In a rather unusual move, officials at the University of Alberta have filed a grievance against the university’s faculty association over an outside investigation into the university’s medical school by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), reported the Edmonton Journal.
The CAUT agreed to launch an investigation in January after they received several complaints from staff in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry that the faculty’s priorities were being shifted from teaching to research, and that by doing so, Dean Philip Baker was changing their employment conditions.
The university’s board has argued that the Association of Academic Staff (AASUA) were in violation of their collective agreement by not blocking CAUT’s independent inquiry.
Don Heth, head of the AASUA, told the Journal that the association believes the allegations are “factually false”, noting that the CAUT operates independently from the faculty association. “If the allegation is [that] we should stop the CAUT investigation, that’s an absurd conclusion. We are strongly committed to the principles of academic freedom,” Heth said.
In January, CAUT president James Turk said that he had heard from faculty members who said they were threatened that unless they devoted more time to research, they would not get a tenure track position. Dean Baker denied the allegations, stating that during his time in charge, “we’ve given more tenure promotions to people who are getting those on the basis of education than on research.”