Dr. David Kline
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
February 1, 2001
The meeting began at
1:15 p.m. in Building 15, Room 2203. Faculty Association President
Kathleen Cohen noted that the meeting was being held to discuss
promotion and tenure questions asked at the November 2, 2000 Faculty
Association meeting. She welcomed Dr. Kline and thanked him for
coming to discuss the questions.
Dr. Kline gave a brief
background statement regarding the questions on today's agenda
and the reason for the meeting. He stated that there are certain
standards that a faculty member is expected to meet in order to
attain promotion and tenure. There have been questions concerning
The Vice President
for Academic Affairs has made several decisions that will impact
faculty, especially new hires and those who will be going up for
tenure and promotion. Some of these decisions were made with limited
or no faculty input. Faculty, historically, have been actively
involved in issues when it has to do with promotion, tenure, and
the recruitment of new faculty.
Point (1): The addition
to the hiring offers letter of the statement that contracts and
grants are expected
to be actively pursued.
Dr. Kline noted that
offer letters sent out last year included the wording that external
funding of contracts and grants should be actively pursued. He
was not sure if it was added to all offer letters. Joanne Campbell
said that the statement was not included in every letter. The
Faculty Affairs Committee suggested something a little milder
be included in the offer letter. The Committee proposed the following
statement, "In addition to the above stated expectations which
are teaching, scholarly research and service, you will be highly
encouraged to actively pursue contracts and grants, if appropriate
to your discipline, as much for institutional interests as to
maintain additional funding for your own professional pursuits."
He doesn't know if those will be the exact words he will use in
future letters, but he plans to make the wording weaker than before.
He said he wanted to be frank that the university is investing
a lot of money in engineering and sciences and he expects people
to get grants to keep their research programs going. If they do
not, they will not be successful. He noted that one cannot be
an experimental physicist and not get grants. He wants to be clear
about that up front. He recognizes, though, that there are disciplines
for which grants are not available.
is meant by actively pursued? Does that mean application for one,
two, three – how many – grants?
If it is appropriate
to keep your body of research going, you need to be trying to
get grants. If it is totally inappropriate, you wouldn't be expected
for a grant may be as time consuming as publishing an article. Is
a grant application, successful or unsuccessful, equivalent to a
The answer is no. The
Faculty Handbook says that getting grants is a relevant criteria
for promotion and tenure. It does not say that it counts as much
as an article. It does not say that unsuccessful ones count at
all. The point of getting grants is to publish one's work. Usually
there is some deliverable research associated with a grant. The
ultimate end is to publish the articles, the scholarly work.
individual's academic success (promotion, tenure, and raises) should
he/she pursue grants or publish articles?
Both, if appropriate,
but the goal is to publish one's scholarly work.
from some funding agencies more prestigious, therefore better, than
others, or are we looking at equal dollars (e.g. NSF grant the same
as a grant from JCCI)?
Dr. Kline indicated
that he thinks that some are better than others. He feels an NSF
grant counts more than a summer teaching grant at UNF.
the weight of a grant be relative to a published paper?
Dr. Kline's comment
was that he was not sure exactly what was meant by that question.
happens to the individual who pursues one grant and is turned down,
but has several articles published at P/T time? Has the individual
fulfilled the actively pursued grants part of the administration's
expectations when she/he reaches the promotion or tenure point?
He thinks so. It would
depend on the discipline, but again in some extreme areas, like
experimental physics, if people are not trying to get an opportunity
to use certain equipment, they will not be able to publish articles.
Maybe the only articles that would be published would be the ones
that came out of their dissertation or data that they gathered
when they were graduate students. Dr. Kline indicated that he
needed some sense that they are going to be able to continue that
work, so if there is no grant activity there, that would be suspicious.
On the other hand, it is fairly hard for poets to get grants,
maybe impossible. He thinks the departments have been quite sensible
about this. Where the expectations have not been strong enough
are in the sciences. The university does not want to hire ten
civil engineers and ten mechanical engineers and perhaps think
about having a PhD program in one of these areas and not expect
people to fund their research programs. That is really what has
driven him to include that phrase in offer letters.
