United Faculty of Florida-Florida Atlantic University Chapter
May 15, 2013. Proposed changes include paid parental leave, Post-tenure review
(changes are italicized and in red)
Article 9 / Assignment of Responsibilities – 9.5 Summer Assignment a) The summer instructional assignment, like that for the academic year, includes the normal activities related to such an assignment as defined by the department/unit and the nature of the course, such as course preparation minor curriculum development, lectures, evaluation of student efforts, consultations and conferences with students, and minor committee activities during the period of assignment. Other credit generating activities such as thesis or dissertation supervision, directed independent studies, supervised teaching or research, or supervision of student interns, as well as research or service activities, may be offered during the summer term for agreed-to compensation for that specific activity separate from the compensation provided for any summer instructional assignment.
UFF is recommending that faculty work with their respective faculty assemblies to set the compensation rates for these activities.
Article 10 / Employee Performance Evaluations – 10.1 Policy b) Post-Tenure Review. The purpose of Post-tenure review (PTR) is to document sustained performance of assigned duties, acknowledge achievements, and to provide the opportunity for a longer range view of performance and accomplishments. It is also intended to enhance public trust in the University by ensuring that the faculty community undertakes regular and rigorous efforts to hold all of its members accountable for high performance standards. c) The annual evaluation process and the post-tenure review process are separate and independent of each other, and may run concurrently.
10.7 Post-Tenure Review a) Policy. The parties agree that a post-tenure review policy serves a necessary function at the University to recognize faculty excellence and deficiencies through peer review. Prior to implementation, the Provost or designee shall form a committee including an elected tenured in-unit faculty member from each college and administrators to consult regarding the details and operation of the post-tenure review policy. b) Criteria. The post-tenure review shall be based on assigned duties and shall carefully consider the nature of the assignments, including where applicable, those listed in Article 10.4 (a-e) above. c) policy Modifications. The Provost or designee may modify these criteria after notifying the UFF Chapter of the proposed changes and offering an opportunity to discuss them in consultation with the Provost or designee. Changes shall not become effective until one year following the adoption of the changes, unless mutually agreed to in writing. However, faculty undergoing a post-tenure review within the subsequent five years after the policy is modified may choose to be evaluated using the then existing or newly modified policy. Thereafter, only the new criteria will apply.
Article 11 / Evaluation File 11.6 Peer Evaluations. Evaluative materials or summaries thereof, prepared by peers as part of a regular evaluation system, may be placed in an evaluation file when signed by the evaluator or a representative of a peer committee with a copy provided to the employee. The employee being evaluated shall have the opportunity to review and sign the evaluation prior to it being placed in the evaluation file.
Article 12 / Non-Reappointment. 12.2 Notice a.7) FAUS employees will be notified of a subsequent annual appointment offer on or before May 1 prior to the expiration of their appointment. 12.2 b) Employees in the following categories are not entitled to written notice that they will not be offered further employment. b.5) Employees with an offer letter or Notice of Employment which states, in substance, that their employment will cease on the date indicated. b 6) Employees with an offer letter for a specified fixed term of employment.
Instructors who received modified letters of appointment and who were eligible for Notice of non-reappointment prior to 2010 should have received a letter from the University reinstating their right to notice.
Article 14 / Promotion Procedure. 14.2 Criteria. b) When new criteria are adopted and approved, faculty submitting an application for promotion within the subsequent three years may choose to be evaluated using the old or new criteria, thereafter, only the new criteria will apply. c) Limited Access Information. Promotion file records are limited access records and shall be available offered for inspection only by the employee, the employees representative, university and Board officials who use the information in carrying out their responsibilities, peer committees responsible for evaluating employee performance, or by court order. Arbitrators or others engaged by the parties to resolve disputes may view the records upon consent by the employee whose file is requested or by court order.
Article 15 / Tenure 15.2 Permanent Status for FAUS Employees will be in accordance with Florida Statutes.
