Faculty Affairs Committee
Annual Report 
(2015-2016) 
Submitted by Co-Chairs 
Dr. David Fenner and Dr. Gordon Rakita 


Members: Scott Hochwald (FA vice-president), Mina Baliamoune, Sherry Pinkstaff, Alireza Jahan-Mihan, David Fenner (co-chair), Gordon Rakita (Co-Chair), Lisandra Carmichael, Diane Tanner, Dan Richard

Ex-officio Members: Chip Klostermeyer (FA President); Kathy Robinson (FA Past President)

Meetings: September 17, 2015; October 8, 2015; November 12, 2015; January 14, 2016; February 11, 2016; March 10, 2016; April 14, 2016; May 5, 2016

 

Discussion of Honors College
The committee discussed the proposed new Honors College’s budget, staffing, and the potential changes to undergraduate research scholarships. The committee voted unanimously to support the creation of “The Hicks Honors College.”

Revisions to the Faculty Affairs Committee charge
The committee voted to amend its charge as below to reflect name changes in the Faculty Commons (to Faculty Lounge) and the Board of Regents (to Board of Trustees).

The Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) shall review and recommend policies and practices with regard to faculty assignments and released time, faculty evaluation, promotion and tenure, ethics, affirmative action, academic freedom and teaching issues; the organization and/or reorganization of academic units; the use of theFaculty CommonsFaculty Lounge; and such other matters that customarily concern the regular faculty. The Committee shall approve all proposed recipients of honorary degrees from the University. The Committee shall also review, on request, unresolved differences between regular faculty members and the administration and make appropriate recommendations, except in instances that are clear violations of the BORBOT(Board of Trustees)/UFF Agreement and are addressable through the grievance process. (Section 4. F, see http://www.unf.edu/unffa/Bylaws.aspx)”

 

ISQ Timing
The committee explored the issue of timing of deployment for the ISQs in the summer. Students can complete ISQ after final exams and thus they know their final grade while filling out ISQs (in Summer B). ISQ can be completed before the end of the withdrawal period (in Summer A). The committee recommended adjusting the time ISQs are open to be completed be from the day after the withdrawal date to prior to the last day of class. Further it was recommended that if the language in the new CBA is an impediment, that that language be amended. 

Honorary BA/BS Degree:
The committee discussed honorary BA/BS degrees as a way to honor individuals at a different degree level than the doctorate that might be more appropriate for some individuals. The committee voted in favor of creating a process for an honorary BA/BS degree with the same process as that for the honorary doctorate, but with the following criteria:
  • Character exemplifying ethical conduct and values consistent with the University of North Florida; and
  • Achievement or distinction in the arts and sciences, education, the professions, public service, philanthropy, or private enterprise; and
  • One of the following:
    • Evidence of strong support of UNF
    • A record of contributions to the northeast Florida region
The committee further agreed that there should be a quota of no more than two honorary bachelor’s degrees a year for the university.

Conflict of Interest
The committee heard from Joann Campbell (Associate Vice President and Compliance Officer) regarding conflict of interest issues at the university. Campbell is leading an initiative to develop documentation (e.g. a FAQ) and hold workshops on conflict of interest. She has pulled together a document outlining questions and comments that have been generated. The intention is to develop answers and guidelines for addressing various situation. There will be an effort to revise UNF’s conflict of interest policy (e.g. to include a definition of COI). The efforts are ongoing and they are seeking input from stakeholders. The Faculty Affairs Committee discussed the issue and provided Campbell with feedback, suggestions, and questions. 

Developing guidelines for Restructuring Colleges
The committee developed guidelines for restructuring existing or starting new colleges at the University.

Divest UNF
The committee heard presentations from David Jaffee (COAS), a student group called Divest UNF, and Shari Shuman (Vice President, Administration & Finance). Jaffee requested that the Faculty Association advocate for the establishment of a Social Responsibility Investment Advisory Committee with the purpose of improving transparency to the investment process used by the University. The student group, DivestUNF, requested that the Faculty Association support their call for the University to divest from fossil fuel production firms. Shuman presented a history of the Foundation’s investment strategy and how it has evolved to its current policy of investment neutrality. Shuman also described the university’s environmental sustainability efforts. The committee discussed the issue of both the UNF Divest recommendation and the idea of recommending the formation of an Advisory Committee. The committee decided not to put forth a resolution at this time. The committee did decide to forward an informational item to the Executive Committee.

Student Civility
Faculty from the department of English and the Writing Center raise the issue of an increase in extremely uncivil (bordering on dangerous) student behavior with the committee. Incidences of uncivil behavior are becoming more and more common and serious. They suggested that the Faculty Association develop a recommendation/proposal to be forward to the administration. The committee also considered uniform, boilerplate language on civility for syllabi. This issue will be discussed further at a future meeting.

Faculty-on-faculty Bullying
The issue of faculty bullying of other faculty was raised with the committee. The committee discussed the possibility of creating a group to be a resource for faculty being bullied. It was decided that the committee will consider preparing and disseminating a statement and resource page. 

Research/Scholarship Survey 
The committee developed a survey to assess faculty perceptions of research and its place here at UNF. They also solicited feedback on the survey from the Research Council and the Associate Vice President for Research. The survey will be deployed in 2016-2017.

Research Integrity cases
The committee responded to two accusations of research misconduct.