DFA Workload Survey Results Reveal Stress, Anxiety and a Feeling of Disrespect

In mid-September, the DFA conducted a workload survey.  Over 71% of our Membership (630 of 967) responded to the survey, a response rate which demonstrates the importance of workload issues to DFA Members.  More than 85% of respondents reported higher/substantially higher levels of stress when compared to last year.  They also reported feeling overworked and anxious.  In addition to quantitative results, the comments strongly reflect a common theme among our Members - feeling disrespected by the Board’s demands for serious economic concessions at a time when they are working harder than ever to deliver the academic mission of the institution.  On Tuesday, September 22, DFA President Dave Westwood sent the results to Dalhousie President Deep Saini and copied all Deans, expressing DFA's concerns about the health and well-being of our Members.  You can see the full quantitative results and brief summary of the comments here.

DFA Files for Conciliation in Negotiations with Dalhousie University’s Board of Governors

On Tuesday, September 22, the DFA filed for a provincially-appointed conciliator to assist in talks with Dalhousie’s Board of Governors for a new Collective Agreement.  The current Collective Agreement expired June 30, 2020.  Since mid-July, the two sides have met seven times to exchange and discuss proposals. “We remain far apart on several issues and believe that the best course of action at this point is to see if a conciliator can bring us closer together,” says DFA President David Westwood. 

The story has been covered in the Chronicle Herald, the Cape Breton Post. and the Nova Scotia Advocate(You can also read it in allnovascotia.com if you have a subscription.)

Copyright & On-line Teaching

Dear Colleagues,

The DFA office has received many enquiries about issues related to copyright, particularly in the context of on-line teaching. I thought it would be helpful to summarize the key points, and recommendations, that arise from our Collective Agreement. For reference, Article 23 addresses issues related to Copyrights, Patents and Author's Rights.

  1. DFA Members own the copyright for teaching materials that they create, including lectures (Clauses 23.01, 23.02, 23.03 and 23.04) subject to some narrow limitations.
  2. As the author of your teaching materials, including lectures and on line presentations, you can authorize others to use your copyrighted materials without giving up your ownership rights. The DFA recommends that when sharing your copyrighted materials, you should specify the terms of use in writing. Materials shared with others should be marked as copyrighted where feasible. This can be of particular importance in co-taught courses.
  3. Members who prepare lectures, tests and exams and other materials which are communicated in digital form should put a notice on all such material to the following effect: This lecture and any other materials provided for this course are subject to the copyright of the course instructor and may not be reproduced or copied in whole or in part without the consent of the instructor. Students who are enrolled in the course who have received this lecture or any other material may reproduce it in order to view it at a more convenient time but must destroy the reproduction within 30 days of receiving the final course evaluation.
  4. Under clause 23.06(b) the Board has a time-limited right to use certain kinds of teaching materials developed by Members under specific circumstances. Such arrangements require written agreement of the Member, and the Member retains copyright ownership over the materials. Annual workload agreements which describe a Member’s teaching responsibilities do not transfer licencing rights to the Board. However, given the ease of copying digital materials prepared for teaching courses on-line you should make it clear that the materials you have authored cannot be used by others without your specific consent. We encourage Members to consult with the DFA office before signing a workload agreement that includes the development of teaching materials.
  5. Article 23.03 compels the Board to provide every reasonable assistance to Members to prevent publication, recording, or broadcasting of lectures not authorized by the Members concerned. The DFA encourages Members to bring such concerns to the attention of their Dean. Through the Association Board Committee, the Board has committed to enabling a "pop-up" message in Brightspace alerting students that teaching materials are copyrighted.

As always, please reach out to the DFA Office for support (dfa@dal.ca) if you have concerns about your working conditions.


Dave Westwood, DFA President 2020-2021

Meet the DFA's Bargaining Team

Members of the 2020 DFA Bargaining Team have been working diligently on behalf of our Members since late 2019.  Please take a few moments to learn a little about the people representing you at the bargaining table