Article 16 / Disciplinary Action and Job Abandonment. 16.8 Job Abandonment. a) An employee absent without authorized leave for either seven or more consecutive calendar days; or for five or more consecutive classes over a five or more calendar day period, shall be considered to have abandoned the position and voluntarily resigned from the university, unless the absence is for reasons beyond the control of the employee and the employee notifies the university as soon as possible.
Article 17 / Leaves. 17.9 Paid Parental Leave. A faculty member may utilize paid parental leave for a period of one regular (Fall or Spring) semester no more than once every three years during his or her employment with the university. Such paid parental leave will be taken no later than a year from the point when the faculty member becomes a biological parent or a child is placed in the faculty members home for purposes of adoption. a) Commitment to return. The faculty member must agree in writing to return to University employment for at least one academic year following utilization of paid parental leave. a faculty member who fails to fulfill this commitment will be responsible for repayment of the portion of the parental leave utilized. b) Extent of paid parental leave. Paid parental leave will not be granted for more than one semester on a three year rolling basis. Paid parental leave may not be granted to two faculty members for the same birth or adoption. c) Notice and use with other leaves. The faculty member will request the use of paid parental leave in writing no later than three months prior to the beginning of the leave. A shorter notice period may be permitted for good cause and/or special circumstances at the discretion of the faculty member’s dean. Parental leave is separate from, but may run concurrently with, medical leave or FMLA leave. d) Signed agreement. The faculty member will sign a written agreement detailing the terms o0f the paid parental leave. Participation in paid parental leave is contingent upon the execution of the signed agreement. e) Repayment. Repayment of salary received during the paid parental leave will be required if salary is paid in the absence of a written agreement signed by the faculty member or when the faculty member fails to comply with the terms of the signed agreement.
17.10 Leaves Due to Illness/Injury. In the event of an illness/injury, a documented medical absence may be approved for up to six months with the appropriate (including step and foster) of both the employee and the spouse/domestic partner, and dependents living in the household. a) Sick Leave. 6) Payment for Unused Sick Leave. No payment for unused sick leave will be made for any type of separation from employment for any employee hired after June 1, 2010. For other employees the following shall apply: a) An employee with less than ten years of service who separates from FAU shall not be paid for any unused sick leave. b) An employee who has completed ten or more years of service and separates from the University shall be compensated at the employee’s current regular rate of pay for one-eighth of all unused sick leave accrued prior to October 1, 1973, plus one-fourth of all unused sick leave accrued on or after October 1, 1973; provided that one-fourth of the unused sick leave since 1973 does not exceed 480 hours.
17.14 For the purposes of this Article, “immediate family ”means the spouse and the certified domestic partner, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren (including step-and foster-) of both the employee and the spouse/domestic partner, and dependents living in the household.
Article 23 / Salaries. 23.1 Promotion Increases. c) in recognition of promotion to Senior Instructor/Senior lecturer in accordance with the Provost’s Memorandum on Appointment and Promotion of Instructors and Lecturers, an increase of 9.0% of the employees previous year’s base salary, but the increase may not exceed 9.0% more than the employee’s September 2008 salary, if in the same position; or d) in recognition of promotion to University Instructor/University Lecturer in accordance with the Provost’s Memorandum on Appointment and Promotion of Instructors and Lecturers, an increase of 12.0% of the employee’s previous year’s base salary, but the increase may not exceed pro12.0% more than the employee’s September 2008 salary, if in the same position.
23.2 Florida Atlantic University School Employees. 1) Promotion increases shall be granted to FAUS employees pursuant to procedures and criteria for promotion to each rank for those promoted in 2011-12, effective upon the start of the 2012-13 academic year appointment. Permanent status employees may be promoted, but may not receive any promotion/merit salary increase. b) FAUS Base Salary and Lump Sum Increase. 1) All FAUS employees shall receive a base salary increase of $1,430.37 effective august 12, 2013. 2) In addition, all FAUS employees shall receive a one-time lump sum payment of $1,430.37 effective august 12, 2013.
