The following letter to was sent Friday, December 4 to Glenn Vollebregt, College President; Eileen De Courcy, Senior Vice-President Academic; and Kathy O’Brien, Senior Vice-President, Strategy, Communications, and Advancement. The letter was in response to the College’s use of the term “Instructor” rather than “Professor” in a recent video for new and returning students.
See the video here.
Any individual interested in reading the College’s response can request it from Christina Decarie, Local Steward (firstname.lastname@example.org)
December 4, 2020 [via email]
Glenn, Eileen and Kathy,
This semester has been challenging for everyone. The LEC would like to positively acknowledge the recent initiative to incorporate feedback in the development of a more comprehensive communication strategy between SLC and our students. Such measures are sure to assist in easing student stress as well as aid in fostering healthy learning environments as we work toward a common goal of delivering quality education in these unprecedented circumstances.
We were disappointed, however, by the recent video released to students. While the motivation and sentiment are in alignment with faculty, this video demonstrates the continued lack of knowledge by those creating college messaging as it relates to terms and definitions. We first saw an example of this in the spring social media recruitment campaign that incorrectly referred to alternative delivery as “online learning” (despite the colleges’ own insistence that we are not providing online courses). The recent student video mistakenly (and repeatedly) refers to professors as “instructors”. As you know, the Collective Agreement makes a clear distinction between these roles. Such an oversight is insulting and fails to value the considerable contributions of our dedicated faculty over the past several months.
Such carelessness adds weight on the backs of SLC professors who have worked tirelessly since March to provide meaningful learning opportunities under new, and at times, unreasonable circumstances. Faculty are already exhausted by the additional workloads. This error both minimizes and undervalues the efforts being made every day by caring individuals who have demonstrated sincere dedication to their students and programs.
In the spirit of “belonging”, we ask that the college show accountability for this error by issuing a correcting statement. Words matter. This act of good faith would do much to restore the damage to morale inflicted by what we hope was an honest mistake on the part of our communications department.
Moving forward, we invite and encourage members of the communications and marketing teams to consult with any of our LEC members for clarification of terms related to faculty and learning. We would happily work with our colleagues to ensure misunderstandings like this do not occur in the future, and trust that all efforts will be made by the college executive to ensure that faculty are more accurately and respectfully reflected in college messaging. Definitions of both Instructor and Professor have been included below, as taken from the Collective Agreement.
Thank you for your action and cooperation in this matter.
Under the direction of the senior academic officer of the College or designate, a Professor is responsible for providing academic leadership and for developing an effective learning environment for students.
- a) The design/revision/updating of courses, including:
- consulting with program and course directors and other faculty members, advisory committees, accrediting agencies, potential employers and students;
- defining course objectives and evaluating and validating these objectives;
- specifying or approving learning approaches, necessary resources, etc.;
- developing individualized instruction and multi-media presentations where applicable;
- selecting or approving textbooks and learning materials.
- b) The teaching of assigned courses, including:
- ensuring student awareness of course objectives, approach and evaluation techniques;
- carrying out regularly scheduled instruction;
- tutoring and academic counselling of students;
- providing a learning environment which makes effective use of available resources, work experience and field trips;
- evaluating student progress/achievement and assuming responsibility for the overall assessment of the student’s work within assigned courses.
- c) The provision of academic leadership, including:
- providing guidance to Instructors relative to the Instructors’ teaching assignments;
- participating in the work of curriculum and other consultative committees as requested.
In addition, the Professor may, from time to time, be called upon to contribute to other areas ancillary to the role of Professor, such as student recruitment and selection, time-tabling, facility design, professional development, student employment, and control of supplies and equipment.
The Instructor classification applies to those teaching positions where the duties and responsibilities of the incumbent are limited to that portion of the total spectrum of academic activities related to the provision of instruction to assigned groups of students through prepared courses of instruction and according to prescribed instructional formats; and limited to instruction directed to the acquisition of a manipulative skill or technique; and under the direction of a Professor. Notwithstanding such prescription, the Instructor is responsible for and has the freedom to provide a learning environment which makes effective use of the resources provided or identified, work experience, field trips, etc., and to select suitable learning materials from those provided or identified to facilitate the attainment by the students of the educational objectives of the assigned courses.
The Instructor’s duties and responsibilities include:
- ensuring student awareness of course objectives, instructional approach, and evaluation systems;
- carrying out regularly scheduled instruction according to the format prescribed for the course, including as appropriate, classroom, laboratory, shop, field, seminar, computer assisted, individualized learning, and other instructional techniques;
- tutoring and academic counselling of students in the assigned groups;
- evaluating student progress/achievement, assuming responsibility for the overall assessment of the students’ work within the assigned course, and maintaining records as required;
- consulting with the Professors responsible for the courses of instruction on the effectiveness of the instruction in attaining the stated program objectives.
In addition, the Instructor may, from time to time, be called upon to contribute to other activities ancillary to the provision of instruction, such as procurement and control of instructional supplies and maintenance and control of instructional equipment.