President John Delaney
I would like to thank Len Roberson, Associate Vice President for Technology & Innovation, who has been leading the Distance Learning initiative and helping to manage the relationship with Academic Partners. Len will be returning to faculty ranks following this semester. I also would like to thank Provost Earle Traynham for his service. There has been some restructuring in Academic Affairs, with Associate Provost, Jay Coleman, heading up an initiative to deal with statewide metrics. There will be an Interim Provost position and a national search for Provost.
With the additional focus on data analytics, we discovered that a student who has lower than a 2.0 after taking courses in their first summer term, the student has a 12% chance of graduating. There have been numerous discussion regarding how to handle these issues, and I will continue to encourage discussion, dialogue, and difference of opinion as we address what is best for our students and for the university.
I have recently learned that our Nursing students achieved on their credentialing exams the highest pass rate in the State of Florida. Congratulations to our students and faculty in the Nursing program.
A couple of years ago, a student from Romania emailed me with some serious concerns. The student traveled to the United States when he was young, and his parents had become citizens. He realized that his Visa was expiring and that he might need to leave the US and travel back to Romania. He had not been to Romania since he was a toddler and did not know the language of that country. When we consider policy decisions related to immigration, it is important to understand the impact that these policies have on human beings. This student had not realized the impact that his expiring Visa would have on him until it was almost too late. Someone realized that the student could extend his stay if he was enrolled as a student. We were able to help him become enrolled at Edward Waters College, and the student eventually attended graduate school. A person such as this student is covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Related to this policy, the Pomona Letter, expressing solidarity with individuals under DACA has been signed by 600 institutions of higher learning, and we signed a similar statement yesterday. Related to that is a unity statement that will be considered by the Faculty Affairs Committee, to stand behind those who have been marginalized.
When we were building one of the new buildings on campus, I was visited by an immigration officer who was on campus to determine whether projects contracted for UNF used undocumented workers. The immigration officer asked that I check with workers to determine if the contracted workers had appropriate documentation. The officer then indicated that UNF would be criticized publically if we did not check and if undocumented workers were eventually discovered. At the time, we resisted this form of intimidation and required the Immigration Office to do their work and not ask us to be deputies on their behalf.
Legislative Liaison Report - Janet Owen
GOVERNOR’s RECOMMENDED BUDGET
The Governor rolled out his budget recommendations for the Legislature to consider on Tuesday, and he treated the state universities much better than the state colleges.
The state employee $500 bonuses included in the Governor’s recommended budget does not apply to state university employees.
In buying off on the Board of Governor’s desire to raise the total performance funding pot to $600 Million – instead of adding a new $100 million slug to the existing $500 million pot, he adds $50 million, and then requires the universities to collectively contribute the other $50 million from base budgets.
The Governor does not bond PECO or CITF, so the recommendations for funding projects out of these funds are very minimal.
The House Speaker wants to cut about $1.9 Billion from the State Budget for FY 2017-18.
The Senate President wants to fund the enhancement of research and the professional schools in the system, and to fund issues leading to increasing the national reputation of the State University System.
We have learned that the Governor’s Higher Ed Legislative Package will freeze tuition and fees, cut Grad Assistant Fees by 25%, Cap the distance learning fee at $30 PCH, and permanently eliminate a university’s ability to request a new fee to be approved by the Board of Governors. Legislation not yet published.
The Governor’s legislative package will include the return of the sales tax emption for textbooks.
Legislation has been filed to:
- Change the Graduation Rate Metric from 6 years to 4 years.
- Require the state universities to have block tuition policies in place by Fall 2018 – which under any scenario, as a very negative fiscal impact. The universities are looking at various models and running the fiscal impact numbers in an effort to get the loss funded or to otherwise mitigate the potential negative impact.
- Restore Bright Futures funding for Summer Term and to restore the Bright Futures award to its original level – 100% tuition & fees and $300 for Books.
- Change threshold for Excess Hours back to 120% of degree requirements from the current threshold of 110%.
PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTION
Any personal identifying information of an applicant for president, provost, or dean of a state university or Florida College System institution is confidential until . . .The names of applicants who comprise a final group of applicants must be released by the state university or Florida College System institution no later than 10 days before the date of the meeting at which final action or a vote is to be taken on the employment of the applicants.
Steube’s earlier bill (SB 140), was on the agenda for the Senate Judiciary Committee’s first meeting, but it was canceled. He has not put the bill on the committee’s agenda since, suggesting he may not have the votes to pass the wide-ranging gun legislation out of his own committee.
"Instead of looking at it as a huge comprehensive bill, we're going to try to do it piecemeal," Steube told the Miami Herald last week. "Just from feeling the tea leaves, it's probably better to attack it piece by piece."
The bills filed Wednesday include one with the controversial “campus carry” provision allowing concealed weapons permit holders to carry firearms on the campuses of public schools and universities. That bill (SB 622) would also bar guns from school and university athletic events that are not related to firearms.
Here are the other bills:
— SB 616 would set up a way for concealed firearms licensees to temporarily handover their gun to courthouse security
— SB 618 allows concealed weapons licensees to carry guns into airports, except for the area of the airport beyond TSA screening
— SB 620 would allow concealed firearms licensees to carry guns into legislative committee meetings
— SB 626 allows concealed weapons licensees to carry a concealed weapon into local government meetings, including school board meetings
We have 6 trustees up for Senate Confirmation during the 2017 session.
I’ll be able to be with you for your March meeting before the 60-day session begins the following Tuesday.
United Faculty of Florida – John White
The United Faculty of Florida-UNF Chapter (UFF-UNF) would like to commend President Delaney and the Faculty Association for working on and signing the Pomona Letter. In an era of xenophobia, it is comforting to know that institutions of higher education are taking a stand.
The UFF-UNF is opposed to the confirmation of a particular individual to the UNF Board of Trustees. Please look into this issue and contact your senators.
The UFF-UNF and the Administration are in the midst of contract re-openers. You can find more information on the UFF-UNF website. Starting in the Fall, we will be discussing the full contract.