President John Delaney
Due to the conflict with Board’s meeting, President Delaney was absent and presented no report.
Academic Affairs Provost & Vice President – Mark Workman
The Provost offered thanks to outgoing FA President Patrick Plumlee for his years of service, and remarked that the FA President sits on the Council of Deans, and would be meeting regularly with the Academic Affairs leadership, including one-on-one meetings with the Provost. He reminded faculty about the Fall Convocation, and exhorted members to attend. He then discussed changes in governance of higher education in Florida, which is shifting rapidly, requiring the university to be institutionally nimble and quick, to adjust to the changes. He mentioned two examples of such changes:
The Council of Academic Vice-Presidents has been charged with the responsibility for monitoring warranted and unwarranted program duplication across the state, reviewing all programs offered by SUS institutions, using a number of metrics, such as number of program majors. Most of the concern is with duplication at the Ph.D. level, rather than the baccalaureate or masters level. This issue is made more complex by availability of online learning.
General Education requirements for students are being revised downward from 36 credits to 30 credits, moving in a direction that possibly not wise. He believes that the motivation for this is to increase student mobility across system. This change will require significant faculty involvement, entailing changes in course requirements and redeployment of faculty to meet the new requirements. He is on the statewide steering committee to deal with this, and there will also be representatives from the university on the subdisciplinary committees.
The study commissioned last spring to review the ORSP by the Society for Research Administrators produced a full set of recommendations. A task force has been created, chaired by Cathy Christie, to make recommendations to the Provost regarding the implementation or non-implementation of the study’s recommendations. Alexandra Schonning, a member of the Faculty Association Research Committee, is a member of the taskforce.
He mentioned that Marianne Jaffee will send a summary at the end of this week about all of the summer grant opportunities available to faculty.
Legislative Liaison Report - Janet Owen
Currently, there is little legislative activity to report, due to the presidential election. State general revenue is relatively flat; waiting to see whether there will be a cut in funds to higher education. There are no PICO funds available for next year for construction.
The state employee health trust fund will not have a deficit for another year or two.
On Friday, September 7, the Supreme Court hears the pension suit. If the decision goes in favor of the employees, it could mean $1.6 billion back to employees.
Student leaders have decided to do an initiative called AIM Higher, to try to convince legislators to make higher education a priority in funding. The students plan to use Facebook and YouTube videos to promote this initiative.
Next week, the Board of Governors meet to approve the legislative budget request for higher education, possibly enabling avoidance of a tuition increase.
United Faculty of Florida – Cheryl Frohlich
The union has elected a new board; Cheryl is the only continuing member of board. Refer to UFF website for issues involving the state or other institutions.
There is now someone designated to handle grievances – Dominik Guess from the Psychology Department. Currently there have been three grievances filed relating to evaluations; some of these may not go all the way through the grievance process, since there some are still in negotiation between the administration and the individual member. Also there has been one grievance filed on a letter of reprimand, and one grievance on a counseling memorandum.
The issue of providing courses solely online has been raised in bargaining, but not yet addressed:
a question arose about on-campus office hours for those who are teaching all courses online; the issue is still being discussed;
ownership of class material for online courses is also being discussed.
There will be a bargaining session on September 7. The union submitted a number of articles in February; these have not yet been addressed. Current emphasis in negotiation is on Article 18, which deals with faculty evaluation; a reply from the administration on this issue is expected. With regard to summer teaching, a first course is guaranteed (UNF is the only school in Florida for which this is true). Cheryl reported that President Delany said we will keep the guarantee, and the issue will be discussed later if it becomes necessary for financial reasons.