Presidents Report – January 2014

Durham College Academic Union Local President Debbie Rautins

Presidents Report-2014

No one knows better than teachers that “The times, they are a changing!” The Ontario College system is changing, in some ways for the better; in some ways, not so.  Some changes which we should all be thinking about:

  1. The push for online classes. Mohawk college has mandated that for every 3 classroom hours of every course, 1 hour becomes online/hybrid. Think about how that will affect teaching, students, and your job. Durham is quickly heading that way with, as an example, all “new” Gen Ed courses being online.
  2.  Increased workload of our members. A constant concern for our members who, although this may be the best job in the world, struggle to find balance between work and home life.
  3. The virtual reduction to near zero of librarians. Librarians are not being hired at all anymore and are generally being retired out of the bargaining unit.  
  4. A reduction in our freedom to make academic decisions regarding marks, curriculum, ownership of courses. Colleges are simply taking FT work found on the LMS and handing it over to Part-time employees.
  5. A statistical decrease in Full-time professors relative to enrollment and Part-time contracts.
  6. A threat to the continuation of apprenticeship programs.

This year we head into bargaining. (Personally, my favourite duty as President is to lead our members down this bi-annual path…only kidding!). As changes are inevitable and affect you directly, I urge you to think about the long-term consequences of these changes instead of about only tomorrow.

  Many long-time members are retiring, as evidenced by attendance at the CAAT Pension Seminar this past Friday; these members have historically been the supporters of the Union. It is time for newer employees to protect themselves and the students from decisions which are made for financial reasons alone.

All of us need to take the time to consider the ramifications of the changes which are occurring in order to protect each other. I have heard often and have said to myself, “It won’t affect me; I’m retiring soon.” But it will affect the other 250 members who will be left to shoulder the effects of what is to come. My message is therefore to those “newer” members: Be Aware and Get involved.