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Faculty Association
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Question and Responses

  • September

    Surveillance Cameras

    Question for Anyone

    Answer 1 from Scott Bennett

    The projected started four years ago. We have several committees that address campus security. This was treated like any other construction project that goes on. We hired a security consultant to make recommendations on enhancements for campus security. The last 2-3 years this project has been doing outdoor spaces and the work has now started to move indoors. These cameras are not monitored, and they are typically pointed at and away from entry points and stairways. They have already helped in numerous situations previously. Departments do put in their own cameras, and they are allowed to do this.

    Student Services

    Question 2 from Georgette Dumont

    Reminders – she thanked the administration for the student services for First Gen college students.

    She is the faculty Ombud – she is the go to if you have any needs. Reach out to her.

    PTR Concern

    Question 3 Bart Welling

    Deeply concerned that PTR will be used as a smokescreen to punish faculty for their political views.

    Answer 3 from President Limayem

    Safeguards in place. I can assure you that one thing we agree on with UFF is that we will do everything we can to ensure PTR is not used to fire people for their political views.

  • October

    Private Funding Steps

    Question: What steps has the University taken to secure private funding?

    Answer from John Kanter: In consultation with the BOT, they indicated that when private funds are spent by public universities, they become public funds.

    Space Utilization

    Question: Is the intention of the campus space utilization study to identify underused office space and force faculty to give up or share offices and/or charge faculty for office spaces as you do parking spaces?

    Answer from Scott Bennett: The space utilization came out of work from committees perhaps not in the body but another one. The utilization study will provide us with feedback as to if we are utilizing space.

    Facilities Safety

    Question: Are the facilities at UNF safe for faculty and students? In addition to possible asbestos exposures, building don’t appear to be getting cleaned anymore. Everything is filthy and we aren’t even running at in person capacity. My office hasn’t been touched since before covid. Not very motivating to return to more time on campus.

    Answer from Scott Bennett: We are doing major renovations to Building 10 and we did find asbestos. We cleared the building and have had multiple air quality studies. There was no airborne asbestos. Physical facilities is down and we have been able to rehire people. We are hoping to get back to more normal operating processes.

    Air Quality

    Question: What are the results of the best places to work survey? Was UNF selected, and if not, what are the problems that need to be addressed? How do you plan to attain your goal of getting UNF on the list of best places to work?

    Answer from Scott Bennett: We were not selected. We did apply for that. We did think that we could be recognized.

    Thank you comment

    Question from the Floor - Georgette Dumont: She thanked the administration for the student services for First Gen college students. She also reminded faculty that she is serving as the faculty Ombud so reach out if you need anything.

     PTR

    Comment from the Floor: Deeply concerned that PTR will be used as a smokescreen to punish faculty for their political views.

    President Limayem responded by indicating that there are safeguards in place. He assured the faculty member that one thing we agree on with UFF is that we will do everything we can to ensure PTR is not used to fire people for their political views.

  • November

    Teaching Loads

    To Whom: Provost Patterson

    Question/Suggestion Text:

    My dean has said that new faculty will be hired on a 2/2 teaching load going forward. How are departments expected to cover these courses that now won't be taught by our tenure track hires - additional adjuncts? NTT instructors? Will resources be provided by AA to cover these costs?

    Answer: We are developing guidelines about how we will move forward with 2/2 teaching loads. Her team will work on long term plans to cover courses and/or costs of these moves. 

    Strategy for 2-2 Loads

    To Whom: Karen Patterson

    Question/Suggestion Text:

    What is the strategy for implementing the 2-2 load we’ve all been hearing about? This would represent a major change to UNF with implications for every single faculty member, so widespread faculty buy-in seems essential for success. When will details be shared with all faculty for feedback? And what role will Faculty Association have in developing the policies and procedures.

    Answer: We are developing guidelines about how we will move forward with 2/2 teaching loads. Faculty will have a voice in this process. They are currently working on a draft that will go to FA for faculty feedback.

    Where can the strategic plan be located?

    Provost Patterson indicated that she would make sure that faculty get a copy of it. It is still pending approval by the BOG.

    Salary Raises

    To Whom: Scott Bennett [President’s Office]

    Question/Suggestion Text: Regarding salary raises, BOT team wants to exclude the 'first year' faculty employees from eligibility for the upcoming raises. Since the raises are meant to bring up faculty salaries to the market value (as opposed to raises for 'time served'), I am curious why the first-year hires are chosen to be kept below market value? Such move will put this group in a deep salary gap, where all faculty hired before and likely those that will be hired after will have greater - market equated - salaries. Are there plans to raise this group's salaries later? Could you please explain/elaborate?

    Answer: This is consistent with our practice whenever giving retros back to the start of a contract period. As new faculty members are starting the same day as raises would go into effect it would not make sense to adjust their salary the same day they start. Also, in general, our newer faculty are starting closer to market already so this would then just compound any compression issues even further.

    UNF Climate Action Plan

    To Whom: Scott Bennett [President’s Office]

    Question/Suggestion Text: What efforts are being made to fulfill the goals of the UNF Climate Action Plan (see https://www.unf.edu/sustainability-committee/carbon.html)? Is sustainability a high priority in new building projects and renovations, as well as other campus projects? In what ways? Is the university taking advantage of funding (or reimbursement) opportunities through federal programs like the Inflation Reduction Act?

    Answer: Sustainability has always been and will continue to be a priority of the institution, especially regarding new construction. This obviously must take into consideration a complete cost/benefit evaluation and impact of any project or initiative. The President asked the Sustainability committee to submit to him a Plan with definable goals and metrics for the University. The committee has worked on this proposal and submitted a draft to the President for consideration. The plan will be for the Chair of the committee to sit down with the President to determine next steps and finalize the Plan. Regarding the Inflation Reduction Act, yes, we have been engaged in this discussion. We engaged our external accounting firm to research this topic for us at the beginning of 2023 after the law went into effect. As this law is extremely complex and while there is still a lot of guidance needed on the opportunities available, we have been engaged and will continue to look for any opportunities that fit our needs.

     

  • December

    ITS tickets/requests

    To Whom: Brian Verkamp

    Question/Suggestion Text:
    How many ITS tickets/requests are currently outstanding, and what is the average amount of time since those outstanding tickets were submitted? For those tickets/requests that are assigned to the C-Techs of specific colleges, is there a difference across the colleges in the number of outstanding tickets or the average amount of time that it takes submitted tickets to be resolved? I understand that everyone is very busy, but in general, how long should staff and faculty members expect to wait to have an ITS ticket resolved? If a ticket/request was submitted and it has not yet been resolved, what process should the requester follow, or who should they contact, to have someone investigate the issue? If a college’s assigned C-Techs are not responsive to tickets or emails, who is the next person to contact?

    Answer:

    First, to answer this question directly, if you have experienced a ticket taking three months to complete, please contact Brian Verkamp directly to discuss. This is never an acceptable amount of time to complete and I would like to know if it occurs. For the other aspects of the question and in general, tickets are variable in nature. Some may take longer than others to resolve or fulfill. Additionally, not all colleges are the same size. However, there are some guidelines that can be applied to resolving and fulfilling tickets which are referred to as Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Information Technology Services (ITS) introduced a new service management platform at the beginning of 2023, and after an initial adjustment period we have collected data to help set these SLA targets appropriately. 
    ITS is aware of service level variance and the impact it has on time to resolve issues and fulfill requests. To address these gaps in service, in Fall, 2023, The Division of ITS engaged an outside entity to perform a service management maturity assessment with a focus on service management and delivery. This assessment was part of an overall ITS effort to improve IT (Information Technology) service management to ensure we are positioned to support the growth and digital transformation currently happening at UNF. These updates in our service management strategy are critical to meeting the needs of our campus partners and students. 

    There are action steps being taken by ITS leadership to address the gaps identified in the outside assessment. These include: 
     
       1. ITS Leadership Retreat in November 2023 to discuss the Assessment’s results and formulate a       roadmap for implementing improvements. 

    1. The creation of a Tier 2 support model for improved escalation and issue handling for more complex issues and to clarify escalation paths for requests for help. 
    2. Evaluating the current help desk staffing model to ensure alignment with university’s support needs. 
    3. Scheduling time to discuss the IT Maturity Assessment and action plan with the Campus Technology Committee (CTC) and IT Advisory Committee (ITAC). 
    4. Hosting campus listening sessions for feedback as we design and implement improvements in service management to begin in the Spring term of 2024. 
       
      In the meantime, there are a few things that requestors can do to check status of their ticket(s) and/or escalate when needed: 
      1. Use the UNF Support portal at help.unf.edu to view and message regarding open tickets. 
    5. Contact the ITS Help Desk using Chat or Email to request a status update. 
    6. Escalate issues to ITS management and leadership. The escalation path for C-Techs appears below: 

     C-techs report to: Jennifer Hunter, Assistant Director Academic Technology 

    • Jennifer Hunter reports to: Justin Begle, Director Academic and Research Technology 
    • Justin Begle reports to: Chris Petrello, AVP Campus Technology Services 
    • Chris Petrello reports to: Brian Verkamp, VP and CIO 

     
    Please contact any one of these people if your needs are not being met. 

     

    Faculty Feeling Pressured

    To Whom: Provost Patterson [Academic Affairs]

    Question/Suggestion Text:
    At a recent event, I was able to talk to my associate dean who I haven't had the opportunity to talk with in a few years. The first question he had for me was whether my brand-new grad program with only just a few students starting out could be turned into a Ph.D. program because that's "where all the pressure is coming from right now." We didn't even talk about our families, which we used to do. He felt this pressure immensely and then made me feel it, too. How is the drive to be R1 being messaged to the deans, and can you please lighten up a bit on them and us? Thank you.

    Answer: She will think about it [everyone laughs] but wants faculty to feel valued.  

    Implementation of the 2-2 load

    To Whom: Karen Patterson

    Question/Suggestion Text:
    What is the strategy for implementing the 2-2 load we’ve all been hearing about? This would represent a major change to UNF with implications for every single faculty member, so widespread faculty buy-in seems essential for success. When will details be shared with all faculty for feedback? And what role will Faculty Association have in developing the policies and procedures.

    Answer: She noted that these goals cannot be achieved overnight, and we believe that we can reach them. We need everyone on board to be able to get there.  

  • September

    Question 1: Provost low adjunct pay (President follow-up) 

    President Limayem: It became obvious to him on day one that we are not paying our great people – faculty and staff. One of the rules we will play by is transparency. We have been working very hard on developing the most ambitious LBR. We requested $52 million to bolster operations and future growth.  Dr. Limayem encourages departments/units to be more entrepreneurial. There will be a focus on fundraising, and we are looking at the resource issue from different perspectives. The provost alluded to a study they are commissioning to understand the issues --- and the administration wants to use facts and data to define areas of priority.

    He went on to state that UNF is one of the most efficient universities in the country. UNF has one of the highest percentages of graduates amongst the SUS universities that stay in the region or the state. President Limayem stated that from a taxpayer’s point of view we are the best return on investment (ROI). We are graduating students who are contributing to the region. He stated that we are not where we should be in terms of growth compared to the growth in the Jacksonville and the region. He stated that we should be closer to an enrollment of 30,000 students. We are currently around 17,000. We must build an infrastructure to sustain increased growth.

     

  • October

    Contract Negotiations

    Question 1: Why is the University holding up contract negotiations? On October fifth they offered their first answer to faculty articles submitted in May and June. What took five months? When will the President and Provost intervene, and get to work on faculty needs, their raises?

