty, FAUST has repeatedly raised this issue with the Employer since the issue arose.

- The Employer has indicated a firm position contrary to that of the Union: “the University cannot support an LOU that includes additional compensation for either full-time or part-time faculty members, as the President has already stated.”

- Although the Employer wants to deny us the opportunity to bring this issue to the table, we will continue to insist that “Part-Time Faculty compensation” is a central concern.

IV. Getting further direction from the membership

Even though we still have many challenges ahead of us, I am convinced that because of the work we have already invested, and due to your commitment and trust in us, FAUST is well equipped to take collective actions as needed, and to demand action from our Employer on your behalf.

As stated above, the Employer has now indicated a willingness to revisit an LOU in regularizing COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions.

A Joint Committee between the Union and the Employer is in place “for the administration of [the Collective] Agreement[s]”, as per article 3.11.1. The Union and The Employer have now formed the Joint Committee to serve for this purpose. Your FAUST representatives are myself, along with Marvin Claybourn and Mike Fleming who bring their negotiating experience from the Bargaining Team.

A Joint Committee meeting scheduled for August 10 will be a first opportunity for us to reiterate the need for a Letter of Understanding, as we begin collegial negations in regularizing COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions. This meeting will (in part) serve as an initial platform to communicate our concerns and set the ground for negotiation.

For us to make strong political arguments, we need you to be behind us. Therefore, FAUST calls for a GMM meeting on August 13, 2020. We will report back from this initial meeting, converse, get directions from you, and make critical decisions for addressing the Employer’s actions and policies regarding the issues I listed above. Your attendance at the GMM meeting is imperative.

Your participation and your support are vital to your Union. We all depend on each other, and we are strongest together. Please get involved in any way you can, whether by communicating your concerns, or taking part in the Task Force, or joining any of the other ad-hoc committees.

More than ever, this is a time for solidarity at many levels. We are fortunate to have a strong faculty union in FAUST. Our strength is internal, but it also comes from broader union activism. We are not alone. Our provincial federation (the FNBFA), the national association (the CAUT), and other sister organizations across the country and around the world are our collective. We are sharing our experiences and best practices with each other, and are ready to support one another during these hard times.

Let’s keep all that in mind as we prepare for a challenging academic year ahead. Despite the pandemic, we can and will continue to make STU the best possible academic community, and most equitable workplace for each and every one of us.

Let’s put our collective demands on the table in regularizing COVID-19 pandemic-related changes to faculty working conditions.

See you at the GMM.

In solidarity,

Gül Çalışkan, FAUST President.

faustprez@stu.ca

https://www.faustnb.ca/

St. Thomas University is located on the unceded and unconquered territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik, a place bound by the Peace and Friendship Treaties of 1725-1779


July 24, 2020

There has been some confusion and anxiety amongst our members around remote teaching in the fall, even after the University’s issuing of the memo “Message to Faculty – Fall Semester to Offer Improved Remote Education with Opportunities for Academic and Student Engagements” and the recent “Faculty FAQs on Remote Teaching” document.

FAUST has raised the questions coming from our members around these documents with the administration. FAUST members can view a letter to Dr. Fenwick and her response to these questions, under the member’s only documents section.

In solidarity,

Gül Çalışkan, FAUST President


May 26, 2020

The FAUST COVID-19 Taskforce has established their Terms of Reference. Members can view these here


May 12, 2020

Click here to view the letter from FNBFA Interim President (and FAUST member) Jean Sauvageau, to the NB Minister of Postsecondary Education, Training, and Labour on post-pandemic planning in New Brunswick.


May 1, 2020

Get the latest COVID-19 update from CAUT here.


April 24, 2020

Get the latest COVID-19 update from CAUT here.


April 23, 2020

FAUST members have initiated a COVID-19 task force to investigate future directions for faculty in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested in joining? FAUST members can contact faust@stu.ca for more information. 


April 16, 2020

Dear FAUST members,

We know how hard everyone has been working these past few weeks in such unprecedented times. We also recognize the drastic transformation the “classroom” has undergone and wanted to have a little fun with that. I’d like to put out a call for photos documenting your work in the era of COVID-19. We have a photo gallery on the FAUST website where I will start a collection of “Teaching in the Time of COVID-19” photos showing members teaching online, working from a home office (or couch!), collaborating with pet co-workers, etc.

This is completely voluntary, and pictures can be serious or comical, selfies or screenshots – get creative! Please send your photos to me at adrienne@stu.ca - and I will assume this means you give permission for the photo to be posted on the website.


April 13, 2020

FAUST SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉ #3

Dear FAUST members,

Our (virtual) Annual General Meeting is tomorrow, and we are nearing the end of a most challenging semester. So I want to first take a moment for us all to give each other a heart-felt round of applause…

CONGRATULATIONS! We’ve almost made it!!!

