UFF Home
UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
26 January 2023
Email not displaying properly? View it in your browser


The State of the Faculty

USF has long had a faculty retention problem, at least in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit. In the 10 September 2015 Issue, we reported that most tenure track faculty hired as assistant professors ultimately fail to get tenure within six years. In the 23 June 2016 Issue, we reported that during the six years from 2009 to 2015, about 60% of the instructors and instructors had left while about 40% of the professors (all ranks) had left. In the 5 December 2019 Issue, we reported that the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Business had the best retention rates while the Library had the worst. In the 18 June 2020 Issue, we reported that discrepancy in retention by race was greater than discrepancy by sex - and that (ahem) USF had too few "American Indian / Alaska Native" faculty to get statistically significant results for that group. And in the 4 August 2022 Issue, we reported that our retention problems are still with us.

Late last fall, inspired by a Working Conditions Survey of University of Florida faculty (within their Bargaining Unit) conducted by the USF UF chapter, the UFF USF conducted a Working Conditions Survey of faculty in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit to find out how things are going.

  • Faculty Are Not Happy. In fact, many say that they would leave if they could. For details, see below or click here.
Meanwhile, amidst the applause of the Florida public college presidents (who celebrated the freedom not to teach anything woke), the governor took a break from targeting the National Hockey League to continue his campaign against woke education.
  • Getting in the News. Transgender health care and African American studies were the latest subjects for Tallahassee's political theatre. For more, see below or click here.
On an academic freedom note, readers will recall that at the behest of the Florida Legislature, the Florida Board of Governors (of the State University System) was considering a regulation to implement post tenure review. The Board was going to take it up at their 13 - 14 September 2022 meeting at the University of West Florida, but can was kicked down to the November 9 meeting at USF (which was moved from the Tampa Campus to the downtown College of Medicine (!), away from uppity faculty), and the Board decided to move forward and post the regulation for public comment. The Board would consider implementing the regulation in January.

Readers may recall that UFF invited everyone to comment. There were 1,381 comments. In addition, UFF launched a petition to Protect Tenure in Florida’s University System - and as of this morning, it had 3,375 signatures.

And now the Board has decided to kick the can further down the road, perhaps to March 28 - 29 meeting at FAMU, although a spokesperson said she didn't know when the agendum will appear. Meanwhile, UFF intends to keep up the pressure - and so does the governor [USF ID required]. Stay tuned.

Chapter Meeting Tomorrow at 12 Noon at USF Tampa in EDU415 and on Zoom

The USF Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida will meet tomorrow Friday at 12 pm at USF Tampa in on Zoom. On the agenda: the latest from Tallahassee, talking to legislators, the organizing campaign, and more. And here are the minutes for the previous meeting.

Any employee in the Bargaining Unit may attend, but to Zoom in you must have an invitation: contact the Chapter Secretary to get one.

Meetings and events are posted on the Events Calendar of the UFF USF Website. Come and check us out.

Join UFF Today!

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. Here is the membership form. Come and join the movement.


If you have been the victim of a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the recent Memorandum of Understanding, 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 Grievances Page.

USF United Support Fund for Food Pantries

Many of our students are struggling during this crisis, and the USF Foundation is supporting the USF Food Pantries to help out. They are accepting non-perishable donations, but one can also make monetary donations for the pantries at St. Petersburg, Sarasota / Manatee, and Tampa.

We are on Social Media

Yes, we are on social media.

  • We have a Facebook group: see United Faculty of Florida at USF. 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, and the moderator will invite every UFF member that asks to join. Non-members are welcome to look (but you need a Facebook account to do that). So check us out.
  • We have a blog: see The USF Faculty Blog. This has news items as they come up.
  • We are twitter-pated: follow us on Twitter via @UffUsf.
  • We even have a You-Tube channel: check out our videos
If you want to help with media matters, contact the Communications Committee chair.

Faculty Are Not Happy

Last fall, the USF Chapter of the UFF conducted a Faculty Working Conditions Survey to find out how employees in the UFF USF Bargaining Unit were doing. The survey was conducted from October 24 to December 8, and garnered 486 results, for a 28% response rate - an unusually high response for a survey of this sort, suggesting an unusually high interest.

A preliminary presentation on the results of the survey were presented to the UFF USF Chapter on January 13. Here are some highlights from that presentation.

Most questions requested the following responses: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = neutral, 4 = agree, 5 = strongly agree; most questions also had "N/A or do not wish to divulge."

