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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
21 March 2019
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Consolidation and the Presidency

Last week, the Board's consolidation recommendation was due, and this week, the Board is interviewing candidates for the USF presidency.

  • Consolidation. The USF Board of Trustees has forwarded its recommendation to the Board of Governors, and the senates are taking up the issue of tenure and promotion policies systemwide. For details, see below or click here.
  • The Presidency. This is the week that candidates come to visit; today, candidates are visiting the three campuses, while tomorrow, the Board interviews the candidates. Then the Board gets to decide. For details, see below or click here.
The UFF USF Biweekly continues to run short accounts by recipients of UFF USF travel scholarships.
  • A Week in a Refugee Camp. Jody McBrien of the USF Sarasota / Manatee School of Education spent a week in a refugee camp. For more, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, the UFF USF Chapter Election is concluded, and ballots are being counted this morning. The results will be announced in a Biweekly Extra this evening. (See a related item on scheduling future chapter elections in the announcement for tomorrow's Chapter Meeting below.) But the statewide union's election is ongoing. UFF members are urged to return their ballots in time to be received by March 30.

Finally, April is Sick Leave Pool month. This is a sort of insurance for employees who run out of sick leave due to major illness; but employees have to be enrolled. April is the month to enroll. For more information, see the Sick Leave Pool Procedure.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow on USF Tampa

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at noon on USF Tampa in EDU 317. On the agenda: bargaining, consolidating USF, plans for the fall recruiting campaign, and proposals to amend the UFF USF Constitution and Bylaws:

  • Chapter Elections. In order to provide more time to return ballots, a constitutional amendment would move the deadline for counting ballots from March 21 to March 31.
  • Government Relations Committee. Several housekeeping changes to the bylaws concerning the Government Relations Committee are proposed.
Come and check us out.

This spring, we will meet on March 22, and April 5 & 19 at noon at locations announced on the calendar of Upcoming Events. In particular, on April 5, we will meet in USF Sarasota / Manatee in room A203A. Come and check us out.

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.


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).

$ 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 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 Us or Follow Us ...

We're on social media now!

  • The Blog. We have a blog, so come and visit us.
  • 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.
  • Twitter. We are even on Twitter! Follow us at @UffUsf.
All these accounts are managed by the UFF USF Communications Committee. If you are interested in participating, contact the Communications Chair.


On March 5, the USF Board of Trustees unanimously approved the Administration's Consolidation Implementation Committee's proposal for consolidating USF (see pp. 62 - 872 of the March 5 BOT Agenda). As BOT Chair Brian Lamb observed, this is just the beginning (even assuming the proposal is accepted by the Board of Governors, a formality everyone seemed to be taking for granted): next comes carrying out the plan.

The presentation of the proposal began one hour and five minutes into the March 5 meeting (video), and the trustees' discussion began about one hour and forty minutes in, getting right to the most notable issue: the status of USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee, and the concerns of two constituencies: the faculty of those campuses and the aspirations of the local communities.

According to our accreditor, SACS, a branch campus is "an instructional site located geographically apart and independent of the main campus of the institution. A location is independent of the main campus if the location is (1) permanent in nature; (2) offers courses in educational programs leading to a degree, diploma, certificate, or other recognized educational credential; (3) has its own faculty and administrative or supervisory organization; and (4) has its own budgetary and hiring authority." This is different from an off-campus instructional site, which is "a teaching site located geographically apart from the main campus. A site at which an institution provides electronic delivery and where students go to access the support services needed is also considered an off-campus instructional site. The site is not independent of the institution's main campus."

The issue was whether USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee would be "branch campuses" or "off-campus instructional sites". As noted in the 21 February 2019 Biweekly, the legislatively mandated Task Force - apparently responding largely to community concerns - recommended that USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee be branch campuses. Not everyone agreed, and some anticipated serious administrative and possibly accreditation complications. But the Consolidation Implementation Committee also recommended some kind of branch campus arrangement, and in the discussion, (about 1:45 - 1:48) President Genshaft said that USF would find a way to make branch-like campuses work.