    Answer 1: Faculty raises
    President Limayem: Very good question. I have met with UFF and we really are all in this together. We also need to understand bargaining is a process. We must make difficult decisions, but I can assure you my narrative to our chief negotiator is to protect the interest of our faculty, and then staff. With that said we, have accepted retroactivity, and we want you to get the raises for Christmas. We want to get this done by October 28th so that faculty can get their money for Christmas. We are getting close and that’s the good news. I am putting a lot of pressure on our team to try to compromise as much as we can without, of course, jeopardizing the integrity of what we do here, and our fiscal responsibility. But we're working really hard, and you should be very proud about your team.

    Alligators

    Question 2: There was an anonymous question sent concerning uh the alligators in trails, and what the University is doing to keep faculty safe from the terrifying creatures.

    Answer 2: Alligators on Nature Trails (Physical Facilities)

    Quote from Physical Facilities: “We follow the Florida Wildlife Commission (WFC) Rules regarding nuisance alligators. An alligator may be considered a nuisance if it's at least four feet in length and believed to pose a threat to people that's for property.”

     

  • November

    Diversity and Inclusion

    Question 1: Shortly after George Floyd, President Szymanski hastily created the position of VP for Diversity and Inclusion. Unfortunately, it went nowhere and the person in that role moved into the private sector. Interim President Chally continued the role and hired Dr. Wynn to serve in it. Though this is a VP level role, faculty, students, and staff have not seen any initiatives or programs coming out of that office. What, specifically, is Dr. Wynn doing and why does there seem to be no visible initiatives taking place in this arena? 

    Response: Dr. Richmond Wynn gave an overview of his efforts in the VP role.

    Question 2: Conflict of Interest Policy

    After reviewing the Conflict of Interest policy, an adjunct professor has asked if adjunct faculty are supposed to complete the Conflict of Interest disclosure. By nature of their part-time employment at UNF, in addition to the abysmal compensation they receive, most of our adjunct faculty likely have employment outside of UNF. Many adjunct faculty are teaching courses that departments would not otherwise be able to offer, due to shortage of faculty or specific areas of expertise.  We are dependent on our adjunct faculty and, for many of them, their employment at UNF is likely their "outside employment" for their other careers/positions. Are adjunct faculty required to complete the Conflict of Interest disclosure?

    Response: Dr. Binder inquired to Academic Affairs, the short answer is yes. 

    Question: Adjunct Salaries

    Is there any follow-up from the question in the Sept FA meeting on what is being done to address the low salaries of adjuncts at UNF? Thank you!

    Response: Dr. Binder asked President Limayem and his response was: He would prioritize adjunct pay in the next budget cycle -- likely next academic year. It is commitment from him to prioritize this long-standing issue. 

    Response: FA Committee on Adjunct Affairs is keenly aware. President has verbally acknowledged his understanding that salaries are low for all faculty (adjuncts included), and he will be working towards a resolve on that. 

    Question: Human Resources

    What is being done to address the problems with efficiency and responsiveness of HR? There were already a lot of issues surrounding HR and it appears they have recently lost a lot of staff, which will exacerbate those issues. Beyond the “faculty and staff success” task force that has been created, what are specific, concrete steps that have been (or will be) taken so the HR staff are supported and can serve the university in a reliable and efficient manner?

    Response: Dr. Binder asked Scott Bennett and his response was: We certainly understand the frustration with HR.  Like with many issues, there is not any one quick or simple fix.  They, like many areas, are suffering from unprecedented numbers of vacancies and turnover.  While we did provide additional positions this year and have attempted to address some of the funding issues it has still been a struggle to fill these positions.  Although the “faculty and staff success” task force was referenced, we have also created a focus group to try and address many of the process concerns and pain points.  We will also be going through a complete business process analysis beginning around January/February.

    Question: Human Resources

    The university is considering adopting Workday, a new ERP. At the same time, our Human Resources office is overwhelmed and understaffed in ways that have delayed hiring and paying faculty even into October.  Our IT offices appear equally as troubled as some new faculty have had new equipment shelved for an entire year before being provided office computers due to backlogged tickets.  Does UNF currently have the personnel and resource infrastructure in place to plan, execute, and sustain this adoption and implementation process in ways that are likely to ensure a positive outcome?

    Response: Dr. Binder asked CIO Brian Verkamp and his response was: He will be here at the December and will address that publicly.

    Question: FA Meeting times

    Asked by Terri Ellis I am not at the FA meeting today because I teach a class from 12:15-1:30 on Thursdays. This time slot is "prime time" for many departments, so I know that I am not alone. There are many other faculty who cannot attend the FA meeting for the same reason. This also means that we have no voice, as we are not able to vote on any issues raised at the meeting. What is being done to increase the ability of faculty like myself to participate and contribute when we have legitimate reasons for not being able to attend?

    Response: It would require a change to the bylaws to move the meeting, but increasing participation is always something FA is conscious of, and we can look into potential solutions to this issue. Side note, while voting and attending is valuable, there are many other ways to get involved – FA committees for example are a great resource.  Even better way to get involved would be as a committee chair, then you’d have access to the formation of the agenda at the Executive Committee meeting.

     

     

  • December

    Whitmer and Worrall 

    Question 1: Whitmer and Worrall

    UNF should absolutely be implementing strategies to influence federal, state, and local government in order to achieve our priorities. That said, the hiring of an outside firm and the presentation by Whitmer and Worrall left myself and other faculty with many questions. How much are we paying this firm? What would be an acceptable return on that investment? What part of the firms' duties fall outside the job description of our own government relations staff? Does 3.5 weeks seem like enough time for faculty to put together competitive proposals for earmark requests?

    Answer 1: Whitmer and Worrall

    President Limayem: He detailed the dollar amount we’re spending is less than the other SUS schools and was clear that a 10:1 return on investment was the bar for retaining this lobbying group. 

  • January

    Jacksonville University

    Question from the Floor to President Limayem: Looking at JU and the fact that they are adding a law school and now a new partnership with the nation’s largest medical college and osteopathic academic health system, how do plan to complete and keep up with them?

    Answer 1 from President Limayem: Jacksonville University

    Excellent question. We are not in competition with JU. We have nearly 17,000 students and they have 2700. It is true that they can move at a much faster pace in terms of creating new programs than we can. Here the pace is more like “changing one cemetery to another neighborhood.” We must continue to recognize that graduate programs, research, and flagship programs are what differentiate us. We must listen to our employers and partners to ensure that our curriculum in cutting edge and industry appropriate.

  • February

    Sustainability Office

    Question 1 from the Floor to President Limayem:

    One of UNF’s values from our mission/vision statement centers on our responsibility for how our actions affect our environment. Yet, unlike other universities in the SUS, we do not have a Sustainability Office that spearheads initiatives related to environmental protection and we are not keeping pace with our fellow SUS campuses. This seems like a missed opportunity. Are there plans for a Sustainability Office? If so, when? If not, why not? Note: We have an Institute for Environmental Research and Education as well as a Sustainability Committee, but neither of those serves the function of setting sustainability goals for the university and formally tracking progress on reaching these goals, as all members have other primary responsibilities

    Answer 1 from President Limayem, Sustainability:

     He answered questions sent to FA addressing sustainability efforts on campus.  He reported that we have a committee that makes recommendations to the office of the president. He will be meeting with them for the first time this year in the coming weeks. He provided examples of efforts of the committee including Green Building Standards, electric vehicle charging stations on campus, and redactions of energy consumption.

    Governor Request Response

    Question 2 from the Floor to President Limayem:

    On January 18th, there was an article on Governor DeSantis asking the universities for the numbers and ages of students who sought gender dysphoria treatment in the AP https://apnews.com/article/ron-desantis-colleges-and-universities-race-ethnicity-florida-education-97d0b8aef2fc3a60733c8bd4080cc07b How did UNF respond to this request, if at all? I believe the president said earlier he intended for the administration to be transparent with the faculty regarding these requests, but I don't think there has been an update on this request. This request hit me hard and really upset me, the idea of providing students' health care information to the governor’s office. 

    Answer 2 from President Limayem, Governor DeSantis Gender Dysphoria Request:

    President Limayem reiterated that the law requires the university to comply with such requests from the state. The university reported that there were 3 students between 2018-2023 that sought treatment or resources for gender dysphoria. One student sought treatment to renew prescription drugs and the other two students sought community resources.

  • March

    Workday Adoption

    Question 1 for CIO Brian Verkamp

    In November, an anonymous question was posed about Workday, and the CIO was unavailable to answer at that time. He returned in December to discuss Workday but did not answer the question that was posed to him in the previous month, instead offering a canned PowerPoint overview of the ERP transition plan. Can the CIO please address the earlier question as it relates to whether or not the University currently has the personnel and resources infrastructure in place to plan, execute and sustain the adoption of Workday in ways that are likely to ensure a net positive outcome? The president has expressed his concern for student, faculty, and staff success, and the inefficiencies as well as deficiencies associated with human resources and IT seem primary to that concern.

    Answer 1 from Brian Verkamp

    UNF leadership has been planning for the Workday (OspreyRising) project and implementation for the better part of the last year. During that time, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the current personnel and resources infrastructure, focusing on the human resources, finance, budget, and IT departments. The assessment identified necessary staffing and resources to ensure a successful implementation while keeping the day-to-day operations running. We have developed on a detailed plan to address any gaps in the current infrastructure. This includes hiring additional personnel with the necessary skills and expertise to manage the implementation and adoption of Workday. The project and resources will remain a priority in this coming budget year.  

     In addition to planning for the project, we have been working to identify possible procedural changes we can make now, in the short term, to better serve areas across UNF. These short-term solutions will help to streamline processes while supporting efforts with the Workday project. Furthermore, our team is working with consultants to evaluate how we can streamline existing UNF processes within the new systems.  We are very confident that we can not only complete this project as planned but launch Workday with processes better aligned to serve the institution in a much more effective and efficient manner.

    Finally, our team is working closely with all stakeholders, including the president, faculty, and staff, to ensure that the adoption of Workday aligns with the university's strategic goals and objectives. This includes the communication and engagement strategies to help build support for the new system. Stakeholder engagement included the formation of a new governance for IT projects called the Information Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC). The ITAC will provide insight and transparency to all technology initiatives at UNF. This governing body includes stakeholders from across UNF and has been meeting since August of 2022. They will help collaborate to prioritize resources as needed throughout the project.

     

  • April

    ChatGPT

    Will we have some guidelines about ChatGPT? Question for President Limayem.

    Answer from President Limayem with input from Linda Howell

    It is something that we are working on and will be focused on. Brian Verkamp and Linda Howell are working to form a working group/taskforce on Generative AI.

    Legislation Contingency 

    Is there any thought or contingency for legislation that might impact student groups and their sense of belonging? Question for President Limayem

    Answer from President Limayem

    We still want to be able to provide a sense of community to all students. One of the things we were able to clarify is that student groups and organizations, if they are paid by student fees, will be excluded from the legislation.

  • May

    UNF Legislative Liaison

    Whom should we contact about HB 999 and SB 266 that will reach our legislative liaison in Tallahassee? If our relationships with House and Senate members are strong, then we are lobbying them to vote against both bills, correct? How is that message is getting to our legislators through both official channels with our liaison and unofficial channels through our administrators?

    Answered by Dr. Binder 

    The bill has already passed but Heather Duncan worked exceedingly hard on this bill and dozens of others to work in the best interest of UNF and faculty. Our legislative staff and administrators work diligently in the best interests of UNF.

