Dr. Edythe Abdullah, Dr. Terry Bowen, Mr. Luther Coggin, Ms. Toni Crawford, Mr. O’Neal Douglas, Mr. Wilfredo Gonzalez, Mr. Steve Halverson, Ms. Ann Hicks, Ms. Wanyonyi Kendrick, Mr. Hank Rogers, Dr. R. Bruce Taylor, Ms. Carol Thompson, and Mr. Kevin Twomey.
Also in attendance were former Trustees: Ms. Donna Harper, Ms. Lindsay Hodges, Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton, and Dr. Floyd Willis.
Trustee Thompson called the meeting to order, welcoming everyone to the meeting. She thanked everyone for their attendance and participation in obtaining pictures for both the new and the inaugural boards. She stated that although she was not technically the chair at this time, she would like to recognize the inaugural Board members and express her appreciation of all of their work for the University of North Florida. Trustee Thompson announced that Trustee Newton had been appointed to the Florida Board of Governors and would be leaving the Board of Trustees for that position. She asked Trustee Newton to come forward to be recognized, congratulated her and presented her with a plaque in appreciation of her service to the UNF Board. Trustee Thompson asked Trustee Gibbs to come forward and receive a plaque, thanking her for her enormous commitment. Trustee Gibbs resigned due to time constraints related to her work with the JEA. Trustee Willis was also presented with a plaque. Trustee Thompson announced at the last Board of Trustees meeting that he would be resigning due to time conflicts between his duties to the Board and to his practice. Trustee Stallings was not able to attend. A plaque will be sent to him in appreciation for his service. Trustee Thompson announced that he had also resigned from the Board for personal reasons, but had volunteered to work on special projects. She wished all of them well in their new ventures.
Trustee Thompson stated that the Board of Trustees had been somewhat reconstituted as there was a new system in place due to Amendment 11. She said that Dr. Terry Bowen would now sit on the Board as the faculty representative, remarking that he had sat with the Board unofficially prior to his official appointment by law. She indicated that more discussion about the changes would be forthcoming after the meeting was convened by President Kline.
President Kline called the meeting to order. He asked Ms. Karen Stone, the University General Counsel, to explain the powers and duties of the Board.
Powers and Duties –Ms. Stone stated that the Florida Board of Governors had an inaugural meeting on January 7, which she attended. She indicated the information packets in front of the Trustees, referring to item 3A, which included a resolution by the Board of Governors delegating back to the Board of Trustees all powers and duties articulated by state law. She indicated a matrix created by Janet Owen, which laid out the powers delegated by the Board of Governors as well as the rules upon which they were based. She asked Ms. Owen to explain the document.
Ms. Owen indicated the pertinent passages in the document, stating that the Board of Governors adopted the powers and duties in the school code verbatim. Any changes were procedural rather than substantive. She said that, to the extent that rules might be inconsistent with actions taken by the Board of Trustees toward devolution of powers, as long as new rules were consistent with school code there would not be an issue according to the Board of Governors. She expected such conflicting rules to be repealed by the Board of Governors at a later date.
Ms. Karen Stone stated that there had been a brief discussion regarding the presidential search process during the Board of Governors meeting. She said that Phil Handy had been very clear that the Board of Governors would not be in the habit of second guessing board of trustees’ selections for president. The only other issue discussed regarding university presidencies was that of presidential salary. The Board of Governors indicated that the large increases in presidential salaries could come up in future discussions. She reiterated that the Board of Governors said Trustees should not allow rule inconsistencies to stop them from moving forward.
Election of Officers – President Kline introduced and welcomed the new Board members, Dr. Terry Bowen, the faculty representative, and Trustees Edythe Abdullah, Wanyonyi Kendrick and Bruce Taylor, and moved to proceed with the election for the positions of chair and vice chair. He opened the floor for nominations. Trustee Twomey nominated Trustee Thompson for the position of chair. The nomination was seconded and approved unanimously. Trustee Douglas stated that it had been his pleasure to serve as vice chair but he would like to nominate Trustee Halverson for the position at this time. The nomination was seconded by Trustee Abdullah and passed unanimously. Chair Thompson thanked Dr. Kline and thanked the Board for the vote of confidence. She expressed her appreciation for the consistent good counsel she’d received from Trustee Douglas as vice chair.
Chair Thompson personally welcomed the new Board members, encouraging them to ask questions. She said that President Kline and Dr. Serwatka would be strong resources should they have any questions.
Review of Bylaws – Ms. Stone drew attention to item 3C, stating that an attempt had been made to update the bylaws to reflect the new Board of Governors and to incorporate housekeeping changes in order to remain consistent with state law. Chair Thompson requested a motion to approve the updated bylaws. Trustee Rogers so moved, and the motion was seconded and approved unanimously.
