Election season is an appropriate time for a reminder that it matters who is in the Legislature.
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa in EDU 261. There will be sandwiches, snacks, drinks, and sweets. On the agenda: bargaining, consolidating USF, recruiting new members, political action (this is an election year), and the upcoming UFF Senate meeting. Come and check us out.
This fall, we will meet on September 7 & 21, October 5 & 19, November 2 & 16 & 30. The September 21 meeting will be at USF St. Petersburg, and one meeting to be determined will be in USF Sarasota / Manatee. The locations of the other meetings are to be determined. Come and check us out.
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.
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).
The USF Chapter of the UFF will award six $ 500 Travel Scholarships for next spring and summer. This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due by November 27, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall 2017 or Spring 2018 cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. The five recipients shall be selected by lot at the November 30 chapter meeting. For more information, see the Travel Scholarship Flyer.
This initiative is part of our membership campaign. If you would like to become active in the UFF USF Membership Drive, contact the Membership Chair, Adrienne Berarducci (click here).
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.
On July 2, 2020, 665 days from now, USF is to be a single university, with a single academic structure extending to all three campuses. The model currently under discussion envisions a single array of policies, guidelines, and criteria and procedures for promotion and tenure. This single array is for the entire university, specialized to colleges and then departments that also extend through the entire university. Both top-down and bottom-up efforts are underway to make this happen with minimal disruption.
Enter the accreditors. The U.S. Department of Education delegates the job of making sure that postsecondary degrees are worth something to regional accreditors like the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) which keeps an eye on USF. It is SACS that badgers USF about the credentials of its faculty, the standards of its programs, and its academic structure. That makes consolidation SACS's business, and part of the consolidation effort is aimed at making SACS happy.
At the top of the top-down planning process is a task force mandated by the Legislature (see below), appointed by people named by the Legislature. They are developing an overarching plan while the Administration and various bodies (including UFF) are figuring out how to make this plan work while this plan is under development. Meanwhile, individual units and individual faculty are reaching out to each other to start building a foundation for working together. One consequence is that to many questions faculty have about what is going to happen, the answer is "that hasn't been resolved yet." This may actually be a good thing: fans of Yes, Prime Minister (15:00 - 15:30) may recall that the time to influence policy is while its being made.
Tomorrow Friday, at noon, the Chapter is meeting in EDU 261 to discuss influencing policy on tenure and promotion. As always, all USF faculty and professionals - UFF members or not - are invited for sandwiches, snacks, sweets, drinks and strategizing. Meanwhile, it may be helpful to recall how the Legislature landed us in this fix.
"Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made," said Otto von Bismarck, and there is an air of sausage in this consolidation. As reported in the 8 February 2018 Biweekly, State Senator Jeff Brandes and State Representative Ray Rodrigues pushed An act relating to higher education (House Bill 423) to consolidate the USF system into a single university despite a telling lack of enthusiasm in USF and the USF community. After much controversy, the language of HB 423 was ultimately folded into the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018 (Senate Bill 4) (see 1004.335 and 1004.341 on on pages 10 - 14) as part of an omnibus bill that Governor Scott signed on March 11.
The argument was that now that USF had pre-eminent status, consolidating the system would spread the pre-eminence around. Whether that is what would actually happen - in fact, whether that is what the Legislature intended to happen - is another matter. One reason for cynicism was that this was an unfunded mandate: USF is to reorganize, including major adjustments in the structure and mission of two campuses, within two years, without additional resources. The Legislature also mandated a task force that would figure out how to do all this - and it was the Legislature's decision not to mandate any faculty presence on the task force. None of this suggested any legislative affection towards USF or the USF community.
Anyway, this is election year, and perhaps this is a good time to ask our legislators what plans they have for USF. Meanwhile, USF faculty and professionals are invited to the Chapter meeting, tomorrow Friday noon in EDU 261, to learn the latest news and plan our moves.
Speaking of legislative mandates, Florida Polytechnic University is in the news.
Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, September 7, at noon, on USF Tampa, in EDU 216.
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