    Faculty Leaving Statistics 

    How many faculty have left or are leaving. UNF-UFF President Tobias Huning mentioned 10% in his update. Question 2 from Heather Truelove.

    Answered by John Kantner

    He will provide the data on that. 

    UF Downtown Competition

    UF is moving downtown, and he has heard no response from this University in relation to how we will be addressing this competition. Does the administration have a response? Question from Luke Cornelius.

    Answer 3 from Provost Patterson

    She deferred this question to President Limayem.

  • October

    New University Pool

    What are the hours of availability when faculty can use the new university pool?

    Answered by Dr. White

    He will look into this matter and will report back.
    Ruth Lopez added that a staffing shortage is an issue, and coordinating with Athletics for swim team practice, too, has contributed to fewer hours of operation as the pool complex has opened.

    Current Enrollment

    Dr. White asked Dr. Coleman to address current enrollment.

    Dr. Coleman explained that headcount-wise, UNF is down 300 students, but the larger issue is credit hours, which have decreased and cost the university about $2M. Fortunately, the university had worked to prepare for this situation to weather that shortfall, and applications are up for the upcoming terms, so the outlook is better than that decrease implies. 

  • November

    Summer Research Grants

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

    Answered by Dr. Kantner

    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.

    Zoom Voting and Results Announcement  

    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.

    Answered in writing by John White

    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).

    Faculty Association Minutes 

    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?

    Answered in writing by John White

    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.

     

    Preserving tenure and academic freedom

    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.

    Answered in writing by John White

    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. 

    New UNF President

    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?

    Answered by 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).

     

  • December

    Water Situation on Campus

    Stephanie asked if there were any updates on the water situation on campus.  Will the water filters be replaced? 
    Karen Patterson reported that the water main has been repaired.  She will get information on the water filters.  Please wait for the announcement.
    Deirdre Shoemake is requesting that an email update be sent out on the water situation.

    Hana Hamadi reported that the Faculty Awards timeline is up on the website.

    January Meeting Zoom Option

    It has been announced that the January meeting of FA will be held in the Talon Room and include lunch. Will a zoom option be available for those of us who are not yet able to attend large gatherings or those who are not comfortable attending a lunch meeting? Will voting be available for us? Please consider members of the faculty association who are immunocompromised and/or have young children at home who are not yet able to be vaccinated, especially as the January meeting will be held post-holiday break where traveling to and from current hot spots will likely happen. 

    We will provide some kind of virtual option for the January (and possibly the February) Faculty Association Meetings and with that have a way for remote participants to vote.

    Distinguished Professor Award

    The questioner is concerned about the process used to select the Distinguished Professor Award. They suggest that the process is too prone to bias, that too few of the university’s most distinguished professors are selected for the award, and that many of the faculty don’t participate due to perceived bias in the process. They ask if the entire process can be “suspended” until the process is changed.

    Because I had concerns about the process behind the faculty awards (especially the issue of self-nominations), I asked last year’s Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC) to review the process and to make recommendations for change to the Executive Committee. The FAC reviewed the processes and did suggest changes in process. These changes were voted on and approved at a Faculty Association meeting last spring.
    I have forwarded this faculty member’s specific concerns to the FAC; that committee will determine whether to reopen the nomination and selection process for the Distinguished Professor Award moving forward.
    Until there is a motion from a Faculty Association Committee and a vote by our faculty to change the selection process for the Distinguished Professor Award, we are not empowered to suspend it.

    **Citing the fact that UNF is known for being a place where undergraduates get close contact with professors, many UNF faculty have in the recent past bristled at requests that we create more online programs.**

    Hybrid Accommodations

    The university has a "strong expectation for the Osprey community to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status." I appreciate that our interim president models this behavior and is masked when walking around campus. However, I am concerned by the lack of empathy shown by some administrators who are requiring face-to-face meetings of faculty with no hybrid accommodations. These same administrators will not wear a mask during these meetings. Item #6 on the COVID-19 Guidelines FAQ states that "Employees who are uncomfortable with face-to-face meetings, even when masked, are encouraged to consult with their supervisors to determine what alternatives might be available. Many conference rooms have technology that will allow remote participation, or meetings may be arranged to be conducted entirely over Teams or Zoom, as appropriate. After discussing their concerns with supervisors, employees who still have concerns should consult with Human Resources." The university spent a lot of money on technology to make hybrid instruction and meetings possible. Why is this equipment not being used to host meetings that will accommodate concerns of university employees? We had so many good lessons during the mandatory period of work-from-home. Why can’t these continue to carry over now that campus has reopened but there are still many COVID-related concerns, especially for people with compromised immune systems? Discussions with supervisors and consulting HR have been fruitless.  

     It is imperative that, until the CDC changes its recommendations (or unless all people in attendance at a meeting agree without pressure to the removal of masks), mask wearing should be the expectation during face-to-face meetings. When that is not happening—by UNF faculty, staff, or administrators—higher levels of UNF administration need to be notified and the employee reminded of the expectation. UNF must also ensure that anyone with a documented disability or a legitimate fear for their health and safety be allowed accommodations in face-to-face meetings (aka, allowed remote access).

    That said—and absent a resurgent pandemic—it is my personal belief that it is time that we all work to restore a sense of normalcy to our teaching and to campus operations. This means getting back to campus. We as faculty have a responsibility to our university and even more to our students to do our best to deliver the highest quality educational experiences we can. This cannot happen via the indefinite continuation of remote work by a significant portion of our faculty (some of whom have not been on campus in a year and a half despite the widespread availability of vaccines and exceptionally low transmission rates on campus). Fostering relationships, building community, teaching in the most effective manner, and making personal connections are best done when we are physically together. UNF is not an online school nor do we ever want to be. Our students are clamoring for more rather than less real connection with faculty. The faculty who are on campus—especially new and junior faculty—want and deserve opportunities to connect with their peers in less formal settings. While the university should indeed adopt some of the technologies we have been using over the past year and a half, we need to ensure that our modus operandi during this difficult period does not become our norm.

    Finally, I also think it necessary to address the claim that “discussions with supervisors and consulting HR [about COVID accommodations] have been fruitless.” Chairs across UNF made significant accommodations for course delivery methods both overtly and tacitly this fall. They kept the COVID-restricted online course percentages largely in place, they have allowed for Zoom department meetings and service-related meetings throughout the Fall semester, and they kept a large number of online courses in place on the Spring 2022 schedule. These are substantial accommodations despite the BOG’s mandates to return to pre-COVID norms.

  • January

    Faculty Senate Task Force 

    Dr. Newton Jackson asked a question of the minutes that indicated that the Faculty Senate Task force would propose or bring for our review a variety of models or several models. He noted that although he is in favor of a faculty senate, but that it seemed that there is just one model or plan with nothing to compare it to. Of the 600 faculty at UNF, he would venture that half or more than half have never been in a faculty Senate, so the only model they are going to see is the one being presented. He said that that perhaps the Task Force had decided that one was better, but the minutes did not reflect that. Dr. White noted that Paul Parkison, who was chairing the committee could speak to that. He noted that one of the struggles the task force faced was trying to create a new form of faculty governance via the old form of faculty governance, which is an open democracy and is very, very difficult. Choosing a faculty Senate, based on the input of 600 faculty at a given faculty meeting is tough.  The goal behind the Faculty senate model that they proposed was to keep what’s best from the Faculty Association and move it to a representative system, rather than a direct democracy. He asked Dr. Parkison if there was anything he wanted to add.

    Dr. Parkison said that he felt that Dr. White had captured it and that Dr. Jackson made a good point. That the decision and choice really came down to two options: what we have now versus the proposed Senate. In that way, the Task force is presenting two options- stay with what we have or move to something different. He noted that he doesn’t know if, kind of half-joking, if they could have presented a monarchy style government system, or something, he didn’t know what other choices there are between a Senate and a direct democracy. He noted that having been in both, he was in favor of a Senate, but he figured that what exists speaks for itself and they were proposing a change and so those would be the two options.  He noted that that might not be sufficient, but that was what the committee’s thinking was.  Dr. Dumont noted that she put in the link(Faculty Association – Georgette's musings (georgettedumont.com) in the chat for all faculty to be able to easily access all of the original information, so it has the original proposal as well as the final proposal, as well as the minutes from the FAC and a rebuttal that was done by some faculty members. She noted that she opted to put herself to be the face of it, so that names would not have to be associated with it. She encouraged faculty to read that and noted that it was not necessarily a rebuttal to the model itself; but concerns with the wording. She noted that she was kind of agnostic on the form of governance, but that faculty as a whole need to have all of the pros and cons of both forms, as presented, to be able to make a good decision and to be able to provide the appropriate feedback. She noted at the bottom of the link is a link to the FA’s suggestion box—the things they need feedback on how to make the proposal better, hopefully before it is voted on.  She noted that she did not know how long the link will be open, but looking at the timeline, it is very tight and the committee needs feedback. This not a small issue, this is a large issue, as it deals with governance of the faculty. It is a big change- a big change taking place at a very difficult time because of Covid. She noted that she knew everyone was trying to keep their heads up above water to do their jobs and encouraged everyone to take a look at it so they, as an individual, can have input on how much say an individual wants in faculty governance. She thanked Dr. White and Dr. Hamadi.  Dr. White said that he wanted to point out that the faculty senate model was put out in the spring, in late August, in September and it had been put out again and it’s been on the website for quite awhile. He noted that he didn’t think there was necessarily any rush to get it out, that the Faculty Senate Task Force had hoped to have it out for faculty in September, but a group of faculty objected and it’s kept it from even reaching the floor. So it’s been out there. He did not want anyone to think it had been rushed in any way, shape or form. He also pointed out that that there is a famous story from Louis the XIV, “The state is me” (“I am the state and the state is me” ). Right now, the Faculty Association for all of its committees comes down to the power residing in one person and that person is the Faculty Association President.  He said that he thought that it’s not a good model and that the faculty need to be changing that. The model that they propose is not perfect, but it is a change. He said to go to Georgette’s site, but that there may be some ADA compliance issues, but noted that the faculty needed to focus on what does the model say and decide if they want it or not.  Dr. Kristy Sweeney noted she was on the Faculty Affairs Committee and that they presented some questions back and while she didn’t think a group of faculty holding it up, but she thought that the  Faculty Association sent some questions to the Senate Task Force, but she didn’t know how many answers were given. She asked Dr. White to tell the faculty what would be the significant implications or the dangers of looking at what the definition of faculty is in the UNF Constitution. She gave an example of voting links and in the all-faculty email that the links are sent to include the president, former president, retired faculty members who are no longer here, administrative staff who aren’t classified as faculty. She said her question is why they should define “faculty”- and asked what the dangers are of opening up the conversation about what defines voting faculty.  Dr. White said that the issue comes about, in part because of one of the provisions in the bylaws is that a faculty Senator could be a chair. Chairs are faculty; the provost is a faculty member, the president is a faculty member. There’s been a long question of whether chairs should be able to serve in faculty association and in faculty governance.  He pointed out that they had a chair as president of the faculty association two presidents ago. She was remarkably good and she served faculty very well, so he didn’t want to alienate chairs by saying they cannot represent faculty in faculty governance. He said that this is a decision that this body could make when they discuss the faculty senate model. He noted the Faculty Association doesn’t have the power to define who is or is not faculty and the faculty system is actually in the UNF Constitution.  There is the possibility that they could open up the Constitution, but there is a danger in that as well, because the Constitution allows the entire Constitution to be opened up for discussion.  He noted that they didn’t want to open the Constitution, but that it was subject to be opened up again in 2023 or 2024. He noted that this body could look at the faculty senate model and determine, one or two months from now, when there’s an open discussion, should chairs be able to serve as senators.  The faculty could amend that if faculty disagree that chairs should be able to serve as senators. He noted that he happened to think that was a flawed argument because if any of us don’t want a chair of our department to be a senator, then don’t vote for them, because that’s how democracy works, it’s how the Republic works. The answer is that they can’t open up the issue of defining faculty because that is not their purview, that is the UNF Constitution. 

