United Faculty of Florida-Florida Atlantic University Chapter
Welcome back to reality – FAU style. As we started the New Year, we received the good news that the State of Florida has finally recognized the legality of same-sex marriages. That means that everyone will now be able to have partner benefits. What a concept!!!
On a less positive note, we’re awaiting the verdict from the Board of Governors (BOG) on where FAU stands with regard to their arbitrary and shifting metrics. As you know, we were docked some $7 million last year and we’re still hoping to get it all back based on our demonstrated improvements. This has obvious importance for everyone at FAU especially when Administration is intent on using these monies as the basis for raises – or as a reason to deny them! We have consistently argued that faculty salaries badly need to be increased regardless of these penalties. There needs to be a plan to raise our salaries independent of what the state gives us. There needs to be a reallocation of resources.
We see this as an issue of priorities; nothing more, nothing less. When asked at Faculty Senate if there was a plan to raise faculty salaries in the event of cuts by the BOG, the Provost responded there had been no discussion. When the President first spoke to the Senate, faculty salaries was one of his stated priorities. Recently, it’s been very, very quiet on that front.
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The bargaining team met with representatives of the Board of Trustees in January and again last week and remain unable to reach an agreement. The BOT representatives remain steadfast in their refusal of any raises of any amount. As I stated above, they continue to use the cuts from the BOG as an excuse to deny us raises –again!
Currently, the main point of contention remains the paid parental leave policy. The BOT continues to propose placing a cap on how many faculty members can take paid parental leave and giving the Provost discretion to decide which faculty members can take leave in any given semester.
UFF-FAU did not accept this proposal. The FIU policy that served as a basis for our paid parental leave policy does not have any of the restrictions that FAU’s BOT is proposing. This proposal would lead to faculty who need parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child to be unable to use it in the semester when it is necessary.
We will meet again to continue working on this issue.
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The annual UFF-FAU Election is March 27th from 11:30 – 1:30 in the Majestic Palm Room on the Boca campus. Lunch will be provided. If you are interested in running for office or wish to nominate someone e-mail me or Meredith Mountford at email@example.com. Open for nomination:
Senator – 13 spots
As you can see below, we’re dealing with a lot of issues and need faculty to get involved. Senator is a very good starting position.
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We are continuing to work on updating and revamping the website. Check
it out when you get a chance. If there’s anything you’d like to see
changed or improved, send me an e-mail.
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As you know, the University has mandated that all employees must take
and pass the on-line training course “Eliminating Campus Sexual
Violence”. In the e-mail directive sent to faculty, it further states
“Upon completion of the course you will be issued a Certificate of
Completion, which should be provided to your supervisor for inclusion as
part of your annual evaluation.”
First, we recognize the problem of sexual harassment and violence at FAU
and all American universities. We support such educational efforts and
encourage everyone to take the course, if you haven’t already done so.
Having said that, I’ve received a number of e-mails expressing concern
about the linking of this course to the annual evaluation. I share that
concern. It represents a change to our annual assignments without
consultation and creates other potential contractual problems. I have
spoken directly to the Provost about this and have sent my specific
concerns in writing to the President. I am awaiting his response at the
time of this communication.
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House Bill (HB) 4005 and Senate Bill (SB) 176, are currently working
their way through committees in the Florida House of Representatives and
Senate, respectively. These bills would allow persons over 21 years of
age who have a concealed weapons permit to carry their weapon on college
and university campuses.
UFF opposes these bills and was represented in Tallahassee by Jennifer
Proffitt, FSU chapter President, Matthew Lata from the FSU chapter and
Marshall Ogletree who all testified before the committee. Despite our
points of view representing your interests and the views of many other
opponents against the bill, the majority of committee members took the
NRA position over the position held by faculty, students, campus police
and the Board of Governors.
SB 176 has three more stops in the Senate, the Higher Education
Committee, the Judiciary Committee and the Rules Committee. UFF will be
there until we can stop this bad legislation.
