Skip to Main Content

Minutes of Meeting

Faculty Association Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 12:15 PM

Location: Zoom: https://unf.zoom.us/j/91223915522?pwd=MDdMWnVkYWdTNWE0YnBJQjM2dlZTUT09

Call to Order:

Dr. White called the meeting to order at 12:15 PM.

Members Present:

There were approximately 72 faculty in attendance.
  • APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES

    The October 2021 minutes were reviewed. Dr. Arikawa motioned to approve the minutes, and Dr. White called for discussion; none ensued. The minutes were approved unanimously.

  • ANNOUNCEMENTS

    Dr. White called for a motion to reorder today’s agenda to start with the Special Reports section before Reports from Standing Committees. Dr. Comeaux moved to reorder in this way, and Dr. Arikawa seconded. Discussion was solicited, and none ensued. A vote was taken, and all were in favor, and the Special Reports followed first.

  • REPORTS FROM STANDING COMMITTEES

     

     

    Committee

      Chair

    1.

    Academic Programs – 1 Agenda Item

    Dr. Harris reported that APC met this morning to discuss 27 items that will go to Faculty Association for consideration at its December meeting.


    The committee meets next on December 2.

     

    Alan Harris

    2.

    Academic Standards – none

    Dr. Comeaux reported Academic Standards Committee met Thursday, October 14, via Zoom to review the proposed policy for academic misconduct integration policy. The committee met with Rachel Winter (Office of Student Accountability and Resolution) to hear that update, and the committee agreed that the changes Ms. Winter described do offer a standard in its revised policy. As a result, the committee voted to move the policy proposal for consideration at the Executive Committee level next.

     

    The committee meets next on November 18 at 3 PM on Zoom.

     

    Judy Comeaux

    3.

    Adjunct Affairs – none

    Dr. Shoemake reported that Academic Affairs has not met since its last meeting.

     

    The committee meets next TBD, pending any business that comes before it.

     

    Deirdre Shoemake

     

    4.

    Budget Advisory – none

    Dr. Provost reported that the Budget Advisory Committee met October 16 for an organizational meeting to discuss potential guests for future meetings. The committee also elected Dr. Schönning (CCEC) as vice chair. In their next meeting, they meet with Drs. Patterson and Kantner on November 29 at 2 PM via Zoom.

     

    The committee is working to evaluate its role in the Faculty Association charge and in the larger university scope. They hope to pivot toward finding a way to be a more effective voice in this conversation. They are interested in collecting information about faculty areas of interest re: budgets.

     

    Sarah Provost

    5.

    Campus Technology – none

    Dr. Arikawa reported that the Campus Technology Committee met and reviewed the Academic Technology grants and selected FIVE (5) of NINE (9) submissions, funding $5,725. She announced that the spring deadline is February 4 for spring Academic Technology grant applications. Dr. Arikawa also explained they will send out a survey to faculty to gather feedback about faculty experiences with campus technology to help the committee focus its efforts going forward.

     

    The committee meets next on  November 15 at 12-noon via Zoom.

     

    Andrea Arikawa

    6.

    Faculty Affairs – none

    Dr. Beasley reported the committee met on October 15 to review proposed Faculty Senate Bylaws Task Force and perspectives from various stakeholders to discuss potential bylaws amendments. He directed faculty to the FA webpage for those interested in reading through the minutes on that conversation.

     

    The committee meets next on November 18 at 12:15 PM.

     

    James Beasley

    7.

    Faculty Enhancement – none

    Ms. Atilano reported that the Faculty Enhancement Committee met October 21 to hear a report from Acting OFE Director, Dr. Merten, and Dr. Rakita on feedback on fall events so far. So far, 244 faculty have attended programming and are more than satisfied with these events. The committee also heard information about possible spring 2022 programming, which will include a number of topics, e.g., impact factors, technical/digital tools, and more P&T support.

     

    The committee meets next TBD.

     

    Maria Atilano

    8.

    Nominations & Elections – none

    No report was offered.

     

    Chitra Balasubramanian

    9.