    Covid Vaccine Brand

    Dr. Shoemake asked if anyone on the Covid Task Force had found out what brand of vaccine will be offered for the booster clinics. She noted the email communications did not specify.   Dr. Greenlaw said that Walgreen’s is the partner for the clinics and they were not sure of the suppliers. They told hi this morning that they will have both Pfizer and Moderna and that they can do vaccinations and boosters for both.  

    Dr. White noted that the issues that Drs. Sweeney and Dumont brought up were important and that he did not want anyone to enter into a discussion about faculty senate flippantly or without serious consideration. He urged the faculty to look at the model and bring their questions to the next meeting. He said that he preferred they do it in a forum, like the Faculty Association, rather than third party sites. He encouraged faculty to look at the model and come talk about it and that if they faculty did not want the model, it would be dead. If they do want the model, they can alter it, they can change it, they can vote for it. He noted that UNF had been there 50 years and to his knowledge, the faculty has never had a chance to have a say in their form of government. The Faculty Association, for all of its good points, was created when it was a tiny university, all the faculty knew each other, and they could come together. UNF has almost 600 in-unit faculty and can’t come together as a direct democracy and be representative anymore, in his opinion. He said that he wanted the faculty to discuss it and that hopefully it would get to the floor for a first reading next month and they would have plenty of chances to debate it and that hopefully it would be a lively debate over the weeks and months to follow.  Dr. White said he appreciated everyone’s time and encouraged them to stay safe, as Covid is running rampant and colleagues and students are having major issues.  Dr. Hamadi noted that the Qualtrics survey link was in the chat ( Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management ) for the feedback for the Senate model to the Senate Task Force if one wants anyone changes or modifications, questions or concerns, please send them there.
  • Febuary

    Senate Task Force Poll

    Dr. White noted that an anonymous question asked for feedback from the poll for Senate Task Force. The information is available on the UNF website . Another anonymous question was a critical review of his work as President of FA. Dr. White apologized for whatever he had done to offend the person.

    Juneteenth Recognition 

    Dr. Deirdre Shoemake was recognized. She asked for Juneteenth to be recognized on the UNF academic calendar and to be informed of plans for the recognition. Dr. Rakita noted that the issue had come up on the calendar and that he noted that the faculty want the date to be recognized. They are waiting on Federal and State guidance.  Dr. Shoemake asked that in the interim, that it be placed on the academic calendar as recognition from UNF and that it will be treated as other Federal holidays. Dr. Rakita noted that he would ask Chad Lurch to put it on the calendar. He noted that the university is currently working on the 2024 calendar, so they are a couple of years ahead. He will ask to have the holiday put on University Calendar of Events.  Dr. White said that Chad Lurch had forwarded the calendar to the Executive Committee for review this month and that they would follow-up.

    Faculty Pay Average 

    Dr. Jackson was recognized and responded that Dr. Brown had indicated that faculty at UNF are the lowest paid in the according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. He directed his question to President Chally regarding where to go with this information. Dr. Brown said the data was from the past 10 years and the salary proposal will be brought forward at an upcoming bargaining session.  Dr. Chally thanked Dr. Jackson and noted that getting out of a lower ranking will take time. She said that she wants faculty to be paid fairly and to be satisfied. She noted she cannot make a promise at this time but that it is on the radar.

    Faculty Senate Model Discussion

    Dr. White introduced the FA Agenda Item #21-20: First reading of Faculty Senate Model.  He noted that Dr. Lerner as parliamentarian would chair the discussion, and he would remove himself from leading the discussion, as he supported the model.

    Dr. Lerner introduced herself and noted that she was solely here in her capacity as a faculty member and that she was required by Florida Law to inform the faulty that she was not acting as an attorney for the University of North Florida or the faculty or anyone. She noted that per the bylaws, the discussion would last 20 minutes, unless there is a motion to extend is advanced from the floor.  She would entertain a motion later in the discussion if there was an active speakers list at that time. She asked that the members not use the chat to answer or to addresses speakers or answer questions or comment. If members want to comment, she asked that they get on the speakers list and that speakers would be recognized in as close to the order in which they joined the speakers list as possible. She asked that they are joining the speakers list by raising their hand. If they can’t use that feature, then write “speakers list” in the chat and they would be added. Please be respectful of your colleagues in time, keeping remarks to 1-2 minutes or less, and in tone, as well. She noted that the bylaws and operating procedures of the FA are thin and asked for the members’ grace as she does her best to moderate this debate, according to cannons and the institutional custom.  She asked if the Chair of the Senate Task Force would like to introduced the legislative item.

    Alternate Models 

    Dr. Parkison thanked Dr. Lerner. He noted that he served as co-chair with Carolyne Guardino in October of 2020. They followed the process by looking at alternative models, but knew they were a selected group so initiated a process of gathering faculty feedback. They got feedback through brown bag lunches and investigating the alternative models used by SUS institutions and peer institutions. They did a survey and began gathering that data. In November of 2020, they began drafting the initial draft of the bylaws based on feedback and analysis of other senate models and collected feedback from December to March. They sent an initial draft to the faculty in April of 2021, which were followed by two brown bag faculty feedback loop sessions on April 9 and April 12, 2021. That revised model also generated feedback from Faculty Affairs and from a select group of faculty members.  The committee then addressed and discussed and edited and did further work on the bylaws to address some of the concerns. The intent of the group was to take advantage of distributed expertise by having a group of faculty who would be able to attend to the business of the university academically, as well as student affairs and governance-wise. That was at the heart of what they tried to do.  The Faculty Affairs Committee has heard an initial draft and they provided feedback, which the committee considered as well and so the final draft that was sent forward and which was then amended in the executive committee has been presented for first reading. He welcomed questions, comments and feedback.

    Major Motions 

    Dr. Lerner noted that the item has now been introduced for the first reading. As such there are no major or substantive motions that will be entertained. The floor for debate was opened with Dr. Sherif Elfayomy and then Georgette Dumont.  Dr. Elfayoumy thanked her and noted that as a disclaimer, he was part of the task force that prepared the proposal that is being reviewed.  He wanted question the group that suggested that proposal is amended as such that there is a distinction between in-unit and out-of-unit faculty. Being a department chair, as director of the School of Computing, he said that he found that very offending. He noted that the current bylaws do not distinguish between in-unit and out-of-unit faculty, for one. He noted that there had never been a situation where there were a majority of committee officers or FA officers or committee chairs that were out-of-unit.  He was not sure why that was an issue now. Second, he does not like anyone to act like a big brother to the faculty. If he is faculty, he can choose anyone he would like to appoint or elect for an office. Likewise, as faculty, he has the same right as any other in-unit faculty has to run for an office. He noted that he does not want that right to be limited and that he did not appreciate that. He did not want the majority, which are the in-unit faculty, to use that power to restrict the rights of the minority, which are the out-of-unit faculty.  The second issues is that anything where the in-unit faculty and out-unit faculty interests are orthogonal are things that are in the purview of the union. The term in-unit and out-unit came into existence, only in the contract, and that is because it discussed employment conditions. Any thoughts or any discussion in the Faculty Association that impacts the in-unit faculty differently than the out-unit faculty is not in the purview of the Faculty Association. It is the purview of the union. He noted he is really opposed to having an in-unit out-unit quotas and distinctions. He is faculty like any other in-unit faculty and has the same rights and obligations as well. He did not want the amendment to carry when the vote is done.

    Dr. Lerner thanked him and recognized Dr. Dumont.

    Dr. Dumont noted that she lowered her hand because what she was going to say was going to probably be said by those who had their hands raised, so she reserved hers to raising her hand.

    Dr. Lerner thanked her and recognized Scott Hochwald, followed by Michael Binder.

    Dr. Hochwald said that he had one thing to say. He wanted to prevent the second reading. He said that the faculty proposing this anti-democratic change would have you believe that it is in your best interest to lose your right to vote. It wants you to give away the power to make your voice heard to a representative. What if that representative doesn’t like you or feels differently from you? You know how that ends. UNF is still small enough to be one of the few, as our Faculty Association President pointed out with a negative connotation, remaining democratic faculty associations.  Do not vote to give up your right to vote. Don’t let the anti-democratic forces prevail. I move we vote to prevent the second reading of the motion.

    Dr. Lerner noted that that was not a recognized motion and asked what motion Dr. Hochwald would be advancing.  He noted that his advancing would be that the Faculty Association change is removed from the agenda. So there is no proposed change. So a second reading means this is a proposed bylaw change so he moved that they don’t recognize the proposed bylaw change.

    Dr. Dumont asked Dr. Hochwald if he was moving to table it.  Dr. Hochwald said, no, he was moving to burn it, kill it, not table it.

    Dr. Lerner said that the way to kill it would be to vote it down, when it is moved or to use procedural motions that the faculty recognize as a body.  Dr. Hochwald said that he thought they could move to remove something from the agenda. 

    Dr. White said that the agenda had already been approved. Dr. Hochwald said that he meant the next agenda, the next meeting, that it will be on the agenda. He was moving that it not be on the agenda. If “we want to say I can’t do that, we can wait, I can move to waive the rules, so that I can do that.”

    Dr. Lerner said that the agenda is set by the Executive Committee.  Dr. Hochwald interrupted and said that he would like the Faculty Association to indicate to the Executive Committee their feeling about this. Meaning that if he’s wrong, fine, if it goes through, then he’s done. But if he’s right, then it should be gone. He said that it could be done that way or he can say the same thing next time at the beginning to sort of say remove it, if that’s what Dr. Lerner preferred.

    Dr. Lerner said, yes, agenda discussion for things goes at the beginning of the next meeting as well. He asked Dr. Hamadi or Secretary to indicate Scott’s preference that the item be told to the Executive Committee in consideration of setting the agenda for the next Faculty Association meeting.

    Reduction in Democratic Governace 

    Dr. Lerner recognized Dr. Michael Binder.  

    Dr. Binder said he wanted to voice his concerns that the reduction in the circle of power in democratic governance is never really a good thing and to reduce the say of 600 faculty to 20 is problematic in a lot of ways. He said he felt for junior faculty and for faculty who are associates and who are looking at going for full and they look around and see the vitriol that was given to someone who raised an objection after a meeting last month. He said he could understand how people would be hesitant to speak up and that as the circle of power gets smaller you can expect to see those other types of things more frequently and alienating our junior faculty even more. He said he was opposed to this thing from top to bottom in the way that it was done in secrecy and behind closed doors. He said he was hopeful that the rest of the faculty will take a pause and not jump into this thing right away.

    Dr. Elfayoumy asked if the task force could respond. Dr. Lerner replied that if the task force wishes to respond or if any member wishes to, they can get in the speakers’ que. The preference first is for those who have not spoken. John White followed by Newton Jackson.

