Help Us Reach > 50% Membership

There is strength in numbers; the stronger we stand, the louder and more powerful our voice. We need strength now more than ever as we are in the midst of a time of unprecedented attacks on public employee unions, on faculty tenure, on academic freedom, and on equitable funding to public universities. We ask that you, our members, get more involved in the union, primarily by encouraging your colleagues to join our ranks. Doing so would help us in our efforts to ensure that UNF is an institution where:

  • Students have a high quality education and opportunities to engage in research.
  • Faculty have academic freedom and their intellectual property is protected.
  • Administration recognizes the need to prioritize family during emergency situations.
  • Salaries are corrected for inversion, compression, merit, and cost of living.
  • We lead in the governance of the university and in guiding its mission.

Encourage fellow faculty to join. There is no better time to join than now!

Membership Form

Recruitment Letter

Reasons to Join

Costs of Membership

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Where Does the Money Go?

can-losing-140-million-be-a-blessing-burning-money-449826The UNF family has been repeatedly reminded over the past academic year that the university’s financial situation is dire. There is “no money” for any of the proposals our bargaining team has put forth, virtually all faculty searches have been canceled, and departments have been asked to remit unused department funds back to the university. There have even been vague references to layoffs or cutting programs.

While my union colleagues and I understand that the Board of Governors’ metrics have hurt our funding–and we are harshly critical of the punitive measures they attach to performance assessments–we nonetheless continue to question where and how UNF does spend money.

For example, we question the need for one administrator for every three faculty. We question the exorbitant rate at which a bevy of administrators are paid. We question why former administrators take with them a much higher rate and stipends when they revert back to faculty roles. We question why some offices (e.g., Deans’ Offices) need four or more secretaries. We question why the university spends exponentially more on distance learning than face-to-face course development (e.g., CIRT funding verses OFE funding) when DL courses make up less than 5% of the university’s course delivery and when we cannot compete with Florida’s “preeminent” universities in this regard. We also question why UNF has paid exorbitant fees to outside legal counsel (to lead its bargaining team with numerous constituent groups) when the university maintains four full time attorneys while our side contains no attorneys (does no one in the Office of Legal Counsel have expertise in contracts and contract negotiations?). We conservatively estimate that since the summer of 2014, UNF has paid Carson & Adkins far in excess of $250,000, a sum that does not include what UNF has spent on the administrators who sit on their bargaining team (a group that includes a UNF attorney, a college dean, the director of HR, a vice president, etc.).

To be clear, my colleagues and I are very sympathetic to the financial challenges President Delaney and other top UNF administrators are currently facing. We also very much respect that President Delaney has consistently avoided layoffs during these troublesome financial years. However, it is important that in discussions about our university’s financial condition, we all start to recognize and begin to address the administrative bloat that has sucked up a huge percentage of the funding we do have.

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UNF-UFF Family Leave Proposal

In this year’s contract reopeners, our bargaining team put forward proposals for a paid family leave policy. Our argument is that the plan–which we believe would prove to be revenue neutral–would benefit not just UNF faculty but the university community more widely. It would ensure that newer faculty (who have little to no accumulated sick leave) would not be forced to choose between work and family needs.

Click Family Leave Proposal to see the article in its entirety.

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Outstanding Faculty Service Award, 2015-2016

Mark Ari, COAS

&

John W. White, COEHS

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                                                                           Mark Ari                                                        John White

Two of the union’s most active members/officers were selected as recipients of this year’s Outstanding Faculty Service Awards. Mark Ari (“Ari” to all who know him) is a senior instructor in the English Department and has served–among many other roles–as Grievance Officer, as Senator, and on the Bargaining Team for our chapter. Most recently he made a presentation to the National Education Association about his work to help create promotable ranks (and raises) for non-tenure-track faculty. Joining him in that presentation was the other service award winner, John White, chapter President 2014-2017 (as well as past Grievance Officer, Senator, Secretary, current web master, state Government Relations Committee, and AFL-CIO representative).

It is a testament to the hard work and the resulting successes of myriad people in the UNF chapter that both of this year’s service award winners are union officers and that last year’s recipient of the award was Susan Perez (chapter Vice President).

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2016-2017 UNF-UFF Officers

UNF-UFF held chapter officers last week. The results are below:

Chapter Officers:
President:  John W White
Vice President:  Susan Perez
Secretary:  Bess Wilson
Treasurer:  Caroline Guardino

Senators:
Mark Ari
Dan Dinsmore
James Hall
Chau Kelly
Jamie Moon
Susan Perez

Alternate Senators:
Juliana Leding
Peter Magyari
Rebecca Marcon
Bess Wilson

FEA Representative:
Paul Clark
Sophie Maxis
Bess Wilson

FEA Alternates:

Juliana Leding, Rebecca Marcon, Hope “Bess” Wilson, Peter Magyari

 

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UNF-UFF Officers Invited to Speak  at NEA Higher Education Conference, 2016

John White and Mark Ari were invited speakers at the NEA Higher Education Conference April 1-3 in San Diego, California. The ttitle of their presentation was “Seeking Equity for Invisible (non-tenure-track) Faculty“; it describes the development and negotiation of the first-ever promotion ranks for non-tenure-track UNF faculty.