And around 2:10, the Consolidation Implementation Committee proposal was approved. It now goes to the Board of Governors. After the meeting, the USF St. Petersburg Crow's Nest tried and failed to find out what the Board or the Committee meant by a "branch campus."

Just before consolidation was discussed, UFF USF Chapter President Art Shapiro was invited to say a few words (see 1:01 - 1:04). President Shapiro said that it was regrettable that the union was not substantially involved in developing the proposal, but he said that it was excellent that the senates were involved. He also complemented USF President Judy Genshaft on how well the planning was done given the severe time constraints, and he complemented Genshaft on her performance as USF president during the last two decades, moving USF to a "world class university."

Of course, many participants continue to be beguiled by the Pre-eminence program, a program by which currently three northern and central Florida universities are pre-eminent and the southern universities and their large communities - with their large legislative delegations - are jealous. But it was not the long term political realities that exercised observers so much as the effect of including USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota / Manatee numbers into USF metrics. If that was done right now, USF would no longer qualify for pre-eminence. The USF Oracle worried that Preeminence status could be in jeopardy as the university moves closer toward consolidation. The USF St. Petersburg Crow's Nest went into more detail about what the Board and the Administration intended to do about pre-eminence.

Meanwhile, the UFF is encouraging legislators to consider a more rational way of funding universities. If you are interested in such encouragement, UFF USF has a Government Relations committee that will be visiting legislators this summer. We invite volunteers; all UFF members are welcome. Contact the Chapter Secretary.

The Presidency

This week, four candidates for the USF presidency are visiting USF. They are:

  • Wanda Blanchett - Interim Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
  • Steven Currall - Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Southern Methodist University
  • Debasish (Deba) Dutta - Distinguished Professor of Engineering & former Chancellor, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
  • Jeffrey Vitter - Distinguished Professor of Computer & Information Science & former Chancellor, University of Mississippi
See also the Tuesday article in the Tampa Bay Times and today's article in the Oracle.

Today, the candidates are visiting the three campuses. Tomorrow they will be interviewed by the USF Board of Trustees at Sam Gibbons Traditions Hall from 8 am to 3:00 pm, although the interviews may be viewed on USF St. Petersburg in The Reef Dining Area, on USF Sarasota-Manatee in The Café, and on USF Tampa in the CGS Auditorium.

  • Debasish (Deba) Dutta: 8-9:15 a.m.
  • Jeffrey Vitter: 9:45-11 a.m.
  • Wanda Blanchett: 11:45-1 p.m.
  • Steven Currall: 1:30-2:45 p.m.
Then, as the Presidential Search Committee website put it, "At the conclusion of Friday's interviews, the Board of Trustees hopes to choose a new president" (there is a Board of Trustees meeting immediately after the interviews tomorrow).

A Week in a Refugee Camp

Jody McBrien is a Professor in the School of Education at USF Sarasota / Manatee. She received a $ 500 travel scholarship towards a pilot venture to the Ritsona Refugee Camp last summer. This is her account.

I am hugely grateful to have obtained a $ 500 grant from UFF to help me fund a week volunteering at a Greek refugee camp. My research involves international work with refugees and asylum seekers, and I have had the opportunity to do so in the US, Canada, Uganda, Ghana, Liberia, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. Ironically, I have struggled to gain opportunities in Europe, so this grant helped me do so. I volunteered at Ritsona Refugee Camp, a camp about an hour's journey from Athens, with approximately 90 % Syrian refugees. Others were from Iraq and Africa. It was highly insightful to my work, and I am planning to write an article with several undergraduates who also volunteered when I was there. The non-governmental organization with which we volunteered was not sufficiently organized, and we were often on our own at the stations - laundry (sixteen washers for 900 people), clothing shop, and women's space. We plan to write an assessment, as there were so many issues in which we believe the organization could improve. Beyond that, we became aware of the tremendous need of the refugees, leading to our beliefs that more humanitarian care is needed. Based on this pilot venture, a colleague and I are considering a longer trip this summer to conduct more in-depth research with camp residents.


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, March 22, at noon, on USF Tampa in EDU 317.

We will have lunch at the meeting. 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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