The question was asked
about how papers are looked upon that have not been published
yet — that are based on dissertations, the majority of the work
done prior to coming to UNF. Dr. Kline said he would have to look
in some detail, but thought that if he were in your department
and he was looking at what you had accomplished in scholarship,
he would hope that you had at least initiated a scholarly program
at UNF and that what you were doing was not wholly parasitic on
your days as a graduate student. He would wonder then if you could
keep it going. Past scholarly work does show a lot. Some people
come to UNF and have credit from another institution, they may
have many articles, but it is nice to see that they have established
something at UNF.
Pali Sen remarked that
there are some kinds of grants that are not publishable, for example
teaching grants. She wondered if Dr. Kline was telling faculty
not to pursue those kinds of grants.
The answer was no.
Again, the Faculty Handbook says that getting grants counts and
he thinks that would count a lot toward teaching. For example,
when he is looking at a dossier in the area of teaching, the SUSSAI
should not be the whole story or maybe even most of the story.
Others include things like having some interesting ideas and having
colleagues support them. That would be very important. He thinks
many people are coming to see that the SUSSAI should not be the
Minor Chamblin said
he understood Dr. Kline to have made two slightly different statements.
He asked for elaboration of the following points. First, grants
are sought to bolster the overall university budget operation.
Second, grants are a means to an end. It is almost mandatory to
depend on outside funding to carry out research. He thinks that
for someone coming up for promotion and tenure there should be
some sort of feeling as to how those things are weighed out and
Dr. Kline replied that
he did not say the first. That statement came from the Academic
Affairs Committee. He would not include that kind of language
in someone's contract. He indicated that Dr. Chamblin, as a psychologist,
should not be worried about pursuing grants so that the university's
budget is better off. He thinks contracts and grants should be
pursued because they will enable one to do better scholarly work.
Dr. Chamblin noted that he had heard that UNF had been mentioned
as not doing its share in getting grants and contracts. Dr. Kline
said that is true. One of the performance measures of a university
has to do with the amount of external funding relative to the
amount of state funding put in research. UNF did the poorest of
any institution in that regard. The Board would like for every
state dollar put in research, for two to come in contracts and
grants. At UNF it is less than one dollar, maybe .3, which is
the lowest. Certain people conclude that it is not a very cost
benefit deal. He thinks UNF's numbers will get better but he says
this is something that he should worry about, not faculty. He
thinks as we get the right kind of emphasis on scholarship and
expect it more in certain areas, grants will come. Dr. Chamblin
said that if that is true then why even talk about grants in the
promotion and tenure process? If grants are a means to an end
and that end is scholarship and publication can you not accomplish
a valid assessment of someone by looking at that criteria? Dr.
Kline responded that he supposed you could but it is in the Handbook.
If a faculty member pursues grants successfully that would be
Judy Solano noted that
this whole question came up not so much relevant to promotion
and tenure but to the offer letter of employment. There are many
other things in the Faculty Handbook that were not added to the
letter. This seemed to add more importance to the phrase. That's
why the issue came to Faculty Affairs, because it seemed to indicate
a change in expectations. People wondered where they should be
putting their efforts. Should they try to continue to publish
or should they shift to contracts and grants?
Scott Hochwald asked
which is better in the university's eyes, to pursue and get a
$500,000 teaching grant or publish a ten page paper? Which is
more beneficial to promotion? Is it counted as scholarship? Which
counts more, a ten page article or a grant?
Dr. Kline indicated
that it would depend on the rest of the package. That is like
asking how many articles are enough. Then your colleagues have
to make the judgment about the quality of the articles. They would
have to decide on the quality of the grant. Your chair, your colleagues
and the central committee would make a judgment. Dr. Kline said
he couldn't answer in the abstract. To him, both articles and
grants sound very good.
Judy Solano noted that
the letter had singled out the pursuit of grants and had elevated
it - equaled it to teaching, research and scholarship. Faculty
members are now asking where to put their emphasis.
Dr. Kline noted that
grants and articles are not incompatible; they are related to
Pat Plumlee said he
understood that Dr. Kline intends to soften the language in the
offer letters. He wonders what is the argument. Are people saying
that it should not be in there at all or soften the language?
