Management of Canada Research Chair Allocations
The recruitment and appointment process of Canada Research Chairs at Western University is governed by the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) Collective Agreement where the appointee is a full-time Member with a Ph.D. The appointment process of a clinical academic (MD) is governed by the document Physicians Appointed in Clinical Departments or Clinical Divisions of Basic Science Departments.
The provisions, which have been developed and implemented to ensure a fair and transparent recruitment process for full-time positions at Western, including Canada Research Chairs, is outlined in the UWOFA Collective Agreement Employment Equity article and includes stringent requirements for faculty recruitment. Appointments and Search Committees are required to conduct a comparison of the applicant pool using available data (provided by the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention) which is reflective of the applicant pools for similar positions elsewhere in Canada prior to short-listing applicants. If the comparison reveals a significant under-representation of a designated group, the committee must undertake further efforts to attract candidates from the designated group before short-listing candidates from the applicant pool. The committee must also provide a report to the Provost on the search that describes the search process and information regarding the diversity of the applicant pool for approval. If the Provost is not satisfied a fair and transparent search process has occurred, the recruitment will not proceed.
Advertising requirements to ensure representatives of the Four Designated Groups (FDGs) are made aware of the position are outlined in the Collective Agreement, as well as the requirement to include a statement in the advertisement encouraging members of the FDGs to apply. Advertisements for CRCs encourage individuals who have experienced legitimate career interruptions to explain the impact that career interruptions have had and to submit a full career or extended CV. For those individuals applying for a Tier 2, advertisements reference the Tier 2 justification process available through the CRCP and are encouraged to contact Western’s Research Services for assistance. CRC committee members are provided training to ensure individuals with alternate career paths are not disadvantaged.
Clinical Academic appointments for a Canada Research Chair are not governed by the UWOFA Collective Agreement, however, to ensure a fair and transparent recruitment, the search or appointments committee would be expected to follow the process outlined in the Collective Agreement.
All searches, with the exception of an emergency retention for an internal candidate, are conducted in accordance with the process outlined above. Western does not conduct “internal only” recruitment processes for Canada Research Chairs.
The Canada Research Chairs Steering Committee is responsible for managing the allocation of CRC chairs at Western. The committee is currently comprised of three individuals: John Capone (Vice-President, Research); Janice Deakin (Vice-President and Provost); and Karen Campbell (Vice-Provost, Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty).
Through the annual planning process at Western, Faculties propose research priority areas for allocations of CRCs. These proposals are submitted, with Faculty academic plans and budgets for the next fiscal year, in November of each year. Proposals are sought for CRC allocations currently vacant or becoming vacant during the next 24 months through the completion of the second term of the current chairholder.
The proposals are reviewed by Western’s CRC Steering Committee and allocation decisions are made in February.
Proposals are adjudicated according to the following criteria: fit of the proposal to Western’s strategic priorities; likelihood that recruitment to this CRC would yield significant impact on the research enterprise at Western; and potential supports available for the potential recruit and their research program from the proposing Faculty(ies). To increase the diversity within our Canada Research Chairs, effective in the current planning cycle (November 2017 plans for academic 2018-19 and beyond), Faculties were directed to identify the potential diversity of the applicant pool for each CRC allocation proposal as this is now an explicit criterion in the assessment of allocation.
As indicated in the Action Plan, Western will make use of the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP) recent announcement of increased “corridors of flexibility” in our management of CRC allocations in an effort to create additional opportunities to attract a broad and diverse pool of applicants.
Twenty-four months in advance of the end of first CRC term, the academic unit(s) will be directed to determine with the chairholder whether a second term should be pursued. If seeking a second term, the academic unit(s) conducts an assessment of academic performance based on: productivity during Term 1; a research plan for the second term which identifies how diversity within the research program will be achieved; evidence of research impact. The assessment must take into account any special considerations that may have occurred such as leaves, delays in start-up, and other reasons why research may be delayed. Based on the assessment, the unit provides a recommendation to the Steering Committee on the outcome of the assessment no later than 20 months prior to the end of the term.
The Steering Committee reviews the recommendation and makes a determination no later than 18 months prior to the end of the term. If a second term will not be recommended, the chairholder will be notified with reasons for the decision. The Chair will be available for reallocation (as per the process above) to fill the chair at the end of the current chairholder term.
It is not the norm at Western for a Tier 2 chairholder to be nominated for advancement into a Tier 1 Chair. All CRC Chair searches, both Tier 2 and Tier 1, follow the allocation and search processes described above. On a rare occasion, Western may, advance a Tier 2 chairholder to a Tier 1 Chair. This will occur: i) if the CRC Steering Committee has determined that the field of research of the Tier 2 chairholder is a priority for allocation of a Tier 1 Chair; and ii) a Search Committee has selected the individual as the best candidate after an open and transparent recruitment process. Under those circumstances, we will nominate the advancement candidate by the nomination deadline and early enough to ensure that the funding decision may be made prior to the end of the term of the Tier 2 Chair, as per CRCP guidelines.
All vacant Chairs are returned to the Steering Committee for re-allocation. Proposals for re-allocation are adjudicated via the criteria articulated under paragraph 3 of the section on Allocation (above). This re-allocation consideration occurs regardless of whether the vacancy occurs through the completion of two terms, non-renewal after the first term, resignation or retirement of a current chairholder. The Chair can be re-allocated to any discipline or Faculty.
Reallocations are planned well in advance for those Chairs expected to become vacant after completion of a second term and, in this usual circumstance, proposals are solicited through the annual planning cycle as described in paragraph 2 under the section Allocations. There is a shorter planning horizon for Chairs which vacate unexpectedly and, rarely, proposals may be considered by the Steering Committee out of sequence with the annual planning cycle.
All chairholders are given protected time for research through the alternative workload provision of the UWOFA Collective Agreement. The actual alternative workload is negotiated with their Dean(s) and subject to approval by the Provost. A modest salary stipend and extra support for the research program of the chairholder may be also be provided upon recommendation of the Dean and approval of the Provost. The Provost’s approval is the mechanism for oversight for fairness and consistency of the support offered. The CRC Steering Committee is reviewing additional options for monitoring and standardizing support.
In keeping with the requirements of the Canada Research Chairs Program (CRCP), Western has created and delivered an equity training program that emphasizes the importance of equity, diversity and inclusion both at Western and within the CRCP. This training highlights the University’s best practices in employment equity and communicates the expectations for fair and transparent recruitment and selection processes. Through the training, individuals are sensitized to the potential negative impact of career interruptions on a candidate’s record of research achievement (noting in particular that individuals from the four designated groups are more likely to experience career interruptions). As such, individuals are instructed on how to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place to address this issue.
Western’s Equity and Human Rights Services (EHRS) designed the equity training, which was facilitated with the assistance of the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty). As part of this training program, the University also incorporated the CRCP’s Unconscious Bias Training Module as a mandatory requirement. This training has been delivered to Academic Leaders and Administrators, as well as faculty members involved in the recruitment and nomination processes for CRC chair positions. This training will be on-going as new CRC-related committees are formed and/or new leaders and administrators are engaged.
While Western’s Equity and Human Rights Services has been actively engaged in developing and delivering this training, Western has also appointed faculty members from across campus to serve as equity representatives on CRC-related committees. These equity representatives have received additional training and support from EHRS, which is akin to a train-the-trainer model. As such, these representatives deliver the equity training directly to committees and also participate as a committee member in all stages of the CRC recruitment and selection process. While they participate as non-voting members, they are acting on behalf of EHRS to ensure that equity matters are considered throughout. In their role, they also act as a resource to committees with respect to sharing equity-related information and/or available data.