The usual agonies of final grading still await many of us, plus a little bit of extra special agony from working online, but we’ve been through that before. The main thing is that we’ve managed to get through a full month of intense stress, uncertainty, and disruption, doing our best to salvage whatever we can of our teaching and research agendas amid the new normal of life under a state of emergency. And we’ve done it better than anyone had a right to expect. We may not (yet) be tech geniuses or online pedagogical experts, but we did what we could for our students despite having been provided with practically no warning and only minimal resources. Thank you for sharing some of your experiences in the recent FAUST surveys and elsewhere; it will be important to have such records available to review and evaluate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on our academic workplace in the weeks and months to come.

In preparation for tomorrow’s AGM, I just wanted to give you a quick update regarding our negotiations with the administration concerning a possible Letter of Understanding. This LOU was proposed by FAUST as a means of regulating and formalizing the necessary provisional changes to our working conditions that have been imposed over the last few weeks as a result of the pandemic. And as previously reported, we were confident that since almost all of the major points had already been settled and FAUST was very flexible on those that had not, a final text could be agreed upon within a matter of days.

Unfortunately, I must now report that the St Thomas University administration has entirely changed its mind and refuses to negotiate an LOU with FAUST. Instead, in a virtual meeting on Thursday afternoon with VP Finance Lily Fraser and VP Academic Kim Fenwick, Gül and I were informed that we will be issued a unilateral statement informing FAUST members of their managerially-imposed new terms of work.

Needless to say we are dismayed by this reversal. We are further dismayed by the administration’s lack of appreciation for the very basics of shared collegial governance, as well as their apparent lack of comprehension of just how many sacrifices FAUST members have already made and remain ready to make. Their short-sighted emphasis on maintaining a veneer of managerial control, while short-changing faculty members at every possible turn, will undoubtedly backfire. I can pretty much guarantee that a single (avoidable) grievance over violations of our workplace rights will cost much more in legal fees that any of the small investments we were suggesting might help FAUST members to better do their jobs in the current context of enforced online teaching. I therefore fear that the spirit of cooperation we were seeking to build is now in danger of being lost—for absolutely no good reason.

We have registered our displeasure with these developments, and as soon as we are in receipt of the administration’s letter we will share it with all of you. Together, I am still hopeful that FAUST members can persuade our administrative colleagues that imposing managerial decisions on faculty without due consultation or negotiation is not the best way to weather the challenges we are all now facing. Rather, now is the time to work together in concert, as members of a single team that has agreed in good faith to all pull in the same direction.

This is not just true of LOU negotiations. As we begin to contemplate moving from immediate crisis mode into longer-term reflective and planning phases, there are many potential changes and new circumstances that we will need to consider. Taking faculty concerns seriously, listening sincerely to our issues, and heeding our suggestions, will be crucial to the University’s prospects for survival in the coming years. And more than that, because I think we aspire to do much more than merely survive. I think it is fair to say that none of us is willing to stand by and watch our campus wither into any kind of lifeless, austerity-driven, under-resourced and over-managed diploma mill. We know that St Thomas University has much more to offer in the post-pandemic world, as a safe and accessible place where students and faculty can come together to better understand and work out creative solutions to the existential problems that have been brought so clearly to light by recent events. We work at a human scale, and if we can continue to treat everyone fairly then we will also continue to work in a healthy spirit of cooperation and shared purpose that will yield great results. Let’s do what we can to invest in and build on that potential—for all our sakes.

So, stay tuned and stay active, brothers and sisters! Your participation in Union action is more vital now than ever, and I hope to see many of you at what promises to be a very interesting virtual FAUST Annual General Meeting at 12pm noon tomorrow (Tuesday April 14, via TEAMS). We are now drafting important Motions for your consideration, and your further contributions at the meeting will be vital. Hopefully, with your help we will be able to send a strong message to the administration in order to restart the LOU discussion, to move forward with collective bargaining, and to continually work together in seeking optimal ways of responding to the pandemic crisis.

I will close by repeating my sentiment in a previous message: I am so proud of the wonderfully caring and committed academic community we have built here at St Thomas. That is truly our greatest strength right now, and it will continue to be so in the difficult days to come. Keep up the good work everybody!

In solidarity,

Robin Vose

President, FAUST


April 7, 2020


FAUST Virtual Town Hall Meeting #3

FAUST President, Robin Vose, will host the third virtual Town Hall session Tuesday, April 7th at 4:00pm. This will take the form of a live stream video on Facebook from the FAUST Facebook page. The video will be made "public" so that even members who don’t have a Facebook account can watch. Look for an email on Tuesday around 4:00pm with the live feed link. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss important updates on pass/fail grading policies, bargaining, and working conditions for online teaching.