Judy Solano said her
preference is that it would not be there. If a person is being
offered a position at UNF then they are expected to teach x number
of hours and pursue scholarship and service. Grants could fall
under teaching or scholarship but it is not an equivalent category.
Mary Borg asked how
binding is the offer letter? She noted that she didn't really
look at what was expected of her when she received an offer letter.
All the expectations for promotion and tenure came from her chair
and dean and colleagues and annual evaluations, etc.
Dr. Kline responded
that he doesn't think it is that big a deal. Obviously a lot of
people are worried about it. The intention was that it was to
be a signal to a certain group of people this is really important,
that we really want to do science, not just articles on science
teaching. Maybe this kind of meeting is sufficient to send the
signal. He would like to talk to deans and hear from department
chairs. No offer letters have been sent out yet this year. There
is plenty of time to continue to talk about it.
Judy Solano said that
people do look at the wording in offer letters. She had a candidate
who asked her about it and a chair said he had lost one candidate
because of it. Dr. Kline noted that her department (Computing
Sciences) is a good example of a discipline that should be getting
grants. If that is worrying a candidate then she should be worrying
about that candidate.
Point (2): Time
Why is it assumed
by the Vice President for Academic Affairs that when a candidate
comes up for promotion to Full Professor at the required minimum
time in rank as listed in the Faculty Handbook that the faculty
member is actually coming up for promotion early and is likely
to be turned down because the faculty member came up too early?
Dr. Kline said the
time in rank should be left as is in the Faculty Handbook. He
noted that a couple of universities he knew of expected faculty
to apply for promotion in the minimum amount of time, but that
most universities did not. The minimum at UNF is four years. A
candidate must have an outstanding record -- that is the issue,
not how many years in rank.
Paul Mason noted that
the perception exists that if you come up in the minimum time,
you must be more outstanding than if you wait a year or so.
Dr. Kline said that
we must figure out what is meant by outstanding and if a person
has an outstanding record in four years, then fine, but five or
six years is also fine. It should not be held against a person
if he is a boy genius. It would not be fair to make the standard
higher for someone going up in four years instead of five or six.
He noted that his office had done a little survey and found that
some universities do not have a specific time period, some have
longer than UNF. He thinks the University of Florida has six.
Point (3): Outside
letter of reference.
of reference are used by some departments for P & T evaluation
purposes. Are the departments that do not require outside references
placing their candidates in jeopardy?
He said he honestly
does not know. If a person has an excellent outside letter, that
helps. If a person does not have a letter, it's possible it doesn't
hurt at all. If the package is strong enough, a letter is not
needed. He cited a case two years ago where without those letters,
the package would not have passed the threshold of outstanding.
But every record does not need outside letters.
Dr. Kline noted that
the best outside letters tell why the work is good. If it just
says this is good work, he does not take it very seriously.
Dr. Kline's advice
is not to ask outside referees whether this person should be promoted
or tenured, in fact, write it in a way that makes it clear that
you are not asking that. What you are asking is, "What do you
think of this work? Is it good work?" Don't ask if it is enough,
because they don't know our context. Dr. Kline said a letter could
say that this article is just dead wrong, but it is very interesting
and I learned something from reading it. That's a pretty good
There was a discussion
about who should write outside letters. Dr. Kline indicated that
it was his desire that the candidate submit some names and the
chair pick a couple of those and pick a couple of experts independently.
But even the candidates list shouldn't be friends or acquaintances.
Pali Sen noted that
many times an article sent to one journal is rejected as trash,
another journal accepts it and says it is a wonderful article.
The same can be true about outside reviewers. One person's judgement
can make a decision on one person's whole life.
Dr. Kline said he does
not know the answer to that. His advice to a young faculty member
would be to have an envelope ready for another journal. When you
get the rejection, look at reasons, if they are good reasons,
change it, if not send it to someone else.
letters are used then who selects the reviewer?
He discussed that earlier.
that we have reviewers and that our faculty evaluations are relative
to their peers at UNF, how can an outside reviewer assess the quality
of research based upon UNF criteria and their peers?
Again, he already discussed
that. Do not ask them to do that. He noted that we have less time
at UNF to spend on research than they do at MIT, but the volume
of things produced at UNF are of high quality.
with the idea of reviewing research to see if it "hangs together"
as a cohesive whole, do we then send all the research that the candidates'
peers have done to the reviewer? Recall they are evaluated relative
to their UNF peers.
