MONTRÉAL, Jan. 23, 2023 /CNW Telbec/ - In a historic situation never seen before since the Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université (FQPPU) was founded in 1991, 12 of its member unions throughout Quebec are currently in negotiations or will be very shortly.
This unique situation comes at a time when many aspects of professors' working conditions have deteriorated in recent years. Enrolment has risen by 93% and 109% at the master's and doctoral levels, and the number of degrees awarded has doubled over the last 20 years, while the number of faculty members has only grown by 19.5%. Professors are more committed to research than ever, publishing 2.5 times more scholarly papers now than 20 years ago; however, competition has also intensified, with the number of grant recipients dropping as a result. Over the same period, professors' administrative workload has grown considerably, with mounting reporting requirements, increasingly and needlessly complex bureaucratic procedures and reduced administrative support. These changes come as university funding has been severely impacted by budget cuts. This funding was never restored to previous levels, despite it already being considered inadequate.
This has placed increasing pressure on professors, whose heavy workloads are not only affecting their ability to do their jobs as educators and researchers, but also their health. According to research conducted in 2021 and 2022, 80.7% of university professors say they are overworked, while more than half of faculty members are experiencing high levels of psychological distress. Given this situation, Quebec universities' ability to recruit and retain the top-level specialists they need to carry out their public mission is seriously in doubt.
The FQPPU is therefore stressing the urgent need to collectively reaffirm the value of research and higher education in Quebec. "We must consider whether the conditions are right for universities to meet the challenges of tomorrow and develop innovative solutions to address the problems we face," says Michel Lacroix, President of the FQPPU.
In the coming weeks, the FQPPU and its member unions will continue to highlight the challenges that are currently under negotiation, as well as the gaps and barriers preventing professors from playing their full part in advancing and transmitting knowledge.
Since 1991, the FQPPU has been the consultation and representation body for Quebec university faculty.
SOURCE Fédération québécoise des professeures et professeurs d'université
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