While the live stream is happening, you may send in questions through Facebook or by emailing them to faustprez@stu.ca. Robin will have a second computer screen open to read the messages as they come in. Once the live stream broadcast is over, we will post the video to the FAUST Facebook page so that members who weren’t available at the time of the broadcast can still watch it. A link to the video will also be posted on this website. If you have questions now ahead of the broadcast, please send them in advance to faustprez@stu.ca and Robin will respond to them during the Town Hall meeting.

Missed the live meeting? No problem! Catch the recorded video here


April 6, 2020


Check out the latest CAUT COVID-19 UPDATE here.


March 24, 2020

Missed the second virtual Town Hall Meeting? Watch the saved videos here: Part 1 (starts at minute 10:35), Part 2, and Part 3.


March 20, 2020


FAUST Virtual Town Hall Meeting #2

FAUST President, Robin Vose, will host the second virtual Town Hall session Tuesday, March 24th at 4:00pm. This will take the form of a live stream video on Facebook from the FAUST Facebook page. The video will be made "public" so that even members who don’t have a Facebook account can watch. Look for an email around 4:00pm with the live feed link.

While the live stream is happening, you may send in questions through Facebook or by emailing them to faustprez@stu.ca. Robin will have a second computer screen open to read the messages as they come in. Once the live stream broadcast is over, we will post the video to the FAUST Facebook page so that members who weren’t available at the time of the broadcast can still watch it. A link to the video will also be posted on this website. If you have questions now ahead of the broadcast, please send them in advance to faustprez@stu.ca and Robin will respond to them during the Town Hall meeting.


FAUST SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉ #2

Dear FAUST members,

It has been a most eventful week. I want to thank you all for the communications we have been receiving: questions, suggestions, requests, observations—they are all appreciated and help us to get a sense of how everyone is dealing with this exceptional situation. Please keep us informed and let us know if there is anything we can do to help! You are doing a great job by the looks of things, and I am especially heartened to see how concerned FAUST members are about the well-being of their colleagues and students. We do have a very caring community, and that is our greatest strength right now.

As you will already know, on Thursday, March 19 the government of New Brunswick imposed a State of Emergency aimed at further limiting the potential for rapid spread of COVID-19. This includes closure of the St Thomas University campus and computer labs. For now, IT support is still available online and students who are not able to depart are being housed in the residences. Faculty who need to access their offices at this time may do so if it is necessary to achieve their online teaching goals. However we would ask that you keep your time on campus to a minimum and take all necessary precautions to reduce your exposure risk while out in public: work alone with your door closed, maintain social distance of 2 metres from others you may encounter, and wash your hands frequently. If you are able to work exclusively from home, this is of course preferable. Please contact FAUST if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks to LTD officer Karen Robert and others, we now have a number of online teaching resources available for consideration and possible adoption if they make sense for your course(s). If you have not received email notice of these please let us know. IT services at STU and library services at UNB remain active online as well and they will do all they can to help with your online teaching (and research) questions. The initial rush has now subsided, so it should be easier to reach IT/library assistance now than it was earlier in the week. If you have recurring difficulties with this, again, please let us know. Also, please remember—everyone is stressed and doing their best, so it is appreciated if we could all be patient and polite in dealing with IT or library staff. The emergency situation and resulting frustrations are not their fault.

The Vice-President (Academic & Research) has issued email instructions advising faculty of their rights to essentially do as they see fit with their online teaching and fair evaluation of students under the current circumstances. I know FAUST members are diligently following these instructions and taking student vulnerability issues very much into account because I hear about it every day—so, thank you. In collaboration with the STU administration we are carefully evaluating all available options and measures for assisting students in crisis and for ensuring that all students are treated as fairly as possible. If you have concerns, suggestions, or data to share on this subject—whether anecdotal or otherwise—we very much welcome your feedback. But so far I am glad to report that the majority of our students seem to be adapting fairly well to the “new normal”.

We should never forget that faculty too are vulnerable to the increased stresses of living under emergency measures. Isolation can be just as dangerous for many of us as compromised physical health. So please—while it is important to maintain social distance and stay home as much as possible at this time, do not hesitate to reach out to your families, friends, and neighbours either online or by telephone. Even snail mail seems to be making a comeback! Let’s all do our best to help each other get through this difficult time as healthily as possible.

Finally, I want to address one of the most significant stressors that many of us are feeling these days: concerns about the future of the university itself, both in the medium term as we contemplate intersession and summer teaching, and in the longer term as we think about the impact of a global pandemic on teaching year 2020-21 and beyond.

