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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
30 November 2017
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow in Tampa

The Chapter will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on USF Tampa in EDU 161. There will be sandwiches, snacks, pop, and sweets. All USF employees are invited, especially UFF members and employees thinking of becoming UFF members. On the agenda:

  • UFF USF Chapter Election. The Chapter will select an Election Committee that will conduct the election of chapter officers and representatives this coming spring.
  • The Spring Calendar. The Chapter will select the Chapter Meeting times for next semester.
  • Travel Grants. The six recipients of the UFF USF Travel Grants will be selected.
The Chapter Meeting will be preceded by...

Promotion & Tenure Workshop Tomorrow Friday Morning

The Chapter will hold a workshop for all UFF members planning on applying for promotion or for tenure, for both the Instructor and Professor tracks. The long-range plan (building a solid record using the promotion or tenure criteria), and the short-range plan (building a promotion or tenure packet and navigating the process).

This workshop is for UFF members, but non-members may join as there will be membership forms.

Last Call...

HOLIDAY & SEASON DRIVE PARTY EVENTS

The Annual Toy Drive conducted by the West Central Florida Federation of Labor will collect new, unwrapped toys for children ages 0 - 18. Toys can be brought to tomorrow's Chapter Meeting (see above) or delivered to the receptionist at the USF Tampa Department of Mathematics & Statistics (CMC342) by Tuesday, December 5. The Children's Home Society of Florida has provided us with a list of gift ideas.

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; see also the main article (left).

Visit Us on Facebook

Visit the United Faculty of Florida at USF Facebook page. This 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 on 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

Looking Ahead

All around the Northern Hemisphere, the Winter Solstice may have been the most important holiday, for that was the day that the Sun began to come back. For people and institutions with goals and ambitions, it can be a time to take stock and make plans. That became the Roman view, for the month immediately after the Solstice (Ianuarius) was the month of the door (ianua) to the next year - even if the Roman new year began in March (!). On the first day of January - the Kalendae Ianuariae (and yes, this is where the word "calendar" came from) - newly elected officials were inaugurated.

This may be a good time to take stock of USF and think about where we want to go and how to get there - both individually and collectively. In this issue we look ahead.

  • Excelsior. "Excelsior" is Latin for "higher", and that is where we hope to be going. USF got lots of kudos this year, but we face challenges - and opportunities. For details, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, during the Seventh century, a Dutch and Flemish (Pagan) tradition of exchanging presents on New Year's Day spread to the Christian community in the guise of celebrating Christmas (much to the irritation of the anti-fun league, which launched a thousand-year-long war against New Year's). In keeping with this tradition, UFF is joining the West Central Florida Federation of Labor's annual toy drive to collect toys for foster children. For details, see the announcement at in the left column, and Happy Holidays, and in particular, and Happy New Year!

Excelsior

The University of South Florida is a Doctoral University with Highest Research Activity (according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning), USF met Florida's criteria for pre-eminence - even after one of the goalposts was moved - and USF is one of the most veteran-friendly institutions in the country.

USF got a lot of laurels this year, but at the November 14 meeting of the USF Board of Trustees, the board heard that parents and students outside of Florida don't know where USF is located. And in Florida, USF lacks brand recognition. As this effort involved a leading marketing firm, the presentation quickly turned to logos (see also The Oracle's account).

There may be something deeper going on here. The Chronicle of Higher Education recently described How Rich Universities Get Richer ... and leave everyone else behind: the leading 60 universities get the most money and graduate the most privileged youngsters who become the wealthiest alumni who give the biggest donations so that their alma maters have the most resources to become even more leading. A similar feedback loop associated with academic recognition is Robert Merton's Matthew Effect, in which prominent people receive disproportionate or even inappropriate credit for work (the name comes from the Parable of the Bags of Gold in the Gospel of St. Matthew, which concludes with, "For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.") Such credit can include funding decisions, and some observers claim that the Matthew Effect affects institutions. For example, a study of science funding in Canada found that grant applicants from smaller institutions get disproportionately less money (but see the reponse by the president of Higher Education Strategy Associates).

Whatever the mechanism, faculty at smaller institutions get less external funding. And it is not hard to imagine the Matthew Effect affecting decisions made not only by funding agencies, but also by newspapers and the media, community leaders and politicians, parents and students.

So how does USF deal with the Matthew Effect? Marketing may have its place, but one needs a better mousetrap to market. So, who needs a better mousetrap? It seems that Tampa Bay does. And not just Tampa Bay.

In fact, the combination of economic malaise - and despite the rising stock market, that's how many people feel - together with the perception that universities are not accessible to ordinary folk, is creating a dangerous situation. "The standard model is elitist," the president of Arizona State University told The Washington Post. "The system is creating social disruption ... It is creating this dynamic where people are not connected ...," and parents think, "Oh, my kid can never get into one of those great universities." He added, "There is fear and angst about the future. People are looking around and saying to universities, 'What are you doing for me? You guys at the universities are building robots that are going to replace my job.'" He suggested that this angst is partly driving the current anti-Academia sentiment. "If we donít learn how to communicate better and work with the community, there are going to be pitchforks and tar-and-feather buckets waiting outside the gates for us."

UFF Biweekly Readers may recall that many years ago, community boosters from Tampa Bay to Orlando were talking about an I-4 High Tech Corridor, complete with a New Florida Initiative to strengthen the university system. That was in the aftermath of the 2008 crash, and since then that political landscape has grown rather bleak. If we are going to make any progress towards our goals, we are going to have to revive a Can Do spirit - and spread it among the Tampa Bay.

LOGISTICS

Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, December 1, on USF Tampa in room EDU 161.

We will have lunch at the meeting. 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.

If you do not want to receive the UFF Biweekly, you can unsubscribe below. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, e-mail a message to gmccolm@tampabay.rr.com.