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UFF Biweekly
United Faculty of Florida -- USF System Chapter
28 May 2015
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Chapter Meeting Tomorrow Noon in Tampa

Tomorrow Friday the Chapter will meet at 12 noon at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa, on 5104 E. Fowler Ave. All employees of the UFF USF Bargaining Unit are invited. There will be pizza and salad and drinks. Check us out. Join the movement. Bring a colleague.

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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.

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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.


Grants and Tenure ... and the State Budget

Summer is upon us. For some of us, it is a time to go to the beach and read murder mysteries on our (unpaid) vacations. For some of us, it is time to read or go to workshops or meetings to catch up on the latest developments in our field (often paid for out of our own pockets). For some of us, it is a time to earn some necessary cash by teaching a summer school course or two. Some of us are on twelve-month contracts, so we continue doing what we've been doing all along. And for some of us, it is a time to catch up on research - we're still on the job, but unless we're on a grant, we're not being paid. This brings us to the whole business of grants and money.

  • Getting Grants on the Job. Tenure and promotions and sometimes even keeping your job increasingly depend on getting grants. The result is confusion and conflation of means, ends, and metrics. For more, see below or click here.
  • A Letter From FEA President Andy Ford. On May 22, the Florida Education Association sent letters to the President of the Florida Senate and to the Speaker of the Florida House. To read the letter, see below or click here.
The article on grants is part of our series on tenure and promotion, and is the first of our articles on grants. Past articles are linked to the UFF USF webpage.

Getting Grants on the Job

For many years, professors have been told that in order to get tenure or promotion, they must get a grant. Preferably a federal grant that provided "indirect costs" (more on that in a moment), not some private patronage that just barely covers an expedition to a lost city and back. And some researchers must maintain a steady flow of grant money to remain employed.

For those researchers on soft money, the steady flow of grant money is an understandable requirement: that's where their salaries come from. On the other hand, for professors, getting a grant may seem like a tricky requirement, considering that both tenure and promotion decisions are supposed to be based on the apparent potential of the candidate as a scholar. On one hand, a grant would show that the candidate has impressed some of the old elephants of the field. On the other hand, lack of a grant may indicate that the candidate's ideas are too novel for the old elephants, which may actually be a recommendation for the candidate.

There are several reasons why a university may require grants.

There is an additional problem. The pressure to get grants is increasing while funding is flat, which means that fewer proposals are funded, which means that there is more pressure to write proposals, and so on. In 2007, Robert Decker and three co-authors in the Federal Demonstration Partnership reported that "Of the time that faculty committed to federal research, 42 percent was devoted to pre- and post-award administrative activities – not to active research." (See the Chronicle's story and the Scientific American's editorial.) As the Australian press was outraged to hear, this was not a uniquely American problem.

So faculty are expected to get money from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities, but please, not some Florida agency that will expect the university to cough up some matching funds. Notice that this is part of our research assignment, which raises the interesting question of how much time should we be assigned to pursue grants and do research.

A Letter From FEA President Andy Ford

The Florida Education Association (FEA) is the umbrella union that represents teachers and education professionals throughout the State of Florida: the United Faculty of Florida is a "local" of the FEA. On May 22, FEA President Andy Ford sent the following letter to Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

The 2015 legislative session started with such promise for our state: a billion dollar revenue surplus and a proposed budget from the governor which could return education funding to pre-recession levels and cover the increased costs of an additional 15,000 students.

This was welcomed news given that a recent report by Education Week criticized Florida for spending too little on public schools – earning Florida a D+ in the "school finance" category.

Unfortunately, the opportunity to improve Florida’s national standing regarding education funding came to an abrupt end on May 1.

Now that you have a clearer picture of the resources available to meet the needs of Floridians, you have important decisions to make. We encourage you to recognize that education and health care are both critically important to our state.

FEA and its members are hopeful that progress will be made toward providing affordable health insurance for more Floridians. Families should not have to decide whether to keep food on the table, pay their utility bill or go to the doctor. Florida is better than that.

But we must also make sure our kids come to school with what they need to succeed and we must make sure every teacher has what they need to do an outstanding job.

Our public schools need class sizes that allow for one-on-one interaction, up-to-date technology and materials, safety in classrooms and on our school buses. Our aging school buildings need maintenance and repair so our students are learning in a safe and healthy environment.

Our students with unique abilities need increased and stabilized funding.

Academically struggling students need more reading instruction, after-school instruction, tutoring, mentoring, extended school year, summer school and other methods for improving student learning. Our preschoolers need quality early childhood and pre-k learning programs.

Finally, our colleges and universities need adequate funding to attract and retain the very best faculty and advanced degree candidates. Investment in higher education creates jobs, new industries, and improves quality of life.

Henry Ford once said "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."

As you begin again in special session, we urge you to set politics aside and put the critical needs of Florida first.


Andy Ford
Florida Education Association

On April 29, in recognition of his years as president of the FEA, and anticipating his retirement, the Senate resolved to commend him "...for his dedication to the enrichment of public education in Florida..."


Chapter Meeting tomorrow Friday, May 29, at CDB Restaurant, just east of USF Tampa, on 5104 E. Fowler Ave.

There will be pizza, salad, and drinks. 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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