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CAUT Bulletin Archives

February 1999

UCCB hiring policy not limited to deans

I was pleased to see that the December CAUT Bulletin gave coverage to the University College of Cape Breton's bizarre practice of requiring deans to provide the University President Jacquelyn Scott with undated letters of resignation as a condition of employment.

CAUT readers should be aware that this is part of a much broader pattern concerning the subversion of academic traditions and standards by the current administration of UCCB. The president maintains a similar control over faculty by exercising a veto power over the decisions of the faculty committee charged with adjudicating applications for contract renewal, tenure and promotion.

In the course of my four years at UCCB, President Scott overturned six decisions of the university-wide peer review committee concerning members of my department alone. In two cases she denied tenure to people who had been unanimously recommended for it by the peer review committee. In four other cases she granted contract renewal or tenure to faculty who had failed to convince their peers that they had met the standards of performance laid out in the institution's by-laws.

At UCCB, if you please the administration, it doesn't necessarily matter whether you meet peer-reviewed standards of faculty performance, as the president retains the right to reverse the decisions of the committee charged with upholding these, and routinely does.

Faculty too, then, are at the mercy of the whims of the president of UCCB. Those who offend the administration and who don't have tenure risk losing their appointment, no matter how good their teaching, research and community performance. For those who have tenure, it is the chance for promotion that the president keeps in her pocket.

Rusty Bittermann
Fredericton, New Brunswick