- On Wednesday, we held our Spring Member Meeting!
- Discussions included advocacy efforts locally, in the UI system and legislatively. We also heard some early findings from our recent faculty satisfaction survey.
- Our survey is now closed and initial results show that there is a lot of work ahead to educate both faculty and administrators on faculty rights
- UICUF Officer Elections will be held this April 13th and 14th for all elected positions in the union. Nomination forms are available on our website’s “People” page, and are due Monday, 3/30 by 5pm.
While we covered a lot of ground in our membership meeting this Wednesday, a few things definitely stood out.
First, though this is not a bargaining year, our committees are hard at work on initiatives to improve faculty working conditions. Our colleagues in the Faculty Senate reported back that progress is being made toward drafting resolutions that will add Teaching Professor ranks to the UI statutes, allowing current Instructors and Lecturers added opportunities for recognition and advancement. Work is also being done to increase the maximum multi-year appointment for NTT faculty in the statutes. Meanwhile, our COPE team is working concurrently to change state law to give NTT faculty notices of reappointment months earlier than currently required, and force the university to give written explanations for non-renewal.
We also heard about a local victory by our union members in the Tutorium for Intensive English, a program jointly run by UIC and Shorelight Education LLC. This program has been managed in partnership with Shorelight, but UIC faculty provide the actual classroom work that makes the program run. Recently however, these faculty members became aware that plans were under consideration to outsource their work, in violation of their contracts. With assistance from UICUF, the TIE faculty were successfully able to push back and quash any further speculation about eliminating their positions, a major win for both TIE faculty and the union!
Initial Survey Findings
Our survey to gauge faculty satisfaction and program adherence to our contract is now closed, and we do have some interesting results to share. We’ll dive much deeper into individual colleges and departments in the future, but it became immediately apparent that a few big issues stand out:
- 85% of faculty say that one or more issues related to physical facilities are interfering with their work.
- As much as 20% of the bargaining unit may not be getting yearly evaluations,
- Nearly 40% feel uncertain whether they can express dissenting opinions in their academic units without reprisal.
Some of the most disturbing results came regarding academic freedom. At least 5% of faculty responded that they were pressured by a supervisor to change grades or grading curves. We will be discussing this particular outcome and its implications in much greater detail in future messages. Faculty urgently need to join the conversation about the factors leading to grade pressures and student support at UIC, and how these issues should be addressed.
We issue regular updates via email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and on our website. We encourage everyone to like and follow us on social media. If you want to contribute your story, pictures, video, or other content related to the activities of the union, email us at UICUnitedFaculty@gmail.com. With your support, we are making UIC an even better place to work and learn!