Back to top

Collegial governance

Academic freedom includes participation in collegial governance structures6 such as the Senate, councils and academic hiring committees, including committees selecting senior academic administrators. For librarians and archivists, this includes collegial involvement in any body whose mandate covers the operation of the academic library or archival system or whose decisions affect access to information resources used in teaching, scholarship and research. Collegial rights need to be secured in the collective agreement, including in the deliniation of librarian and/or archivist duties.

The Simon Fraser University Faculty Association agreement strengthens collegial rights by including governance as a responsibility under service:

36.11 Librarian and Archivist Faculty are expected to contribute service to the Library or Archives, the University, their profession, and the community at large, by participating in university governance and working with other members of the university community to enhance the academic and administrative excellence of the University, participating in professional associations and activities, and working in the community at large through the application of the librarian’s or archivist's professional competence or expertise.7

Language in the agreement that creates and protects a librarian or library council, in a manner that is similar to what is available for professors, is an effective tool for librarians to engage and influence matters affecting their work. A good example is from the University of Prince Edward Island Faculty Association agreement.

A-9 Responsibilities of Academic Librarians

A9.1.1 The rights, duties and responsibilities of Librarians derive from the academic, professional, and collegial nature of their work in the Library and at the University and from their position as members of the academic community.

A9.1.2 A Library Council shall be established. The role of the Library Council is to discuss issues in a collegial setting and to make recommendations on the formulation of Library policy, operations, long-term planning, and future directions, ensuring that the Library meets the needs and requirements of the various academic endeavours of the University community. The Library Council shall normally meet at least monthly during September through May inclusive, and once from June through August.8

Collegial rights can also be strengthened outside of the collective agreement. For instance, York University Rules of Senate specifically designates two seats for librarians and archivists. If they were to be elected as part of the much larger pool of faculty, their involvement would not be guaranteed as it is now.

6 CAUT Policy Statement on Academic Status and Governance for Librarians, November 2018.

7 Simon Fraser University Faculty Association, 2019-2022, Article 36, Librarian and Archivist Faculty.

8 University of Prince Edward Island Faculty Association, 2016-2020, Article A-9, Responsibilities of Academic Librarians.