Business psychologists have observed that while homogeneous task forces often think that they have done well while heterogeneous task forces often are less satisfied, outside observers often think that the heterogeneous task force did the better job. When the task force consists of people from politically significant groups, there is an additional consideration: unrepresented groups have no skin in the game and are less likely to support whatever the task force proposes. This would suggest that a presidential search committee should be a heterogeneous group of people representing a broad range of community interests.
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 noon on Zoom. On the agenda: COVID protection, the presidential search, government relations, and more. And here are the minutes for the previous meeting.
Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one. This fall, we are meeting on September 10, September 24, October 8, October 22, November 5, November 19, and December 3. Some of the meetings may be online and some may be hybrid; the "modality" of the meetings are TBD, but the September 10 meeting is on Zoom.
UFF will sponsor a Tailgate Social for the first home football game of the USF Bulls vs. the Florida Gators on Sept. 11, 2021. The game will be at Raymond James stadium in Tampa. The game is scheduled to start at noon, but kickoff time is subject to change. Regardless, we are planning a tent, chairs, coolers, and food for 50 UFF members and families members before the game. In the past, our Tailgates have been at a prime location to watch the bands and players enter, meet up with Rocky, and enjoy the fans.
RSVP to Steve Lang if you plan to participate and let us know who is coming (like a spouse or children). We will need to order food and maybe extra chairs.
If you already have tickets to the game, that’s great! Otherwise, you can get tickets at the Go USF Bulls (Football Tickets) website. For the last few years there was an employee discount, so call them and ask. If you do not have tickets and would like UFF to ask for a group or tickets together, then let us know ASAP and we will try to arrange it. This game will be sold out! No one actually knows what the mask or vaccination policy will be at Raymond James Stadium at this time.
Please provide an email so that we can update folks with information about the time of the game, location of the Tailgate, parking, food choices, and tickets.
We have had some really great tailgate parties in the past few years at the Rays, Rowdies, and USF Bulls, so hopefully this will be a back-to-normal event.
When UFF members receive awards for their accomplishments, the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida is pleased to let the world know. We are happy to recognize recent accomplishments of three UFF members.
Jody McBrien of the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at USF Sarasota-Manatee will receive the 2021 Regional Chancellor Award for Sarasota-Manatee in Student Success. The Student Success Awards honor "the individuals and teams who have made exceptional contributions to our student success movement," and in particular, the Regional Chancellor Award "Honors the work of an individual, team, department or college for outstanding contributions made to advancing student success on the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses." She is currently on sabbatical as a Council of Foreign Relations Fellow.
Lindsey Rodriguez of the Department of Psychology will receive the 2021 Outstanding Research Achievement Award for her work on substance abuse, including alcohol. She is the director of the Healthy Emotions And Relationship Theories (HEART) Laboratory at USF St. Petersburg, and her research has received national media coverage from outlets such as NBC News and The New York Times (for an account, see her column in The Conversation).
Patriann Smith of the Department of Language, Literacy, Ed.D., Exceptional Education, and Physical Education will receive the 2021 Outstanding Research Achievement Award for her studies of literacy education for Blacks in the USA, the Caribbean, and Africa. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Literacy Research Association and she is currently leading a USAID funded project with USF, the University of the West Indies and several Historically Black College and Universities to study curriculum in ten Caribbean island countries.
We congratulate professors McBrien, Rodriguez and Smith for their outstanding work. And we ask members to inform us of major awards and accomplishments among the UFF membership.
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. Here is the membership form. Come and join the movement.
If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the recent Memorandum of Understanding, 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 Grievances Page.
Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.
Yes, we are on social media.
On August 24, the USF presidential search was formally launched with a committee of seven businesspeople, four non-profit administrators, two faculty, one student, and one politician. USF Board of Trustee's chair Will Weatherford told the Tampa Bay Times that (in the Times' words) "...the composition of the committee would help strengthen the university’s strategic alliances." Comparing the composition with the Florida Board of Governors' Presidential Search and Selection requirements (see (1)(a)), these strategic alliances are apparently more oriented to large business than to, say, local education, small business, the art community, or agriculture.
