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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
21 April 2012
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Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 1994 abolishing USF Polytech and House Bill 5005 cutting employer contributions to FRS alternative and Optional Retirement Plans (including TIAA-CREF). Regarding Governor Scott's signature on Senate Bill 1994, USF Polytech Interim Regional Chancellor David Touchton sent the following message to USF Polytech employees:
Today, Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 1994 creating Florida Polytechnic University. We are relieved to finally have a decision.

From the beginning, our number one commitment has been to our students, faculty and staff. We, along with our colleagues in the USF System, will continue to make our people a priority throughout this transition. We are pleased that it will now be in state statute that our students will be able to finish their degrees here, in Lakeland, and graduate with a University of South Florida degree. We will now turn our attention towards the “teach-out” plan and the transition of our students, faculty and staff. The bill provides $10 million to absorb the faculty and staff into USF and allows USF’s Board of Trustees to negotiate with Florida Polytechnic to obtain any additional funding that may be necessary. We will be diligently working on a budget to determine the $10 million will be adequate.

We look forward to serving our students and giving them the best possible college experience as they work to complete their USF degrees.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that over 100,000 state and public employees will be affected by the cut in retirement contributions, mostly "law enforcement or higher education. They will now have less money in their retirement nest eggs."


USF's Information Technology (IT) department has recently invited three different Learning Management System vendors to present options for USF to replace Blackboard 9.0. USF either needs to move to Blackboard 9.1 in the next year or start a transition to a different system to replace Blackboard. Given regular complaints about the difficulty of using Blackboard and the appearance of multiple alternatives, IT started putting together a group to coordinate a review of options early in the semester. In the last month, each vendor has made two presentations, and IT has recorded those presentations, which are now online:

The next few weeks will involve discussions now that all vendors being reviewed have had a chance to make presentations. While the draft timeline makes it possible for IT to negotiate with a vendor in the summer, that is not required or guaranteed. The recordings linked above are for the entire USF community. The LMS review project has an online archive of documents. All campuses have at least one faculty member who has been participating in the review planning process (with a number of faculty participants from the Tampa campus).

Notice the timeline; a group recommendation was originally scheduled to be made on May 7.

Current UFF USF Senator and past UFF USF President Sherman Dorn has written briefly of his impressions of the presentations on his blog, and he welcomes comments.


Next Chapter Meeting Friday, May 18, at noon, at a location TBA.

Sandwiches & sodas are provided by the union, and 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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