Author: UICUF staff

16 Oct NTT Professional Leave–Teamwork Makes a Difference

Photo of bright blue UICUF logo screen printed on white paper. Blurred image of people on UIC Quad in background.
UICUF screen prints by Clinical Assistant Professor, William Estrada, School of Art & Art History

Dear members,
One tenet underpinning UICUF’s platform for all contract bargaining is increased parity between TT and NTT faculty. During the 2018-2022 bargaining cycle an important proposal pertained to professional leave for non-tenure track faculty members. The management team at that time suggested the issue should first be considered by the UIC Faculty Senate, which passed a recommendation for the creation of NTT leave shortly after. 

Because the previous administration failed to implement the Senate’s recommendation, our initial proposal this round argued for creating access to paid leave for NTT faculty who have served the university for six or more years in order to give them time to pursue study, research, or other professional pursuits. The administration outright rejected this proposal as unfeasible; however, they did eventually sign a side letter promising to continue working on the idea in collaboration with the UIC Senate. 

With some additional prodding by Senate leadership, the current administration created this long-promised opportunity for NTT faculty and is finally beginning to implement it. 

You may have seen the administration’s recent announcement of a pilot program for an NTT faculty professional improvement leave program, an important step towards all faculty being able to pursue their professional goals and interests. While the bargaining team and union leadership still have questions about the pilot program, it is an important, if delayed, win. The program’s creation illustrates the power of shared governance and how much persistence and teamwork can accomplish. Pressure from both UICUF and the UIC Senate resulted in a program that admin originally said could never be accomplished. This initiative is a win for all UIC faculty. 

As announced by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, the first informational session is on Tuesday, October 17 at 9:30 AM, and we’d love to pack the virtual room! Register for the session here (or the second session Monday, October 30@11:30am), bring your questions, and most importantly, if you’re NTT faculty and eligible, start prepping to apply. A large pool of applicants will demonstrate faculty’s dedication to this initiative so that the pilot program can expand in the coming years.

On a similar note, keep an eye on your department mailbox: our newest UICUF Broadsheet has arrived! You should see it in your campus mailbox by Monday, October 23.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

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12 Oct UICUF Has Your Back

Photo of bright blue UICUF logo screen printed on white paper. Blurred image of people on UIC Quad in background.
UICUF screen prints by Clinical Assistant Professor, William Estrada, School of Art & Art History

UICUF has been gathering testimonials from members, telling the story of what membership in the union means for us as individuals and how the union makes us stronger as a collective. Our first such anecdote comes from Vit Vanicek, UIC Tutorium.

Back in 2016, Vit had a year-to-year contract with the UIC Tutorium, the unit that provides English language support to international students. As a result of predicted enrollment, Vit along with many other of his fellow lecturers were laid off. Vit found himself unemployed with little time to find another academic job, so naturally he was relieved when his program leadership reached out to him a few weeks before the semester started, letting him know they had underestimated enrollment and had a part-time, hourly position available. Vit accepted the position without questioning it, and by the time the semester commenced, he was assigned another section, bringing his FTE to 100% – but his pay remained hourly.

Vit called the union not to complain, but to cancel his membership–he was now making less than he had the year before doing the exact same job, and it seemed prudent. He explained the situation to UICUF staff, who immediately told Vit that these terms were unacceptable, and that he could not be treated that way. His program leadership however disagreed, saying the union didn’t understand the HR policies of the Tutorium. 

But we did. We are UIC.

Former President Janet Smith called Vit to discuss his situation and then contacted the Chancellor directly. Within weeks, Vit had his salary and benefits restored, while Tutorium administrators learned that the UF contract was a document which carried weight and power. Soon other faculty were rehired with fully restored salary and benefits.

