Fall Return to Campus

Given the continued questions surrounding the return to in-person teaching in the Fall 2021 semester, the MUNFA Executive has been corresponding with senior administration to raise concerns and seek clarity on the situation. A full list of questions and concerns raised is provided towards the end of this Information Bulletin.

While we await a response to our most recent letter, we would like to encourage Academic Staff Members (ASMs) with concerns around increased workload or other concerns about the University’s return to campus plans to document these concerns in writing to your Administrative Head and to send a separate copy of this document to the MUNFA Office.

Similarly, an ASM who is concerned with potential violations of Academic Freedom in regard to course delivery/evaluation methods is encouraged to document them in writing to your Administrative Head and to, as in the previous suggestion, send a separate copy of this document to the MUNFA Office.

Please contact munfa@mun.ca if you have additional questions/concerns.

List of Questions/Concerns raised by MUNFA Executive with Senior Administration:
• The problems with a hybrid model for course delivery and the increased workload associated with such an approach;
• The need for support (e.g. administrative, technological, etc.) in course preparation for the fall. In particular, the need to provide IT support for platforms beyond Webex and BrightSpace;
• The need for supports for students entering the province (e.g. space for quarantining, financial support, etc.);
• Opposition to the suggestion that ASMs teach on Saturdays and Sundays as it will negatively impact both ASMs and students who have caregiving responsibilities, work responsibilities, etc.
• The need for strong communication to students regarding the privacy and intellectual property of ASMs as it relates to their course material and lectures.
• Concerns relating to the administration’s ongoing rhetoric encouraging flexibility and accommodation for students, as it has at times placed ASMs in an incredibly difficult position where they are being forced to either deny increased flexibility or potentially compromise the integrity of their courses;
• A lack of support for ASMs when they have tried to enforce academic rigor and academic honesty throughout the pandemic.
• Questions on how Memorial will handle students who have enrolled but are unable to obtain a study visa or return to the province in time for the semester;
• How administration will coordinate classroom density across the university, in particular as it relates to Academic Units (e.g. Social Work) who do not normally have access to larger classrooms;
• How classroom density will be managed between classes in corridors and in other communal spaces on campus; and
• Broadly speaking, concerns with a lack of communication directly with ASMs and inconsistent communication from administrative heads to ASMs across the university.