Article 24 / Benefits. 24.1 Benefits. Employees’ shall be eligible to participate in the domestic partner benefit stipend program. This domestic partner benefit stipend program shall be launched and offered prior to August 15, 2013.
May 15, 2013. Cites “recent controversies” and their “fiercely negative media coverage” as reasons for stepping down, Numerous accomplishments for university during her three year tenure
Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees Chair Anthony K. G. Barbar accepted FAU President Mary Jane Saunders’ letter of resignation late yesterday, responding with a letter expressing regret and praising her for her many accomplishments.
“On behalf of the Florida Atlantic University Board of Trustees, I regretfully accept your resignation,” he said in his letter. “The Board respects your desire to return to the faculty, a decision we know you made in the best interest of the University.”
In her resignation letter, President Saunders wrote, “ When I accepted the presidency of FAU three years ago, I did so with a vision to expand upon the excellence of this richly diverse and strong institution with a focus on academics and student success. We, as a campus community, have successfully accomplished these goals.
“There is no doubt the recent controversies have been significant and distracting to all members of the University community. The issues and the fiercely negative media coverage have forced me to reassess my position as the President of FAU. I must make choices that are the best for the University, me and my family.”
Barbar added that President Saunders showed her dedication through attendance at events on campus and in the community.
“She attended every athletic game, arts performance and FAU-sponsored event that she could,” he said. “Few major community events were held without her involvement. Throughout her time as President, she consistently demonstrated a genuine love for the University, its students and the community. She has been fully committed morning, day and night to the betterment of FAU. We thank President Saunders for her service and dedication to the university.”
Read more at fau.edu.
May 7, 2013. UFF-FAU Chapter reps sit down with President Saunders, Provost Claiborne, and FAU Attorney Lawrence “Larry” Glick to discuss academic freedom, e-learning, summer teaching policy
UFF met with President Saunders, Provost Claiborne, and Sr. Associate General Counsel Larry Glick on April 24, 2013 for Consultation.
We started our conversation over academic freedom. We related to the administration that we would like to see them more vigorously and publicly defend academic freedom, recant their unilateral assertion (via Charles Brown http://www.fau.edu/explore/homepage-stories/message-from-dr-charles-brown.php) that the questioned instructional exercise will not be repeated again, and assert for the record that Dr. Deandre Poole’s job will not be in jeopardy in regards to the incident. They replied that Faculty Senate has a committee on Academic Freedom and Due Process, which had been defunct for years prior to this incident and only became active after a request from the faculty union to bring this case before it, that is looking into the incident. As a result, they will not comment on the issue.
We also raised concerns about Governor Rick Scott’s intervention and some of the Board of Trustees’ reactionary nature towards academic freedom and tenure exhibited during the BoT meeting on April 16, 2013. The administration has given us Rick Scott’s letter to investigate the incident, which was directed to Chancellor Frank Brogan, and their recent response to the letter (both attached above). They suggested that Rick Scott will not intervene into the affairs of the university. In regards to the Board of Trustees, President Saunders stated that it is “a work in progress between the local board, the Board of Governors, and ourselves.” She continued, “We need to make sure that the Board understands the bylaws” and the mission of the university.
We next addressed some key issues regarding e-learning. We suggested that the trainings could be made more efficient by administering a pre-survey for faculty regarding their experience and interests with e-learning. Training courses could then be arranged more effectively around select groups of faculty. The administration agreed. We also suggested that more faculty participation with e-learning might be encouraged if the course was not an overload but instead incorporated into the regular assignment. Furthermore, we suggested many faculty members have not participated in e-learning due to fear of losing intellectual property of course material. Provost Claiborne verified this last concern. The General Counsel noted that if this is an issue for a vast majority of faculty, then perhaps intellectual property issues need to be revisited. Finally, we also suggested that various student abilities on-line need to be better addressed. It shouldn’t be the job of the instructor to train the students, but instead we need to have resources available to assist them. The administration agreed.