Among other things, the BOG calls for a transparent search, which is consistent with BOT Chair Will Weatherford's column in the Tampa Bay Times calling for the community to get involved in the search. To facilitate this, USF has put up a website for the committee, including a schedule of committee meetings and contact information. Once upon a time, presidential searches were conducted by presidential search committees. Not anymore. Despite the BOG's wistful concern for transparency, the current practice is to hire a headhunting firm - er, executive search firm - to quietly solicit and vet applicants and so enable a search committee to quietly compose a list of finalists for public viewing. As observed in a previous issue of the Biweekly, the ultimate choice is sometimes made inevitable in composing the list of finalists - which means that what happens before the finalists are chosen is critical.
The Search Committee promptly chose a search firm, SP&A Executive Search (formerly Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates), which describes itself as "a boutique woman- and minority-owned executive search firm specializing in and exclusively dedicated to serving the higher education and non-profit sectors." SP&A outlines its Five-Step Search and Hiring Process for "an intentional search that is attuned to the needs of the institution and to the marketplace of candidates."
While SP&A lists its currently active searches, Floridian academics may be more familiar with their recent search for a new president of Florida State University. According to the Tampa Bay Times, SP&A presented the FSU search committee with a list of 22 candidates, of whom eleven were selected to "discuss further," from whom the search committee selected nine to interview - including Florida Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, whose inclusion led to a discussion of the debacle in the search for a new chancellor of the Georgia System when a former governor tried to get the job. (FSU ultimately hired former Harvard Vice Provost Richard McCullough.)
The FSU and Georgia episodes show the need for vigilance - and the need to communicate to the search committee what USF wants in a president. Presumably not a politician seeking a golden parachute - especially not a politician indifferent to the welfare of Florida students. We encourage members of the USF community to attend the meetings of the committee, to follow the search, and to communicate to the committee what they would like to see in the next president. After all, Mr. Weatherford invited us in.
Speaking of Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, UFF and the Faculty Senate continue to press the USF Administration on protective measures during the pandemic. The Oracle reported that at the 24 August 2021 meeting of the USF Board of Trustees, USF Faculty Senate President Tim Boaz told the Board of "our extreme disappointment to the current approach to reopening campus in the context of a pandemic" and said that the current policy "... no longer has the health and well-being of our students, staff and faculty as its top priority." USF Board Chair Will Weatherford responded, "We do take the health of our students and our faculty and our administration to be the most important thing," but that, "I think we’re all aware of legal constraints that we have at the university."
It would be safe to interpret Weatherford's response as an assertion that USF policy is in response to - and perhaps dictated by - the state government, which raises the question of whether the health and wellbeing of students, staff and faculty are the top priority of the government. The Tampa Bay Times reports that other Florida public universities are declining to impose mandates, citing the state government. It is in response to the actions - and inaction - of the government that the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates announced its unanimous opposition to "statewide restriction or legislation that limits public health mitigation measures in the State University System during a global pandemic."
Meanwhile, the UFF issued a Statement of the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida Concerning USF and the COVID-19 Crisis, demanding that the Board do what should be done to protect students, staff and faculty. Political reality being what it is, the UFF also placed a second proposed Memorandum of Understanding on Covid policy on the bargaining table. And the state office of UFF issued a press release announcing that UFF has sent a cease and desist letter demanding that, "the Board of Governors cease and desist from obstructing collective bargaining at universities around the state. Moreover, UFF demands that the Board of Governors stop demanding conformity to its obsolete re-opening plan that has seen no substantial revision since Florida became a hotspot for the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant."
UFF intends to keep up the pressure and remind members of the boards that the duty of board members is to represent the community in supporting the university's mission - and not to represent the politicians.
Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, September 10, at 12 noon, via Zoom. All UFF USF members are welcome: for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary.the Chapter Secretary. Come and join the movement.
Membership: Everyone in the UFF USF System Bargaining unit is eligible for UFF membership: to join, simply fill out the membership form.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.