January 2, 2024

How, when and why to file a workload review – and a bargaining survey reminder!

Hello NASA members,

First, a friendly reminder to take our bargaining survey here.

A number of NASA members have recently had their workload reduced through the workload review process, something most members have not taken advantage of yet. We want to share information on how you could request to have your own workload reduced through the process outlined in 16.09 of our collective agreement. 

If more members use this process we could see a shift in how NAIT handles workload in the future. It would also help us see where any flaws in the process are so we could address them in negotiations.

Who can file a workload review?

The workload review process is defined in Article 16.09 of your agreement and applies to Continuous and Temporary Instructors, including Chairs. Casual staff, Librarians, Counsellors, and Curriculum & Instruction Specialists are unfortunately not covered under this language.

What is the purpose of a workload review?

There are two possible reasons to file a workload review: your workload assignment is not fair and equitable within your program, and/or your workload assignment not in line with the “workload model” Article 16.

  • Fairness and equity

Do you have more work assigned to you, or more complex and stressful work assigned to you than the other Instructors in the program? There are possible explanations; for example, are there qualifications or skillsets that might allow only some Instructors to teach some specific courses or take on certain tasks such as course development, or is a colleague possibly receiving an accommodation we might not know about? This is a good question to discuss with Trevor before filing your review.

  • Alignment with the workload model

According to our collective agreement, we have 1,429 assignable workload hours in an academic year (1,885 hours, less holidays, vacation, and Reading Days), reflective of an average 36.25 hour work week.

When can I file a workload review?

You have 10 working days from receiving your assignment – or change in assignment – to file a workload review.  It may be possible to get an extension to the timeline, but this cannot be guaranteed.

If the window for a workload review has passed for this academic year, there may still be ways to address issues you’re facing through the rest of Article 16, or you may consider filing a review right away when you get your 2024-2025 assignment.

How do I file a workload review?

The simplest way is an email to your department head along the lines of “I would like to meet to discuss a review of my workload per 16.09, as my workload does not appear to be (fair and equitable and/or in line with the workload model)” and probably also include “I would like NASA representation with me at this meeting.”

You should be prepared to make the case that your workload is either inequitable within your program, or out of line of the 36.25 hour average work week. You may be able to make the case just by highlighting the amount of time you are putting in on evenings and weekends to complete your necessary work.

Other Instructors have made their case even more solid by taking some time to conservatively estimate how much work is required to complete their course load and other mandatory activities.  That includes SIHs, but also includes time devoted to prep, marking, office hours, student communication, program/department/school meetings, Open House, scholarly activity, course development, chair duties, work with industry and other stakeholders – and really anything that NAIT expects of you and assigns to you. Compile this information in a document or spreadsheet. (An example is attached.)

There’s more to be said about how the process works if it is escalated above the Department Head.

If you have questions or concerns about your workload, please get in touch with Trevor Zimmerman as soon as possible.