We will continue providing reports on SB 176 and it’s companion measure,
HB 4005, in the weeks ahead. The session begins March 3rd and we ask
that you contact your Senator and Representative and let them know how
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The university is making sweeping changes to course scheduling starting
Spring 2016. We’re being told FAU will not be given funds to start new
building construction unless it can demonstrate that existing space is
being “utilized optimally”. (Fridays were pointed out as being
especially underutilized.) The proposed scheduling changes are confusing
and untested. There appears to be no more MW classes in the new
paradigm. However, MWF classes are encouraged, it would seem. If you
choose to deliver your class on one day (2 hr. 50 min block), there must
be “pairing” of another class of the same length T,Th or WF – again, no
Monday classes. So Monday is the new Friday???
For better or worse, these schedule changes are going to have huge
impacts on students, faculty and programs. As this proposed schedule is
rolled out, we are told that faculty will have opportunity for feedback.
I encourage you to attend any workshops or special meetings to get
informed and ask the hard questions.
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Another new initiative being pushed by the administration are new
Faculty Evaluation Standards. The proposed definitions for Outstanding,
Exceptional, Good, Needs Improvement, and Unsatisfactory originally
included recommended percent distributions with, for example,
Outstanding as being awarded to only 10 percent of faculty. This
language has been removed but the implication remains clear: Chairs and
Deans are being encouraged, implicitly or explicitly, to raise the bar
on faculty evals. At the same time, Chairs are being encouraged to
change annual assignments to “better reflect what faculty are actually
doing”. Translation: You will be given a lower percent FTE for teaching
and more for research and service.
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February 2, 2012. UFF-FAU announces new non-tenure track promotional structure approved by NTT faculty.
The union is pleased to announce that a new non-tenure-track [NTT] promotional structure has recently been approved by NTT faculty. All faculty should be receiving a memorandum from the provost issuing general guidelines for how the criteria for the promotional structure will be determined by departments. NTT faculty will be a central part in determining these criteria. Once the criteria are established, faculty who had been hired at 2002 or earlier will be eligible to submit their materials for promotion in Fall 2012.
Issues concerning salaries and raises attached to promotions will carry over into full-book bargaining this spring. There we will suggest that promotional raises be identical to tenure-track faculty’s promotional raises: 9% after promotion to Senior Instructor and 12% after promotion to University Instructor. We will have NTT faculty on our bargaining team to represent your interests. Feel free to attend our bargaining meetings to lend support and stay informed.
It initially had been a difficult struggle to get the administration to admit the importance of NTT faculty within the university. Even forming a subcommittee concerning NTT issues seemed daunting at first. But when the meetings commenced, the union fought extremely hard regarding NTT interests throughout the process as anyone who attended can attest. Furthermore, these meetings allowed NTT faculty a platform to express themselves to administrators that they don’t often have much access to. We want to thank each and every one of NTT faculty who have been a part of this process. This is the beginning of providing NTT faculty a stronger voice within their departments, schools, colleges, and the university.
With this said, the union still strongly advocates for tenure and tenure-track positions. Tenure serves as the engine of the university by providing needed job security and academic freedom for innovative teaching and long-term research to thrive. We don’t see the advocacy for NTT faculty as opposed to the interests of tenure-track and tenured faculty. NTT faculty provide the teaching and FTE production to offset the time needed by tenure-track and tenured faculty to concentrate on research and service commitments. Yet the union understands that if faculty do not resist trends in increasingly replacing tenured faculty with NTT faculty, tenure will effectively be killed by death-of-a-thousand cuts in the future, isolating tenure to an ever-diminishing number of faculty. We need to guard against such trends while nonetheless not neglect representing the interests of all faculty who serve the university.
Overall, a promotional structure is long overdue for NTT faculty. It belatedly recognizes the new political economy of public universities as state resources and commitments continue to dwindle. More importantly, it only begins to reward NTT faculty for stellar sustained teaching. We find the subcommittee structure an effective method in addressing faculty issues with the administration. So: what do you want to do next and how can you help the union in doing so? We have full-book bargaining this spring and encourage all faculty to attend the meetings. We will twitter feed negotiations at: UFFFAU.
