Why continuing contracts matter; State College of Florida trustees should rescind vote to eliminate tenure
Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President
State College of Florida Board Eliminates Tenure
LAKEWOOD RANCH — Starting next July, new faculty members hired by the State College of Florida will not be able to earn tenure.
By a 7-1 vote Tuesday night, college trustees ended a longtime continuing contract system for SCF teachers. As of July 1, new faculty members at the Manatee County-based school will work on annual contracts at the only state school in Florida that does not offer tenure to qualified employees.
“Banking” Directed Independent Studies and Chairing Thesis/Dissertations
As you probably know, the administration has put forward a model for how they wish to compensate faculty who conduct directed independent studies or sit on/chair theses or dissertations. That model allowed for a course release after a faculty member had successfully taught 20 (twenty) directed independent studies.
Our chapter’s bargaining team is preparing to counter that model with one of our own–a model that respects the hard work that faculty put into DIS, that acknowledges that our efforts in providing our students with independent studies helps graduation rates (a major BOG metric), that realizes that DIS is a virtually no-cost revenue generator for the university, and that makes note of the fact that DIS is included within one’s Faculty Activity Report (FAR) even though it is not compensated.
To that end, we solicited feedback on banking and compensation for DIS from our fellow faculty. Attached are the results of that survey.
Bill to Allow Concealed Weapons on Campus: Round 2
The fight to keep guns off of the campuses of Florida’s public universities and colleges continues. Florida Carry, Inc., a group with close ties to the NRA and ALEC, is pushing the issue even harder in the Florida Legislature now that their appeal has been denied by the First District Court of Appeals. If signed into law, the ALEC-modeled bill would allow guns on all of Florida’s public college and university campuses (with no restrictions as to where on campus one could “carry”). And just as it happened last year, SB 68 and HB 4001 continue to move through committees–along party-line and members highly ranked by the NRA–despite overwhelming argumentation and evidence against these bills.
Note: The bill’s sponsors, Representative Steube and Senator Evers, have also introduced the euphemistically titled “School Safety” bill that would allow some teachers and staff to carry concealed weapons in Florida’s public K-12 schools.
Our chapter is taking on this challenge with as much might and effort as we can muster. We have joined with university administration, officers of the UNF Student Union, and other interested parties in order to coordinate our efforts to counter the falsehoods used to promote this bill. UNF-UFF has also joined with other UFF chapters, the statewide organization, The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, and the Florida League of Women Voters to fight this misguided initiative. Chapter leaders have been diligently disseminating valid information that counters the gun lobby’s arguments. To that end, we recently a piece published in the Florida Times Union and will have a longer and more detailed piece appearing shortly in The Tallahassee Democrat. (These pieces are in response to a “student letter” that misuses data and promotes a culture of fear in order to express the NRA’s talking points.) We also recently appeared on First Coast Connect (listen to the broadcast via the link directly below this post) to discuss our concerns about this bill.
Click HERE to leann more about the issue and how to fight to keep guns off of Florida’s public campuses.
On Monday October 5, UNF-UFF President John White spoke out against the Campus Carry Bill (HB 4001 & SB 68) on WJCT’s First Coast Connect.
Click HERE for a link to the broadcast. Also see our “Guns on Campus” page for more information about the legislation, its advocates, and the facts about guns on campus.
Our chapter is now negotiating contract “reopeners.” The union and the administration are each entitled to open up to three articles for further discussion, negotiation, and potential changes. Article 28 (Salary) must be reopened as a part of this process.
For more details on the articles we have chosen to reopen and why, click HERE. This page also includes information on the articles that the administration wishes to reopen.
Christie Joins Ranks of Republican Party Primary Union-Bashers (again)
Teachers Unions “Deserve a Punch in the Face”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently sought attention by singling out teachers’ unions as worthy of violence and destruction. In an effort to portray himself as a tough union-buster a la Scott Walker and to fuel a rise out of the bottom-dwellers of Republican presidential hopefuls, Christie recently called teachers’ unions the “single most destructive force in public education.” Christie claimed that teachers’ unions care nothing for students but care solely about higher wages and benefits for themselves. Forgetting that virtually all members of teachers’ unions chose to pursue low-paying and often derided careers working with children, Christie also ignored the oft-stated actual goals of the NEA and AFT: that America needs to invest heavily in creating a strong educational system, that we need to diminish the role of standardized testing and scripted curricula, that we need smaller classrooms, and that the poorly disguised move to privatize education is dangerous to all American students.
The scariest issue here revolves not around Christie’s vacuous claims but rather on the fact that he represents the views of an increasingly large, misinformed, and wealthy demographic that is openly hostile toward the very notion of unions. Read more HERE.
UNF-UFF President John White Answers Questions About Compression & Inversion Model
Click HERE to read question and response
When Teaching Becomes a Crime
A proposed Kansas bill would make it easy for educators to face jail time for showing “harmful materials.” Lawmakers say they are only trying to protect students, but are they really trying to discredit public school educators?
Click HERE to read full article. Read an article in The Atlantic about parents and students increasing desire to avoid new or potentially controversial ideas on college campuses. Also see satire of this and similar actions in The Onion
Law Defines Professors as Management
(and thus not eligible for collective bargaining)
Full-time faculty members at Ohio public institutions are objecting to proposed legislation with big implications for their right to organize unions. Tucked deep into a 3,090-page budget bill pending before the state’s House Finance Committee is language that would reclassify professors who participate in virtually anything other than teaching and research as supervisors or managers, and therefore exempt from collective bargaining. So serving on a committee, for example, turns a professor into a manager.
For the entire text of the article, click HERE.
Outstanding Faculty Service Award, 2014-2015
Dr. Susan Perez
UNF-UFF Vice President & Associate Professor of Psychology
In addition to her many and ongoing service contributions to UNF, Susan has been an essential part of our faculty’s union. Currently serving as our chapter’s vice president, she has this year alone led the bargaining team (recently completing nine month’s worth of negotiations on a three-year contract), served as a union-administration liaison and as grievance co-counsel, and has been a writer and/or editor of virtually all UNF-UFF communications with faculty. She is very deserving of this recognition!
UFF Family Fun Day
Our first ever end-of-year UFF Family Fun Day was a great success. Members and nonmembers alike enjoyed great barbeque, canoeing, games, and the ropes course. Attached are some photos of the event.
Click HERE for more photos from the event