Review of Board Operation and Functioning – President Kline asked if Trustees felt that the character of meetings as well as the number of times the Board was scheduled to meet was appropriate. Dr. Serwatka indicated information in the Trustees’ packets that outlined the practices at other institutions, remarking that some institutions were reconsidering how often they planned to meet. Some universities conducting presidential searches were still planning to meet monthly, but others were planning to meet bi-monthly or quarterly. While a decision was not required immediately, these were options to consider. Another item worthy of consideration was committee structure.
Dr. Serwatka indicated the outline of committee structures for other universities. He stated that, although some of the boards with more committees had poorer attendance, there was some variation possible in the number and type of committees that might be helpful to the Board. Chair Thompson said that she would like to suggest the committee structure be examined more thoroughly and amended if necessary. She said that she felt committee assignments should be examined as well. She recommended that suggestions for possible changes be made to President Kline. She thought another retreat or workshop might be helpful, particularly to the new members. Trustee Abdullah remarked that she thought a copy of the K-20 measures would be helpful to the Board in consideration of committee structure. Dr. Serwatka replied that these measures had been made available to the Board previously and that he would provide them for the new Trustees.
Trustee Gonzalez spoke to President Kline, stating that he’d been very happy with the process for meetings. He asked if members could discuss their recommendations with the Chair without violating sunshine laws. Ms. Stone answered that she believed so, but that Trustees should use caution in any discussion with other Trustees outside of Board meetings. She recommended discussing any issues possible with University staff instead. Chair Thompson said that committee assignments would be made but that she would like to make assignments according to Trustees’ interests.
Chair Thompson called for a motion to approve the previous minutes. Trustee Gonzalez moved to approve. Trustee Coggin seconded the motion and the minutes were accepted.
President Kline gave an update on Building 11. Water intrusion and mold were discovered in the building. Trustee Rogers worked with UNF administrators to find space for faculty whose offices were originally located on the second floor of Building 11. Faculty now have temporary offices in the student union.
In regard to the budget, President Kline believed that a large budget cut of at least 5-10% was almost a certainty, which would mean that the tuition increase would be used to pay for new enrollment. President Kline said he planned to have open discussions on the budget process, making sure that the vice presidents were kept current on the University’s position and indicating that the Board would make the ultimate decision regarding budget cuts.
There was some good news to report regarding the budget: Senator Hill and Senator Wise have supported a budget request for $10 million, which was sponsored by Representative Jordan in the house.
President Kline said that Archbishop Desmond Tutu was on campus. He believed students were greatly affected by the Archbishop’s presence and felt as if they were part of something important. He thought it would be good for the University if there were always someone like Archbishop Tutu involved with UNF as it had such a tremendous effect on the campus and local community. He spoke of several highly successful recent and upcoming events, including the Zakaria lecture and the Kathleen Battle concert scheduled for January 23 to celebrate the opening of the new Fine Arts Center.
Given the addition of new members, he thought it important to outline UNF’s mission. Dr. Kline elaborated on the critical dimensions: access, focus on undergraduates, centrality of liberal education and metropolitan responsiveness.
Chair Thompson opened the floor for public comment. Dr. Cheryl Frolich, vice president of UNF United Faculty of Florida addressed the Board on the subject of union certification. She indicated that over 60% of UNF faculty had signed cards authorizing UFF to be their exclusive representative for the purpose of collective bargaining. She described the purpose of the union as threefold: to protect the rights of its members, to ensure academic freedom, and to work with administration to build a strong university by resolving problems internally. She spoke to the issue of tenure, stating that UNF required seven years to become tenured, which allowed plenty of time to determine if an instructor was productive or not. She said there were also post tenure evaluations and measures to eliminate the tenured positions of those who were not performing acceptably and did not improve. She discussed several instances of union intervention on behalf of faculty that she indicated had been resolved successfully due to union representation.
Dr. Joan Campbell gave an update on union certification. She discussed the January Board of Governors meeting which established the Board of Trustees as the local employer, thus delegating authority for establishing personnel programs and collective bargaining. With that resolution, the System-wide collective bargaining agreements with the five certified bargaining agents (Police Benevolent Association, United Faculty of Florida, American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, Florida Nurses Association, and Graduate Assistants United) expired. Employees have been notified that they may continue to maintain dues deductions through charitable contributions if they desire. As UNF has been approached by a rival union (Truck Drivers, Warehousemen and Helpers) seeking to represent law enforcement, there could be legal implications for continuing to deduct dues.
AFSCME filed a temporary injunction seeking to maintain the status quo in respect to statewide collective bargaining, but the injunction was denied as pleadings did not establish ground for emergency relief. Hearings have been set for February 7 and 26; Dr. Campbell said she would be attending. Currently there were no petitions from AFSCME or the truck drivers’ union. The FBOE and UFF have filed a joint petition with PERC requesting that University boards of trustees be considered the public employer for purposes of certification. Dr. Campbell also indicated that a request for voluntary recognition from UFF as the exclusive representative was received. As the petition from FBOE and UFF had just arrived, Dr. Campbell recommended that the Board put off discussion on voluntary recognition until further research could be undertaken.