    Research Council – none

    Dr. Cheek reported that the Research Council met October 18 to discuss and identify which project the committee should attend to this year. She noted a strong desire among committee members to focus on the “barriers” and “obstacles” that faculty encounter in completing research. She added that the committee is constructing a survey to gather faculty perspectives on these areas.

     

    The committee meets next on November 15 at 12 PM on Zoom.

     

    Kim Cheek/James Gelsleichter

    10.

    Strategic Planning Advisory – none

    No report was offered.

     

    David Hoppey

    11.

    Support Services – none

    Ms. Kelley described the purpose of the committee to meet with various offices. In September, they met with Dave Wilson and Rozy Parlette in CIRT to hear about the “R” in CIRT’s efforts and how CIRT can support faculty research efforts. In October, the committee met with Andrea Adams-Manning, David Stout, and Tom Van Schoor to learn about the Ombuds office, other student support offices, and how faculty can help students succeed, noting various avenues faculty can promote with students.

     

    The committee meets next on November 17 with Drs. Leverette and Cartwright (both in English) regarding the Justice Sessions event series.

     

    Tara Kelley

    12.

    Executive – none

    Dr. Hamadi reported that the Executive Committee met October 19 to discuss and set today’s meeting agenda.

     

    The committee meets next on November 16 to set the December agenda.

     

    Hanadi Hamadi

  • LEGISLATIVE ITEMS

    Agenda Item #1 – FA 21-22: Submitted by Academic Programs Committee

    Dr. Harris introduced an APC package for new courses/course changes across the colleges’ undergraduate and graduate programs that do not include creation of a new program.

    Dr. Harris moved the item. Dr. White called for discussion. No discussion followed. A vote was taken:

    51        Yes 

    1          No 

    6          Abstain

    The item passes.

  • SPECIAL REPORTS

    Interim University President – Pam Chally

    Dr. Chally reported on the current staffing affecting several Administration Vice Presidents positions, noting specifically that four VPs have departed or are departing:

    1.     Karen Bowling (Jobs) has moved to MedNexus to work with Dr. Szymanski, and in the meantime Academic Affairs have assumed that offices’ major functions;

    2.     Whitney Meyer (Diversity & Inclusion) has left to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and an interim VP has been identified (Dr. Richmond Wynn, CMHC) while a future search is setup to fill the position soon;

    3.     Eric Bruder (Marketing) resigned in late October, and Isabel Pease has assumed that position in the interim; and

    4.     Ann McCullen (Development), effective end of year will be out of this position, and Teresa Nichols has agreed to serve as interim.

     

    Dr. Chally then opened the conversation to questions about these changes.

     

    Dr. Dawkins asked about logistics/timeline information for forthcoming searches. For D&I, Dr. Chally noted that they have revised the job description slightly, and Valerie Stevenson chairs that search, alongside Sheila Spivey, Manny Velasquez, Mei Zhao, Simon Rhodes, Edythe Abdullah, and Yvenie Etienne, a student who is President of the Black Student Union.

     

    Academic Affairs Vice President & Provost – Karen Patterson

    Dr. Patterson thanked faculty for attending today and gestured to the significance of the quality of ongoing faculty-administration relationship, noting the ongoing conversations circulating in the BOT/BOG, e.g., academic freedom. She referenced open searches for the ongoing administrative re-orgs (Office of Faculty Enhancement). She also noted that a call is open for the Osprey Connections Experience opportunity, being led by Drs. Susan Perez and Linda Howell, due December 6. Dr. Patterson stressed that the university is focusing on how first year students can be supported in their transition to higher education. She noted that HARP grant application results are pending and will be announced soon. She noted that an upcoming faculty panel on inspired teaching techniques and further innovations will take place November 16 in the afternoon via Zoom.

     

    United Faculty of Florida President – Nicholas de Villiers
    Dr. de Villiers offered an update on the one-time $1,500 payment and noted the union’s frustration about delays. UFF-UNF believes that its current MOU on this topic is closest to the spirit of the initial proposal, and Dr. de Villiers noted that the definition/calculation of FTE that determines the proration of the one-time payment remains unclear.

