There are a lot of details to work out, but the picture of a consolidated University of South Florida is beginning to gel. One geographically distributed pre-eminent (high-impact) research university in which individual campuses preserve their distinct identities, each committed to Students First and operating under a clear, simple and unified leadership structure while enhancing regional development and avoiding unwarranted duplication and yet maximizing performance, service quality and operational efficiences.
We have issued a Call for nominations; all nomination materials are due by March 1. We urge everyone to get involved.
The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa in EDU 317. On the agenda: the chapter election, bargaining, consolidating USF, and plans for the fall recruiting campaign. Come and check us out.
This spring, we will meet on January 25, February 8 & 22, March 8 & 22, and April 5 & 19 at noon at locations announced on the calendar of Upcoming Events. In particular, on February 8, we will meet in USF St. Petersburg in the USC Regatta Room (Note room change). 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; see also the main article (left).
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 by Wednesday, April 17, and only UFF members are eligible. In addition, no recipient of the 2018 cycles of travel grants is eligible to apply, and members of the Executive Committee are ineligible. The six recipients shall be selected by lot at the April 19 chapter meeting. 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).
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.
Next year, USF will be a single university, decreed the Florida Legislature. The Legislature very sensibly left the details to us but did not provide any resources for this exercise. When we last looked at Consolidation in the 6 September 2018 Biweekly, we reported that "The model currently under discussion envisions a single array of policies, guidelines, and criteria and procedures for promotion and tenure. This single array is for the entire university, specialized to colleges and then departments that also extend through the entire university."
This still appears to be the model, although some players have managed to tweak some things. For example, there will be only one College of Business, but FloridaPolitics.com reported that the USF Board of Trustees was receptive to USF St. Petersburg and USF Tampa having their own schools of business. (Of course, whether this is what will happen is another matter.)
There are two parallel efforts. The Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force consists of thirteen "public leaders" appointed per legislation, and while it includes four USF administrators and one student, most of its members are off-campus. The Task Force is supposed to present its report to the USF Board of Trustees on February 15. Meanwhile, the Administration appointed many USF people, including many faculty, to a Consolidation Implementation Committee (CIC) consisting of many "teams" and "clusters" devoted to various aspects of the consolidation. The appointments were made per recommendations by deans, faculty senate presidents, and similar leaders; members were not elected by the faculty, and at the USF Tampa Faculty Senate meeting, UFF USF Chapter President Art Shapiro expressed his disappointment that UFF was not asked to nominate members to the CIC. The CIC is also to produce a report by mid-February, and from these two reports, the USF Board of Trustees will distill something for the Board of Governors by March 15.
The charges of all these bodies are enumerated in a 16-page letter dated January 18, which included the following "urgent recommendation": "The Council of CIC Subcommittee co-Chairs unanimously agreed that given the short timeline for the development of the recommended consolidation plan for the USF Board of Trustees by February 15, 2019 and the subsequent SACSCOC submission, there is an urgent need to proactively engage faculty and staff across all three campuses..."
Incidentally, some of the issues being addressed by the CIC are subject to bargaining, which is going on. Yet another complication in this thicket of complications.
A lot has happened in just the last month or so. The chair of the Task Force resigned over a different issue and was replaced by USF alumnus Mike Griffin, who told the USF Oracle that "I think we're moving in the right direction."
Meanwhile, the CIC submitted draft Consolidation Plans for a Singly Accredited University of South Florida on December 19. The USF Board of Trustees met with the CIC at their January 14 meeting where the CIC proposed (among other things) that "USF only have one College per academic discipline and that curricula for the same degree must be uniform regardless of campus location." In addition, "SACSCOC [which accredits USF] requires that the consolidated institution have one set of tenure and promotion guidelines (including faculty workload and expected research contribution)." The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that President Genshaft said that "[m]aintaining preeminence is a key focus for USF consolidation."
The Tampa Bay Times claimed that there were several important decisions to make: what will be the administrative and academic structures, whether students and faculty will have "home" campuses and, if so, how to handle transfers and fees, and, of course, how to reorganize USF Athletics.
There is a Consolidation Task Force Meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm in TECO Hall on USF Tampa. This is the last meeting currently listed before the February 15 deadline for the final report; then the USF Board of Trustees will have four weeks to compose a plan to submit to the Board of Governors. For more on the consolidation, see the Task Force website. Meanwhile, on a related matter, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that USF received over thirty applications for the presidential spot that President Genshaft is leaving.
Last week, about 34,000 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District walked out after twenty months of negotiations. As is usual, the question of whether to strike was put to the teachers, and 98 % voted to strike. Like the work stoppages in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, West Virginia - and a strike at a charter school chain - last year, it was not primarily about salaries, although it was ultimately about money. United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex Caputo-Pearl wrote in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times that the strike was about class size and staff support as well as salaries in one of the most expensive cities in the nation.
These were largely the issues of the two previous major strikes against the District (in the later Twentieth century), although there was a new issue: a school board and superintendent who are rather supportive of the 277 charter schools within the district.
The School District largely agreed to the union's demand for a 6.5 % raise, but claims to lack the funds for more staff and smaller classrooms. Despite its reputation as a high tax state, California's education funding has declined in the past few decades. In addition, ballooning health insurance and pension fund costs are eating into the budget.
An analysis published by The Washington Post noted that it was unclear what the mean class size was (!), but suggested that it was over 30 students per class in grades 4 - 8 and over 40 in high school.
There is considerable evidence that students benefit from small class sizes.
Ethnicity is another aspect of the situation. In Los Angeles, the student body is 73 % Latino, as is 43 % of the teachers (only a third are non-Hispanic white). Contrast this with the USA as a whole, where about half of the students are non-Hispanic white, as are four-fifths of the teaching staff. Several Latino teachers told The Atlantic that they were motivated by solidarity with their students.
The School District sent administrators to the classrooms and called up substitute teachers, but only 85,000 of the 600,000 enrolled students showed up to class last Friday, and the District claimed to have lost $ 100 million because of last week's low enrollment.
Added in press: Negotiators for the union and the District reached a Tentative Agreement, and teachers voted to ratify the new contract, which includes a 6 % raise, hard caps on class size, more staff, and other items. UTLA President Caputo-Pearl said, "We must keep our expectations high and not let go of this moment, because the next struggle is right around the corner." The District said, "We are committed to providing teachers with the best offer and as much support as we can, given Los Angeles Unified's resources." Time reported that money is still the issue, for the District's much-ballyhooed surplus consists of non-recurring funds. California itself has a surplus, and it may be a good time for the state to think about funding education.
Michelle Hughes Miller is an associate professor of Women's and Gender Studies. She received a $ 500 travel scholarship to participate in an international conference organized by the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement (MIRCI). This is her account.
In May 2018 I traveled to Florence, Italy, to participate in the Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism, Politics, Practice and Representation international conference organized by MIRCI. At the conference I presented my paper, Hollywood's Matricentric Feminism in Bad Moms and A Bad Moms Christmas to an audience of motherhood scholars who were very positive about my work. In my paper, I discuss how the identity of "bad mom" is transformed cinematically into an individualized feminist positionality for mothers who reject cultural standards of good motherhood. At the same time, however, the films fail to recognize the collective potential in this bad mom positionality because of their neoliberal focus on maternal success (i.e. becoming a good mom) through individual change. The absence of a sustained critique of the structural challenges of motherhood and minimal acknowledgement of a collective demand for social transformation to support mothers make the films less about matricentric feminism and more about self-acceptance through transformation. The paper will be submitted to a feminist journal in 2019.
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