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Nature of Academic Work

CAUT Policy Statement

Academic work involves both the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination and application through activities including but not limited to research and scholarly activity, teaching, public lectures, conference communications, publications, professional practice, the building of library and archival collections, the provision of mediated access to information, and artistic production and performance. Central to academic work is service to the profession, internal and external to post-secondary institutions including collegial governance, academic staff association work, the defense and promotion of academic work, activities in provincial and national academic staff associations, community engagement, and public discourse. All such activities are closely related and involve different aspects of a single job or task. Post-secondary education relies on active engagement in critical enquiry and research, both of which inform the teaching and learning mission of our institutions and are essential to robust democratic societies. The quality of post-secondary education and the experience of students both suffer when critical enquiry and research cannot flourish. The academic mission is also endangered by the diminution of collegial governance, which includes academic staff association work.

All academic staff have the right to develop and maintain their academic competence and effectiveness, and to perform their academic duties. In the assignment of duties, care must be taken to ensure that the balance among research, teaching and service activities as well as the balance between scheduled and non-scheduled duties affords adequate opportunity for every academic staff member to participate fully in all aspects of academic work. The reliance on positions that do not involve a full range of academic activities in the pursuit of knowledge and its dissemination and application, undermines the mission of a post-secondary institution.

Approved by the CAUT Council, February 2016;
Reviewed, no changes, February 2021.