Check back periodically for our latest communications regarding the COVID-19 situation at STU

April 7, 2020


FAUST Virtual Town Hall Meeting #3

FAUST President, Robin Vose, will host the third virtual Town Hall session Tuesday, April 7th at 4:00pm. This will take the form of a live stream video on Facebook from the FAUST Facebook page. The video will be made "public" so that even members who don’t have a Facebook account can watch. Look for an email on Tuesday around 4:00pm with the live feed link. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss important updates on pass/fail grading policies, bargaining, and working conditions for online teaching.

While the live stream is happening, you may send in questions through Facebook or by emailing them to faustprez@stu.ca. Robin will have a second computer screen open to read the messages as they come in. Once the live stream broadcast is over, we will post the video to the FAUST Facebook page so that members who weren’t available at the time of the broadcast can still watch it. A link to the video will also be posted on this website. If you have questions now ahead of the broadcast, please send them in advance to faustprez@stu.ca and Robin will respond to them during the Town Hall meeting.

April 6, 2020


Check out the latest CAUT COVID-19 UPDATE here.


March 24, 2020

Missed the second virtual Town Hall Meeting? Watch the saved videos here: Part 1 (starts at minute 10:35), Part 2, and Part 3.


March 20, 2020


FAUST Virtual Town Hall Meeting #2

FAUST President, Robin Vose, will host the second virtual Town Hall session Tuesday, March 24th at 4:00pm. This will take the form of a live stream video on Facebook from the FAUST Facebook page. The video will be made "public" so that even members who don’t have a Facebook account can watch. Look for an email around 4:00pm with the live feed link.

While the live stream is happening, you may send in questions through Facebook or by emailing them to faustprez@stu.ca. Robin will have a second computer screen open to read the messages as they come in. Once the live stream broadcast is over, we will post the video to the FAUST Facebook page so that members who weren’t available at the time of the broadcast can still watch it. A link to the video will also be posted on this website. If you have questions now ahead of the broadcast, please send them in advance to faustprez@stu.ca and Robin will respond to them during the Town Hall meeting.


FAUST SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉ #2

Dear FAUST members,

It has been a most eventful week. I want to thank you all for the communications we have been receiving: questions, suggestions, requests, observations—they are all appreciated and help us to get a sense of how everyone is dealing with this exceptional situation. Please keep us informed and let us know if there is anything we can do to help! You are doing a great job by the looks of things, and I am especially heartened to see how concerned FAUST members are about the well-being of their colleagues and students. We do have a very caring community, and that is our greatest strength right now.

As you will already know, on Thursday, March 19 the government of New Brunswick imposed a State of Emergency aimed at further limiting the potential for rapid spread of COVID-19. This includes closure of the St Thomas University campus and computer labs. For now, IT support is still available online and students who are not able to depart are being housed in the residences. Faculty who need to access their offices at this time may do so if it is necessary to achieve their online teaching goals. However we would ask that you keep your time on campus to a minimum and take all necessary precautions to reduce your exposure risk while out in public: work alone with your door closed, maintain social distance of 2 metres from others you may encounter, and wash your hands frequently. If you are able to work exclusively from home, this is of course preferable. Please contact FAUST if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks to LTD officer Karen Robert and others, we now have a number of online teaching resources available for consideration and possible adoption if they make sense for your course(s). If you have not received email notice of these please let us know. IT services at STU and library services at UNB remain active online as well and they will do all they can to help with your online teaching (and research) questions. The initial rush has now subsided, so it should be easier to reach IT/library assistance now than it was earlier in the week. If you have recurring difficulties with this, again, please let us know. Also, please remember—everyone is stressed and doing their best, so it is appreciated if we could all be patient and polite in dealing with IT or library staff. The emergency situation and resulting frustrations are not their fault.

The Vice-President (Academic & Research) has issued email instructions advising faculty of their rights to essentially do as they see fit with their online teaching and fair evaluation of students under the current circumstances. I know FAUST members are diligently following these instructions and taking student vulnerability issues very much into account because I hear about it every day—so, thank you. In collaboration with the STU administration we are carefully evaluating all available options and measures for assisting students in crisis and for ensuring that all students are treated as fairly as possible. If you have concerns, suggestions, or data to share on this subject—whether anecdotal or otherwise—we very much welcome your feedback. But so far I am glad to report that the majority of our students seem to be adapting fairly well to the “new normal”.

We should never forget that faculty too are vulnerable to the increased stresses of living under emergency measures. Isolation can be just as dangerous for many of us as compromised physical health. So please—while it is important to maintain social distance and stay home as much as possible at this time, do not hesitate to reach out to your families, friends, and neighbours either online or by telephone. Even snail mail seems to be making a comeback! Let’s all do our best to help each other get through this difficult time as healthily as possible.

Finally, I want to address one of the most significant stressors that many of us are feeling these days: concerns about the future of the university itself, both in the medium term as we contemplate intersession and summer teaching, and in the longer term as we think about the impact of a global pandemic on teaching year 2020-21 and beyond.

