President’s Message

Dear Members,

The summer at an Academic institution could be described by a set of oxymorons – restful productivity, flexible deadlines and engaged withdrawal, for examples.  For the StFXAUT, the summer provides a time for reflection on priorities for the next Academic year, to work on our own administrative processes and infrastructure, and to support Members in the contexts in which they work. We remain engaged with provincial (Association of Nova Scotia University Teachers (ANSUT), regional (Atlantic Canada Council for Faculty Associations (ACCFA) and national (Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) organizations and also regularly engage in discussions with the other Unions on campus.

As we turn the calendar to the month of September, we reluctantly start to shake off summer, welcome back returning  and new students, engage with new members in their various roles, recall the smell of school supplies we bought for elementary school and savour the taste of a new crisp apple.

This year and next may be characterized as years of disruption as we witness the building of the Mulroney Centre and teach out of newly reclaimed and repurposed spaces. As the disruption is temporary, we look forward to new learning spaces for many of our Members and our students. In the meantime, hopefully the transition to the new Academic year is smooth and the year ahead is a successful and meaningful one.

Mary O.

StFXAUT President

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Antigonight: Art After Dark 2017

The eighth annual Antigonight: Art After Dark festival is underway. Ceramist and sculptor Fenn Martin is this year’s artistic director. Fenn also works as an instructor with the StFX Art Department.

The Beacon recently spoke to Fenn regarding the festival’s relationship with the StFXAUT. Fenn noted that members of the StFX Art Department Faculty were critical to the festival getting of the ground. Faculty representatives, along with the board of directors of Antigonish Culture Alive (formerly GAPACC — Guysborough Antigonish Pictou Arts and Culture Council) identified the need for Antigonish to have an open, accessible nighttime art festival. Antigonight: Art After Dark was launched and it continues to grow.

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Some of the Upcoming Key Dates in the 4th Collective Agreement:

March 31st:

  • Transition of Tenured Assistant Professors: Applicants are required to meet with their Dean prior to applying for associate under this program. Applicants may request to have a representative of the StFXAUT present at this meeting. The purpose of this meeting will be to assist faculty in preparing their application and, if needed, to receive coaching and assistance from the Dean to help invigorate their research program. Potential applicants should meet with their Dean no later than March 31, 2017.  (Letter of Understanding #2:  Transition of Tenured Assistant Professors;4)

April 10th:

  • On the basis of the evidence submitted to, and collected by, the Outstanding Teaching Awards Committee, the Committee shall select the recipients of the Outstanding Teaching Awards by April 10. (Article 2.7.1 University Research/Publication/Teaching Awards:4.8.1)

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Not equality, equity

This article by Rhonda Semple appears in the Winter 2017 edition of The Beacon

Even though I committed to writing this piece for the Beacon ages ago, and even though I care deeply about the subject of equity, it has taken me a long time to finally sit down to write. My research and teaching are deeply embedded in concerns over equity and, to be frank, my experience in those areas likely informs my reticence. On the one hand, as a historian of belief, my interests in decolonizing empires is a little radical for mission history. On the other hand, as a historian of religion, I’m a little suspect in feminist circles. In a similar manner, this will likely be too reductive for some colleagues and too complex for others. I will claim experience in being a woman although I’m neither expert at that nor can I claim expertise as a person in the many ‘equity seeking’ groups that contribute to an academic community.

I have, however, seen the CAUT studies that led our national union to state that “many academic staff face discrimination and harassment in their jobs. Women, Aboriginal persons and visible and ethnic minorities are under-represented, particularly amongst the most senior academic ranks. Academic staff with disabilities face significant hurdles. Lesbian, gay and bisexual academic staff often feel they must hide their sexuality out of fear of damaging their careers and transgender and transsexual academic staff face significant discrimination based on their gender identities” (https://www.caut.ca/issues-and-campaigns/equity). And I have heard about my female colleagues catcalled on campus and have had students, year on year, tell me about being racially harassed by their peers. I was sexually harassed by a gang of male students outside my house in the fall – threatened with anal rape on my own street because apparently that’s what a woman needs to shut her up. (more…)

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StFXAUT Sponsorship Application

The next deadline to submit the StFXAUT Sponsorship Application Form is Saturday, April 1st.  The StFXAUT invites sponsorship requests from organizations committed to education, labour, social justice, and community development.

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Professional Development Fund

Remember to access your Professional Development Fund (PDF)…
Article 1.22 of the Collective Agreement entitles each member to an expense account, against which you can claim for reimbursement of
PD-related expenses:
PDF Information
PDF Expense Claim Form

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NSTU Rally – February 15, 2017

StFXAUT Members (left to right): President Mary Oxner, former President Peter McInnis, and Executive Member Wendy Panagopoulos

StFXAUT President Mary Oxner, former President Peter McInnis, and Executive Member Wendy Panagopoulos participated in a local rally in support of the members of the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union (NSTU), held on Wednesday February 15th. Rally supporters gathered behind the 5 to a $1 and marched to Antigonish MLA Randy Delorey’s Office on Main Street. Approximately 50 members from the NSTU, AUT, and the community participated in the rally.

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Annual General Meeting (AGM) – May 11, 2017

Please note the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the StFXAUT will be held on Thursday, May 11th from 1:15pm-2:30pm in the SCHW 205.

Prior to the AGM, there will be four information sessions (topics to be confirmed later this month) from 11:30am-12:30pm.  Lunch will be provided.  Please let Susan MacKay know if you have any food allergies or special dietary requirements.

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Reflections on the Women’s March on Washington – Saturday, January 21

This article, written by Erika Koch, appears in the Winter 2017 edition of The Beacon.

Seven airplanes, four hotel rooms, and not quite seven days. That’s what it took for me to travel to and from my usual winter conference—leaving it a day early—and arrive in Washington, DC for the Women’s March, which took place the day after the current American President’s inauguration. I had felt ashamed to be American after the election, and despite the fact that I voted in the election (as is my right as an American citizen), I felt powerless. So, when my sister-in-law invited me to march with her, I felt both thrilled an honored. As I said to her at the time of her invitation, I think I’ve always wanted to be part of a march on Washington. When I lived in Maryland for three years before arriving at St. FX, I played tourist in DC a few times a year and always enjoyed soaking up the city’s history. I was excited to return to the city and be a part of a new history.

People have asked me why I marched. I could fill a great deal of space answering that question, but I will try to be brief. Selfishly, I wanted to dampen my own sense of powerlessness, but, less selfishly, I wanted to remind the world that most Americans who voted did not vote for the current President. I wanted to show the new administration that women are not going to be silent when confronted with misogyny. I wanted to remind myself that not everyone is going to passively accept the new administration’s whims, especially those that threaten women’s rights. (more…)

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MSc/MA Supervision Credit

This article, written by Russell Wyeth, appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The Beacon.

Following the conclusion of our recent collective bargaining process, an inequality amongst our members has been established. Faculty in Education will receive teaching credit for supervision of Master’s theses, while faculty in science and the arts will not (Section 1.3.6 of the 4th Collective Agreement).  The Administration has indicated that their refusal to provide credit for supervision of MSc and MA theses was linked to the longstanding practice of providing “tuition waivers” to MSc students.  However, during bargaining, the inequality created by discriminating between faculty members in different disciplines was recognized by both parties, and a letter of understanding (LOU #1) was signed by the administration and the union to strike a committee to explore options for providing Master’s thesis supervision credit outside of the Faculty of Education.

There are several important considerations to be tackled by this committee: (more…)

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