Paul Grand is one of the 2017-2018 TRUFA Contract Faculty Representatives. Please feel free to get in touch with him at email@example.com if you have any questions or concerns about contract faculty issues at TRU.
Describe your position at TRU and the type of work that you do.
I’m on a 3-year contract working with the Department of Physics. Mostly I teach the first and second year engineering project courses, materials science, introductory physics. I have also taught labs for all of those courses.
What brought you to this work?
I had a good “run” as an electrical /telecommunications engineer, software developer and technologist before some employment volatility in the mid-2000s. I retrained as a teacher in 2005 (I had always intended to finish my working life as a teacher) and have taught math, physics and programming in high schools, universities and technology programs. When my time at Red Deer college ran out, I welcomed the chance to move back to BC, closer to my extended family.
How long have you been at TRU?
Just over one year.
What brought you to TRUFA?
A desire to expand my horizons past the classroom, the hope that having more university involvement would improve my long-term prospects.
Why did you decide to become a TRUFA Contract Faculty Representative?
Contract employees are generally underrepresented. As one of only a few sessional instructors with a longer term “presence”, I can provide some continuity to the role.
Why do you think contract faculty members should be involved in their union?
Enlightened self-interest :). Short-term and contract employees often don’t know policies and procedures, so they can be taken advantage of and be completely unaware anything is abnormal. Knowledge is power. Sidebar: It is often difficult to get a hold of contract faculty. If you send me your email I’ll enrol you in the contract faculty Moodle site. I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll keep spam to a minimum 🙂
Why is it important for TRUFA to be a strong advocate for contract faculty members?
TRUFA should be a strong advocate for ALL faculty members – that is the reason TRUFA exists. That said, contract faculty represent a large and growing percentage of post-secondary instructors (for some institutions over 40% of the instructors are sessional) but still have little influence (as Teressa will confirm) on issues of collective bargaining, fair wages and benefits and working conditions in general. Not to say that things are bad, but they can certainly be improved upon.