“When Janet talked to me, she translated it into these very human terms that were easy to comprehend, no legalese there, and that was the support that was the best of its kind…an uninformed person gets the information that they need and then somebody helps them without them needing to do anything extra, and that’s when I really started to believe in the union…I think the most powerful thing that I feel about the union is that whatever we get to negotiate, everybody gets. And that is something that I feel is the strongest virtue of the existence of the union. That is something that both TT and NTT should acknowledge, however far in their career they are, or however close to retirement they are, or however much money they’re making. People don’t realize that that’s what the union does; whatever the union negotiates successfully automatically goes to everybody.”  — Vit Vanicek, PhD. Linguistics, Lecturer, UIC Tutorium

Being part of UICUF has affected each of us in different ways. If you’d like to share your own story with the membership, please contact Kris May, UIC Tutorium (kristinehmay@gmail.com) or David Crockett, College of Business Administration (dcrockett17@gmail.com)

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03 Oct Stand Up for UAW

Stand up with UAW and AFT-IFT on October 5Share rides with other UICUF members.
On September 29 the Chicago Federation of Labor and the Illinois AFL-CIO Issued a joint statement on UAW Strike Expansion to the Southside Chicago Ford Plant.  

“Members of the UAW are standing up for their families, co-workers and community.  CEOs have cashed in on the sacrifices auto workers made 14-16 years ago.  And while this historic strike is audacious in breaking the mold in taking on the Big Three all at once, this strike is fundamentally about fairness and equity across the board. 

UAW’s fight is rooted in the same struggle that workers all over this country are engaged in for a better future — and at home in Chicago and Illinois, workers are making it clear that there is no place for corporate greed in their communities.”

On Thursday, October 5, AFT members around the country will be standing in solidarity with our UAW siblings. Here in Illinois, we have the opportunity and responsibility to represent. Please join us on a picket line wearing your union gear, take pictures, post on social media, and tag @Illinois Federation of Teachers, @AFT-American Federation of Teachers, and @UIC United Faculty. 

Picket lines are up around the clock, so you can stop by before or after work or even as a family activity!

Interested in ridesharing with neighboring colleagues? 

Selected locations (close to most IFT members):

Torrence Avenue, Ford Assembly
13550 S. Torrance Ave
Chicago, IL 60633

Chicago Parts, GM
1355 Remington Blvd
Bolingbrook, IL 60490

Chicago Parts, Stellantis
1980 High Grove Lane
Naperville, IL 60540

Email us at uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com if you would like to receive updates about when and where other IFT locals plan to gather. 

Looking for a picket line closer to you? Check https://uaw.org/standwithus/ for the current list of locations!

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20 Sep UICUF Membership Meeting September 26

Photo of bright blue UICUF logo screen printed on white paper. Blurred image of people on UIC Quad in background.
UICUF screen prints by Clinical Assistant Professor, William Estrada, School of Art & Art History

Join us Tuesday, September 26, 2023 3:30-5pm in Student Center East tower, room 613 (the room where we reached a tentative agreement on our current contract!) for our fall general member meeting. 

Please RSVP here so we have a sense of how many people to expect. 

Agenda: 

  • Welcome
  • Union Leadership Reports: President, Treasurer, Common Good, and Steward
  • Organizers’ Report & call for volunteers
  • Committee on Political Education
  • Discussion: Reflect on last year, especially the strike and new contract, and discuss what’s next
  • New business from the floor

Light food & drinks immediately after on the 2nd floor patio of SCE

Access Notes: SCE 613 is wheelchair accessible. If you need to join remotely, please indicate so on the RSVP form. Captions will be available in person and on zoom.  We encourage in-person attendees to wear masks. For accommodation requests or questions about access, please email Jeff at uicufjeff@gmail.com

Solidarity with Striking Auto Workers

UAW members are organizing to win a historic contract that would end a tiered system of pay and benefits; win fair pay raises in the face of high inflation, record company profits, and huge management pay raises; and create a just transition to electric vehicles by guaranteeing that all new production facilities would be covered by the collective bargaining contract. You can sign a petition of support for striking auto workers here.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

Making your course materials accessible (part 1). Monday, September 25, 3:30-4:30pm.
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16 Sep Donate to the UICUF FAST Fund + Member Meeting + Reading Groups

Photo of bright blue UICUF logo screen printed on white paper. Blurred image of people on UIC Quad in background.
UICUF screen prints by Clinical Assistant Professor, William Estrada, School of Art & Art History

Help UIC students in need with a recurring FAST fund donation!