These may be the primary takeaways (click on the graph to expand):

  • The Board of Trustees exercises the constitutional autonomy granted by the people of the State of Florida and ensures that the University is free from undue political influence. The mean response was 1.69 (i.e. "Disagree"). This result was similar to that for a similar question in the UFF UF survey. In general, respondents reported little confidence in the Board. Here is the histogram:
  • Based on the 1 FTE standard 40-hour work week, on average per week, the number of ADDITIONAL hours I have to work to meet my work requirements is … The mean response was 15.33 hours and the median was 12 hours. This response appears very roughly consistent with reports from other universities. Here is the histogram:
  • I would leave USF if I were offered a comparable job elsewhere and personal factors did not keep me here. The mean was 3.90 and the median was 4.00 (i.e. "agree"); these responses were roughly consistent with those of the UF survey. Here is the histogram:
Here are some interesting results. For more, see the presentation slides.
  • Collaboration among units is encouraged, recognized, and meaningfully supported. That colleges support collaboration between their units, the mean was 2.99 (i.e. "neutral").
  • Audit and paperwork demands on me and my department are well-justified and kept to a reasonable level. The mean was 2.54 (i.e., "disagree" / "neutral").
  • Collective bargaining rights and the USF faculty handbook regulations are respected and upheld by the administration. For college administrators, the mean was 3.09; for university administrators, the mean was 3.00 (i.e. "neutral").
  • I am able to exercise academic freedom both on and off campus and to use my expertise for the public good. The mean was 3.03 (i.e. "neutral").
  • I am able to exercise my constitutional freedom as a public employee both on and off Campus. The mean was 3.02 (i.e., "neutral").
  • The process of shared governance, as it exists at USF, meaningfully incorporates my input in the important decisions, affairs, and operations. The mean for college level governance was 2.39; the mean for university level governance was 2.40 (i.e. "disagree" / "neutral").
As mentioned above, the retention problem is longstanding, and this survey strongly indicates that a lot of the problem is here, in the university. Addressing the problem is long overdue.

Getting in the News

There is a national movement to dismantle diversity / equity / inclusion programs [USF login required], and Florida is at the forefront. On January 11, the Florida Office of Policy and Budget told the State University System that, "Our office has learned that several state universities provide services to persons suffering from gender dysphoria. On behalf of the Governor, I hereby request that you respond to the enclosed inquiries related to such services." (The Mayo Clinic defines gender dysphoria as "the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics.") The Office included instructions on how to respond. Since the letter says that this is part of the budgeting process and the legislative session is coming up, this may lead to some invasive legislation - a possibility confirmed yesterday by Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez.

Starting with the University of North Florida's Spinnaker's article, the story made it to WUSF, NPR, Politico, , and NBC.

But another letter seems to have gotten even international attention. The College Board is developing a high school Advanced Placement course on African American Studies, and naturally, a working draft surfaced on the web. The Florida Department of Education sent a letter to the College Board stating that the Department does not approve of the AP course that the College Board is still developing on the grounds that, "the content of this course is inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value," but promising to revisit its decision if the College Board proposes "lawful, historically accurate content" (assuming, of course, that it would be possible to compose content for the course that is simultaneously lawful and historically accurate).

The Department's letter promptly got a lot of attention. The Florida Standard, the Tampa Bay Times, CNN, Fox News, Brietbart, and BBC all reported the news. See also the segment on the PBS News Hour, with American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Fed Ingram. It may be cynical to suggest that the Florida Department of Education appreciated the attention.

Returning to the problem at hand, the Department did not tell the College Board what their objections to the new AP course were. The Department should not be objecting to the idea of an African American Studies course, for the Florida State Statute 1003.42(2)(h) requires high school instruction on African American history, and the Department has a page dedicated to the subject. But as the Department made no specific objections, anything is possible.

Recalling that the gender dysphoria memo was posted by a student newspaper, many students are not appreciative of all this ideological coddling. The USF Oracle posted an op-ed claiming that Banning books is the first step toward destabilizing students' education (although another warned that not obeying the STOP WOKE law may lead to litigation), and the Washington Post reported that Students want new books - Thanks to new restrictions, librarians can't buy them [USF ID required].

The Books Should Be Boring movement is rampant, and we wonder why so many students aren't in the habit of reading books on their own.

Meanwhile, readers may recall that last December, the Office of the Governor asked for information on "the expenditure of state resources on programs and initiatives related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory within our state colleges and universities." Here are their responses (USF's responses are on pp. 16 & 17). We may see what this leads to during the budgeting process in the upcoming legislative session.


The next chapter meeting will be tomorrow Friday, January 27, at 12 pm on USF Tampa campus in EDU 415 and on Zoom; for the Zoom link, contact the Chapter Secretary. All UFF USF employees are welcome.

All UFF members are invited to attend. Non-members are also invited to come and check us out. To get the link to Zoom, contact the Chapter Secretary. 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.

If you do not want to receive the UFF Biweekly, you can unsubscribe below or contacting the Chapter Secretary. If you do not receive the Biweekly, but want to, contact the Chapter Secretary.