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UFF Biweekly EXTRA
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
12 August 2012
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So, are you going to vote in the August 14 election on Tuesday?

In 1987, the Journal of Applied Psychology published a study on Increasing voting behavior by asking people if they expect to vote. It suggested that one could increase the probability of a person voting by as much as 25 % just by asking that person the previous day if they intended to vote. So be sure to ask your colleagues, family, friends, and distant acquaintances if they intend to vote on Tuesday. Here are:

And once again, as silence betokens consent, if you do not vote, you consent to the results ... whatever they are.

Labor Day Celebration!

The West Central Florida AFL-CIO is holding a Labor Day Celebration, complete with a rock wall and a water slide and horseshoes and volleyball and an inflatable jumper for youngsters of all ages. There will also be a BBQ and, since this is a critical year, candidates running for office giving speeches. This is a good time to meet political activists and find out what the major issues are. See the flier that the West Central Florida AFL-CIO sent out.

The Celebration will be from 11 am to 4 pm at Lupton’s Boggy Bottom Ranch on 8407 Lupton Place in Plant City. Admission is FREE but the BBQ is not; tickets for the BBQ are $ 10 per person.. You may buy tickets at the door, but the UFF USF Chapter will buy tickets for UFF USF members and their spouses and children. If you are a UFF member, send a request for tickets to the UFF USF Chapter Secretary by Friday, August 17: specify your name and position at USF (so we know you're a union member) and the number of tickets you need, and the address to send them to.


Last spring, the legislature was going to "reform" higher education. In January, the Florida Times-Union reported that Florida House Education Committee chairman Bill Proctor says merit-pay, higher education reform are education committee's top priorities. A few days later, after claiming that Florida's higher education system is "racing towards mediocrity", House Speaker Dean Cannon told the House to focus on "fixing" higher education.

That fix consisted of cutting the State University System by $ 300 million and shutting down USF Polytechnic. That apparently didn't satisfy Governor Rick Scott, and in early May, he appointed a panel to propose managerial reforms; the panel would submit its report by October 31 (before the November election). This Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform promptly set up its own website and Facebook page.

Since then, there has been a lot of speculation about what the Task Force is up to. Task Force chairman Dale Brill was quoted in a profile piece by Tallahassee.com saying, "Throughout the next several months, the Blue Ribbon Task Force is going to look at higher education in Florida in its entirety, especially the relationship between the Board of Governors and the individual universities."

The Biweekly looked at the Task Force in its May 31 Issue and the June 28 Extra. The UFF USF Biweekly tended towards the view – which it still holds – that the purpose of the Task Force is to manufacture a rationale for whatever the governor and legislative leadership try to inflict on the universities next spring.

For UFF, there are two major reasons for watching and participating in the Task Force's proceedings. First, we would like as much information about what we will be facing next spring at the next legislative session. Second, we want to get into the record the importance of defending higher education in Florida. As part of the latter effort, both (statewide) United Faculty of Florida President Tom Auxter and former UFF USF Chapter President Roy Weatherford spoke to the Task Force: the video of the hearing is posted online and Professor Auxter spoke during the period 164 – 181 minutes while Professor Weatherford spoke during the period 181 – 193 minutes.

Recently, the press has reported on the Task Force hammering out a vague vision for higher ed reforms, 'brainstorming', and meeting at EpiCenter. And during all this activity, the Task Force has been hearing presentations – presentations that the Task Force just might take more seriously than talks by university professors.

Task Force chairman Dale Brill was true to his promise for transparency, at least as far as these presentations go: documents and presentations are posted online at a Slideshare.net page. Let's look at a few.

So far, the Task Force is concentrating on managerial practices. Some of their assumptions – that there is limited accountability at present, or that pay raises are not based on merit – are false. Moreover, while the Task Force is concentrating on instruction, they seem to be indifferent to pedagogy. Furthermore, according to Governor Scott's Executive Order, the report isn't really due until November 15 – after the election – and that the Task Force will continue to function until May 4, 2013. We will continue to watch, and we encourage all faculty to pay attention, for the governor appointed this Task Force for a reason.


Next Chapter Meeting on Friday, September 7, at 12 noon, at a location TBA on the USF Tampa campus.

Lunch will be provided by the Chapter, and 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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