New UTFA President – Voting Commences. Deadline April 5, 2012.

(this email was sent out to the academic librarians at UofT March 18, 2012)
Dear Colleagues,

We, as your representatives on the UTFA Council and the UTFA Librarians Committee, have met and spoken with many of you over the changes that have been happening in UTFA. These changes, we think, have been very positive for the future of our faculty association. UTFA formed a new membership committee, chaired by Prof. Rankin, who along with other members of Council and the Executive have been actively meeting with faculty and librarians to update and inform the community and our committees have openly welcomed new members in recent years. We know that the communication needs to be improved, but we are all working hard to overcome institutional hurdles within the organization, and to find new ways to constantly keep you updated and informed.

We are writing to let you know that Scott Prudham, current VP Salaries, Pensions & Benefits and Chief Negotiator, has been nominated and agreed to run for the UTFA presidency. His website, statement and bio are linked to the UTFA home page, http://utfa.org/content/utfa-presidential-election-2012  or you can go directly to http://www.scottprudham.ca/?page_id=105 . We have also attached his statement to this email.

A second person, Donna Losell, a Senior Lecturer, professional auditor, and recent member of UTFA Council, a representative from the Rotman School of Management, has been nominated and is running for the position of the President of UTFA. Her bio is linked to the UTFA page as well (see above URL). The deadlines for nominating candidates for the presidency closed March 15. Voting commences Monday, March 19 and closes April 5, 2012.

While some of you know Scott Prudham, others do not. But we know Scott Prudham and, we know most, if not all, of you, so we are writing to encourage you to vote for Scott Prudham. UTFA is at a turning point and on the road to becoming a more effective faculty association than it has been in the past.  Under the influence of Scott Prudham’s implementation of a new ‘Membership Committee’ our members have been asked to become more active and engaged in UTFA. We believe UTFA is more in touch with the membership then it has been for a long time and is grappling with issues that matter to the community.

It is due to these internal changes that UTFA is now giving serious consideration to the concerns of academic librarians at this institution.  But, even though we are a minority in UTFA, we are not alone, and the teaching stream and the faculty share similar dated policies which have been frozen for too long, when compared with other institutes. We are consistently impressed with Scott Prudham’s capacity to be effective in negotiating while remaining calm and operating on the basis of justifiable principles.  He has an incredibly open leadership style that encourages others to become involved and work with him. Moreover, he questions, listens, deliberates and acts in a collegial and fair manner. This has resulted in a new generation of faculty and librarians joining UTFA Council and committees.

Scott Prudham has put enormous effort into his work with UTFA on our behalf in the last ten years and has demonstrated his commitment to issues of academic freedom and ensuring that our institution excels at all levels, with equality and fairness for all. And perhaps, more importantly, he has sought to secure a strong voice for faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto and will continue to do so if elected. As we face new challenges in the future, our participation, as academic librarians, in a collegial process that openly shares, communicates and actively voice our expertise, will be increasingly important as we seek new ways of working collectively. And in order to achieve that, we need a president who is experienced and knowledgeable about the complicated relationship that UTFA has with administration. He has proven his commitment to academic freedom, the role of academic librarianship in our community and values of collegiality.

Within UTFA, Scott Prudham has been a member of the Executive Committee since July of 2007, first as the VP University and External Affairs (2007-2008) and then as VP and Chief Negotiator from July 2008 until the present. He was also the inaugural chair of UTFA’s Membership Committee from January 2007 until June of 2010, served as co-chair of the Joint UTFA-Administration Working Group on Workload and have been a member of UTFA’s negotiating team for the last three rounds of bargaining and is a former Council representative for constituency #102, Geography, Psychology, and the Centre for Urban and Community Studies.

Scott Prudham is an esteemed, full, Professor in the Department of Geography, cross-appointed to the Centre for Environment at the University of Toronto and has worked at the University of Toronto since July of 2000. He is also Editor of the journal Geoforum and his research and teaching interests pertain to environmental politics, environmental change, and critical political economy.

UTFA is far from perfect, constructed on a parliamentary system with a dated constitution, and therefore, does not give the community the full options to partake in all issues as we all would like to see. It is, as you know, your UTFA council representatives which speak on your behalf, as in the case of the parliamentary model. We all acknowledge that there is much that needs to be addressed and updated, but we believe that we are moving in the right direction. It is the role of the president to lead the way, in collaboration with the Executive, to ensure that our association addresses our growing needs and those of the community. It takes an effective, fair-minded and just individual to stick to core principles, no matter what hurdles fall across the road. It also takes an experienced individual who understands how to negotiate with our administration. We believe that Scott Prudham is that individual, as he has demonstrated in our last rounds of negotiations. If any of our current issues pertaining to academic librarianship at this institution are going to be addressed, we believe it will only happen under the leadership of Scott Prudham.

Having said this, we also know that not all in our community share these views or our concerns, which is the diverse nature of an academic community. So we simply ask you to read the statement of candidates, communicate with them if you can, and most importantly encourage your colleagues to do the same – and don’t forget to vote! If at any time, you want more insight into why we support Scott Prudham, we would be happy to talk. Please contact your representatives.

Sincerely yours,

Harriet Sonne de Torrens, Chair of UTFA Librarians Committee Vicki Skelton, UTFA Council Representative Sarah Fedko, UTFA Council Representative Shelley Hawrychuk, UTFA Council Representative Andrea Shier, Member of the UTFA Librarians Committee Lisa Sherlock, Member of the UTFA Librarians Committee

Further endorsements by UT librarians and faculty are being posted on Scott Prudham’s campaign website, http://www.scottprudham.ca/

This entry was posted in Academic freedom, Academic governance, Academic Librarianship, Academic libraries, University of Toronto, UTFA. Bookmark the permalink.

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