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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
5 May 2016
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Chapter Meeting Next Week in Tampa

The UFF USF Chapter will meet next week, Friday, May 13, at 12 noon in Temple Terrace, just east of USF Tampa, at CDB Restaurant (5104 E. Fowler Ave., at 51st & E. Fowler). Everyone is invited to the Chapter Meeting. There will be pizza, salad, and drinks.

On the agenda: we continue to get ready for fall. We consider two issues from the membership report: long-range planning and communications.

This is the first Chapter Meeting of summer. We will meet during the summer on a schedule TBD.

National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive

The NALC is one of our fellow unions under the AFL-CIO umbrella, and their annual food drive is coming up. Just leave non-perishables by your mailbox on Saturday, May 14, to be picked up by your friendly neighborhood letter carrier.

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.

Grievance Workshops Tomorrow

The USF Chapter will a workshop on the grievance process tomorrow, Friday, May 6, from 10 am to 3 pm on USF St. Petersburg in USC 258 (the Palm Room). All USF faculty and professionals are invited, and UFF members are especially asked to bring a colleague. Please RSVP the Grievance Chair, Dan Belgrad.


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.

USF Grant Writing Workshops

The USF Tampa College of Arts & Sciences is continuing its workshops on writing grant proposals. An NIH Workshop will be held on May 13 from noon to 2:30 pm. Click here for more information.


The National Science Board on Higher Education

This is the PTA's Teacher Appreciation Week. And in 1953, Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded Congress to proclaim May 7, 1953, as National Teacher Day. Subsequent National Teacher Days are unofficial holidays, observed by the likes of the National Education Association, Google, Chipotle and Chick-fil-A. This may be a the time to look at what education is good for.

  • Higher Education is More than a Private Good. The National Science Board, which oversees the NSF, has issued a statement saying that higher education is a public as well as private good. For details, see below or click here.
  • Travel Scholarships. The UFF USF Chapter has just chosen six recipients of its travel scholarships. For details, see below or click here.
There will be a Biweekly on Wednesday, May 11, announcing the May 13 Chapter Meeting.

Higher Education is More than a Private Good

One of the major issues in the presidential race this year is public support for higher education. America has long supported education: Thomas Jefferson once wrote that, "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." In 1946, President Truman created a Commission on Higher Education for Democracy, which produced a 6-volume report recommending that higher education be made more available for everyone: "...education is the making of the future. Its role in a democratic society is that of critic and leader as well as servant; its task is not merely to meet the demands of the present but to alter those demands if necessary, so as to keep them always suited to democratic ideals."

The National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, has made a public statement on viewing higher education as a private good (benefitting only the students) and a public good (benefitting society as a whole). In their statement on Higher Education as a Public and Private Good, the NSB stressed the science and technology skills that college students acquire, and the research done at universities. (This is the NSF, after all.) However, the NSB concludes by remarking that, "Our Nation’s founders recognized that a representative democracy would require more than just the consent of the governed; specifically, it would rely on the active and informed participation of an educated electorate."

The NSB went on to write that the skills acquired " ...include learning how to function effectively within a close community comprising individuals from dozens of countries, cultures, backgrounds, and points of view; learning how to debate difficult issues thoughtfully with a view toward positive outcomes and recognition of the impact on those affected; participating formally in institutional governance; taking part in the development of and understanding how to comply with complex policies; developing new ways of thinking and exploring new ideas and approaches to solving problems – and pursuing creative activities – within a structured framework; making decisions as an individual, but with a recognition of the consequences they might have on others; serving the needs of others; and pursing interests and activities that are bigger than oneself."

The NSF issued a press release presenting some of the background, including the fact that "Federal funding of research and development at institutions of higher education has declined by 11 percent since 2011, the longest multiyear decline in federal funding in this data series that goes back to 1972." The release also mentioned a report of the NSB on declining support for higher education at all levels, and likely consequences.

With all the current emphasis on job training, it may be wise to remember that a university's mission also includes teaching students to become good citizens.

Travel Scholarships

For some time now, the United Faculty of Florida has been awarding $ 500 "travel scholarships" to UFF members for travel as part of their professional duties. The Chapter asks for applications giving an account of the professional duties that the travel is for, and then selects recipients by lot. This semester, the Chapter offered six scholarships, and there were twenty-nine applicants.

Most applications were for travel to conferences where the applicant planned to make a presentation. Some hoped to bring students along. All applications were for professional activities that would advance the work of the applicant, the development of the discipline, and the mission of the university. In particular, the six recipients are going to use the money to help defray expenses for travel to an education conference in Washington, DC, a communications conference in Philadelphia, an engineering conference in Arizona, a marine workshop in Miami, a speech conference in Denmark, and a residency & exhibition in Turkey.

This raises the natural question: why are people turning to the union, especially now that the acceptance rate (21 % this semester) compares with many funding agencies? After all, this travel is in the interest of the university, so shouldn't the university pay for it?

Paragraph 21.1 of the
Collective Bargaining Agreement reads, Professional Meetings. Employees should be encouraged to and may, with the approval of the supervisor, attend professional meetings, conferences, and activities. Subject to the availability of funds, the employee's expenses in connection with such meetings, conferences, or activities shall be reimbursed in accordance with the applicable provisions of State law and university rules.

Departments have a little money for domestic travel, and colleges have a little money for international travel. Not enough, apparently. While some faculty have external funding (and the Office of Research and Innovation may be able to help find funding), it does not seem likely that the funding situation will change much in the near future.

This travel scholarship program is increasingly popular, and is on the agenda for the Chapter Meeting on May 13.


Chapter Meeting a week from tomorrow Friday, May 13, at on USF Tampa, in EDU 314.

There will be pizza, salad, and drinks. 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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