The ELC/ITP instructor reality

From the SFU website

A key component of SFU Continuing Studies, the English Language and Culture Program (ELC) specializes in English language training. The SFU ELC Program will help you improve your English skills and understand Canadian culture. We offer a new way of learning, with no textbooks, no workbooks, and no vocabulary lists. ELC instructors use only current, real-English materials, such as:

  • Newspaper articles
  • Websites
  • Journals
  • TV clips

ELC provides a student-centered learning environment designed to promote communication, diversity, self-awareness and critical thinking.

The English Language & Culture and Interpretation & Translation programs (ELC/ITP) operate at SFU’s Harbour Centre campus, as a part of SFU Lifelong Learning . These programs are staffed by around 30 instructors who are members of TSSU. These instructors have seniority rights and typically teach 12-15 hours per week in the classroom. TSSU believes these long-time SFU instructors deserve benefits, professional development and working conditions that recognize their contribution to SFU, and that are on par with the administrative and clerical support staff who work side by side with them and who receive the full SFU benefits package, which includes health and dental benefits, extensive sick leave and long term disability, professional development funding, pension, tuition waiver, and a minimum of 4 weeks of vacation time. ELC/ITP instructors receive only health and dental benefits, minimal sick leave, and limited access to vacation, and no pension or tuition waiver. This disparity within the department is fundamentally unfair, because without the instructors there could be no ELC/ITP program.

The inequity in ELC/ITP extends beyond just benefits. Because of the current department structure, many of these instructors end up teaching 48 weeks per year with only a few days off between terms to take vacation or engage in the committee work, instructional preparation and professional development that is part of every sustainable teaching institution. TSSU wants to move these instructors towards a faculty model comparable to similar instructors at UBC, where instructors are responsible for teaching a certain amount per year, and for duty weeks in which they engage in curriculum and professional development, and other service work essential to the sustainability of the program. ELC/ITP instructors should be recognized as the teaching professionals they are, with working conditions comparable to other similar professionals.

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