We next addressed questions regarding the provost’s summer policy. When asked about why colleges cannot spend more than 105% of their funds, the Provost said that the percentage was determined between herself and other university financial officers. It is still not clear why different colleges don’t have different percentages since they generate revenue differently depending upon the number of F.T.E.s produced and their faculty salaries. Our essential concern was that summer was still not being driven through curricular needs but instead monetarily. The Provost agreed, but she further stressed that the 25% of gains returned to the Provost’s office would then be redistributed back into summer teaching to cover low-enrollment courses and the like.
FAUS related that they would like to communicate better with the university about what they do and to better utilize their lab component. The President agreed that FAUS needs more publicity since it is an “A” rated school and generally considered one of the best lab schools in Florida.
Finally, we addressed concerns with focusing on undergraduate research. We first addressed that although we consider undergraduate research a generally good idea, we are concerned it is only going to address a small minority of our student body. Instead, we have students who are struggling with basic skills that strike one as a more prevalent concern. Also, we suggested that we don’t want to see grants and stipends for graduate students being reduced while resources are being funneled into undergraduate research since the graduate programs are the engine of the university. The President asserted that graduate student funding has not decreased. But the union has evidence that some Colleges, instead of the University, have now been made responsible for covering the costs of graduate student stipends for graduate students who are not teaching. Such funding has sometimes come out of faculty research grants, which negatively impacts faculty research.
As always, we plan on holding another Consultation in the fall, so please feel free to contact us regarding issues that you would like to see addressed. We generally bring different faculty to our consultations depending upon the topics addressed and faculty expertise. Consultation allows us to become more aware of your concerns and, more importantly, effectively organize around them. To learn more about UFF-FAU, visit our webpage <uff-fau.org>, follow us on Twitter <UFFFAU>, and/or just contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you haven’t joined the UFF, what are you waiting for? Download a membership form and send to Chris Robé, CU 214.
April 14, 2013. FAU’s controversial new trustee, FAU Geo Group protesters scolded, Demonstrators support Academic Freedom, Chances to Bright Futures
1) “Elizabeth Fago and Her Baggage Nominated to FAU Board of
Trustees” *New Times*
2) “FAU Naming-Rights Protestors Scolded But Not Disciplined”
*Palm Beach Post *
3) “Demonstrators at FAU Support ‘Step on Jesus’ Instructor,
Academic Freedom” *Palm Beach Post*
4) “Changes to Bright Futures Scholarships Hits Poor,
Minorities” *The Miami Herald*
April 10, 2013. Florida State UFF resolution to defend academic freedom
The UFF-FSU Executive Council at its April 8th meeting passed the following resolution:
The UFF-FSU Executive Council stands with our sister chapter, UFF-FAU, and FAU instructor Dr. Deandre Poole in their defense of academic freedom. Academic freedom is at the heart of academic excellence, the advancement of knowledge, the pursuit of truth and tolerance, the integrity of the university, and the foundation of democratic discourse and must be protected.
Posted on behalf of UFF-FSU President Jennifer Proffitt
April 10, 2013. Protests move to Geo Group corporate headquarters
UPDATED: Story by Scott T. Smith and Josh Repp
Video at CBS12 News
BOCA RATON, Fla. — A group of protesters who blocked the entrance to the offices of private prison company GEO Group were arrested Tuesday morning.
So far, four people have been arrested on trespassing and resisting arrest charges after police used bolt cutters to remove handcuffs linking the four to the company’s front door. The arrests ended the protest.
More than a dozen protesters were pushed off the property by police. Members of the group — Trans and WomYns Action Camp — say they were protesting alleged human rights abuses in GEO facilities nationwide.
Northwest 53rd Street was shut down as police and fire responded to the scene in large numbers. At least a dozen officers and the mobile command center were in place.
GEO Group runs state prisons and prison facilities for profit. Most of its operations are in Texas.
