RE: College professors are fighting precarious, temporary work

Opinion Nov 03, 2017 by John Tibbits Brant News

The Nov. 1 article regarding Conestoga College operations in Brantford was most disappointing.

Thanks to a partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga has offered career-focused education programs in Brantford since 2012.

At that time, Mohawk College had relocated most of its Brantford programming to Hamilton.

City officials were eager to engage Conestoga to provide local access to college-level programming for the city’s residents and continue building the education district that has revitalized its downtown core.

Building a new campus is like building any other business: it takes time, vision, patience, investment and fiscal risk.  

Five years in, student numbers remain low, with fewer than 130 full-time students enrolled in Conestoga programs in Brantford, and about an equal number in programs delivered in partnership with Laurier.

Essentially, the campus is still at a start-up stage, and it may take another five or 10 years to determine whether we can attract enough students to make the campus truly viable.

We’re committed to staying because we believe that local education builds stronger communities, but in turn, we require – and deserve – community support.

Your Nov. 1 article regarding the current faculty strike at Ontario colleges was an uncritical recitation of the rhetoric provided by union leaders and representatives of the striking workers.

Here’s what they didn’t tell you:

• College faculty are not precarious workers. The term "precarious worker" is usually reserved for those who work for low pay, without benefits, and without the right to join a union. That description, provided by the International Labor Rights Forum, fits not a single faculty member currently employed in the Ontario college system. Full-time and partial-load faculty are already unionized, and enjoy generous salaries and benefits. Part-time faculty, who teach less than seven hours per week at Conestoga and are paid on average $75 per hour, voted earlier this fall on whether they want to be represented by OPSEU. The results are pending.

• Conestoga has the highest proportion of full-time faculty in the Ontario college system. Sixty-eight per cent of teaching hours in Conestoga’s full-time programs are taught by full-time faculty members. Their average salary exceeds $98,000 per year, and they’re guaranteed 43 vacation days, as well as 10 paid professional development days each year. If enrolments at the Brantford campus grow substantially, we’ll have the opportunity to hire more full-time faculty to teach there as well. That’s what’s happened at the college’s more established campuses. As a result of continued growth, we’ve hired 107 new full-time faculty in the last five years. 

• Conestoga and the Ontario college system were established 50 years ago to serve industry, workforce and community needs. All indicators would suggest that we’re not just succeeding, we’re thriving. Enrolments across the system are growing, graduate employment rates are very high, and employers are overwhelmingly satisfied with the skills and career-readiness of the graduates they hire. 

Now that’s a story worth telling.

John Tibbits is the president of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

RE: College professors are fighting precarious, temporary work

Opinion Nov 03, 2017 by John Tibbits Brant News

The Nov. 1 article regarding Conestoga College operations in Brantford was most disappointing.

Thanks to a partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga has offered career-focused education programs in Brantford since 2012.

At that time, Mohawk College had relocated most of its Brantford programming to Hamilton.

City officials were eager to engage Conestoga to provide local access to college-level programming for the city’s residents and continue building the education district that has revitalized its downtown core.

Related Content

Building a new campus is like building any other business: it takes time, vision, patience, investment and fiscal risk.  

Five years in, student numbers remain low, with fewer than 130 full-time students enrolled in Conestoga programs in Brantford, and about an equal number in programs delivered in partnership with Laurier.

Essentially, the campus is still at a start-up stage, and it may take another five or 10 years to determine whether we can attract enough students to make the campus truly viable.

We’re committed to staying because we believe that local education builds stronger communities, but in turn, we require – and deserve – community support.

Your Nov. 1 article regarding the current faculty strike at Ontario colleges was an uncritical recitation of the rhetoric provided by union leaders and representatives of the striking workers.