    Dr. White responded that this has never been secret and that as a matter of fact, he can put up the data that shows that they presented the model to the faculty at least six times.  He said they’ve had feedback loops multiple times. It’s been on the Faculty Association agenda, it’s been in the Faculty Association committee for months since the spring. He said there was no secrecy.  He said that it was very telling that certain groups don’t want the faculty to be able to vote on their own form of governance.  He noted that if the faculty did not want a faculty senate, that was fine, but that the fact is that they should have the opportunity to decide on their form of government. Keeping a vote from the faculty by keeping it off the agenda is grossly anti-democratic.

    Dr. Binder interjected “you’re voting” and Dr. White said,  “No, I’m speaking.” He said that it is grossly undemocratic and that they should note, while he respects Michael Binder, that 99% of the universities in this country have a faculty senate and most of them that we spoke to with their senate, to say that people don’t get a vote is just not true. For instance, he (Dr. Binder) brought up junior faculty. Those of us who go to Faculty Association meetings can look around and junior faculty are not about to speak up at a Faculty Association meeting when it’s populated by deans, chairs, associate deans, provosts, presidents and vice presidents. That is disempowering. They have no voice and they have no proxy and that’s the problem. They need a voice and they are not getting it now.

    On-Campus Faculty Members 

    Dr. Lerner recognized Dr. Newton Jackson.

    Dr. Jackson thank Dr. Lerner and noted that he was one of probably less than 35 faculty members on campus that has been in unit and out of unit. Okay, he noted that most of the people on the zoom have not been out-of-unit. Having been a department chair, he disagrees with Sherif’s perspective; he noted that he’s entitled to his and having been associate provost, he looked at it from the top down as well. He said he wanted to be clear in that he thought that the limited opportunities for senators does erase the opportunity for faculty voice because in his understanding of the reading and listening to the various people who have put this together, the senators do not have a constituent base. They do not have to come back and report anything to anyone.  He said he has a challenge with that and he does not agree with that. If you are elected, you have a constituent base. From the way he read it, he believes that that is not the way the document was moving toward. He also believes that those that are out-of-unit or CBA contract term, they already have, as Sharif knows, the Council of Chairs; it is an opportunity for all department chairs to voice their concerns up through the administration. He said that he thinks it is unfair to allow all the 30plus department chairs or whatever we have, used to be 29, to have a second opportunity at leadership opportunities to voice their views.  He said if he remembered correctly, engineering had a vote of no confidence for a previous dean, two years back-to-back. That would not occur if you go into a Faculty Senate. Nothing occurred and nothing happened from the office of the Provost for the fact that the engineering dean had the vote of no confidence twice. But, with senators, there could never e that type of action, because you are subordinates of those that appoint you. So it would be a contradiction of opportunity. You just could not see that occurring. You are not going to vote to remove your dean, your president, whoever, not that the (faculty) would want to remove the president. He noted that he was merely throwing out the idea that the opportunity is removed, if we go into this model. He said that he did not hear from Paul, John, or anyone specifically why the change from FA to faculty senate was. He understood there’s been a movement and he’s not mad at that. He agreed that everyone should vote on it and make a decision, but he would like to know what the rationale was to say that everyone who has a say today should not have a say should we go to a delegate model. He never heard that, so he asked Paul to address it, as task force chair.

     

    Dr. Lerner acknowledged that Sharif, John, and Scott were in the speakers’ cue. Georgette Dumont and Kristi Sweeney have not spoken, so they have priority.

    Dr. Dumont said that she has been the face of the opposition for lack of a better term. She noted that she is personally not against a senate, but that she has some issues with the processes that were used, the changes that were made from the task force without actually having a full task force quorum in the minutes, saying what changes were done, who voted for what, etc. She noted that there is a big hole and that opacity concerns her a bit.  She said that the reason she agreed to be the face, and while she thought it was being blown out of proportion, but was because they were afraid of retribution and being personally attacked. She said that she learned. She noted that it was fine and that she could take the hits and that it doesn’t matter, but the concern is with the documents themselves. She noted that she would do a quick list to keep it short.  1) The process- there are a lot of questions about the process- there is not plan about how to vote for this and how to vote these new offices in if it passes versus doesn’t pass. She said that she was happy that there were nominations from the floor today and that it will go until 5pm. In the past, this has been done a bit sooner and there’s been backup on that.  The lack of a transition plan. There was miscommunication between the Faculty Affairs committee and the task force on what was being asked of the task force and the Faculty Affairs committee never felt that there questions were ever adequately answered. There was a robust conversation in one of their meetings about what is the Faculty Affairs Committee’s role in this process.  They decided it wasn’t to approve or disapprove the actual content, but it was to move it along, because a that point it kept getting bounced back and forth. There was no real bouncing; it just kept getting put back on their agenda. They did not feel they could do anything, and they moved it to the Executive Committee. The Faculty Task force one vote to get faculty input and the second time it was broached that they should get more faculty input, that was voted down by one vote. So they did not want more faculty input on the proposal at that point in time.  The same thing happened with the Faculty Affairs committee. It was a narrow vote, but not as narrow as the Executive Committee meeting, which was by one vote for us to be discussing it today. She said that she thinks it’s extremely important that everyone discuss this. She is concerned about the process that was used, because the group is discussing it, which is great, but the next move is to vote on it, with or without changes.  So amendments from the floor for an 18-page document is unwieldly. She did not think that this legislation is ripe for a vote. She noted that she would go to the Faculty Affairs Committee’s issues and concerns with the current document. 2) Whose bylaws of the Faculty Association takes first place. Legal (counsel) needs to help get some of this sorted out.  3) There are conflicts with the UNF Constitution in the proposed bylaws. Again, legal needs to be consulted, but we (faculty) can’t say that the AA has to do something—that is not in FA’s purview.  4) Votes on confidence—we (faculty) are going to be relying on –so the COAS has a couple votes of no-confidence on their dean and the current proposal, about half or a little over half of the Senate would be made up of COAS. How would the College of Engineering or any of the smaller colleges going to be able to have a vote of no confidence on their dean when it has to get approved through the Faculty Senate by a super majority vote?  That’s a concern.  So what we do with the votes of confidence for deans, it’s fine for president and vice president.  5) Finally, and this might be one of my largest concerns.  If you look at Article 2 of Faculty Association, Section B, the “for purposes of the association” in the senate model have nothing to do with “faculty appointment, retention and development, academic programs, organizations and continuing education- all matters that may pertain to university instruction, service, and research programs” – that is our current faculty association’s charge. That is what is approved by the UNF Constitution. If you look at B 1-4, we never mention academics, teaching, service, and research and that’s problematic. It’s more about being more involved in creating university policies as a whole. “I’m not saying that everything here should be thrown out. I am saying that we need to have a far deeper and fuller discussion on 1) if we want to move to a senate, 2) what things out of this (document) that we like and what things that we don’t like or think need to be modified, and 3) is there a way to amend the current Faculty Association bylaws to address the concerns. Because I want to get back to what Dr. Jackson noted. We never defined the problem we are trying to solve. That is the first thing you do in any kind of policy development. What are we trying to solve?”

    Dr. Lerner interjected and apologized- saying that the discussion was at time. She would entertain a motion from the floor.

     Dr. Dumont made a motion that we “Table the discussion. I still want this vibrant discussion, but that we table this discussion to the next Faculty Association meeting.”

    Dr. Lerner noted that there is a motion on the floor to table the discussion until the next faculty meeting and that it is a viable motion. It would extend the debate on the first read to the following faculty meeting.

    Dr. Hochwald seconded the motion.

    Dr. Sweeney asked if she could ask a procedural question. In terms of the motion and the second, is it ensured that whatever is voted on today, that only eligible members are voting? She noted that there are individuals who are not faculty who are attending. 

    Dr. White noted that according to the UNF Constitution, faculty is everyone at the meeting.

    Dr. Dumont asked if the president was able to vote.

    Dr. White said the president of the university was eligible to vote. 

    Dr. Elfayoumy said she is faculty.

    Dr. Chally said she is faculty, but she had asked some vice presidents to join who do not have faculty appointments. She said that she was sure they would not vote. 

    Dr. Sweeney noted that there are a number of people, or people who are in the meeting, who do not have voting rights, according to the UNF Constitution, which is the prevailing document and that she thought it was very important for this conversation. 

    Dr. White said that it was important, but that it goes against all procedure because in no Faculty Association meeting have we ever differentiated between who’s in-unit and out-of-unit and who has voting rights. 

    Dr. Elfayoumy said she’s asking for faculty vs. non-faculty. 

    Dr. Lerner called for order and asked for a point of procedure with Dr. Hamadi. If the motion to table is done by zoom poll is she able to eliminate non-faculty, non-voting faculty?  She noted that if the meeting was in person, it would be a voice vote.

    Dr. Genova asked if she could ask a procedural question and noted that the discussion had passed the 20 minute and that she believed they could only stay on an item for 20 minutes. She noted if they do not, it automatically goes to the next meeting. So she didn’t think there is a need to vote, it just transfers to the next meeting.

    Dr. Lerner said that no, that would only be if they adjourn. She noted that the motion to table is active. So that motion has to be dispensed with first. That motion was made in time.

    Dr. Hamadi said that she wanted to be respectful of Dr. Lerner’s time and that she knew she had to get off at 1:40pm. She said that Dr. Lerner was welcome to get off and that she would take on the moderation and hopefully do it justice. If there are any issues, she said that there are people who would call her out. Typically what is done, is once everyone has cast their votes, she takes anyone who is non-faculty out of the vote. It can be done, but it is not done overnight. It will take her a couple of days to cross-reference with Institutional Research with most valid data for Spring 2022. That is not an issue, but she just needs to make sure the vote happens.

    Dr. Lerner said there was a point of order in the chat that if they adjourn is it automatically tabled until the next meeting. It would be, but there is an active motion right now, so that has to be dispensed with first. The motion is to table, it is not to vote on this item, it is not to approve or adopt this item. It is simply to extend debate until our next meeting. It would go at the front of the agenda for the next faculty meeting. 

    Dr. Hochwald asked if that would make it a second reading at the next meeting.

    Dr. Lerner said that it would not. It would extend debate on the first reading.

    Dr. Hochwald confirmed that at the next meeting, there could not be a second reading

    Dr. Lerner said that he was correct.

    Dr. Jackson asked for a point of clarification.  He said that hands are still up. If this motion passes, are those people who are still in the queue and have questions, would they still be in the queue automatically at the next meeting when we continue? 

    Dr. Lerner said that the speaker’s list would start with Kristi Sweeney, then Sharif Elfayoumy, then John White, Scott Hochwald, and Paul Parkison. 

    Dr. Newton thanked her.

    Dr. Parkison asked if he could have a friendly amendment to have a special session to continue the debate to maintain the order of second reading at the next meeting?

    Dr. Lerner said no, because the first motion has to be dispensed with now. If Dr. Parkison wants to introduce his motion, he would vote down the motion on the floor and then if voted down, the faculty could entertain other motions at that time.

     

    Dr. Lerner asked Dr. Hamadi to do the vote.

    Dr. Hall interjected and noted that there was a comment in the chat from Dr. Genova in that the discussion was started at 1:15 and the motion was made past the 20 minute limit.  Dr. Lerner clarified that the discussion did not start with her, but when she called for the first speaker and that was at 1:18 and 30 seconds according to her stopwatch.

    Dr. White asked Madam Speaker if there was a discussion on the motion.

    Dr. Lerner said there can be discussion on the motion but that it is limited to two minutes by the bylaws.

    Dr. Elfayoumy said that he would like to speak. He wasn’t sure if it was his turn.