He does not agree with
the second part of that question. Departments have to decide how
much they want to send out. If you send three good pieces and
the vita, they can tell if it hangs together. If there is any
issue about it, send more.
is a research program that hangs together? Who determines what hangs
Dr. Kline noted that
he had tried to write something about that and it is on the Web.
The Faculty Handbook says you are supposed to have a research
agenda. He gave an example of what would not be a research agenda:
a paper on this, a review on that, a presentation on that -- none
connected. One extreme example is if your area of study is military
history and you do research on contemporary Chinese cooking. He
gave an example of what would hang together: military history
- the role of guns in South America between 1400 and 1550 and
write a set of articles that thoroughly makes sense of that. In
your narrative you explain what you are doing. He noted he could
not think of what would be more natural or fun. He thinks we can
all recognize it. Your colleagues have to help, your committee
has to help, your chair has to help. He also noted that when he
was trying to get promoted that the "hanging together" was more
important than the volume.
Paul Mason said as
an economist, he would do research in different fields, and they
might not relate. His research was done to support teaching. That
almost necessitates broader research. He thinks his research in
support of teaching demands diversity.
Dale Clifford said
that could be true in his department, but her area is the French
Revolution and she cannot teach six courses a year on that subject.
She can't possibly do research in all the courses she teaches.
Dr. Kline said the
narrative would be the chance to explain how the research hangs
together. He noted that in five years there was only one case
where it was an issue. His advice is to have a program - write
a book, review other peoples books, write articles. When people
think of the French Revolution, they will think of Dale Clifford.
Point (4) Confidentiality
A candidate who
agrees to outside reviews may not have the right to exclude those
reviews from the dossier. A candidate should always have the right
to see and respond to reviews (as he/she does for letters from
inside the University). How can the administration deny this right
of a candidate to see material in his/her own dossier and respond
cannot ever deny the right of a candidate to see the material
in his or her own dossier and respond to it.
However, we have some
departments that have external reviews and they are confidential.
How do they handle that?
Dale Clifford explained
what they do in the History Department. The bylaws do not say
that the letters must be confidential. That is the option of the
candidate. If the candidate wishes to have confidential letters,
the department puts the request in the dossier together with the
confidential letters. The reviewers are told letters would be
Dr. Kline stressed
that if the candidate chooses for the letters to be confidential,
then they are treated as confidential.
Judy Solano asked if
there is any feeling of pressure to agree to confidential letters
because there is a sense that you are disadvantaged if you don't
agree to have confidential letters.
Dale Clifford said
she doesn't think so. The History Department feels they need them.
She is the only French historian, her colleagues can't judge her
work. Someone from the outside must review the work. She can't
judge Theo Prousis' work because it is not her area and some of
it is in Russian.
Dr. Kline said this
issue has been controversial. If we wanted to have a position
that is absolutely unassailable in terms of the contract – we
should say that we would allow no confidential letters, and we
may have to do that down the road. But, at least for now, he is
willing to let departments that have a process that works for
them — work. And what legally seems to allow it to work is that
the candidate requests that the letters be confidential.
Minor Chamblin expressed
worry the perception existed that confidential letters might be
more important and carry more weight.
Dr. Kline indicated
that he had spoken with the Faculty Affairs Committee and it was
decided to take a laissez-faire attitude and let the system that
seems to be working in those departments that have a process continue.
That is what he is inclined to do.
Dr. Kline reiterated
that some departments want to have them. He said the Faculty Association
could vote on a policy and he would follow that.
Judy Solano said if
there seems to be enough concern this issue can be raised in the
Faculty Affairs Committee.
Dr. Kline said that
he thinks the most concern is for contracts and grants. He will
put a weakened statement in the offer letters. He would accept
any ideas about the wording. If people want to talk about it in
departments and think it is inappropriate, let him know. He is
still thinking about it.
Dr. Kline noted that
he thought this year's dossiers are as good as any year since
he's been here.
adjourned at 2:12 p.m.
Barbara Tuck, Secretary
Copyright © 2001 University
of North Florida.
All Rights Reserved.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
June 15, 2001