Also, if you haven’t already done so, please fill out the bargaining survey at:
Attend Executive Committee meetings the first Friday of each month at 12:00 PM in CU 222 (Culture and Society Building). Run for union office. Contact chapter secretary Dave Lee with your self-nomination or if you are nominating others at: dlee251348(at)bellsouth.net. At the very least, join the union. Download the attached membership form and send it to: Chris Robé, CU 214. We need to raise our membership density above 50% before July 1, 2012 before any decertification legislation goes into effect. We are currently at about 39%. If around 110 new members join from now until July, we will reach our goal.
January 12, 2012. Questioning FAU administrators’ abrupt decision to increase class sizes and cancel courses, Work on NTT promotional structure continues, Calling all potential bargainers! Join UFF to fight Tallahassee’s anti-faculty agenda
Greetings. While you feasted on candied ham and disposed of unwanted fruitcakes over the holidays, your friendly faculty union has been busy preparing for the New Year. Already, we have contacted the administration regarding the sudden imposition of higher caps upon some faculty’s classes—some were as high as a 50% increase of students. We have alerted the administration that such unilateral decisions decreed only days before the semester are unfair to our faculty and the students. Syllabi suddenly need to be overhauled and quality sacrificed as the strain of a larger student body are imposed upon an already over-taxed, under-funded infrastructure. We will be discussing this further during consultation and bargaining.
We are completing old business by attempting to finalize a promotional structure for full-time Non-Tenure Track faculty. The main points of contention concern the transition time for long-time NTT faculty to apply for promotion and to pay our lowest paid NTT faculty a semi-livable salary. Our most recent meeting with administrators in this regard took place on January 11th.
Additionally, we will be bargaining the entire contract this semester. We will shortly be electronically distributing a bargaining survey. All faculty should fill it out as promptly as possible so we can better represent your interests at the bargaining table. We will also be announcing the bargaining dates when they become available so faculty can attend the meetings. Any faculty interested in bargaining should feel free to attend a bargaining workshop that we are holding on January 25 at 10:00 AM in room CU 222 (School of Communication Conference room). The meeting will be around three hours.
Needless to say, Tallahassee will be attempting to pass anti-union and anti-tenure legislation this spring. Although these two issues might not seem related, tenure and unionization are perceived by hostile lawmakers as impediments to privatizing public education and micromanaging faculty research, teaching, and governance from Tallahassee.
We not only need faculty to join the union so that we will be over 50% by the time July 1st rolls around, the date any anti-union legislation goes into effect, but we need your involvement. We need people to help with bargaining, grievances, recruiting, stewarding, writing, annotating, editing, analyzing—basically, any of the skills you have to offer. Assisting the union means dedicating as much time you feel comfortable with. Even offering two or three hours of help a month would be enormously beneficial. If you would like to talk with us to assist, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Furthermore, we will be having elections for union officers this semester. Feel free to nominate others or yourself for president, v.p., second vice-president, treasurer, secretary, or senator. Send nominations to: maris.hayashi(at)gmail.com.
One thing we are focused upon is changing the mass perception of public higher education and the faculty’s role within it. We are working on holding a teach-in sometime during the semester. If you would like to contribute, let us know. You can either be public with your involvement or work behind-the-scenes. Write to us at: president(at)uff-fau.org. We can use all the help out there. Before that, however, we encourage all faculty to write op-ed pieces to the local papers explaining tenure, the value of public higher education, the complimentary tasks of research and teaching, and so on. Only by flooding the public sphere with our voices can we begin to turnaround ill-informed perceptions of what we do—both within and off campus.
If you don’t see the value in the union, then ask yourself: why are some legislators so intent on breaking the union if it is so powerless, so meaningless and outdated? If the people who want to reduce your wages, stifle your research, outsource your classes, and generally treat you like a disposable workforce take the union seriously, maybe it is time that you do. Join. Write to us. Be involved. You deserve better.