Eighty percent of life, said Woody Allen, is showing up. That goes for unions and universities as well. Both the faculty union and the faculty governance system - currently with three senates and a council on top - are participatory democracies in the sense that the way to get something done is to show up. And spring is the time for it, for both the USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida and the USF Tampa Senate are holding elections this spring. This being New Year's Resolution season, this is a good time to resolve to show up.
Meanwhile, now is the time for uploading documents and composing statements for the annual review. With a few exceptions enumerated in the contract, all employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit must be evaluated annually, as raises and other things depend on the annual evaluations.
And we are expanding our communications:Facebook group, which any UFF member is free to join.
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon at CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave., just east of USF Tampa. There will be pizza (and salad). On the agenda: the chapter election, bargaining, consolidating USF, and plans for the fall recruiting campaign. Come and check us out.
This spring, the Chapter will meet on January 11 & 25, February 8 & 22, March 8 & 22, and April 5 & 19 at noon at locations announced on the Upcoming Events calendar on the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.
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.
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 chair. 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.
Or follow @UffUsf on Twitter. Our Communications Committee will be tweeting items as they come up. Or you may prefer to visit the USF UFF Faculty Blog. And if you are interested in joining the Communications Committee and reaching out to fellow faculty, contact the Communications Committee Chair.
Unions started as mutual aid societies, and to a considerable extent, that is what they are. (In fact, some union reformers argue that unions would do better to return in that direction.) Officially, a union represents employees in bargaining and enforcing a contract; what that means is that volunteers form a Bargaining Committee that bargains a contract, while other volunteers form a Grievance Committee, which represents colleagues whose contractual rights and privileges have been violated.
A union does what its members do.
That means that a union like the United Faculty of Florida is a participatory democracy: the decisions are made by the people who show up. That includes chapter meetings: all union members are invited to each chapter meeting (including tomorrow's meeting at noon in CDB Restaurant at 5104 E. Fowler Ave. in Temple Terrace), and the attendees hear reports and make decisions. Members (and interested non-members) can see how it works - and get involved.
We have a governance structure determined by a constitution and bylaws. There is an Executive Committee that consists of the four elected officers and two of the appointed committee chairs. Every spring, the UFF members elect the four officers - the president, the vice president, the secretary, and the treasurer - and the president then nominates the two committee chairs - the Chief Negotiator and the Chair of the Grievance Committee. The nominations must be confirmed by the Chapter Council, which consists of elected representatives (more on them below).
At tomorrow's Chapter Meeting, the Election Committee will present a proposal for this spring's election. Everyone is invited to attend; the meeting will be at CDB Restaurant (see above announcement), so there will be pizza for everyone. The Chapter will adjust the proposal as it sees fit, and over the weekend a Biweekly Special will go to UFF members with a Call for Nominations: any member who wants to run for an elected office is free to do so.
The USF Chapter is part of a federal organization, which means that the UFF members at USF elect senators to represent USF to the statewide United Faculty of Florida. We anticipate getting about twenty senate seats, and all UFF members are encouraged to run. The primary duties of the senators are to attend the biannual statewide senate meetings, which are in Orlando or Tampa from a Saturday afternoon through the following Sunday morning (the fall meeting is on September 14 & 15) and to serve as the Chapter Council.
The United Faculty of Florida is itself part of a larger organization, the Florida Education Association, which represents K-20 teachers throughout the state. The FEA's primary policy-making body is its annual Delegate Assembly, and the USF Chapter anticipates getting about six or seven delegate seats. These meetings are also usually in Tampa or Orlando (this fall, the meeting runs from Oct. 17 evening to Oct. 19 morning in Orlando).
Just as we, the employees of the University of South Florida, are the university, we, the members of the United Faculty of Florida are the union. And that means that it is up to us to do the work of the union. If you want to participate, come to tomorrow's chapter meeting at noon in CDB Restaurant.
Every spring, all employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit are evaluated in accordance with Article 10 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and those evaluations are maintained in accordance with Article 11 (see pp. 20 - 26). "The purpose of the annual evaluation is to assess and communicate the nature and extent of an employee's performance of assigned duties consistent with the criteria specified in Article 10.4 below" [italics added]. Article 10.4 (largely page 23) enumerates sources and types of information to be used, from student exams and assignments to scholarly works produced or in production during the year in question. In particular, "The teaching evaluation must take into account any relevant materials submitted by the employee...and may not be based solely on student evaluations when this additional information has been made available to the evaluator."
Evaluations are used in making assignments and appointments, tenure and promotion, tenure "Sustained Performance Evaluation" reviews, layoffs, and of course, salary raises and bonuses. In fact, " When evaluations and other personnel decisions are made, other than for tenure and promotion, and successive fixed multi-year appointments, the only documents which may be used are those contained in that file."
Since annual evaluations are so important, all employees not facing nonreapponment (or in a position in which notice of nonreappointment is not required) must be evaluated annually. Each department or unit develops procedures and criteria consistent with the contract, and the evaluation must be of performance of assigned duties. The files are confidential, and the only anonymous material permitted in them are student evaluations. An employee has the right to respond (in writing) to a peer committee's evaluation - within ten days, so employees should check out their evaluations and decide quickly if they want to respond.
Evaluations are a bit of a pain, but they are used to tell the university how we employees are doing our jobs. In addition, evaluations are used in aggregate in reports to government agencies, and this can affect not only funding but the level of external micromanagement. So we should take them seriously.
Sara Flory is an associate professor of Physical Education. She received a $ 500 travel scholarship to attend the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. This is her account.
The UFF Travel Scholarship helped fund my attendance at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in New York, New York in April 2018. I presented a paper entitled How Physical Education Teacher Education Comes to Matter in the Performance of Social Justice Education, which was co-authored by a team of international colleagues who teach in Physical Education Teacher Education programs across the world. The paper was submitted to the Research on Learning and Instruction in Physical Education Special Interest Group, and was part of a 5-paper session on social justice and cultural diversity in health and physical education. The broader research project focused on the intricacies of physical education teacher education programs in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia/ New Zealand, and how faculty prepare pre-service teachers to teach students from a variety of cultural, religious, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This particular paper presentation outlined themes regarding approaches to teaching issues of social justice in U.S. Physical Education Teacher Education programs. The full paper, which was recently published in a special issue of Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, compares the approaches in three countries (the US, the UK, and New Zealand) using case studies. For example, some countries have specific policies and language to promote the inclusion of these topics in teacher preparation programs in their governance documents, while other countries leave those decisions to the programs themselves. Thank you, UFF, for supporting my scholarship through this scholarship!
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