Here’s what they didn’t tell you:

• College faculty are not precarious workers. The term "precarious worker" is usually reserved for those who work for low pay, without benefits, and without the right to join a union. That description, provided by the International Labor Rights Forum, fits not a single faculty member currently employed in the Ontario college system. Full-time and partial-load faculty are already unionized, and enjoy generous salaries and benefits. Part-time faculty, who teach less than seven hours per week at Conestoga and are paid on average $75 per hour, voted earlier this fall on whether they want to be represented by OPSEU. The results are pending.

• Conestoga has the highest proportion of full-time faculty in the Ontario college system. Sixty-eight per cent of teaching hours in Conestoga’s full-time programs are taught by full-time faculty members. Their average salary exceeds $98,000 per year, and they’re guaranteed 43 vacation days, as well as 10 paid professional development days each year. If enrolments at the Brantford campus grow substantially, we’ll have the opportunity to hire more full-time faculty to teach there as well. That’s what’s happened at the college’s more established campuses. As a result of continued growth, we’ve hired 107 new full-time faculty in the last five years. 

• Conestoga and the Ontario college system were established 50 years ago to serve industry, workforce and community needs. All indicators would suggest that we’re not just succeeding, we’re thriving. Enrolments across the system are growing, graduate employment rates are very high, and employers are overwhelmingly satisfied with the skills and career-readiness of the graduates they hire. 

Now that’s a story worth telling.

John Tibbits is the president of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

RE: College professors are fighting precarious, temporary work

Opinion Nov 03, 2017 by John Tibbits Brant News

The Nov. 1 article regarding Conestoga College operations in Brantford was most disappointing.

Thanks to a partnership with Wilfrid Laurier University, Conestoga has offered career-focused education programs in Brantford since 2012.

At that time, Mohawk College had relocated most of its Brantford programming to Hamilton.

City officials were eager to engage Conestoga to provide local access to college-level programming for the city’s residents and continue building the education district that has revitalized its downtown core.

Related Content

Building a new campus is like building any other business: it takes time, vision, patience, investment and fiscal risk.  

Five years in, student numbers remain low, with fewer than 130 full-time students enrolled in Conestoga programs in Brantford, and about an equal number in programs delivered in partnership with Laurier.

Essentially, the campus is still at a start-up stage, and it may take another five or 10 years to determine whether we can attract enough students to make the campus truly viable.

We’re committed to staying because we believe that local education builds stronger communities, but in turn, we require – and deserve – community support.

Your Nov. 1 article regarding the current faculty strike at Ontario colleges was an uncritical recitation of the rhetoric provided by union leaders and representatives of the striking workers.

Here’s what they didn’t tell you:

• College faculty are not precarious workers. The term "precarious worker" is usually reserved for those who work for low pay, without benefits, and without the right to join a union. That description, provided by the International Labor Rights Forum, fits not a single faculty member currently employed in the Ontario college system. Full-time and partial-load faculty are already unionized, and enjoy generous salaries and benefits. Part-time faculty, who teach less than seven hours per week at Conestoga and are paid on average $75 per hour, voted earlier this fall on whether they want to be represented by OPSEU. The results are pending.

• Conestoga has the highest proportion of full-time faculty in the Ontario college system. Sixty-eight per cent of teaching hours in Conestoga’s full-time programs are taught by full-time faculty members. Their average salary exceeds $98,000 per year, and they’re guaranteed 43 vacation days, as well as 10 paid professional development days each year. If enrolments at the Brantford campus grow substantially, we’ll have the opportunity to hire more full-time faculty to teach there as well. That’s what’s happened at the college’s more established campuses. As a result of continued growth, we’ve hired 107 new full-time faculty in the last five years. 

• Conestoga and the Ontario college system were established 50 years ago to serve industry, workforce and community needs. All indicators would suggest that we’re not just succeeding, we’re thriving. Enrolments across the system are growing, graduate employment rates are very high, and employers are overwhelmingly satisfied with the skills and career-readiness of the graduates they hire. 

Now that’s a story worth telling.

John Tibbits is the president of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.