Sessional Academic Workers (Unit 2)


When you are hired you will receive a confirmation email from the University with start and end dates, the rate of pay, information regarding the Union, benefits and pension information, and policies on Responsibilities of Academic Staff with Regard to Students.  Sessional Librarians and Counsellors will also receive an indication of their hours.

Before you begin working your department may hold an orientation meeting or direct you to an online handbook but there is no established orientation process for Sessional employees.  You should meet with the department head to determine your duties, ask about departmental guidelines with regard to course syllabi, assignments and marking, exam scheduling, appeals, materials and resources, office space, assignment of TAs and Grader/Markers, and connecting to the various computer networks and activating an e-mail address.  Contact us if you are left with unanswered questions or if your department head’s expectations are in conflict with the collective agreement.

Right of First Refusal: After teaching a course satisfactorily three times in separate academic terms, the University will advise you that you have achieved Right of First Refusal.  The next time that course is available as a Sessional appointment, your department will contact you and you have the opportunity to accept or decline the position.  ROFR is not linked to a specific section and may be invoked over any single section of the course.

Having RFR entitles you to the RFR rate of pay for any sections of that course.  Check communications from the University (Letter of Offer, Confirmation Letter and Paycheques) to ensure that you are receiving the appropriate rate of pay.  This rate of pay does not apply to Distance Ed courses.  If you are not receiving the appropriate rate of pay, contact us.

The University should contact you about RFR in the term after you reach eligibility.  You will be able to invoke your rights the term following the confirmation.  If you believe you have achieved ROFR but have not received confirmation from the University, contact us.

Continuing satisfactory performance is required to maintain RFR.  RFR is only lost if you if your seniority expires, if you resign in writing from that course, if you are terminated according to the Discipline and Dismissal article of the Collective Agreement, or if you have not taught that course at least once within the last five years (in this last case, RFR may be reinstated after being hired to and successfully completing an appointment).  You will not lose RFR if you decline an RFR appointment or if the department head offers you a substitute course.

Distance Ed has a separate stream for RFR.

Sessional Librarians and Music Teachers who are paid an hourly rate are entitled to three wage increments based on number of hours worked.

Performance Evaluations: You are entitled to a performance evaluation at least once per Fall or Winter Term.  All evaluations will be written and you will be provided a copy.  You are entitled to add your comments.  These evaluations are important for the retention of Right of First Refusal and become part of your Employee File, which you are entitled to view upon request.

Seniority will be the deciding factor when two or more equally qualified Sessional applies for the same position.  Right of First Refusal over a course trumps seniority, but if there are two or more applicants with ROFR, seniority will determine the hire.  Check your seniority in JUMP.

Course cancellation fees: If you have already been hired as a Sessional Instructor when a course is cancelled, you may be entitled to a cancellation fee expressed as a percentage of the minimum stipend rate for the equivalent of 3 credit hours.

term 18% 12% 6%
Fall/Winter on or after first class within 7 calendar days of first class between 8 and 21 calendar days of first class
Summer on or after first class within 7 calendar days of first class
Distance and Online courses through Extended Ed FLAT RATE $603.68 on or after the first class $296.11 within 5 calendar days of first class

Academic Freedom is referred to in the collective agreement as “freedom in carrying out duties on issues related to the subject being taught and freedom from institutional censorship”.  Sessionals are granted academic freedom when they are “primarily responsible for the content and/or presentation of a course” so long as course design and presentation are in accordance with the UM calendar course description.