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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
7 November 2019
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Funding and Consolidation

The primary policy-making body of the United Faculty of Florida is the Senate, which meets twice a year, and the primary policy-making body of the Florida Education Association is the Delegate Assembly, which meets annually. The Senate met September 15 & 16, and the Delegate Assembly met October 17 - 19. Both meetings focused on a campaign to raise education funding in Florida.
  • Fund Our Future. The union is campaigning for adequate funding for education in Florida. For details, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, USF President Currall has proposed a new consolidation plan.
  • A New Iteration. The second plan mollified some of the critics. For details, see below or click here.
The UFF USF Biweekly continues to run short accounts by recipients of UFF USF travel scholarships.
  • Technology and Computational Thinking. Education Professor Ilene Berson spoke at the American Educational Research Association about technology in lower grades. For more, see below or click here.
There will be a workshop on the National Science Foundation's Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) on Thursday, November 21, from 9 to 11, in the USF CONNECT Oak View Room, USF Research Park (there is a continental breakfast at 8:30). It is free and open to USF assistant professors, but space is limited, so RSVP as soon as possible - but definitely by November 14 - to Kelsey Deck. In addition, the Biweekly has run several articles on aspects of the tenure and promotional tracks, and there are links to these articles on the UFF USF webpage.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa in EDU 261

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa campus in the Education Building, EDU 261. Lunch is on us. Come and check us out.

The following week, on November 22, we will meet on USF Sarasota / Manatee in A221. And we will meet on November 8 and December 6 on USF Tampa in EDU 261. All meetings (and other events) are noted on the calendar on the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.


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 the November 22 or December 6 Chapter Meeting, or to the Holiday Party (below). The Children's Home Society of Florida has provided us with a list of gift ideas.

In addition, all UFF members are invited to the West Central Florida Central Labor Council's Holiday Party, December 3, 6:30 pm, at the IBEW 824 Building, 6603 E. Chelsea Street, in Tampa.

$ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

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 December 4, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the Fall or Spring cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the December 6 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, Debra Sinclair (click here).

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.


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.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.

Fund Our Future

Among the fifty states, Florida ranks 43rd in per-student spending, and per-student funding has increased only 5 % since the 2007 - 2008 academic year while the cost of living has increased 22 % (resulting in a 14 % per-student decline in buying power). Florida began the school year with more than 3,500 teacher vacancies, and over 300,000 students started the school year without a full-time certified teacher in the classroom. And nearly fifty thousand school staff earn a wage below the poverty level for a family of four.

Meanwhile, Florida's per-student university funding is half the national average.

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida is one chapter in a statewide organization, whose Senate met in September to plan for college and university faculty participation in a campaign to win more resources for education from the legislature. The statewide United Faculty of Florida itself is a "union local" in the Florida Education Association (FEA), and its Delegate Assembly met last month to launch a Fund Our Future campaign.

The FEA proposes that Florida invest $ 22 billion over the next ten years: this means a ten percent increase in per-student funding, and includes a 10 % raise for all public school employees, restoring electives in the arts, and increasing access to mental health services.

As mentioned in the last Biweekly, the campaign started with a bus tour; the bus started in the parking lot outside the Delegate Assembly meeting:

The bus generated some publicity, including: The campaign has many quieter components, but the next big event is a demonstration on Sunday, January 13, just as legislators are arriving in town, preparing for the Legislative session. Stay tuned...

The Next Iteration

The 26 September 2019 Biweekly reported that USF President Currall attempted to thread the consolidation needle whose eye was narrowed by two recent statutes requiring that USF be consolidated with two quasi-autonomous "branch campuses" - while USF's accreditor's requires that a single consolidated university have a single academic structure. Legislators, the media, and many other stakeholders (including many faculty and students) did not like Currall's first iteration, and largely echoed the Tampa Bay Times' complaint that "The preliminary plan for the merger of three campuses is tilted toward Tampa."

On 17 October, Currall, USF St. Petersburg Chancellor Martin Tadlock, and USF Sarasota / Manatee Chancellor Karen Holbrook announced two major revisions to the consolidation proposal (in addition to assurances of transparency and provision of adequate resources to students) (see also the revision):

Incidentally, tenure-earning faculty hired at USF St. Petersburg or USF Sarasota / Manatee with at least three years credit as of 1 July 2019 will come up for tenure under the old guidelines and criteria of their campuses. Those with less than three years will come up under the new consolidated guidelines.

Florida Politics and the Tampa Bay Times reported that the critics were mollified, and the Times editorialized that, "The revisions revealed Thursday are a substantial improvement, benefit the entire university and treat the St. Petersburg campus much more fairly."

Whether this threads the needle remains to be seen: we have yet to hear from the accreditor.

Technology and Computational Thinking

Ilene Berson is a Professor of Early Childhood Education. She received a $500 travel scholarship to attend the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada in April 2019. There she presented a paper session on Digital Play with Tangible Technologies in Australian and American Preschools (jointly with M. Berson, W. Luo, and V. Damjoanovic of USF, and K. Murcia of Curtin University) and a poster on Excursion Into Empathy: Exploring Prejudice With Virtual Reality (jointly with M. Berson of USF, J. Ward of Kennesaw State, and C. Wiedeman). This is her account.

As part of an international research collaboration, my colleagues and I have documented and compared across countries how young children develop computational thinking while coding tangible technologies or 'robots' in a play-based emergent curriculum. Drawing on implementation data from preschools in Australia and the U.S., our findings reflect comparative cross-national perspectives on pedagogic approaches to promote children's technological learning outcomes. The integration of digital play with tangible technologies in early childhood classrooms offers young learners access to resources to apply their developing academic knowledge and skills in authentic ways. My presentation highlighted strategies that helped teachers demystify the process of engaging young learners with tangible technologies and showcased how the robotic manipulatives served as catalysts for peer collaboration, socio-emotional regulation, and creative problem solving.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, November 8, at noon, on USF Tampa campus, in EDU 261.

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.

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