I know that there is real fear about the possibility of some Part-Time faculty losing teaching contracts for the summer if emergency measures continue. While it is difficult to say exactly what will happen at this point, please be assured that STU is hoping to return to normal as soon as possible. Furthermore FAUST will do all it can to explore ways of mitigating the financial impact on our members should cancellations in fact occur. Nor are we working in a vacuum: temporary job losses are affecting the entire globe right now, and our governments know they need to step up and find ways of better dealing with these sorts of social crises.

The fact is that much will have to change in the coming months. But I think it is safe to say that the future of university education, and of STU in particular, should not be in any doubt. If anything, I expect us to come back from the current challenges stronger than before—as has happened with other schools facing disaster situations in the past, such as 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina. It won’t be easy, and we may well suffer losses along the way, but now more than ever we need to ensure that the benefits we offer to society are made absolutely clear to those in power. If New Brunswick, Canada, and the world are to move forward in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will ONLY be as a result of robust reinvestment and re-commitment to the importance of socially valuable institutions such as universities.

Thank you as always for your passionate commitment and all your hard work. We will hold a second virtual Town Hall early next week, and I look forward to hearing from many of you in the days to come.

In solidarity,

Robin Vose

President, FAUST




March 18, 2020


COVID-19 and the Academic Workplace: Frequently Asked Questions - Click here.


Cybersecurity Alert: Beware of COVID-19 email scams

In light of growing news and concern around Coronavirus (COVID-19), scammers are launching fraudulent email campaigns attempting to take advantage of COVID-19 information and support. Read here for more info. 


March 17, 2020


FAUST Virtual Town Hall Meeting #1

FAUST President, Robin Vose, will host a virtual "Town Hall" session Tuesday, March 17th at 2:30pm. This will take the form of a live stream video on Facebook from the FAUST Facebook page. The video will be made "public" so that even members who don’t have a Facebook account can watch. Look for an email at 2:30pm with the live feed link. 

While the live stream is happening, you may send in questions through Facebook and the President will respond. You may also email the FAUST President during the broadcast at faustprez@stu.ca. Robin will have a second computer screen open to read the messages as they come in. Once the live stream broadcast is over, we will post the video to the FAUST Facebook page so that members who weren’t available at the time of the broadcast can still watch it. A link to the video will also be posted on the FAUST website. If you have questions now ahead of the broadcast, please send them in advance to faustprez@stu.ca and Robin will respond to them during the Town Hall meeting.

Missed the live meeting? No problem! Catch the recorded video here. 


Researching Remotely: Library Resources and Services - Provided by UNB Libraries


March 16, 2020


Letter to the UNB Community indicates that members of the STU community may have been exposed to COVID-19.


Information regarding the spread of the Corona virus disease (COVID-19) can be found on the Government of New Brunswick website


The CAUT policy on online teaching can be found here



FAUST SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉS

Dear FAUST members, 

As you know we are currently facing an unprecedented situation at STU, as at many other universities across the globe. You are suddenly being asked to begin “online” teaching, often with little or no training and very few resources, in the midst of a global pandemic that is sparking both health concerns and socio-economic disruptions throughout our communities. Some of us are also facing personal and family issues, including threats to regular incomes, that make things even more difficult. You have every right to feel confused, uncertain and anxious under these circumstances. 

The good news is that we are not in this alone. We are members of an academic community that has proven time and time again that we are capable of rising to every occasion with integrity and professionalism. We also know we can turn to each other for advice and support in difficult times. Solidarity is our strongest weapon now as always. 

FAUST is committed to providing regular communications throughout this period of upheaval. You will receive SPECIAL MEASURES COMMUNIQUÉS regularly via your STU email in the coming days, and these will also be posted on the website here. 

We will also be hosting periodic live “virtual” TOWN HALLS to update members and respond to questions or suggestions. Your participation and feedback is more valuable than ever and we urge you to reach out by email or otherwise whenever you have anything to say… your questions and your advice will undoubtedly be of use to other Union members, and we will do all we can to help by sharing and staying engaged. Details on these virtual Town Halls will follow shortly. 

The most important thing for now is to keep as healthy as possible and to approach the coming challenges realistically. FAUST is in close cooperative contact with senior administration, and we will ensure that your workplace rights will continue to be fully respected. The means of delivery may change, and compromises will undoubtedly have to be made, but our teaching workloads should not become unmanageable as a result. More specific advice regarding the transition to online teaching will be coming soon as we work with admin, IT professionals, and the LTD officer on specific details, and of course every class presents its own challenges, but for now FAUST members are advised to STREAMLINE, REDUCE, and SIMPLIFY online teaching whenever possible. Expecting too much of ourselves, or of our similarly stressed students, is not likely to produce good results at this time. 

Stay tuned, stay safe, and let us know how you are. We are all in this together. 

In solidarity, 

Robin Vose 

President, FAUST