    Dr. Lerner asked the faculty to lower all hands for the continued debate so that she could see the hands for the discussion on the motion on the floor.

     

    Dr. Lerner recognized Dr. Elfayoumy

    Dr. Elfayoumy said that the motion was an attempt to not have this voted on.  He said that if it’s voted down, that’s fine; if it’s voted on, let it be. It is the same faces. I know that there are only 90 of us here. And guess what, the 90 of us, including the administrators and the non-faculty members are representing the 600 faculty, without any voting for us to be selected by them. We are representing the 600. It is the same faces that you see in every meeting that get to talk, that get to propose, that get to chair a committee and get to jump to committees every year. I don’t think this is right for the university. We are a growing university. Everyone has the right, the new senate model everyone gets the chance to vote on, has a limited number of terms, a limit on how long one can serve. The current model does not. That is what some of us are trying to present. 

    Dr. Lerner said that the current debate is on the motion to extend. There is 30 seconds left on that debate. She recognized Dr. Dumont.

    Dr. Dumont said that “We really need to discuss this more as a faculty as a whole. This document can be improved a lot- at least addressing a lot of the concerns I brought forward. I would appreciate your vote to table this for the discussion for the next meeting.”

    Dr. Lerner said that the time was over.

    Dr. Hamadi called the motion for a vote.

    Dr. Jackson asked if it was to extend discussion or to table it. Dr. Lerner said it was to extend discussion until the next meeting.

    Dr. Lerner asked Dr. Hamadi to read out the numbers for the vote. Dr. Hamadi said that 54 out of 65 voted yes.  9 of 65 voted no. Absent 2 of 65. Sixty-five is

    Dr. Lerner said the debate moves to the next meeting. She will let the executive committee know where that discussion goes in the meeting.

  • March

    President Search 

    Dr. Sweeney asked about the search and the question of deciding to move back the search?

    Dr.John White noted that they had an obligation to get the best candidates.  Paul Parkison asked if alternative accreditors would be CHEA approved.  Interim President Chally noted that yes, the alternative accreditation agencies would be approved.  Dr. Deirdre Shoemake asked Interim Chally to keep in mind the Juneteenth holiday for this year’s calendar and that Dr. Rakita had been sent some language and thoughts to include. Katrina Hall said she support Deirdre’s request and asked John White to clarify about the recommendation to move the search back. He noted that in the past, a lot of deans and chairs had applied. The hiring firm noted that a more diverse group of applicants would apply if they were not going to be immediately identified. If they were identified early on and didn’t move through the process, it might damage their current positions. Dr. Newton asked Interim President Chally about the response of the state’s SUS system- were they reaching out to other accreditors? Can anyone take our accreditation? Interim President Chally said that she did not have enough information and declined to respond.  Dr. Sweeney asked Dr. Newton to clarify his question. He responded that the point was moot, that one of the sister schools had an issue with SACs and that had impacted the issue.

  • April
    Dr. White noted that he would answer the questions by email.
  • May

    BOGO

    Someone asked if there were two more programs listed on the BOGO.  Duncan said that she would get a list of what is existing and would send out.

    Someone asked what the BOGO meant. Duncan noted that it was coursework within in an area. So for example, engineering.  A student can buy a course and get a course free. 50% of tuition and fees for upper level courses in that program. 

    Dr. Sweeney asked if there was a universal statement that could be put into syllabi for courses that might be questioned by the HB 7. She wants to support faculty who are teaching courses that include highly debated topics. She doesn’t want to put a faculty member into a position of needing protection. Dr. Brown noted that she is working on that now and that is under the UFF general charge. There is a fine balance to allow the faculty to teach the courses in which they are subject area experts. She encouraged Dr. Sweeney to schedule a meeting so that they could discuss ways to protect faculty.

  • August

    University of North Florida (UNF) Metrics Performance

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, Faculty Association (FA) President:

    I’ve seen the marketing department promote how well UNF performed/improved on some of the metrics but have not seen them provide the final ranking. I have heard that UNF once again has ended up ranked among the bottom three universities in terms of overall metric score. Is this accurate? If so, how did this affect UNF’s funding? When hired, was the university president’s main mission to get us out of the bottom three?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    Dr. Coleman’s data office is a good resource, generally, for these kinds of questions, and confirmed that UNF is still in the bottom three for points in SUS. He stressed UNF’s ongoing process to improve in those metrics and is not standing still in working on how it improves. He explained that UNF scored 15 points (83) higher than when the president arrived two years ago.

    Evaluation of Teaching and Promotion

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Beven Livingston:

    I understand that you have done the evaluation of teaching and the promotion and tenure timeline, but what about the impact on our scholarly activities?

    Answer from the floor by Dr. Malcom – Bjorklund, President of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF):

    This is a great question and that UFF needs to look at this more closely. She added that in an earlier survey, many faculty (~77%) reported that their scholarly work has been negatively affected by COVID as they are shifting to ensuring their teaching continues to go well.

    Answer from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and Vice President (VP) of Academic Affairs:

    while the fall MOU is under negotiations the P&T deadline (i.e., an extension process) is being worked on to help individual faculty make decisions that are good for their circumstances. This has yet to be approved by both parties for fall 2020.

    Faculty Searches

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Gordon Rakita, Outgoing FA VP:

    Why have certain colleges have already started faculty searches? How were these decisions made? These ads are posted and collecting applications.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    that the budget is a moving target and that in certain departments there are challenges that need attention now

    Covid Testing

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Gordon Rakita, Outgoing FA VP:

    What about information on testing site locations on campus?  Are F2F faculty supposed to get our tests individually?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    UNF is asking all faculty to get a COVID test but that faculty can do that at any testing site. Dr. Lox added that next week faculty will hear more about the on-campus testing site and hours.

    Face to Face Teaching

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Beven Livingston, Professor – BCH:

    As Dan mentioned, there are graduate course in our college of health that in order meet the curricular demands that our accreditation body requires that require hands-on and so we can’t social distance so in complete PPE but the limitation is causing extended work on the faculties part.

    Answered by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    Dr. Rhodes acknowledged that some disciplines and courses will require hands-on work and that departments and programs will work to address these issues on a case-by-case basis.

    New Faculty lines

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Gordon Rakita, Outgoing FA VP:

    Timeline for decisions for new faculty lines. Is there a timeline for when we’ll find out if and when we can search for new lines in various departments?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    AA is working as quickly as possible, noting existing needs and the external hiring timelines, but noted that their choices right now are targeted to ensure UNF is in a good place financially in AY22.

    Online Courses

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

    Do online courses really cost more than in-person courses? If not, why do we still charge online fees for students?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    no fees are charged to Remote Instruction courses but only Distance Learning courses.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Daniel Moon, Professor Academic Affairs Administration:

    Dr. Moon confirmed these remarks and noted that, yes, DL courses do cost more than in-person courses insofar as the complex layer of resources that such courses require, e.g., CIRT staff who train faculty and work through technology logistics, funding provided to colleges for DL support (DL coaches and hardware). 

    Office Supply requests

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

    I’ve received reports from faculty that their office supply requests have been denied due to budget cuts. Is the university no longer supplying nominal office supplies?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    Dr. Rhodes noted that it was the first he’d heard of this, and he will investigate to report back.

    Face Shields

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA president:

    Can we wear face shields only or should always have a mask on even with a face shield?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Daniel Moon, Professor, Academic Affairs Administration:

    the method is OK, and offered that some faculty are wearing cloth face masks under their face shields.

    Permanent CFO OR CIO

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Gordon Rakita, Outgoing FA VP:

    Where are we at in the process of hiring a permanent CFO, or if Scott stays in that position, a CIO? Both are critically important right now.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    This is a question to be forwarded to the president for written response.

    Microphones for teaching

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Gordon Rakita, Outgoing FA VP:

    Will individual microphones be provided to faculty teaching in large lecture halls.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    administration will do their best to provide those faculty asking for those, and Dr. Moon offered that CIRT has equipment to check out to faculty.

    PPE for Face to Face teaching

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. Gordon Rakita, Outgoing FA Vice President:

    Will those of us teaching face to face will have PPE provided: when and how?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    some distribution is going to college and offices and that department supervisors have those instructions available.

    Follow up question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

    will those materials be available for hybrid instructors.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    yes.

    Answered from the floor by Marianne Jaffee, Executive Asst Dir of Planning:

    Our office is working with department heads to inventory in-person teaching faculty to provide sufficient supplies, to go through the deans’ offices and then the chairs. She noted that if there is a miscount or if folks need more to let her office know.

     

     

  • September

    Adjunct Funding

    Question Posed to Adjunct Affairs Committee

    Question/Suggestion Text:
    I had my workload (and, therefore, my income) cut by 25% for the Fall 2020 semester. I was told that this was due to the entire university seeking to cut the budget by 6%. The following day, I received an email that select faculty would have their salaries increased by 3%, and how proud the president was that they were able to find this money, in spite of budget cuts. This is either the second or third email I have received in my three years working at UNF about full-time faculty’s across-the-board raises. Before my hours were cut, I was teaching the same number of courses that my full-time counterparts are required to teach, so having my hours cut so that they could receive raises feels especially hurtful. While I would like to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons, I would like to know why adjuncts never receive these raises, even though we work very hard, and when, if ever, we would see any kind of cost of living raise. I understand that the amount per hour that adjuncts receive at UNF is nationally competitive. However, there are many events, meetings, and student events which I am strongly encouraged to attend. While I understand I cannot be required to attend such functions, it would be virtually impossible for me to continue working in my area without attending these events. I work many hours over the hours I am “in class,” often working the same hours as my full-time colleagues. While I am often right at the maximum FTE adjuncts are allowed, I have never made the amount the university claims is the average adjunct pay of $25,000/year. We have been asked to do an extensive amount of extra work due to COVID-19, and it is difficult for me to understand why the university does not find funds to keep adjunct morale high, especially during this time.

    Question Answered from the Floor by Dr. John White, FA President 

    Dr. White referred to the Adjunct Affairs Committee. I also welcome Kally Malcolm, President of UNF-UFF to speak on the matter of adjunct pay and the negotiation of raises for in-unit faculty. President Szymanski is also welcome to speak to the issue.

    New Pool

    Question posed to Scott Bennet

    With the construction underway for the new pool, it appears there are no longer tennis courts accessible to the UNF community (the competition courts are locked). When will courts be available/accessible?

    Answered from the floor by Scott Bennet

    Yes this is due to pool construction. Three of the recreational courts will be restored and available by next summer.

    UNF Opening Committee

    Question posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President or Dr. Rhodes, UNF Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

    I know several faculty members who were on committees regarding UNF opening during the coronavirus pandemic. They reported that their committees seemingly accomplished numerous tasks (and were even congratulated on their great work). However, the actual committees barely met and did not produce the results. Who produced the results of the committees? Were the committees formed to create the perception that the decisions were a campus-wide collaborative effort?

    Answer from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

    I counted the number of faculty that are in the COVID planning and working groups, the health teams, the behavioral team, and so on. I tried not to count them twice if they were on multiple teams. I counted 21 faculty. That does include a few faculty that are also chairs – chairs that teach, know pedagogy, know public health, etc. I have also talked to the group leaders and I know how grateful they are for the hard and creative work that these faculty have done. And the faculty members have made critical contributions to helping us evolve these plans. And evolve is the right word – we continue to have to respond to a changing situation and the planning continues to evolve – in terms of facilities and getting supplies, academic preparation, formal and informal ways to improve safety – policies, training, mask wearing, signage, behavior, apps, testing preparation, etc.,

    I would also note that we have had three Town halls [with more scheduled]. Feedback from that and other processes such as the website have been very important in generating our plans and learning what faculty need and want.

