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Merit awards less than meaningful: Goyal

A "merit exercise" was conducted this year under the new collective agreement between CUFA (Concordia University Faculty Association) and the University. All faculty members and librarians were asked to apply.

They had to prepare dossiers for teaching/research/service to the community. They were first evaluated by the departmental personnel committees and then by the respective deans.

A copy of all those granted merit is sent to CUFA. The list of awardees is not made public. The dean can reduce or increase the merit recommended by the departmental committee. The decision of the dean is unappealable, which seems undemocratic.

Merit is awarded on two levels: a cash award of $500 per year for two years, or a cash award of $800 to $1,000 per year for two years.

As a result of the recent merit exercise, over 80 per cent of those faculty members who applied were successful, an overwhelming majority receiving the top award. I am sure that the minimum level of performance expected or required for the award of merit must be pretty low for such a large number of faculty members to qualify.

The word merit, by definition, means excellent performance worthy of praise. If the exercise is to serve any meaningful purpose, we should have far fewer merit awards, and the list of awardees should be made public. Public recognition of those granted merit is essential for the entire process to establish any credibility.

S.K. Goyal Decision Sciences and MIS

Copyright 1998 Concordia's Thursday Report.