     

    Dr. de Villiers also followed up on the Provost’s note on academic freedom and growing concerns about attacks on academic freedom and freedom of speech. He referenced recent events and news headlines regarding the University of Florida affecting its faculty. In discussing this topic, Dr. de Villiers identified three different ways they believe academic freedom is being undermined in Florida:

     

    1.     overreach in newly expanded conflict of interest, outside activity, foreign influence articles, policies, and legislation;

    2.     attacks on Critical Race Theory and so-called divisive concepts; legislation forbidding the discussion of racism and sexism in diversity training and higher education classrooms; and

    3.     attempts to erode tenure, as in the recent events in the University System of Georgia.

     

    Against this backdrop, then, Dr. de Villiers situated the ongoing full book CBA bargaining, particularly in administration’s proposed revisions to Article 28 that forward a more sweeping definition of conflicts of interest and outside activity. He also noted here a perceived theme in the revisions proposed by the BOT bargaining team in Article 28 (conflict of interest and outside activity), Article 32 (discipline and job abandonment), and a revision of the grievance article.

     

    Dr. de Villiers asked faculty to share their thoughts with UFF-UNF about these BOT-proposed revisions and their potential impact on academic freedom.           

     

    Dr. Chally offered a follow-up comment on Dr. de Villiers’ note on the confusion surrounding how FTE is calculated for the one-time $1,500 pay, noting that the percentage of FTE will affect the total payout, e.g., someone working 0.5 FTE would receive 50% of that $1,500 amount.

     

    Dr. de Villiers thanked Dr. Chally and added that part of the clarification the UFF-UNF team seeks is which years are being used to calculate the payout: if AY21 or the current Academic Year, and Dr. Chally acknowledged that was a good question.

  • CONSENT AGENDA

    None.

  • QUESTIONS & RESPONSES

    Question 1: for UNF President

    Is there an update on summer research grants and whether those funds will be available or made to be on hold once more?

    Dr. Kantner answered that these remain on hold to ensure that funding is put toward ongoing scholarship initiatives. They hope to be able to restore funding to these grants in the next cycle.

    Question 2: for FA Parliamentarian and FA President/Vice-President

    Question/Suggestion Text :
    When we had in-person Faculty Association meetings, when we voted on agenda items there was enough time given for most/all meeting attendees to vote - whether we voted with a show of hands or with the online/phone system. With the online voting, a certain amount of time was given for individuals to cast their vote and then the results of the vote were announced in the meeting. As we have switched to Zoom meetings and voting through Zoom, it appears as if the vote is closed as soon as a quorum of individuals have voted - regardless of whether meeting attendees have had a chance to vote. Additionally, we are not told the results of the vote. Considering that we are all sitting at computers, many people are multitasking during the meeting and might not see the poll pop up as soon as it is posted and therefore might not get a chance to be one of the first 40 people to vote before the poll is closed. As we move forward into this year of Zoom meetings, can we please adjust the procedure of voting where a) the fact that the poll has been posted is announced out loud to meeting attendees, b) a certain amount of time (e.g., 90 seconds or 2 minutes) is given for people to cast their vote before the vote is closed, and c) the results of the vote are announced during the meeting? Thank you.

     

    John White answered in writing :

    This is a very good point. My intentions were to speed along the meetings once a given vote was incontrovertible (based upon the majority vote of the quorum). However, I shall in all future votes be sure to allow FA voting to play out to its conclusion and make the results of said voting known to those in attendance (and on the meeting minutes).

     

    Question 3: FA President 

    Question/Suggestion Text :
    Why are the minutes of the Faculty Association’s various committees no longer posted on the FA’s website? Why do faculty no longer have access to these important documents so that we can review the actions of our governing/representing bodies? Is this the sort of transparency the FA leadership now aspires to? Is this what we can expect from the proposed Faculty Senate?

     

    John White answered in writing :

    The documents in question are and have long been posted on the Faculty Association website. The problem has not been that materials aren’t posted but rather the manner in which faculty can gain access to them. We post committee meeting minutes behind a firewall (open to all UNF faculty) due to the responsibilities of a public institution to be ADA compliant.