    Bottom line – I thank the UNF faculty who served on these committees and groups – they made substantial and pivotal contributions

    Dr. Coleman added that there was a number of different groups meeting frequently, and many people in administration and finance participated particularly early on in trying to scramble to figure out how the university was going to get through the spring term, with housing and dining and everything else. There were a lot of deadlines that were placed upon the university by the powers that be above it.

    Tenure and Promotion

    Questioner: over zoom

    Question posed to FA president, Dr. John White

    Has Academic Affairs provided the Faculty Association with the Tenure and Promotion decisions by the provost?

    Answered from the floor by FA President, Dr. John White

    That information was sent to the President of the Faculty Association immediately following the reading of this question. The delay was an oversight.

    Coronavirus Task Force

    Questioner: text in zoom

    Question posed to Dr. Coleman

    Question/Suggestion Text:
    Suggestion: Regularly test students in residence halls for COVID-19. Other schools do this. Why isn’t UNF doing this? Talk to students in the residence halls and you will quickly see the need for regular testing. They are not following the rules.

    Question answered from the floor by Dr. Coleman

    Students in residence halls, athletes, and faculty/staff interacting with students in a face-to-face environment (i.e., on campus) have been our three testing priorities during the first two weeks of the semester. As of this past Monday (Aug 31), all UNF faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to come to the first floor breezeway in Osprey Landing Building W (in the residential hall “complex”) for free testing M-Th from 9 am to 2 pm.

    COVID-19 Cases on Campus

    Question posed to Dr. Coleman

    Where can we find the number of COVID-19 cases on campus? Is there a place we can access current information on the number of cases? If not, why not?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Coleman

    Per Dr. White’s report: As of Monday (August 31), there have been 27 cases reported since the official start of the semester. Six of these are employees of UNF.  Forty-six cases were reported in August.  Since the start of the pandemic, 79 students and employees have reported testing positive for COVID 19. He provided a link where individuals can find this information: https://www.unf.edu/emergency/Cases.aspx.

    Contact Tracing

    Question Asked from the floor by Dr. Hanadi Hamadi, FA VP:

    How will the university be going about contact tracing?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Curt Lox, Dean – BCH:

    Dr. Lox clarified that contact tracing will be done by the Florida Department of Health.

    Returning to Campus

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

    If the JAX region is forced to evacuate during hurricane season, what is the plan for returning to F2F courses. Will it require a 14 day quarantine period and testing for all students and faculty prior to returning to campus?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    there is an existing emergency planning structure at UNF that is robust and connected to a larger apparatus across the state’s emergency planning. He added that he couldn’t say positively that a 14-day quarantine would not be out of the question but not necessarily the response.

    Face Shields

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

    Just clarifying if we heard that face shield alone was ok on UNF campus without a mask? There is evidence that face shields are not meant to function as primary respiratory protection and should not be used alone.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Daniel Moon, Professor – Academic Affairs Administration:

    Dr. Moon affirmed the earlier answer that face shields without masks is an acceptable health choice for faculty. He also added that wearing a cloth face mask under the shield is an individual choice and is acceptable.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    that if one is walking around campus, then a face mask/covering, not only a face shield.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Curt Lox, Dean – BCH

    that a face mask is a way to cover a face and that a face shield leaves one’s face open, so that face mask is acceptable to use alone when one is not standing near others.

    Positive Covid-19 Test

    Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, FA President:

    How will the university ensure that if anyone tests positive they do not come to campus?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

    that there is a temptation amid COVID that this situation is unique but isn’t insofar as individuals can carry disease in any situation, so there is no way to guarantee that an individual who comes to campus is well.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Curt Lox, Dean – BCH

    Dr. Lox clarified the COVID self-reporting process to ensure each individual follows safety guidelines and how the process follows up with individuals.

  • October

    Federal Work Study Employee

    Questioner: Anonymous

    Question Posed to Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    We have an abundance of Federal Work Study employees, so is there any way that they could support the university shortfall in staffing testing services to ensure folks who have a negative test still receive a call/confirmation?

    Answered by Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    this idea hadn’t been discussed and that it would be brought to a next task force meeting.

    COVID Testing and Results

    Questioner: Anonymous 

    Question posed to Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    I understand that UNF does not have the resources to give all tested individuals results; do we have enough resources to test all interested folks and provide results?

    Answered by Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    Dr. Szymanski offered that the university has the reverse problem: more than enough ability to provide results within 48 hours if someone tests positive. However, if someone tests negative, they’re not contacted because not enough staff are available for that additional step. He encouraged faculty to take advantage of this great resource and noted that no classroom transmissions have been documented. He added that the testing services are supporting 450-500 tests per week currently.

    Spring Break Poll

    Questioner: Anonymous 

    Questioned posed to Dr. David Szymanksi, UNF President and Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    Will the university poll faculty about options for moving spring break in line with Dr. Coleman’s answer?

    Answered by Dr. David Szymanksi, UNF President and Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    Dr. Patterson answered that those discussions are happening right now, and they will have an announcement in short order.

    Dr. Szymanski added that this conversation is a new one but that they’ve been discussing it and will have a decision to announce pretty soon. He clarified that the goal is to have Dr. Patterson in her role as they consider the question.

    Interim Provost

    Questioner: Heather Truelove

    Question from the floor, Posed to Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    now that Karen is in her new role, I’m wondering about her old role—if we’re going to have someone in a temporary/interim position while she’s filling the provost role—if there’s been any discussion about that yet.

    Answered from the floor by Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    the question is under consideration, and she promised more to come on that topic soon and having a faculty member in that position.

    Spring Break (Canceled)

    Question Posed to Dr. Simon J Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    Has any thought been given to canceling Spring Break (like some other universities are doing) in an effort to limit student travel and exposure to coronavirus?

    Answered in writing by Dr. Coleman

    Yes, this is indeed on our radar, we’re aware of what our sister institutions across the state are doing or are contemplating, and we stay in regular communication with them about this and other COVID-related matters. The status of Spring Break is something that we continue to review. At the moment, the thought is to maintain our normal start and finish time for the term, and perhaps adjust Spring Break to a later date after which classes/exams might be remote, very similar to what is being done this term with Thanksgiving break.

    New CFO Position

    Question posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President

    When will the university hire for the chief financial officer position?

    Answer from the floor by Dr. Szymanski, UNF President

    Dr. Szymanski offered that Scott Bennett has been doing a great job, and they’ll be having this discussion shortly.

    Remote Instruction

    Question posed to Dr. Szymanski or Dr. Coleman

    When will faculty be able to convert to remote instruction or distance learning for spring if they don’t feel safe?

    Answered from the floor

    He noted that the university is just now pivoting to spring considerations and still mapping out where it can be. He added that there’s a collective wisdom that has yet to be developed, and it’s possible that the spring is not too different from the approach to fall. He clarified, too, that the goal is to keep things open and ensure faculty and students are protected, so a timeline is not available yet as the focus is on fall 2020.

    Dr. Coleman offered that a best guess for a starting point for the discussion is the fall 2020 model, but it’s early days right now.

    Provost and Promotion an Tenure

    Question posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President and Dr. Coleman

    Given that the provost’s voice weighs heavily in the promotion and tenure process, is there any guidance from you or your office for the folks went up this year?

    Answered from the Floor by Dr. Coleman and Dr. White, FA President

    Dr. Coleman answered that he’d rather avoid an answer here and would instead leave it at he would likely examine research in a way similar to Dr. Rhodes.

    Dr. White offered that OFE is a good resource too.

    Hiring Provost

    Questioner: Dr. Heather Truelove

    Question Posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President

    Is there a plan in place to hire a next provost?

    Answer from the floor by Dr. Szymanski. UNF President

    Dr. Szymanski clarified that this process will be an inclusive, faculty-focused process but that it has not begun yet.

    Metrics Goal

    Question Posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President

    In terms of your goals, have you considered changing your metrics goal from “getting more points” to “improving UNF’s ranking” so we’re not camped out in the bottom three among state universities?

    Respond from the floor by Dr. Szymanski, UNF President and Dr. Coleman

    Dr. Szymanski offered that metrics are not optional, and that the BOG uses them so UNF must consider them, and while UNF does address metrics, he views them as an outcome and not a particular set of goals. In this way, in attending to improving aspects of the university that support faculty and students, the metrics are likely to improve as well.

    Dr. Coleman clarified that the bottom 3 rankings no longer limit an institution’s receipt of performance funds and instead institutions are measured against themselves year over year for improvement.

  • November

    UNF Calendar

    Questioner: Deirdre Shoemaker

    Question asked from the floor

    Changes to the fall 2021 calendar have taken place in ways that seem not to have included faculty input. Do we have any more information about that?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. John White FA President

    Dr. White noted that FA is an advisory body as it relates to recommending calendar dates, and while FA voted on and forwarded a particular calendar, the university made its own choice here. He noted, too, that faculty should be sure to rely on the university’s calendar (www.unf.edu/calendar) for the most accurate, updated calendar of dates.

    Building 1 Security

    Question from the floor

    I am still unclear about the threats to the administration is experiencing that justify the costs of a permanent security service in Building 1. Do you know if there are any plans to save student and taxpayer money by elimination this unnecessary service?

    Answered by Dr. John White, FA President

    Dr. White noted that this issue was contentious last year and remains contentious and he will bring it up with the President to provide a response at the December FA meeting.

    COVID Testing and Notification

    Questioner: Stephanie Race

    Question asked from the floor

    About COVID testing and notifications, discussion about notifications for negative test results has been ongoing and noted as improved, but she has herself experienced irregularities in hearing back about negatives, as well as lapses in secure/personal responses.

    Analytics on COVID cases

    Written Question

    Due to the president’s focus on metrics, we now have a vice president for analytics. Even with this focus, we remain at the bottom of the metrics within the SUS. Further, I am concerned with how COVID-19 cases are being reported. We have significant data on various performance metrics but virtually no analytics on COVID cases—all we see are weekly counts. I would like the administration to provide a far better analysis of cases, especially as there is an obvious push by the

    BOG for faculty and students to move toward more face-to-face classes.

    I would like to remain anonymous, however I would appreciate if you could relay my concerns to appropriate offices on campus.

    Answered

    On the first point, I suggest reaching out to Bob Greenlaw, who is spearheading the UNF COVID response effort.  Also, trends in cases and who is being infected are regularly updated at https://www.unf.edu/emergency/Cases.aspx.

    As for the impact of analytics, that one is easy.  Below are a few examples, all of which are directly attributable to the impact of analytics, particularly those outcomes involving enrollment, diversity, and retention growth.  Once we get the data from other institutions across the country, I believe you’ll find that the combination of growth in those three factors will be among the top 10 in the country, and perhaps even #1.  Also, had the analytics that generated the improvements below not been done, it is highly likely that we would have long since faced substantial layoffs, including the shuttering of programs.  Thus, analytics has had a direct hand in going from facing dire consequences to having one of the best success stories in the United States.

    • Freshman classes: 73% growthin last 5 years
    • Traditionally underrepresented freshmen: 163%growth in last 5 years (247% among Black / African-American)
    • Realized and forthcoming growth in tuition and fees due to 5-year growth in freshman classes: $76 million
    • First-year retention rate: 1 percentage pointgrowth in last 4 years, to a record UNF high
    • Graduation rates: 70% growthin last 5 years, to a record UNF high
    • Growth in metrics points: 47% growth in last 3 years (largest in the SUS), to a record UNF high
    • Performance funding received in the last two years: $25 million+

    UNF Facebook

    Written Question

    After a quick scan, it appears that about 10% of the posts on the UNF Facebook page feature President Szymanski, often with his wife. What is the strategy behind featuring the president so heavily on this platform?