Donate now!

The UIC United Faculty FAST Fund provides small grants to students with urgent financial needs, including:

  • medical expenses
  • housing, food, and utilities
  • child care
  • car repairs
  • book & school supplies

In the past 2 years, the FAST fund has given out more than $22,000 in small grants to 99 students. Still, our available funds never match the need. We’re asking you to commit to a recurring FAST fund donation so we can spend less time fundraising and more time working with students. Donations are tax deductible and 100% of the money goes to students.

“The support provided by the UICUF Fast Fund is critical in order to pursue my education by helping me stay focused in my academics, and not having to worry about another past due bill for the month.” – FAST Fund recipient

UICUF Fall Member Meeting Sept 26, 3:30pm in SCE 613

Join us September 26, 2023 3:30-5pm in Student Center East tower, room 613 (the room where we reached a tentative agreement on our current contract!) for our fall general member meeting. We’ll collectively analyze last year’s work, share updates from the summer and start of the semester, and strategize next steps for our union. Light food & drinks immediately after on the 2nd floor patio of SCE. 

UICUF Reading Groups

We’ve been approached by members about the possibility of creating union-sponsored reading groups. If you have ideas for a reading group, or simply want to register interest in joining one, please contact our senior organizer Jeff Edwards at UICUFJeff@gmail.com. We’ll be sending information about our first reading groups soon!

Upcoming Events and Reminders

UICUF Fall Membership Meeting: Sept 26, 3:30-5pm in SCE 613. Refreshments to follow, second floor patio
Making your Course Materials Accessible (Part I): Monday, Sept 25, 3:30-4:30pm. RSVP here.

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11 Sep Get to Know Your Contract: Minimum Salaries, Article VI.A.1.a.

Photo of bright blue UICUF logo screen printed on white paper. Blurred image of people on UIC Quad in background.
UICUF screen prints by Clinical Assistant Professor, William Estrada, School of Art & Art History

We’re taking a closer look at changes to sections of the UIC United Faculty 2022-2026 contract that we won during the last round of bargaining, introduced by members of the Bargaining Committee itself. Up this week is minimum salaries for both NTT and TT faculty written by Jim Drown of the English Department.

Dear collegues,
Establishing and raising minimum salaries has been a UICUF priority since the first contract. While these minimums might not apply to everyone, they are potentially life-changing for the faculty to whom they do apply. Before minimum salaries were established, many faculty were forced to work second jobs in order to have a living wage. Dedicated faculty left the profession for corporate jobs that paid a living wage. 

For myself, I moved from a position of having a job I loved because my spouse paid the vast majority of the expenses, to being able to actively contribute to my household finances. Members have even been able to purchase single-family residences because of these minimums. 

On a broader note, these minimums help keep us competitive in the market for faculty, ensuring that we can attract and keep the best and most dedicated academics at our university. This is a part of the contract that contributes not only to individuals, but positively impacts the student experience and the academic atmosphere of the entire campus.

The current minimum salaries (100% appointment) from our current contract are:

NTT Faculty

  • $60,000 for Instructor, Lecturer, Clinical Assistant Professor, or Research Assistant Professor or Teaching Assistant Professor
  • $66,000 for Senior Instructor, Senior Lecturer, Clinical Associate Professor, Research Associate Professor, or Teaching Associate Professor
  • $72,600 for Clinical Professor or Research Professor or Teaching Professor

TT Faculty

  • $71,500 for Assistant Professor
  • $78,650 for Associate Professor
  • $86,515 for Professor

As per the contract, for all ranks, any permanent salary increases earned through award of the Teaching Recognition Program (TRP), or similar program, shall be applied after the bargaining unit member has moved to a new minimum salary. The union is proud of the establishment and increases made in the minimum salaries, especially considering the wide-ranging impacts they have. If you have any questions or concerns about these minimums, please contact one of your department or college union reps.

In Solidarity,
Jim Drown
Senior Lecturer, English
UICUF Representative Assembly
UICUF Bargaining Committee

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30 Aug Celebrate the new semester with UICUF!

