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Pitel begins his time as UWOFA president

Western Law professor Stephen Pitel has been named President of the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA).

He looks forward to preparations for the next round of faculty negotiations and completing the ongoing corporate governance reforms.

“The corporate governance reforms are unfolding in the directions we wanted from the outset, although the process has taken longer than I had contemplated,” said Pitel. “I expect everything will be completed by the autumn. Then we will be a federal not-for-profit corporation with up-to-date by-laws governing the many facets of our operations.”

Pitel, whose research and teaching is focused on private international law, tort law, civil procedure and legal ethics, is the co-author of numerous legal books. He is one of the founders of Western’s tort law research group and was the co-developer of Canada’s first mandatory first-year law school course in legal ethics.

One of Pitel’s priorities for UWOFA is to continue to build a strong faculty representatives council, a process spearheaded by 2016-17 President Ann Bigelow, who will chair the council in the coming year.

During his year as Vice-President, Pitel was struck by how much of UWOFA’s day-to-day work involves advocacy on behalf of its members. He notes that the group is frequently asked for its views on issues that arise, from internal issues such as developing the university’s strategic mandate agreement to external issues such as changes to Ontario’s labour laws.

“We always appreciate being asked for input. Of course, in many cases we are not asked for our views but we provide them anyway, which is always an advocacy challenge,” he admitted, adding one of UWOFA’s concerns is that, on occasion, it is not consulted. But it’s not out of disregard, just a lack of awareness, he added.

“One of our goals is for all parts of the university to ask, in their operations, whether they raise a possible UWOFA issue so that proper, and timely, consultation can occur,” he said.

This article appeared in the Western Law 2017 Alumni Magazine.
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