Ms. Sheppard referred to a letter in the Trustees’ packets indicating that with the passage of Amendment 11, the Board of Governors would be the public employer. She also said that not all of the five unions were asking to represent personnel on campus at this time. Thus far the PBA and the FNA had not asked to be the collective bargaining representatives for UNF employees.
Dr. Kline stated that, as it appeared more likely that the Board of Trustees would become the employer, it would be up to the Board to decide if UFF should be voluntarily recognized or if an election should be held. He suggested that the Board direct that Ms. Sheppard, Ms. Stone, and Dr. Campbell research the options and present them at the next meeting.
Trustee Taylor asked how many bargaining agents there were and if there was much competition. Dr. Campbell answered that there were a number of different bargaining agents for faculty across the country but no competition in that category that she was aware of at this time. Trustee Taylor asked about the number of potential labor categories where the University would have representation through collective bargaining agents. Dr. Campbell said there were three.
Chair Thompson asked if the Trustees would like to voluntarily recognize UFF or if they would prefer to have an election. She said that a decision could be made by PERC stating that the Board had total responsibility for collective bargaining. While at this point there was no rival, it was possible that another union could request recognition if UFF was not recognized.
Vice Chair Halverson moved to table or defer action, requesting that legal counsel provide an update on the PERC hearings, a summary of the status of each previously recognized union (including the number of members), a description of each bargaining unit, any evidence of support within each bargaining unit, and records of the last recorded union elections. He said that he realized much of this information had been covered earlier but felt it would be helpful to discuss it again prior to making a decision. Trustee Douglas seconded the motion. Chair Thompson accepted the recommendation, stating that Trustees wanted to be responsive to faculty but must verify their authority before making a decision.
Dr. Kline introduced Ms. Shawn Brayton. He said that many people pay attention to the U.S. News rankings. Ms. Brayton was involved with providing data for that report and had made an analysis of the University’s position so that the Board could determine if changes should be made to UNF’s position in the rankings.
Ms. Brayton discussed each indicator in the 2003 edition of the report, noting that the data for the report were actually two years old. She pointed out that of forty schools in Tier 1, only nine were public institutions. She explained that peer assessments were measured by how schools were regarded by administrators at peer institutions. She identified Tier 1 schools and gave the range of their scores. Ms. Brayton went over graduation rates and average freshmen retention rates, stating that U.S. News stressed these issues as well as the percentage of small courses, low student-to-faculty ratios, and SAT/ACT scores as the areas to address in order to advance to higher tiers. Faculty salary would also be an indicator to address in considering such an attempt.
Dr. Kline remarked that some of the indicators would be quite easy to address in terms of receiving higher scores, such as offering smaller classes and hiring enough faculty. He acknowledged that he found the admission rate indicator disturbing as it meant rejecting more students. He said the University could gain higher standing if more people were encouraged to apply and then rejected but he did not consider that an appropriate or necessary measure.
Ms. Brayton stated that in determining the faculty-to-student ratio, provosts and deans, etc. could not be included in the faculty total, even though they often taught courses. She pointed out that the University of North Carolina, a peer institution, scored below UNF in several indicators. She indicated a chart, comparing UNF’s current and previous performance. She noted some recent scores that were lower than in previous years, attributing the discrepancy to changes made in response to the recent SACS accreditation review and to budget cuts.
Chair Thompson thanked Ms. Brayton for her presentation, stating that the information was valuable and worthy of consideration by the Board in making strategic or budget decisions.
Dr. Kline mentioned the scores of UNC in comparison with UNF. He stated that although much of the scoring was similar, UNC had a considerably better reputation and a higher graduation rate and proposed consideration of options to increase UNF’s reputation and graduation rate. Trustee Twomey asked if the part-time to full-time student ratio was different. Dr. Kline answered that the indicator had been examined and was the same for both schools. Trustee Abdullah asked how widely the report was distributed around campus. Ms. Brayton replied that the U.S. News rankings were much discussed and that faculty often asked why UNF had not been ranked as a Tier 1 institution. Chair Thompson asked if there were other questions or comments and moved to the next agenda item.
Chair Thompson reported that Jerry Baker of Baker and Parker had been on campus and conducted a number of meetings, including meetings with the Administrative and Professional Association, the Alumni Association, support personnel, faculty, and student government, in order to get input from a variety of sources regarding hopes and expectations for the next president. Chair Thompson met with Mr. Baker to discuss his findings thus far. He recommended a committee of nine to eleven members, consisting of representatives from at least some of the various groups as opposed to a committee consisting only of Trustees. Mr. Baker said he would provide a profile of the ideal presidential candidate within two weeks. Chair Thompson planned to appoint the committee within that time period as well. Mr. Baker said he would meet with the committee early in February. Chair Thompson expressed appreciation for the interest and participation from the University community during Mr. Baker’s time at UNF. Mr. Baker felt he had received good input and that people had been open with him and willing to discuss their views.
Chair Thompson again welcomed the new members to the Board and announced that the Board would next meet by conference call on February 20.
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