Dear Colleagues,

My name is Renan Levine and I would like to be your representative to UTFA Council.

This position has been vacant for over a year, and I thought that our departments deserved a voice. I volunteered to represent you on council because I have seen what UTFA has been able to accomplish, and hope, in some small way, to contribute to our faculty association's endeavors to ensure that we work, research and teach in a supportive environment.

For those of you who don't know me, I was recently promoted to Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, in UTSC's Department of Political Science.

I study voting behavior and political strategy, and teach classes in research methods and American politics. I am also a father of two young children.

When I learned a couple of weeks ago that UTSC Social Sciences' seat on UTFA's Governing Council had been vacant for over a year, I eagerly put my name forward to fill that seat.  I want to provide UTSC's social science faculty with focused, effective representation. There are issues unique to UTSC, or that are shared between the two suburban campuses, such as discrepancies in resource allocation compared to downtown, including differences in faculty pay, office space, and TA support that require our attention.

We deserve an effective voice alongside those of our colleagues as we grapple with issues affecting every department at the university like gender inequity, or the increasing reliance on contract instructors to teach classes. I am acutely aware of the strains created by the high cost of housing and child care in the GTA, and how difficult it is to find the right balance between our research priorities, our teaching interests, and the challenges we often face raising children or caring for elderly family members. For example, even though one of my favourite conferences started providing free child care, that was of little value to me unless I paid to fly my children to the conference. This experience impressed upon me the need to explore ways that either we can seek reimbursement for such travel, or for child care expenses back home that are surely just as crucial to one's travel as the transfer from the airport to the conference.

With the recent change of government in Ontario, I have little doubt new challenges to Ontario universities will emerge. UTSC social scientists should have a say in how our faculty association navigates the new political climate at Queen's Park.

If elected, I intend to be a voice that works collaboratively with you, across departments and with the university administration to find common goals, build consensus and remain focused on our needs as faculty without engaging in extraneous and divisive political debates on issues that have little effect on our workplace.

To that end, I have already spoken to the UTFA President about my interest in committee work dedicated to working on matters like pensions and appointments. I believe I can represent the interests of both research- and teaching- stream faculty by bringing new energy, some fresh perspectives, and renewed attention to your concerns. Over the next two weeks, I intend to take advantage of this opportunity to contest an election by reaching out to as many of you as I can to hear your concerns and appreciate how to serve your interests on council.

This election is about who will put your needs and your concerns, first and foremost. Please vote for me as your new representative to UTFA's governing council. Please give me a chance to be your advocate.


Renan Levine