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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
30 October 2014
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow Noon in Tampa

Tomorrow Friday the Chapter will meet at 12 noon at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa, on 5104 E. Fowler Ave. All employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit are invited. There will be pizza and salad and drinks. Check us out. Join the movement. Bring a colleague

Don't Forget to Vote

Early voting ends this weekend, so vote this weekend - or vote on Election Day, Tuesday, November 4, at your precinct. Here is information on early voting in west central Florida counties: You must vote in the county in which you reside.

If you are registered to vote, then you can vote early. This is such a close election, and there is so much at stake. Donít put off this most important civic responsibility.

Join UFF Today!

Download, fill in, and mail the membership form. Benefits of membership include the right to run and vote in UFF chapter and statewide elections; representation in grievances (UFF cannot represent a non-member in a grievance or litigation); special deals in insurance, travel, legal advice, and other packages provided by our affiliates; free insurance coverage for job-related liability; and the knowledge you are supporting education in Florida. Come and join the movement.

Grievances

If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you have thirty days from the time you knew or should have known of the violation to file a grievance. If you are, and at the time of the violation were, a dues-paying member of the United Faculty of Florida, you have the right to union representation. To contact the UFF USF Grievance Committee, go to the online contact form. For more information, see our web-page on grievances.

Visit Us on Facebook

Visit the United Faculty of Florida at USF Facebook page. This is a page is a place where UFF members can exchange thoughts and ideas. The page is "public", but only dues-paying UFF members are eligible to post items the page. If you are a UFF member, ask to join on the page, or contact the Communications Committee. The Committee will invite every UFF member that asks to join. So check us out. UFF members are welcome to join, and non-members are welcome to look.

IN THIS ISSUE

The Tenure Guidelines at USF

While most new hires are not on the tenure track, those that are must achieve tenure within the fixed time limits or get a new job. In this issue, we look at the formal procedure for achieving tenure at USF.

  • The Contract and the Guidelines. The contract governs the procedure, but the guidelines fill in the details. Complicating things is the transition from old guidelines to new ones. For more, see below or click here.
  • What They Say. The contract and the guidelines say that candidates will be evaluated based on their application packet, and they describe how that packet will be handled. For more, see below or click here.
In upcoming Biweekly issues, we will look at criteria ... and how to meet them.

But first ...

Pat Oliphant once asked, Who put Election Day just after Halloween? Yes, but this is an important election, so if you haven't already, please be sure to vote. And have a Happy Halloween!

The Contract and the Guidelines

The tenure process at USF is defined by the contract between the USF Board of Trustees and the United Faculty of Florida, by USF regulations, and by college and departmental guidelines and regulations.

Here is the outline: a candidate applies for tenure, the application goes to the candidate's department, which makes a recommendation, and then the application and the recommendation goes to the candidate's college, which makes another recommendation, and then the application and two recommendations go to the provost, who makes a recommendation, and then the application and three recommendations go to the president, who makes a recommendation, and then it all goes to the Board, which decides.

This sentence buries many details, complications, and variants.

  • Applicants in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit in the Health Sciences Center send their applications through their departments up through Health Sciences.
  • Many departments and colleges have multi-level decision-making processes. A committee may review the application in coordination with, or separately from, a supervisor (chair or dean). Some units have sub-units, and the sub-unit (e.g. a unit within a department, or a unit within a college) may compose a recommendation before forwarding it to the unit (department or college, resp.).
  • An applicant may withdraw the application.
The tenure procedure is defined by Article 15 of the
the Collective Bargaining Agreement (pp. 32 - 34) and USF Regulation 10.105. (The Collective Bargaining Agreement takes priority over USF regulations.) These two documents define the process by which tenure is awarded. They do not define criteria; more on that in a later issue of the Biweekly.

There is an additional complication. We are in a transitional period: on June 5, the Board of Trustees adopted new regulations on tenure and promotion. These new regulations superseded the tenure and promotion guidelines instituted in August, 1998. During this transitional period, the old guidelines apply to some employees while the new guidelines apply to others.

