Dear Colleagues, 

AASUA was dismayed but unsurprised by the negative results of the Employer’s recently-released engagement survey. The results paint a picture of our current reality: academic staff care deeply about their work and have positive relationships with their co-workers. But after years of facing a concerted lack of respect, staff have lost faith in our university’s Executive Leadership. 

Key survey takeaways:

  • Only 24% of respondents said the university does a good job of listening to the concerns of faculty and staff. 
  • Only 30% of respondents said they have trust and confidence in the university’s Executive Leadership. 
  • Only 31% of respondents agree that the university is effectively organized and structured. 
  • An overwhelming majority of staff (80%) said there is good cooperation and teamwork within their team.
  • 86% of survey respondents said the person to whom they report treats them with respect, and 86% said the people in their team are committed to delivering high-quality services. 

Members looking to view the full survey can do so here

The Employer’s survey methods required staff to identify themselves. These methods most certainly had a chilling effect on respondents’ willingness to be honest in their critique of the Employer. We recognize the results are, alarmingly, more positive than our reality.   

These results must be met with tangible improvements, but AASUA is concerned about the lack of accountability the Employer has so far demonstrated. Emphasis on the responsibility of supervisors to improve engagement with their direct reports avoids the root of the problem. In the face of destructive changes to our university, staff teams’ personal and collegial relationships are the few positive qualities that have prevailed. 

To make use of these survey results, the Employer must take accountability for the detrimental effect restructuring has had on our university. They must commit to respecting the principles of collegial governance that maintain academic staff as partners as in university decision-making. Executive Leadership must change its alienating and abrasive management style, and implement measures to address the accelerating corporatization of the academy. 

These results should be a wakeup call for our Executive Leadership, and we are hopeful they genuinely consider this feedback. 

Should members wish, we invite them to anonymously share the comments they did not feel comfortable reporting in the survey here.

AASUA will continue to push the Employer to take accountability and address these results. 

Another point these results speak to that we are already well aware of: we must show our collective resolve and push for respect for academic staff during bargaining in the new year. There is no alternative.


Gordon Swaters
AASUA President