GEO Group’s operations mostly flew under the radar until the company proposed a $6 million donation to Florida Atlantic University’s sports program. In return the university announced it was naming its new stadium after the company.
A group of students and the FAU Faculty Senate strongly opposed the move, saying it was a bad fit for a university. GEO Group withdrew its offer last week amid the controversy, but committed $500,000 to athletic scholarships this year.
April 8, 2013. FAU Honors College faculty balk when Saunders requests written apology for controversial run-in with protesting students
By Fire Ant
Monday, April 8, 2013
First, FAU tried to name its stadium after a private prison operator, GEO Group. Then, FAU President Mary Jane Saunders struck a student with her car in a panic-stricken reaction to the sight of a mere handful of youngsters in the vicinity of her 2010 silver Lexus. Amid these events, the university surrendered to pressure from the Christian right over a communications class exercise, sending instructor Deandre Poole into hiding after receiving death threats.
Faced with these challenges, the Saunders administration has lurched from one clumsy reaction to another, piling up the public relations damage. Unsteady is the hand at the wheel.
Now, previously unreported internal e-mails further reveal even more of the administration’s ineptness — even in dealings with its own faculty.
Read more at blogs.browardpalmbeach.com
April 8, 2013. FAU President Mary Jane Saunders blames internet for PR problems, Says university administration must do better job of telling its story
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
BOCA RATON —
It’s been a headline-grabbing semester for Florida Atlantic University – but not for any of the reasons university officials hoped.
FAU President Mary Jane Saunders cheerfully rattled off the good news about her institution in an interview last week, from record levels of applications to a glittering reaccreditation report to significant strides by the university’s new medical school. She mentioned the professor who won an O. Henry Prize for short-story writing and the students who spent spring break building Habitat for Humanity houses.
But the succession of reporters who met with Saunders in her office Tuesday didn’t come to hear about FAU’s latest awards and accolades.
Instead, Saunders scheduled a series of 15-minute interviews that day to respond to the school’s third major public-relations challenge of 2013 – the withdrawal of a $6 million gift by private prison contractor GEO Group after a group of vocal opponents spent six weeks ripping plans to put GEO Group’s name on FAU’s football stadium.
Read most at palmbeachpost.com
April 7, 2013. Classroom exercise on symbolism and religious intolerance becomes platform for “Tea Party” posturing
April 7, 2013.
Letter to Chronicle of Higher Education
April 2, 2013, 8:51 pm
To the Editor:
A few weeks ago a young African American instructor of intercultural communication at the Florida Atlantic University, a public university in Palm Beach County, decided to use an exercise from his students’ textbook to begin a discussion about emotional responses to religious symbolism (“‘Jesus’-Stomping Exercise at Florida Atlantic U. Draws Rebuke From Governor,” The Chronicle, March 26). The instructor planned to segue to a discussion about religious intolerance, an important contemporary issue. Students were asked to write the word Jesus on a piece of paper. After thoughtfully considering the word’s meaning, they were to place it on the floor and consider whether they could step on it.
The instructor’s expectation was that students would refuse to step on the word and a lively discussion about the power of the symbol would begin. The instructor had used the exercise before and he felt and the resulting discussions were worthwhile.
However, that evening, one student became so upset by the exercise that the instructor had to dismiss the class early and call campus security. Subsequently, the student contacted the Texas-based Liberty Institute, a conservative Christian legal foundation, and a campaign began via the conservative Christian blogosphere to fire the professor who “made students stomp on Jesus.”
The amount of hate mail, complete with death threats and racist slurs, that flowed from the religious right to university faculty members and administrators was so overpowering that the instructor was put on administrative leave for his and his students’ safety. His classes were reassigned to his colleagues. The university administration forbade the instructor to discuss the situation with the press because mentioning the student’s reaction to the exercise would violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
Fox News reported the story, repeating the phrase “stomp on Jesus.” The headline was picked up by the local press. The student appeared on local television and gave interviews to the press about how he refused to “stomp on Jesus.”