  • Section 15.4 A of the Collective Bargaining Agreement says that ''Changes in criteria [i.e., guidelines] shall not become effective until one (1) year following adoption of the changes, unless mutually agreed to in writing by the local UFF President and the University President or representative.'' Since there was no mutual agreement, the new guidelines come into effect on June 5, 2015.
  • Section 15.5 B goes on to say that ''... if an employee has at least three (3) years of tenure-earning credit as of the date on which the tenure criteria [actually, guidelines] are adopted ... the employee shall be evaluated for tenure under the criteria as they existed prior to modification unless ...'' the employee prefers to go under the new guidelines. Our interpretation is that a tenure-track employee hired before June 5, 2012 will come up under the old guidelines unless the employee elects otherwise, while a tenure-track employee hired after June 5, 2012 will come up under the new guidelines. (Correction: contrary to a statement in the September 25 Extra, mid tenure review is only implicitly connected to which guidelines will cover a given candidate. Mid tenure review will be discussed in a subsequent UFF Biweekly.)
Okay, if you are coming up for tenure, what do the guidelines say?

What They Say

The Collective Bargaining Agreement, the contract, is the legally binding instrument that takes priority. Article 15 on Tenure (pages 32 Ė 35) says that an eligible employee shall normally be considered for tenure during the sixth year of continuous service, although, with the agreement of both employer and employee, the employee may come up early or the tenure clock may be stopped for up to one year. The employee must receive tenure or find a new position.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement outlines the following procedure.

  • The employee's supervisor will compose a recommendation, and the tenured members of the employee's unit (usually the employee's department) will be polled by secret ballot on whether to recommend awarding tenure.
  • The employee's annual assignments and evaluations and "a copy of applicable tenure criteria," and other materials are forwarded upwards through department, college, and campus.
  • Each time in the process when a recommendation is made, or material added to the application packet, the candidate shall have the right to review and respond. And "The only documents which may be considered in making a tenure recommendation are those contained or referenced in the tenure file."
If the employee did not receive tenure, then "...the University shall provide the employee with a written statement of reasons by the President or representative why tenure was not granted." UFF interprets this language to mean that the USF President or representative must enumerate reasons, and not just send a form letter saying that the Administration didn't feel like awarding tenure to the employee: the Administration has moral, institutional, and contractual obligations to make its reasoning clear.

There is a little more in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, but most of the details are in the Tenure and promotion guidelines, composed by the USF Administration and promulgated by the USF Board of Trustees. Let's take a look at what the old and new guidelines say.

  • Under the old 1998 guidelines, tenure is awarded based on evaluations of teaching, research, and service. The purpose is that " A university must create an atmosphere that encourages faculty members to develop and share different ideas and divergent views and to make inquiries unbounded by present norms"; the purpose is to advance teaching, research, and service by protecting academic freedom.
  • Under the new guidelines, teaching, research, and service are still central, but there is an interesting statement: "Tenure and promotion guidelines at all levels are expected to recognize and value contributions that support USF's prevailing strategic priorities." While the 1998 statement did not use the word "excellence" at all, it made it clear that that was what tenure was about. On the other hand, while "excellence" appears ten times in the new statement, it is quite clear that ... other ... considerations might now trump excellence. Still, whatever the imperative to "support USF's prevailing strategic priorities", the contract has priority over these guidelines, and Article 6.2 B of the contract concludes with: "Personnel decisions shall be based on job-related criteria and performance." Whatever it USF's "prevailing strategic priorities" may be, their application had better be job-related.
In the next Biweekly, we will take a closer look at what the guidelines say.

LOGISTICS

Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, October 31, at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa, on 5104 E. Fowler Ave.

There will be pizza, salad, and drinks. All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. Come and join the movement.

Membership: Everyone in the UFF USF System Bargaining unit is eligible for UFF membership: to join, simply fill out and send in the membership form.

NOTE: The USF-UFF Chapter website is http://www.uff.ourusf.org, and our e-mail address is uff@ourusf.org.

About this broadcast: This Newsletter was broadcast from uff.ourusf.org, hosted at ICDsoft.com, and is intended for all members of the UFF USF Bargaining unit (USF faculty and professionals at most departments). A (usually identical) version will be broadcast to USF-News and USF-Talk from mccolm@usf.edu.

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