Join us Sunday, Sept 10 at 4pm for food and fun at union Treasurer Michael Scott’s house in Hyde Park. Guests are welcome!
RSVP to get the address and let us know how many people you’ll be bringing.

RSVP here

UICUF Staff Organizer Search

UICUF is hiring a full-time staff organizer to start in early November. The Personnel Committee is accepting applications through September 10. If you’re interested or know anyone who might be, you can find more information here: https://unionjobs.com/listing.php?id=24867.

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23 Aug Welcome back to campus, UIC United Faculty!

Fall is always a semester of inspiration and excitement for faculty and students alike–this fall is also the first full semester of implementation of our new faculty contract, won through our collective efforts of last winter. We will be using these updates to discuss features of that new contract, as well as give updates on campus initiatives and union programming this fall. UICUF leadership encourages you to reach out if you have any questions about the new contract, or concerns about implementation in your unit. 

Conversations for Creating Inclusive and Accessible Practices

A collaboration between UIC United Faculty (UICUF), the Center for Advancement of Teaching Excellence (CATE), the Disability Resource Center (DRC), and the Disability Cultural Center (DCC).

In response to growing faculty interest in better supporting disabled students on campus, UICUF, CATE, the DCC, and the DRC have created a discussion series meant to allow UIC faculty an opportunity to meet and discuss how they can create more accessible learning environments at UIC. These conversations will include information on campus resources, best practices, and pragmatic advice from other faculty, but even more an opportunity for all faculty to come and discuss their classrooms with peers, ask questions, and co-mentor each other. RSVP requested, not required–Click here to RSVP, ask questions, or make requests. Please feel free to come as you are, spend as much time as you have, and share with your colleagues.

All workshops are scheduled as hybrid events in the Teaching Excellence Building (TEB), room 201. 

To join via Zoom:
Link: 
https://uic.zoom.us/j/84551227428?pwd=bEJ4UStBS1Yzb2ladjlPbklJVnhMQT09
Meeting ID:  845 5122 7428
Password: IAP4U&ME

The Teaching Excellence Building is located at 924 S. Morgan street, near the corner of Morgan and Taylor.

Letters of Accommodation: From Registration to Implementation 

Monday, August 28 10-11am 

This workshop will focus on faculty/student conversations about Letters of Accommodation. Facilitators will lead faculty through strategies to maximize student inclusion while maintaining the integrity and rigor of their curricula. Workshop will include hands-on practice on sample LOAs!Facilitators: Sophia Irini-Hamilton, DRC Director and Jeffery Kessler, Senior Lecturer in English

Making Your Course Materials Accessible (Part I)

Monday, September 25, 3:30-4:30pm

This workshop provides an overview of POUR principles (perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust) from Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). You will receive resources and guidance on how to use these principles to make your course materials more accessible. 

Facilitators: Patrick Horton and Nicole Messier, Instructional Designers at the new Instructional Design and Media Production Studio (formerly with CATE); Lauren Woods, Associate Director for Teaching Development Pathways and CATE; Matt Stockman, Lecturer in the UIC Tutorium

Universal Design for Learning

Tuesday, October 10, 2-3pm 

This workshop will introduce instructors to strategies for maximizing accessibility for students via course and instructional design. We’ll give an overview of universal design approaches that build accessibility proactively into our teaching practices. Participants will leave this workshop  with some concrete ideas for practices that will increase accessibility for all learners. Facilitators: Margaret Fink, DCC Director and Kate Floros, Clinical Associate Professor in Political Science

Making Your Course Materials Accessible (Part II)

Tuesday, October 17, 10-11am

Want to ensure equitable access to all the instructional materials on your course site? This workshop will provide practical tips to make your course materials more accessible, including adding alternative text, embedding descriptive hyperlinks, using headers, and more. We will cover how to create accessible documents and review existing documents for accessibility errors. Please bring a laptop with you so you can practice these skills during the workshop
Facilitators: Patrick Horton and Nicole Messier, Instructional Designers at the new Instructional Design and Media Production Studio (formerly with CATE); Lauren Woods, Associate Director for Teaching Development Pathways & CIRTL@UIC and CATE; Kate Floros, Clinical Associate Professor in Political Science

https://unionjobs.com/listing.php?id=24867
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21 Jul Announcing Inaugural UICUF Vice President for Common Good, Nicole Nguyen

Over the summer, the UICUF Representative Assembly and Executive Board have worked to institutionalize our commitment to continuing to fight for the common good by amending our union constitution to create a new executive board position of Vice President for the Common Good and a standing Common Good Committee.

