FAQs for Faculty
Can NSCAD afford the Faculty Union’s demands?
We cannot afford the Union’s demands. NSCAD is at a critical point in its history. The University has a structural deficit, which means expenses are rising faster than revenues. The only short-term solution to our financial challenges is to grow enrolment. There are no other sources of revenue that will be available to us over the life of this collective agreement to respond to the Union’s demands. Moreover, in order to support the University’s current financial commitments, we require an enrolment increase of 40 students each year for the next three academic years.
It is also important to note that, while the largest proportion of the University’s annual budget goes to Unit I faculty members, there are other significant financial priorities and obligations the University must support. These include: support for students, ongoing maintenance, equipment, salary and benefits for other employees, and improving our fundraising capacity.
I’ve heard that NSCAD has a surplus. What was last year’s surplus and why can’t it be used to pay for the Union’s demands?
We understand that FUNSCAD is reporting that the University had a 3.1 million dollar surplus last year. This is simply not correct. That amount does not take into account the University’s debt servicing obligations, which amount to 1.4 million dollars per year. After our debt servicing obligations were met, the University’s actual available surplus from the last fiscal year was 1.7 million dollars of “one-time money”. The money was allocated by the Board of Governors to support our comprehensive campaign for program support and essential infrastructure renewal.
Why can’t NSCAD run deficits each year?
NSCAD is one of the highest granted universities in Nova Scotia on a per capita basis. As a condition of receiving annual operating grants from the Province of Nova Scotia, NSCAD is required to have a sustainable financial position. In the recent past, the Province provided one-time assistance to NSCAD. The Province will no longer cover deficits. If NSCAD is to run a deficit, the University has no way to make up the shortfall.
What has NSCAD offered for wage increases? Why?
The Board of Governors provided a mandate for a four-year agreement with the Economic wage increases for all Unit I members at the following levels: 1.3%, 1.1%, 1.1%, and 1.1%.
As well, NSCAD proposed enhanced wage increases tied to enrolment increases, since this will be the only source of new funds during the life of this agreement.
These increases are on top of the 2.5% Step increases. Step increases are valued at $2,500–$2,600 per year and are provided to the 29 faculty members who have not reached the top of their scale.
With our proposal, the majority of full-time faculty will receive annual raises of $4,000 per year or $16,000 over a four-year agreement with the combined Economic and Step increases.
What is NSCAD’s positon on the Union’s wage demand?
The Union has proposed a three-year agreement with wage increases for full-time and pro-rated faculty at the following levels: 2.0%, 2.0%, and 2.5%. Increases of $500.00 per course per year is proposed for regular part-time faculty and individual course appointees, which amounts to a 25.0% increase in base pay over three years.
This level of wage increases is simply not affordable or sustainable given the University’s current fiscal situation.
Why won’t NSCAD agree to the Union proposal on teaching load?
NSCAD is very small. Our full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty currently teach at a 3:3 workload, which means they are typically required to teach 3 courses in the fall semester and 3 courses in the winter semester.
During the current academic year, about 32% of the full-time faculty delivered a full teaching load. This highlights the fact that approximately 25%-30% of our full-time faculty are on sabbatical in any given year. There are also a number of course releases currently provided to faculty for administrative duties and union responsibilities.
The Union proposals have significant cost implications and would impact the academic reputation of the institution. Most importantly, moving to a 3:2 workload and implementing additional course releases would significantly impair the full-time faculty’s teaching and contact time with students. We believe contact time between students and full-time faculty is critical for our students. We know that students choose NSCAD based on the opportunity to work with our faculty.
How do NSCAD teaching loads compare to other Canadian art colleges?
Currently, NSCAD full-time faculty have proportionately lower contact teaching hours compared to the other independent art schools in Canada, namely Alberta University of the Arts, OCAD University, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design. This results in higher than average academic program costs per student as well as higher academic labour costs as a percentage of overall operating budget.
Alberta University of the Arts, OCAD University, and Emily Carr University of Art + Design are NSCAD’s real comparators because they offer similarly structured studio-based pedagogy, which has small class sizes and is equipment and materials intensive. We have also surveyed our students, who indicated that these are the institutions they would choose to attend if they were not enroled at NSCAD.
What has NSCAD proposed to the Union with respect to course releases?
We understand that the faculty request for course releases related largely to the desire of full-time faculty to have more time for research. We support and encourage faculty to be engaged in robust research and creative practice. Currently, NSCAD has an entire term dedicated to faculty research. Additional releases may be granted for research by the Vice-President Academic and Research.
NSCAD has made two additional proposals for course releases related to research. The first is to grant one course release per year to each division, based on the research plan of the faculty. The second is the grant of a course release for faculty who receive Tri-Council research grants of $75,000 or more per year.
What is NSCAD’s position regarding job security for regular part-time faculty?
Firstly, NSCAD greatly values our regular part-time faculty and has the utmost respect for their work. They are excellent teachers who provide our students with unique and current insight into their professional artistic disciplines.
NSCAD provides its regular part-time faculty with security through rights of first refusal and precedence. NSCAD, like every other university, cannot guarantee multi-year course assignments to regular part-time faculty without guaranteed enrolment for these courses.
What are the proposed financial enhancements for regular part-time faculty?
Our current per course rates, combined with various other related benefits, stipends, and fees, are extremely competitive with local universities and other Canadian art colleges. In addition to the base per course fee, NSCAD also provides professional development allowances, health spending allowances per course taught, and vacation pay at 6%.
In addition, NSCAD is proposing the following enhancements for part-time faculty:
- Economic wage increases of 1.3%, 1.1%, 1.1%, and 1.1% over the course of a four-year agreement with additional increases available based on enrolment increases;
- One-time payment of $500.00 to those on the Precedence List as of October 1, 2018;
- 40% increase in remuneration for serving on a committee;
- 2% increase to course cancellation remuneration;
- 11% increase in remuneration for acting as a Graduate Studio Advisor or Thesis Supervisor;
- 33% increase to the RPT per course Professional and Scholarly Activity Fund;
- 6% increase in remuneration for RPTs supervising Independent Study during the summer semester; and
- 23% increase in the RPT per course Health Spending Fund.