The Manitoba Organization of Faculty Associations (MOFA) has announced its new executive for the 2023-24 academic year.
Professor of political science at Brandon University and former MOFA vice-president Allison McCulloch has taken on the role of president. Université de Saint-Boniface history professor Patrick Noël is taking over McCulloch’s previous role.
In setting priorities for the coming year, McCulloch said her political science background has shown her the value of coalition building. She outlined the importance of building relationships with those in the associations that make up MOFA, along with other groups of workers and students across the province.
Two other areas of importance for McCulloch revolve around the upcoming provincial election and faculty bargaining negotiations.
“I think we would like to see all parties committing to stable multi-year funding models,” McCulloch said.
“That has a number of advantages, from faculty recruitment and retention to making sure students have access to high quality and accessible education, and ultimately it helps with university autonomy and that ability to engage in collective bargaining free of government interference.”
As the academic year approaches, the MOFA executive is focused on its four member associations, particularly Brandon University, U of W and Université de Saint-Boniface, which are in contract negotiations this year.
“It’s a priority for us to make sure that they all get fair deals, and to support them as they engage in bargaining on behalf of their members.”
Regardless of the upcoming provincial election’s outcome, McCulloch would like to see a shift away from the style of policies implemented under the current Progressive Conservative provincial government.
“What I do know is that we can’t rely on the kinds of policies that have come over the last eight years,” said McCulloch. “Looking at the current government’s attempts to move forward on performance-based funding, which, again, would be detrimental to high quality and accessible education in the province, so making sure that those kind of policies are policies of the past.”
In 2022-23, MOFA was part of a successful effort to pressure the provincial government to cancel its performance-based funding plans, which made Manitoba the first and only province to abandon plans for the model.
The model would have tied university funding levels directly to retention and graduation statistics, and MOFA argued that it would harm Manitoba’s smaller universities through higher entrance standards and lead to increased barriers for marginalized students.
McCulloch thanked outgoing executive members and president Scott Forbes for their strong advocacy and the work they did to bring attention to post-secondary issues across the province.
Additionally, U of W psychology professor Jim Clark is exiting his role as a member of the MOFA council. The councillor was praised for is wealth of opinions and devotion to higher education over his years of membership.
05/09/2023: The article has been updated to reflect that Robert Chernomas has not exited his role as a MOFA council member.