Many of our members have expressed frustration and concern over the requirement for submission of a Course Completion Plan, especially with the unreasonable and arbitrarily imposed deadline of March 18th.
The Executive wrote to Dan Bradshaw (Assistant Vice President, Labour Relations) asking for clarification and assurances that there would be no surveillance and no discipline for those who struggle to meet arbitrary deadlines.
Bradshaw has now (March 17, 2020) replied and members can find his reply below. Members should especially note the commitment that those struggling to meet the March 18th deadline should not expect “some form of “negative” response from the employer”.
We recognize that extenuating circumstances are challenging to everyone and I take your point that this will be more challenging with Contract Faculty who have a higher number of courses to teach.
Further to that, we really want to thank our Contract Faculty staff for their diligence in working towards this transition. From what I am hearing, while there are undoubtedly some “bumps” out there, things are progressing well.
Regarding course completion plans, I want to begin by saying that the main purpose of the March 13 request for course completion plans by March 18 is to identify where, for any number of reasons, there are issues and challenges with respect to making the transition to moving away from face to face delivery. Any subsequent messaging from the Provost or others was intended to clarify this point and further to highlight that instructors could be flexible in the alternate means by which they would be able to achieve the timely completion of their course while maintaining academic integrity.
Regarding the content of the course completion plan, I think it might be helpful to reference Provost Phillips campus communication on March 13 – https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/community-update-10-course-completion-plan/
And the subsequent communication from yesterday for additional clarification and detail on instructor autonomy and flexibility: https://coronavirus.info.yorku.ca/2020/03/community-update-15-covid-19-course-completion-information/
In particular, in her March 13 communication the Provost noted that:
We are asking all instructors to develop plans to complete their courses under these unique conditions by Wednesday March 18th, and to submit these plans to their Department/School/Faculty. Your course completion plan should address the following:
How you plan to make course materials available to students online and conduct class activities remotely
Any changes you are making to your evaluation scheme (see information on Evaluation and Exams below)
Any course components or evaluations that cannot be replaced or delivered in alternate ways, so your Department or Faculty can work with you to develop remediation plans.
It is not a question of the Dean’s Office approving the plans, rather an exercise in data collection to determine where there are issues and additional action is required.
Anything you can do to assist us in encouraging that these plans be submitted by March 18, for the purposes identified above and with the content identified by the Provost and noted above, would be greatly appreciated. Where instructors are struggling with parts of their plan, this would be regarded as a circumstance where additional resources may need to be deployed to assist, rather than circumstances requiring some form of “negative” response from the employer. We are hopeful that timely planning will assist as many students and instructors with clarity on activities going forward.
Thanks for reaching out on this. Let me know if you want to discuss further.
Assistant Vice-President, Labour Relations