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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
20 April 2017
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa

The UFF USF Chapter will meet tomorrow, Friday, at 12 noon on USF Tampa in room EDU 161. The agenda is posted online and includes the new Duo security for GEMS. There will be sandwiches, fruit, sweets, and drinks. Come check us out.

This is the last meeting this spring. At this chapter meeting, we will set the schedule for the summer.

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.

Sick Leave Pool

USF has a sick leave pool (see 17.8(a)(2) of the contract) that allows participants to share a pool of sick leave just in case one of the participants gets seriously ill. April is the month for joining the pool, and we encourage readers to check out the Sick Leave Pool webpage for more information.

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.

Last call for $ 500 Travel Grants for UFF Members

The USF Chapter of the UFF will award six $ 500 Travel Scholarships for summer and fall. This will be for travel for participation in a professional activity. All applications are due today at midnight as recipients will be selected by lot tomorrow. Only UFF members are eligible, and no recipient of the Fall 2016 cycle of travel grants is eligible to apply. 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).


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.


The Legislature and Summer

Summer is coming and the Legislative session ends on May 5, just as USF starts its commencements. Then comes summer, when the legislative leadership starts drawing up its agenda for the next session while rank-and-file legislators start thinking about re-election. Meanwhile, many USF faculty and professionals start thinking about what can be done this summer. In this issue:

  • The Legislature. The House wants to cut university funding while the Senate wants to increase it (both want to cut college funding), and of course, there is a lot of ... interesting ... legislation winding through the Legislature. For more, see below or click here.
  • Summer. In April, a faculty member's thoughts turn to getting all sorts of projects done during summer. So how might April ambitions become September accomplishments? For some unsolicited advice from the higher education media, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, the results from the Chapter Election were finalized at the last Chapter Meeting, and the results are posted in the minutes of that meeting.

The Legislature

The State University System (SUS) budget for this year was $ 11.52 billion (of which USF got $ 1.46 billion - and Health Sciences got $ 340 million). The SUS got $ 4.56 billion from the state for the current year, and that includes $ 1.77 billion from tuition (which the state counts as a state appropriation) (generous of the Legislature).

The Florida Senate and House passed their budgets last week, and they are billions apart, so they must be reconciled before a single budget goes to the governor for his signature - after possible blue-pencilling. The House proposes cutting the SUS appropriation by $ 172 million (nearly 4 % of the state appropriation, and about 1.5 % of the entire SUS budget). On the other hand, the Senate proposes increasing the SUS budget by over $ 300 million - although about two-fifths of that increase is to fund additional stuff the Legislature wants SUS to do. (Meanwhile, in the it-could-be-worse department, New Mexico's governor has vetoed all higher education appropriations in what Inside Higher Ed called a game of chicken.)

Meanwhile, the House proposed cutting the Florida College System's appropriation by 7.1 % while the Senate proposed cutting it by nearly 7.7 %. The Tampa Bay Times grumped that "First-rate education is not possible at cut-rate prices. Freezing tuition, slashing state spending and harming private fundraising is a recipe for permanent mediocrity."

Meanwhile, both houses have passed Senate Bill 7022, which would make the Florida Retirement System's default plan the defined contribution plan rather than the defined benefit plan - a change that unions fear would undermine the financial integrity of the FRS in the long run. No further action to report on Representative Scott Plakon's bill to decertify unions Plakon doesn't like; the House approved House Bill 11 but so far the companion Senate Bill 1292 is sitting quietly in four Senate committees. Still no movement on the gun carry bills, but UFF is keeping an eye on them. And while House Bill 7007 to "reform" our health insurance passed the House, there has been no movement on the companion Senate Bill 900.

UFF will continue to educate legislators about the consequences of this legislation. Meanwhile, if you have strong feelings about these bills, you may contact your legislators (using your personal phone or computer): see the 23 March 2017 article on Talking to Politicians for some pointers.


This is the time of great dreams and, possibly, delusions. There are 108 days between the end of classes on May 4 and the beginning of classes on August 21. Three and a half months. Time enough to write papers, grant proposals, maybe a book, and get ready for fall classes. But sometimes, come September, that's not how it happened.

The Chronicle of Higher Education just ran a short series on actually getting papers, grant proposals, even a book (or even ... get this ... getting ready for fall classes) during the summer. Some of the articles are behind the Chronicle's pay wall, but let's take a brief look.

A senior reporter at the Chronicle wrote a prescription on Making Summer Work. A. W. June listed some important points.

  • Hofstadter's Law. Douglas Hofstadter warned that, "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law." June warned that unrealistic scheduling is one of the major reasons for summer under-accomplishment, a problem that might be the result of a lack of planning.
  • Plan ahead. Work out a schedule for the summer, with realistic blocks of time for projects. That includes dealing with conferences and events that not only take up time but create distractions of their own. This includes:
  • A daily schedule. Susan Robison advises, "You need to set up some sort of work rhythm that works for you ... And then stick to it week in and week out." One caveat from FSU psychologist Roy Baumeister, whose (controversial) book on Willpower stresses the importance of building self-enforcing habits.
  • Don't work the entire summer. One psychologist advised, "Take some time off. At least a week would be ideal ... It might be a family vacation, you might go away with good friends, focus on a hobby - anything that really restores you. No doing work. You have to give your brain a rest." In fact, there is a theory that creative work requires some downtime, and the importance of finding time to daydream.
The daily schedule may be the key, but Robison advised that people should fashion it for themselves. Reviewing comments by twelve scholars on How to make time for research and writing (which is not behind the pay wall), one sees a spectrum from people work during short periods that they can snatch from a busy schedule (as advocated by Robert Boice) to people who find large blocks of time to get into the flow (as advocated by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). Mason Currey collected the Daily Rituals of 161 artists, writers, scientists, etc., and they are all over the map, from Frances Trollope's daily 3-hour regimen to Benjamin Franklin's 42.5 hour week.

It may not be as simple as that. The historian C . Northcote Parkinson (who wrote about sixty books) warned that Work expands to fill the time available, and he described how we can work a lot and accomplish little. In The Phantom Tollbooth, Norman Juster describes Milo's encounter with a very elegantly dressed gentleman with no face. "I wonder if you could spare me a little of your time..." to perform three small tasks. The tasks were trivial but they consumed a lot of time. On occasion, we might recall Cathy Guisewite's advice on How to get rich, fall in love, lose weight, and solve all your problems by saying "NO".


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, April 21, on USF Tampa, in EDU 161.

There will be sandwiches, chips, 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.

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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