    Older committee minutes (through early spring of the last academic year) were not posted by the previous executive secretary, who has since been dismissed. Hana, David, Beverly, and I have worked for the past 15 months to retrieve the materials she discarded and to post them to the appropriate places online.

    There is no link between this issue and a possible move to a faculty senate.

    Question 4: for Faculty Association President and Provost

    Question/Suggestion Text :
    Several important issues were raised at the recent coffee with the president townhall including those related to preserving tenure, preserving freedom of speech for faculty, preserving academic freedom, and attacks on critical race theory. We learned that the BOT has not yet begun to discuss these issues in detail. Could the Faculty Association and Administration each share their plans for preparing for and proposing solutions to these issues and also their strategies for getting these issues to the table at BOT meetings? Thank you.

     

    John White answered in writing :

    The issue at the University of Florida is extremely concerning and must be an issue that is critically examined by UNF administration (in concert with faculty governance), at the Board of Trustees (BOT) level, and emphasized at the state level. We need assurances that decisions like those at UF never occur here. (For context, the entire SUS uses a template with similar language regarding outside activities. According to that language, universities can deny requests for outside activities even when those activities are not compensated.[1])  Specifically, we must seek to revise outside activities policies and procedures that make possible such miscarriages of justice. Just as importantly, these issues need to be prominent at the Board of Governors meetings and in discussions with university-friendly legislators in the Florida Legislature because these are the locations where major university policies are made and approved. University administrators, university faculty, and Boards of Trustees need to lobby members of the BOG and pressure them to address these issues (something that the latter group is not eager to do).

     

    The UF situation has made clear that SUS institutions need to critically examine and revise outside activities policies. I have thus requested that the Faculty Affairs Committee begin the process of working with the Office of Legal Counsel and UNF Administration to try to amend the language of the policy to better protect academic freedom. Similarly, at the last Board of Trustees meeting on October 14th (and thus before the news from Gainesville), I warned board members about the ALEC-led initiative to weaken tenure, the impact those efforts are already having on the University of Georgia system, and how weakened tenure will bring with it an exodus of the best faculty from affected university systems. I spoke about what tenure is and is not (to clarify that it is not a “job for life” as it is often characterized to be by those who wish to erode tenure at colleges and universities) and emphasized that tenure is critical to academic freedom and true student learning. I will continue to discuss the issue of academic freedom and its central role in what universities do at our BOT meetings. Finally, on behalf of the Faculty Association I voted to approve a statewide faculty governance resolution speaking to the dangers inherent in policies that allow universities to silence faculty. 

    Question 5: for I nterim President and FA President

    Question/Suggestion Text :
    At its September retreat, Chair Hyde charged Vice Chair McElroy to lead the current search for a new UNF President. In that meeting, both Mr. Hyde and Mr. McElroy said “that selecting a president is one of the most important things that the Board does” and that “that the search will be national and extremely competitive, inclusive and the process will deliver a slate of quality candidates to the Board for their final vetting and selection.” Can the Interim President and Faculty Association President speak to circulating information that Chair Hyde may be considering pursuing this position? And if he is, should the university be concerned about any possible conflicts of interest?

     

    John White :

    I recently spoke with Mr. Hyde about this issue and he gave no indication that he was interested in seeking the presidency. Rather, he highlighted the fact that were he to be a candidate, he would have needed to step down from his role on the Board of Trustees. Further, because Mr. Hyde was responsible for selecting the members on the presidential search committee—including the chair of that body—and because he remains Chairperson of the UNF Board of Trustees, it seems highly unlikely that he would be one of the candidates for president. Mr. Hyde is an honorable and deeply ethical person who is always careful to avoid any conflicts of interest (as his being a candidate would obviously raise).

     

    Questions from the Floor

    None.



    [1] Once in a mode of damage-control, UF tied the activities to them being paid when that was never the issue. A physician at UF was denied an opportunity to testify about COVID-related issues even though he was not going to be paid.   Having spoken with VP Karen Stone, I can confirm that no similar decisions have been made at UNF even though the language of our policy mirrors the policy at UF.