Faculty members at Florida Atlantic were shocked when the vice president for student affairs posted a video on the university Web site apologizing for the professor’s behavior and promising the exercise would be “removed from the curriculum.” The university issued a press release offering the information that the instructor was on a one-year contract.
The governor of the State of Florida was interviewed about the incident by The Miami Herald. He called the student “a hero,” said that an apology from the university was not enough, and demanded that the university “ensure that this type of lesson will not occur again.” The governor, a Tea Party conservative, faces a reelection campaign this year and clearly hopes that the outraged religious right will support his strong stance against “stomping on Jesus.”
Now for the rest of the story.
The young African American instructor was raised by his grandmother in Riviera Beach, one of the poorest sections of Palm Beach County. The young boy found solace in his grandmother’s Christian church. While working full time, he completed his B.A. and his M.A. at Florida Atlantic, attributing his success to his unwavering faith in God.
I was one of the professors who wrote a letter of recommendation for him when he sought to pursue his Ph.D. at Howard University. Upon graduation, he returned to Florida Atlantic as a full-time Instructor so that he could reach students like himself on a campus that is majority minority. Sadly, this young man, who should be valorized by his university, has been thrown into the meat grinder of Tea Party politics by the new Florida Atlantic president, who was selected by the Board of Trustees, who were appointed by this governor.
Florida Atlantic University has recently hired many full-time instructors to replace tenure-track faculty members. These people receive one-year contracts, ostensibly so that if the state legislature cuts the higher-education appropriation, the university budget can be adjusted by letting them go. However, as this case illustrates, an instructor who introduces a subject at a public university that a political organization can mobilize against and a politician can exploit should fear that his contract won’t be renewed by an obedient university administration and that his reputation will be destroyed.
Education cannot advance without questioning the status quo. This case has a chilling effect on academic freedom in this country.
School of Communication & Multimedia Studies
Florida Atlantic University
Boca Raton, Fla.
April 7, 2013. “FAU has conducted a seven-week class for all 30,000 students, the faculty and the wider community in how the university sets its priorities and reacts during a crisis. The lessons have been impossible to miss.”
Editor of the Editorial Page
George Zoley has two degrees from Florida Atlantic University. Deandre Poole has two degrees from Florida Atlantic University. Consider how FAU has treated these alums over the last seven weeks.
Mr. Zoley is chairman of The Geo Group, whose headquarters are across Interstate 95 in Boca Raton from FAU. The 18,000-employee company runs prisons and detention facilities in the United States and four foreign countries. Dr. Poole is a second-year instructor in FAU’s School of Communication & Multimedia Studies. He works on an annual contract.
Each alum has been part of a big news story involving his alma mater. Through his company’s charitable foundation, Mr. Zoley offered FAU $6 million for naming rights to the football stadium. Through one of his classes, Dr. Poole offered his students an exercise in symbols and tolerance. Each offering went bad, in its own way.
News of GEO’s advertising deal, announced Feb. 19, sparked a controversy that made FAU look clueless. Faced with questions about GEO’s documented mistreatment of inmates and detainees, President Mary Jane Saunders and Board of Trustees Chairman Anthony Barbar defended the company with platitudes. George Zoley is a former board chairman. GEO hires FAU graduates.
Read more at palmbeachpost.com
Next UFF-FAU Bargaining Meetings
Message from the President
- In Defense of Academic Freedom
March 31, 2013 | 4:34 pm
March 31, 2013. A Message from UFF-FAU President Chris Robé
- Labor Day Message From the President
September 1, 2012 | 11:06 am
September 1, 2012. Welcome back to the Idea Factory! What's on the horizon for FAU faculty this coming fall.
- UFF-FAU President: July Bargaining Update
July 17, 2012 | 9:37 am
July 17, 2012. Bargaining team signed off on 16 articles; Next bargaining meeting August 13, 2012 at 12:30PM
- Archive for Message from the President »