The General Conference of UNESCO, which included representation from Canada, adopted in 1997 a resolution “concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel”. It appears that the provincial government, VIU’s Administration and the Board of Governors may be unaware of this agreement. Thanks to the Brandon University Faculty Association on whose website were found the following extracts pertinent to our dispute.
B. Self-governance and collegiality
31. Higher-education teaching personnel should have the right and opportunity, without discrimination of any kind, according to their abilities, to take part in the governing bodies and to criticize the functioning of higher education institutions, including their own, while respecting the right of other sections of the academic community to participate, and they should also have the right to elect a majority of representatives to academic bodies within the higher education institution.
32. The principles of collegiality include academic freedom, shared responsibility, the policy of participation of all concerned in internal decision making structures and practices, and the development of consultative mechanisms. Collegial decision-making should encompass decisions regarding the administration and determination of policies of higher education, curricula, research, extension work, the allocation of resources and other related activities, in order to improve academic excellence and quality for the benefit of society at large.
V: Institutional rights, duties, and responsibilities:
B. Institutional accountability
22. In view of the substantial financial investments made, Member States and higher education institutions should ensure a proper balance between the level of autonomy enjoyed by higher education institutions and their systems of accountability. Higher education institutions should endeavour to open their governance in order to be accountable. They should be accountable for:
(h) ensuring that higher education personnel are not impeded in their work in the classroom or in their research capacity by violence, intimidation or harassment;
(i) honest and open accounting;
(k) the creation, through the collegial process and/or through negotiation with organizations representing higher-education teaching personnel, consistent with the principles of academic freedom and freedom of speech, of statements or codes of ethics to guide higher education personnel in their teaching, scholarship, research and extension work…
23. Systems of institutional accountability should be based on a scientific methodology and be clear, realistic, cost-effective and simple. In their operation they should be fair, just and equitable. Both the methodology and the results should be open.
24. Higher education institutions, individually or collectively, should design and implement appropriate systems of accountability, including quality assurance mechanisms to achieve the above goals, without harming institutional autonomy or academic freedom. The organizations representing higher-education teaching personnel should participate, where possible, in the planning of such systems. Where state-mandated structures of accountability are established, their procedures should be negotiated, where applicable, with the institutions of higher education concerned and with the organizations representing higher-education teaching personnel.
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