The Confederation of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia (CUFA BC) represents over 5,500 professors, lecturers, instructors, professional librarians and other academic staff at British Columbia's five research universities. Our goal is a system of publicly-funded post-secondary education that is of high-quality and broadly accessible. We believe that anyone who can benefit from post-secondary education should be able to try and attain that education regardless of their economic or social circumstance.
Academic staff at the University of Northern British Columbia began strike action March 5 after over two years of bargaining and an 85% strike vote mandate from their members"
“We have taken this step after two and a half years of failed negotiations and intransigence on the part of UNBC’s administration,” said Jacqueline Holler, president of the UNBC Faculty Association (UNBCFA).
“While increasing pressure has allowed us to make considerable progress on non-monetary aspects of our agreement, we remain by far the lowest-paid faculty among our comparator institutions,” she added.
In an arbitration decision released in 2013 respected arbitrator Vince Ready concluded that UNBC salaries were far behind the comparator market and that UNBC had additional internal resources to remedy at least part of the disparity.
UNBCFA represents nearly 200 professors, full- and part-time instructors, senior lab instructors, and academic librarians at the University of Northern British Columbia.
CUFA BC member associations have voiced support for UNBC FA and, along with CUFA BC and other faculty associations across the country, have sent “flying pickets” to Prince George in solidarity.
For more information, visit the UNBCFA website at www.unbcfa.ca or follow on Twitter at @UNBCFA.
CUFA BC's Distinguished Academic Award Adjudication Committee is pleased to announce the winners of this year's awards:
Early in Career Award: Dr. Chris Darimont, University of Victoria.
Dr. Darimont is an interdisciplinary conservation scientist who applies natural and social science tools to confront conservation problems that are both conceptually interesting and acutely applied. Although Dr. Dairmont and his fledgling lab group have broad scholarly interests, they maintain three primary research domains: i) landscape ecology at the marine-terrestrial interface, ii) conservation biology of harvest management, and iii) conservation ethics. The wildlife and people of the central coast of British Columbia – an area popularly known as the Great Bear Rainforest – comprise a study system of particular interest. While this geographic focus invokes a strong sense of place, the research is designed to have a global reach.
The Early in Career Award is sponsored by Scotiabank.
Ehor Boyanowsky Academic of the Year Award: Dr. Bruce Lanphear, Simon Fraser University.
Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award: Dr. Antonia Mills, University of Northern British Columbia.
VICTORIA – Despite a surplus of close to $1 billion in fiscal year 2014/15, the 2015/16 provincial budget contains no new funding or policy initiatives for British Columbia’s research universities, according to CUFA BC, the provincial voice of over 5,500 professors, librarians, instructors, lecturers and other academic staff at BC's five public research universities.
"This budget ensures that BC will continue to fall farther behind when it comes to funding research and teaching," said Doug Baer, President of the Confederation of University Faculty Associations of BC (CUFA BC).
"When inflationary pressures and the recent cuts to university budgets are accounted for there has been a cumulative cut of over 15% to core operating budgets over the past 12 years," Baer added. "The reality is that these cuts affect the basic operations of teaching and learning, and the research capacity at our institutions. It is an illusion to believe that this funding trend can continue without affecting the core mandate of public post-secondary education in British Columbia."
In its submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance, CUFA BC made the case for the establishment of a provincially funded program of graduate scholarships. BC is one of the few provinces in the country that does not have scholarships for graduate students. CUFA BC also set out the case for core funding that kept pace with inflation as opposed to the recent set of rolling funding cuts for BC’s research universities.
“BC needs to take a leadership role in recruiting and retaining excellent faculty and graduate students. Instead we are seeing de facto cuts to core funding and no policy initiatives whatsoever to promote and develop research excellence at BC’s universities,” said Baer.
Despite a healthy surplus there is no new funding for student financial assistance, research, or infrastructure in this budget. The capital spending for post-secondary institutions referenced in the budget documents is not new funding but rather a renouncement of previous commitments. BC continues to also have the highest interest rates on student loans of any jurisdiction in Canada.
Though the budget contained no new funding for post-secondary education, the Minister of Finance announced the elimination of the surtax on British Columbians earning over $150,000 per year. The elimination of this tax will cost the government in excess of $200 million per year.
“This budget largely focuses on the wrong priorities, while ignoring BC’s research universities. In an economic climate in which post-secondary education is increasingly important, the elimination of a tax for the richest British Columbians is simply the wrong choice,” concluded Baer.
For further information or comment please contact CUFA BC President Doug Baer @ 250-418-5240 or CUFA BC Executive Director Michael Conlon @ 778-994-2616.