    Answered by Eric Bruder, VP of Marketing and Communication

    I want to thank the faculty for this question. We do not have any set objectives on how often we highlight the President and First Lady through social media. Nor are these highlights part of a larger marketing strategy. However, we have featured them more often during the pandemic. We believe highlighting the face of the administration is extremely important and reassuring during these challenging times. We have also noticed that adding the First Lady to these posts increases engagement. The best way to truly judge these posts is to look at total engagement (likes, comments, shares). When looking back at the last 20 Facebook posts as of 11/1/2020, the two President/First Lady posts were among the highest in total engagement (#3 & #4 ranked of last 20).

    Needed Resources Allocation

    Written question

    When are we going to have a serious conversation about significantly under enrolled departments/programs and moving resources where they are needed?

    Unanswered 

    Dr. Patterson will offer an answer in writing.

    Dr. White added that the mission of the university is to serve a broad public, and that’s in education, social work, psychology—a broad spectrum—so focusing on specific departments on this way runs counter to that mission. He added that enrollments fluctuate across time, especially as tied to the economy.

    Unanswered

    Dr. White noted he will follow up with Mr. Bob Greenlaw about this topic and answer back.

    Candidate Search through Zoom

    Written Question

    Now that we have realized the cost savings of conducting searches with Zoom rather than having candidates on campus (involving costs of time and money), can we use Zoom as our future model for searches?

    Answered by Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affair

    Dr. Patterson answered in advance that Zoom is a good resource but noted that face-to-face meetings are essential as part of such huge decisions and they allow faculty and prospective hires to make good choices. Costs should be considered, but the intangibles aren’t always accessible via Zoom.

    Non Essential positions

    Written Question

    Why are we continuing to hire seemingly non-essential positions when facing such a budget shortfall?

    Answered in writing by Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    Dr. Patterson answered in writing that no non-essential hiring is taking place. Every job posting and hire has been vetted by Academic Affairs as mission critical to ensure that everyone is able to complete their work. The deans have been told that if budgets worsen, searches can be impacted.

    Ethnic Study

    Question Posed to Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    Will the university be responding to the White House’s attack on ethnic study with one of our own?

    Answered from the floor by Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    Dr. Szymanski responded that his office and Whitney Meyer are coordinating on this topic, and yesterday (September 30), Whitney Meyer sent out an update about a join effort between her office, Dr. Patterson, and some members of CODI.

    COVID Testing Service

    Questioner: Dr. Wang

    Question posed to Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    Dr. Wang added her appreciation for testing services and asked is the service unlimited. For instance, if a faculty takes a test and is negative but feels ill in a day or two, can they return for another test?

    Answered by Dr. David Szymanski, UNF President

    yes, it is effectively unlimited.

    Faculty Role and Budget Cuts

    Questioner: Paul Parkison

    Question asked from the floor

    What will be the faculty role if larger cuts are required? Will it work through the Budget Advisory or another prioritization process?

    Answered by Jason Haraldsen

    We did not get into the faculty for budget cuts. However, as we advise the FA, not the administration, I believe that if they will request Faculty feedback, then that would be run through the FA not the budget Advisory Committee. With this in mind, this is something that we will ask the administration in our future meetings.

    Follow Up to UNF Facebook Question

    Questioner: Anonymous

    question asked from the floor

    I do want to follow up about the “president and First Lady posts” anonymously… I can understand the president being an indicator of engagement, but the president’s wife is not a member of the university administration.

    Unanswered

    Dr. White will ask the President and Eric Bruder about this, noting that the President frequently visits campus with his wife.

  • December

    COVID Testing and Notifications

    Written Question

    About COVID testing and notifications, discussion about notifications for negative test results has been ongoing and noted as improved, but (faculty member) has herself experienced irregularities in hearing back about negatives, as well as lapses in secure/personal responses.

    Answered by Bob Greenlaw, Emergency Manager

    Our notification did run into some delays in the last few weeks due to not getting results from the lab. We found out the delays were from the “middle man” we were using. We have negotiated getting our results directly from the lab and should elimiate those delays for the next semester. Obviously the notifications won’t be necessary for who taking the 15 minute results test.

    We continue and will continue to make notifications to students and employees of both positive and negative test results. In the Spring, we will be offering both the 48 hour PCR tests we have been plus 15 minute Antigen testing on campus. Both tests are nasal swabs.

    Building 1 Costs

    Written Question

    I am still unclear about the threats to the administration is experiencing that justify the costs of a permanent security service in Building 1. Do you know if there are any plans to save student and taxpayer money by elimination [of] this unnecessary service?

    Answered by Dr. John White, UNF Faculty Association President

    President Szymanski has decided to change the security arrangements for Building one effective immediately. Additional security precautions will be put in place for the Presidential Offices (suite) but the rest of the building will operate as do all other university buildings.

    President Szymanski, UNF President affirmed

    We’ve eliminated that position.

    COVID-19 Vaccines

    Written Question

    When COVID-19 vaccines are available, will students be required to get immunized? Will faculty and staff be required to get immunized?

    Answered by Dr. John White, Faculty Association President

    This issue is being discussed among the Board of Governors. The SUS would prefer to have a system-wide approach to possible mandatory vaccinations.

    President Szymanski, UNF President added

    We are not talking about mandating anything at this point in time, and the Board of Governors is not talking about mandating things, either. The word “mandate” is not in our discussion here, and in fact we don’t have access to the vaccine yet, so this is not where we are.

  • January

    New strain affecting basketball games

    Written Question

    For President Szymanski

    Given the evidence of the new strain and the demographics on infections with young people why are we continuing basketball games?

    Answered by President Szymanski, UNF President

    Dr. Szymanski answered that the university is being very careful. He noted that they had an athlete test positive recently, and they canceled the subsequent game. He shared that they have a robust set of guidelines to ensure safety, from CDC and NCAA/Sun, but they are erring on the side of caution to ensure that students are safe.

    Using personal computers on the secure wifi

    Written Question

    I see in the campus update this new information about using personal computers on the secure wifi: “The University is updating the security requirements for gaining access to UNF-Wireless (the University’s secure wireless network) for personal computers or laptops. Starting Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020, any personal computers or laptops needing to connect to the UNF-Wireless Network will first be required to install a small application called OnGuard. It’s necessary for machines to meet the requirements to install OnGuard in order to connect to the wireless network. Any computer connected will be subject to the rules and regulations as defined by the Acceptable Use Policy. Devices connecting to guest wireless will not be affected by this change. ”

    I would like more information about why this is necessary for faculty.

    Answered by Dr. Deb Miller, Assistant Vice President of Digital Learning

    This change, which applies to personal computers that connect to UNF’s secure wireless network, is required for all University employees to prevent computers that lack basic security features from accessing the campus network and placing other computers at risk. Risks include cross-contamination from worms and viruses that can permanently harm personal computers as well as computers on UNF’s network.

    OIR Faculty and Staff Data Webpage

    Written Question

    For Office of Institutional Research/Academic Affairs

    The OIR Faculty and Staff Data (by rank, gender, ethnicity) webpage has not been updated since fall 2017 (the webpage is no longer available). Does OIR have these data for fall 2018, 2019, and 2020 to report out?

    Answered by Dr. Abby Willcox, Director of Institutional Research & Data Administrator

    We are in the process of developing a more comprehensive interactive faculty dashboard to replace the existing page that we plan to roll out in the coming weeks. Unfortunately, ensuring ADA compliance of our website as well as staffing issues have slowed down our efforts to update and modernize the IR page.

    Below are our current numbers.

    Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020
    Total 617 634 654
    Tenured 55% 51% 50%
    Tenure-Earning 17% 16% 17%
    Non-Tenure-Earning 29% 32% 33%

     

    Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020
    Total 617 634 654
    Professor 24% 22% 22%
    Associate Professor 30% 30% 28%
    Assistant Professor 19% 18% 20%
    Asst. Professor Equivalent 0% 0% 0%
    University Librarian 1% 1% 1%
    Assoc. University Librarian 1% 1% 1%
    Asst. University Librarian 0% 1% 1%
    Instructor 19% 21% 21%
    Lecturer 4% 4% 5%
    No Rank 1% 2% 1%

     

    Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020
    Total 617 634 654
    Female 48% 49% 50%
    Male 52% 51% 50%

     

    Fall 2018 Fall 2019 Fall 2020
    Total 617 634 654
    Non-Resident Alien 6% 6% 6%
    Hispanic 4% 4% 4%
    American Indian or Alaskan Native 0% 0% 0%
    Asian 7% 7% 8%
    Black or African American 5% 6% 6%
    Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 0% 0% 0%
    White 75% 74% 73%
    Two or More 3% 2% 2%
    Unknown 0% 0% 1%

     

  • February

    Computer Currency Program Cancellation

    Questioner: Debbie Wang

    Question asked from the floor

    The computer currency program has been cancelled in 2020 (and maybe 2021?). Could someone comment on this? Why is this program cancelled during a time when we are using technology to support distance learning?

    Answered by Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

    Dr. Patterson affirmed that Scott Bennett would be the best person to follow up on this question with to provide a response for faculty, and a response would be forthcoming.

    Bookstore Failure to Order Correct Textbooks

    Written Question

    For President, Provost, or FA President:

    I want to know how the university is responding to the dozens of classes affected by the bookstore’s failure this term to order correct textbooks (or any) for Spring Term. Since this is a third party provider what contract compliance measures are being taken to insure this does not recur? What do we tell students who have waited a month for the correct texts?

    Answered by Dr. John White, Faculty Association President

    Dr. White shared that he had received complaints from faculty over the past month and a half, and he reached out the bookstore manager and their regional person but has not heard back. He confirmed that they have met with a number of chairs to discuss several complex issues. He noted that he understood that going forward the bookstore would be purchasing enough textbooks to cover enrollments, which had previously been an issue as the bookstore was fearful of being able to sell enough texts.

    Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs added

    Dr. Patterson added that a meeting took place to discuss this concern, and she will share a follow-up with FA to share any of the outcomes from that meeting.

    Dr. Gordon Rakita, Director of Academic Technology and Interim Associate Vice President for Faculty Development suggested

    Dr. Rakita suggested that FA reach out to Tully Burnett (A&F – Business Services) to discuss possible next steps, and Dr. White remarked that Mr. Burnett has been a part of the conversation so far and he will follow up with him, too.

    Dr. Georgette Dumont shared her personal experience with bookstore ordering issues and how they affect student learning

    Explaining this issue has been ongoing for at least several years. She shared that the bookstore has previously explained this under-purchasing issue (i.e., not purchasing enough for enrolled students) as stemming from their ordering based on a percentage calculation of previous semesters’ purchases for that class. Dr. Dumont added that this business model may work for the bookstore but that it doesn’t align with the university’s model of ensuring students have the materials they need when they need them.

    Dr. Marianne Jaffee, Executive Assistant to the Provost and Director of Planning added

    Marianne Jaffee added that there has been a number of issues this term, echoing Dr. White’s note that these issues tend to be complex, but that the bookstore is working to add more supports and processes to ensure fewer issues in the face of issues related to COVID and lack of staffing. She reported, too, that a conversation is scheduled to take place with the bookstore to help them understand faculty needs.