In recognition of her work for the common good as a member of the Bargaining Committee and continued efforts to work with the administration on issues related to student wellness, the Executive Board has appointed Nicole Nguyen, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law, and Justice, as the inaugural VP for Common Good.

Nicole will continue her work as UICUF’s student mental health liaison to the administration and convene the Common Good Committee to enforce the common good provisions of our contract and organize for more. You can reach her at nicolemnguyen@gmail.com.

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12 Jul Please attend UIC Student Wellness Town Hall July 24, 1pm!

Photo of bright blue UICUF logo screen printed on white paper. Blurred image of people on UIC Quad in background.
UICUF screen prints by Clinical Assistant Professor, William Estrada, School of Art & Art History

Important Feedback Opportunities on Student Wellness

Dear members,

On June 15, the Chancellor’s office sent out an email with the subject line, “Update on UIC commitment to student mental health and well-being.” Buried in this email were several important pieces of information: 

  • The American College Health Association (ACHA) report on student wellness at UIC
  • A form that students, faculty, and staff can use to give feedback on the report. 
  • Feedback sessions for faculty will take place July 24 at 1pm. See meeting details below. 

For many students, faculty are the first UIC community members they turn to in times of struggle.The UICUF Student Wellness Committee has been focusing on collaborating with administration to improve access and infrastructure for student wellness on campus, and to introduce more transparency and partnership with faculty on decisions made on this front. Faculty town halls are important opportunities for the us to tell the administration what you need to support student wellness, and we encourage you to attend the sessions, fill out the feedback form, and read the report. If you know students who would be interested in sharing their views on student wellness, please share the meeting with them and encourage them to look at the report:

Faculty Town Hall #2:
July 24, 2023 1:00 PM Central
 

Meeting ID: 894 5515 0092
Passcode: PvnaqL75
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Student Town Hall #2: 
July 17, 2023 1:00 PM Central
 

Meeting ID: 857 1328 4807
Passcode: fTvs5NeA

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In April, the UICUF Student Wellness Committee hosted a student study break and sponsored a petition signed by over 250 UIC community members urging the administration to create “meaningful opportunities to provide oversight and input into student wellness efforts.” At the time, administrators seemed open to compensating a committee inclusive of faculty, staff, and students to implement the American College Health Association (ACHA) recommendations (the ACHA did an independent review of UIC wellness infrastructure this past spring). From emails we acquired through the Freedom of Information Act, we learned that our petition was an important catalyst in getting the administration to release the ACHA final report to the larger UIC community. Unfortunately, the administration has backtracked on the idea of a compensated committee and is instead holding a series of barely-publicized town halls addressing the report in the next few weeks.Two town hall sessions  for faculty are being held. The first was held June 26th–this date was never announced publicly, and was only available to those who had completed a survey. The next session will be held July 24th at 1pm. The meeting information is above–we urge you to join the town hall if you are available. We also urge you to read the ACHA report and fill out the open comment survey, sharing your thoughts about the report or your experiences with student mental health on the UIC campus.

We are frustrated with the lack of communication and clarity in the administration’s decisions and actions surrounding the ACHA report. As a part of faculty contract negotiations, the entire campus community was given a commitment for meaningful action that promised to improve student and faculty experience on campus. Transparency and opportunities for student and faculty input were key elements of this commitment, and so far we have been sorely disappointed. It’s up to us to make sure that our colleagues and students have a say in this process as it moves forward. 

Please complete the survey and attend the July 24 Town Hall at 1pm!

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