I know that there is real fear about the possibility of some Part-Time faculty losing teaching contracts for the summer if emergency measures continue. While it is difficult to say exactly what will happen at this point, please be assured that STU is hoping to return to normal as soon as possible. Furthermore FAUST will do all it can to explore ways of mitigating the financial impact on our members should cancellations in fact occur. Nor are we working in a vacuum: temporary job losses are affecting the entire globe right now, and our governments know they need to step up and find ways of better dealing with these sorts of social crises.

The fact is that much will have to change in the coming months. But I think it is safe to say that the future of university education, and of STU in particular, should not be in any doubt. If anything, I expect us to come back from the current challenges stronger than before—as has happened with other schools facing disaster situations in the past, such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. It won’t be easy, and we may well suffer losses along the way, but now more than ever we need to ensure that the benefits we offer to society are made absolutely clear to those in power. If New Brunswick, Canada, and the world are to move forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will ONLY be as a result of robust reinvestment and re-commitment to the importance of socially valuable institutions such as universities.

Thank you as always for your passionate commitment and all your hard work. We will hold a second virtual Town Hall early next week, and I look forward to hearing from many of you in the days to come.

In solidarity,

Robin Vose

President, FAUST




March 18, 2020

COVID-19 and the Academic Workplace: Frequently Asked Questions - Click here.


Cybersecurity Alert: Beware of COVID-19 email scams

In light of growing news and concern around Coronavirus (COVID-19), scammers are launching fraudulent email campaigns attempting to take advantage of COVID-19 information and support. Read here for more info. 


March 17, 2020


FAUST Virtual Town Hall Meeting #1

FAUST President, Robin Vose, will host a virtual "Town Hall" session Tuesday, March 17th at 2:30pm. This will take the form of a live stream video on Facebook from the FAUST Facebook page. The video will be made "public" so that even members who don’t have a Facebook account can watch. Look for an email at 2:30pm with the live feed link. 

While the live stream is happening, you may send in questions through Facebook and the President will respond. You may also email the FAUST President during the broadcast at faustprez@stu.ca. Robin will have a second computer screen open to read the messages as they come in. Once the live stream broadcast is over, we will post the video to the FAUST Facebook page so that members who weren’t available at the time of the broadcast can still watch it. A link to the video will also be posted on the FAUST website. If you have questions now ahead of the broadcast, please send them in advance to faustprez@stu.ca and Robin will respond to them during the Town Hall meeting.

Missed the live meeting? No problem! Catch the recorded video here. 


Researching Remotely: Library Resources and Services - Provided by UNB Libraries


March 16, 2020


Letter to the UNB Community indicates that members of the STU community may have been exposed to COVID-19.


Information regarding the spread of the Corona virus disease (COVID-19) can be found on the Government of New Brunswick website. 


The CAUT policy on online teaching can be found here



FAUST SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉS

Dear FAUST members, 

As you know we are currently facing an unprecedented situation at STU, as at many other universities across the globe. You are suddenly being asked to begin “online” teaching, often with little or no training and very few resources, in the midst of a global pandemic that is sparking both health concerns and socio-economic disruptions throughout our communities. Some of us are also facing personal and family issues, including threats to regular incomes, that make things even more difficult. You have every right to feel confused, uncertain and anxious under these circumstances. 

The good news is that we are not in this alone. We are members of an academic community that has proven time and time again that we are capable of rising to every occasion with integrity and professionalism. We also know we can turn to each other for advice and support in difficult times. Solidarity is our strongest weapon now as always. 

FAUST is committed to providing regular communications throughout this period of upheaval. You will receive SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉS regularly via your STU email in the coming days, and these will also be posted on the website here. 

We will also be hosting periodic live “virtual” TOWN HALLS to update members and respond to questions or suggestions. Your participation and feedback is more valuable than ever and we urge you to reach out by email or otherwise whenever you have anything to say… your questions and your advice will undoubtedly be of use to other Union members, and we will do all we can to help by sharing and staying engaged. Details on these virtual Town Halls will follow shortly. 

The most important thing for now is to keep as healthy as possible and to approach the coming challenges realistically. FAUST is in close cooperative contact with senior administration, and we will ensure that your workplace rights will continue to be fully respected. The means of delivery may change, and compromises will undoubtedly have to be made, but our teaching workloads should not become unmanageable as a result. More specific advice regarding the transition to online teaching will be coming soon as we work with admin, IT professionals, and the LTD officer on specific details, and of course every class presents its own challenges, but for now FAUST members are advised to STREAMLINE, REDUCE, and SIMPLIFY online teaching whenever possible. Expecting too much of ourselves, or of our similarly stressed students, is not likely to produce good results at this time. 

Stay tuned, stay safe, and let us know how you are. We are all in this together. 

In solidarity, 

Robin Vose 

President, FAUST