Labour strife is never welcome. Not by management, not by employees, and certainly not by customers. In the case of AU, those customers are you, the students. That’s why I was exceptionally happy to read that the Athabasca University Faculty Association (AUFA) and AU Board of Governors have come to an agreement in principle. It remains to be ratified yet, but this basically means that any fears you may have been harbouring about a possible faculty strike at AU can now be put to bed.
From what I’ve been able to gather, AU did finally make some concessions to the union in the wording surrounding the use of contract and part time staff, basically affirming that you could not simply keep calling an employee a contract employee for years and years at the same position.
This helps to move some of those people from very precarious positions, always having to wonder if they need to start looking for a job at the end of their contract, to more stable employment, and also gives them additional benefits. In turn, this should make the positions more attractive to better talent. Personally, I think this will end up being a winning move for the university as well as the staff, even if the university doesn’t quite see it that way yet.
Beyond that, a Canadian team has won the NBA for the first time in history. In truth, that’s about all I know about it. I’ve never been a fan of team sports, so missed out on all of the excitement about this while it was happening. Fortunately, AU students come from all walks of life, and this week, student Jeff Shermack makes his debut with his take on what it was like to be watching the final game that brought the American championship to Canada.
Our feature interview this week, however, is with Emily Bellamy, a student who’s taking advantage of AU so that she can maintain her small-town lifestyle, even as she looks beyond to larger opportunities. It’s a great interview because she’s so open and honest about hitting that wall in an AU course that most of us have hit on occasion. When you finally realize you’ve been putting a course off too long and you may just be in over your head. We don’t get many students who are willing to tell us about those times (for good reason) but I’m sure we all know the anxiety, fear, and depression that come with them.
If you’re there, or you’ve been there, Emily’s interview also gives you some decent tips for digging your way out of it—beyond dropping and re-taking the course (something I’ll admit I did on a couple of occasions).
Plus, the Porkpie Hat looks at what it’s like to live during wartime, in a war that we’re all in, even if we may not realize it, and Wanda Waterman thinks about the unexpected perks of being a victim.