Election Season at KPU
By Panteli Tritchew, Member-At-Large
ELECTION SEASON AT KPU
Spring is in the air, and it’s election season at Kwantlen Polytechnic University! While our elections may lack the drama of Sanders versus Clinton or Trump versus Cruz, nonetheless, faculty need to be aware of election requirements arising out of our Collective Agreement.
Specifically, there are four faculty positions referenced in the Collective Agreement which require elections:
- Departmental Search Committee representatives—annual elections
- Departmental Chair position—every 3 years or when vacancy arises
- Departmental Professional Development representatives—every two years
- Faculty Education Leave representatives—every two years
While the transition dates and cycles between incumbents and newcomers vary from department to department and Faculty to Faculty, elections for these positions most typically occur at the end of the “traditional” academic year, in the April, May, and June timeframe(s), but with Kwantlen’s trimester schedule, these election timeframes may well vary.
DEPARTMENTAL SEARCH COMMITTEE REPRESENTATIVES
As per Article 4.02 of the Collective Agreement, Departmental Search Committees perform critical work at KPU. They provide specific expertise on subject and instructional matters, review and assist with the preparation of the job posting(s), review all written applications, compile the interview list, conduct interviews and prepare a short-list with rationale and recommendations for hiring.
Article 4.02 (a) Formation of a Search Committee states that “The Search Committee shall consist of up to 4 members: one designated by the University President or his/her designate and 2 or 3 elected annually by the discipline/program.” (Occasionally, there are special circumstances such that the KFA will grant variances to the composition of the Search Committee.)
As per Article 4.02 (c), all regular and non-regular type 2 faculty members who are part of the discipline(s) are eligible for membership on the Search Committee.
As April, May and June are typically the periods with the heaviest Search Committee activity, departments are encouraged to have clear guidelines regarding the beginning and end of terms for faculty who serve on Search Committee and to conduct elections accordingly.
The roles and responsibilities of Departmental Chairs and Coordinators are too numerous to mention here and fall outside the scope of this article, but needless to say, they perform critical work in maintaining the ongoing operations of faculty departments at KPU.
As per Article 4.05(b) of the Collective Agreement, there are several key points for faculty to be aware of as we come to the end of the academic year:
4.05 (b) Whenever a vacancy arises for a chair it shall be filled by the following process:
(i) all faculty members of the discipline(s) or program(s) or closest related discipline(s) or program(s) shall be eligible to vote for chair;
(ii) all regular faculty members of the discipline(s) or program(s) or closest related discipline(s) or program(s) shall be eligible to be elected as chairs;
(iii) the chair shall be elected for a three-year term;
4.05 (f) A chair or coordinator may serve for a maximum of two consecutive three year terms
With Kwantlen running on what is essentially a trimester basis and the need for an orderly transition from one chair to another chair, it’s important for departments to have clearly defined beginning and end terms for department chairs and to conduct elections accordingly.
The Kwantlen Faculty Association routinely provides one of our Table Officers or elected representatives to act as Chief Election/Returning Officers for departmental chair elections if departments wish. We are pleased to assist with these important elections, so feel free to contact Kyla Rand to arrange for assistance with your departmental chair elections.
DEPARTMENTAL PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT REPRESENTATIVES
Article 16 of the Collective Agreement provides guidelines for the allocation of professional development funds among the eight “groupings” of departments which are closely aligned with Kwantlen’s eight Senate Faculties. Each grouping is required to have a Professional Development Committee. The Professional Development Committee is responsible drawing up guidelines for the disbursement of professional development funds and reviewing faculty applications for the use of such funds.
Article 16 (b) requires that the members of the Professional Development Committee for each group are to be elected in February/March every two years so that the new committee takes effect on April 1, which aligns with the beginning of the new fiscal year. Departments should hold these elections as closely as possible to these dates. One of the elected members is elected as the Professional Development Chairperson.
Article 16 (d) requires that one member of each Professional Development Committee be elected to serve as that group’s representative to the Educational Leave Committee for two academic years.
FACULTY EDUCATIONAL LEAVE REPRESENTATIVES
Our Collective Agreement provides faculty for the opportunity to apply for educational leave. Educational leave is defined as a period of paid leave that allows regular faculty to apply for a period of time (one semester or two semesters) to be freed from their regular duties in order to pursue educational or personal development goals. The provisions regarding educational leave are covered in Article 14.0 of the Collective Agreement.
As per Article 14.18, “The Educational Leave Committee shall be composed of one representative elected from each professional development committee, and the administrator responsible. The elected representatives shall serve for two academic years with half of the members being elected in alternate years. The chairperson of the Committee shall be elected by and from the Committee and shall serve for one calendar year.”
In summary, the Collective Agreement has provisions that both entitle and obligate faculty to hold elections, including
- annual elections for departmental Search Committee representatives, departmental Professional Development representatives, and Faculty Education Leave representatives
- departmental Chair positions, every three years (or as required)
If you have questions about any aspects of the Collective Agreement leave provisions regarding departmental representative election requirements outlined in this article, please feel free to contact me.
Member-At-Large, Kwantlen Faculty Association