 

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Response to March 3rd Question Posed Via the Faculty Association

QUESTION (paraphrased):  As the CBA affects all in-unit faculty, why can’t all faculty vote for the union’s leadership?

ANSWER (Chapter President John White):  There are three answers to this question. The first is that limiting officer voting to a union’s membership is a common practice–one that is at the heart of union activity. Officers of a chapter are responsible for setting and maintaining a direction for the chapter, for creating and enforcing a collective bargaining agreement, for serving as a liaison with university administration, and for providing union members with specific services. These duties necessitate that officers be nominated and selected by dues paying members; by definition, members have a greater stake (and investment) in the success of a chapter than do nonmembers.

Second, the United Faculty of Florida Constitution and the UNF-UFF Constitution specify that only members in good standing may vote for chapter officers.

Third and most importantly, all in-unit faculty have ample and equal opportunity to have a say in the governance of our UFF chapter and in the contract that governs our terms and conditions of employment (the CBA). Any and all in-unit faculty can join the union at any time (at a very reasonable rate) and participate in our monthly chapter council meetings where they can learn more about the issues affecting UNF faculty and where they can have a say in our approach to dealing with those issues. We welcome (and even seek) members to  become a part of the chapter’s bargaining team, where contract-related issues are researched, debated, and ultimately negotiated.  And even those faculty who choose not to join the union–but who nontheless receive numerous tangible benefits from the union’s work–have the opportunity to attend negotiating sessions and to vote on the contents of the CBA (which must be ratified by faculty vote). Finally, the chapter solicits feedback from all faculty before engaging in contract negotiations. We use the feedback we receive to guide our bargaining priorities.

 

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UNF-UFF Budget Information Request

To better understand the financial climate in which UNF seems to be struggling, we have sought out information from the university. Attached HERE is our budget information request and the relatively cryptic response we received. Attached below is UNF financial data regarding “deferred inflows” and “deferred outflows.”

In addition, we have been working with union colleagues at the other SUS institutions to get their interpretation of the Board of Governors’ metrics, scoring formula, and actual rules around funding.

Click Board of Governors for BOG information including terms, metrics, and performance funding.

 

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Weapons-Restricted-Sign-PKE-17716_300GUN BILL DIES IN SENATE

We are pleased to report (finally) some good news from Tallahassee: it appears unlikely that the Guns on Campus bill (Senate Bill 68) will become law in this legislative session.

Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R – Miami) has refused for a second consecutive year to bring the House-passed legislation to the Senate Judiciary Committee for hearings. As Chair of that committee, Diaz de la Portilla said, “I don’t think this is a Second Amendment issue…I think what we’re talking about here is campus safety and the best way to address that Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 6.01.56 PMissue.” He went on to note that this legislation “is worse than the disease [campus violence].”  As a result of his decision, Senator Diaz de la Portilla has been targeted by a number of NRA-affiliated groups who have, among other things, sent inflammatory and often misleading mail directly to the senator’s campaign contributors. One such message reads “Senator Portilla would rather have me be raped again than even schedule a bill.” Fortunately, Senator Diaz de la Portilla’s common sense and bravery have withstood such onslaughts.

Unfortunately, the gun lobby is attempting to circumvent Senate procedure to get this bill passed. NRA-sponsored and supported legislators are working to bring the law to the floor of the Senate for a vote and thereby avoid committee hearings. And if these efforts fail, they are already poised to reintroduce the legislation in the next session (and, if their efforts are successful, to remove Diaz de la Portilla as an obstacle to their goals).

The United Faculty of Florida will continue to fight against this misguided guns-everywhere policy.

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“Best and Brightest” Bill Reappears

Last year the Florida Legislature appropriated $44 million for a program called Best and Brightest. Senate Bill 524 by Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) would make the Best and Brightest law. The Best and Brightest Teacher “Scholarship” Program awards teachers based upon their high school SAT or ACT scores.  This program has been called “ridiculous,” “the worst bill of the year” and the “biggest waste of taxpayer money in history.” It is a national laughingstock.  We need to remind our lawmakers that basing bonuses on a teacher’s SAT or ACT score is completely absurd and does not help teachers or students.

Click here to urge your senator to VOTE NO on SB 524! Ask your senator to vote against the Best and Brightest program and pay all teachers fairly instead.

 

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logo‘Predatory’ Publishing Up

The study described in this article shows how open-access journals–with questionable peer-review and marketing processes–have attracted a vulnerable audience (scholars under pressure to publish as much as possible in as short a time as possible. The result has been hundreds of thousands of articles a year (a huge jump in only a few years) with many of them never having been peer reviewed in any true sense of the concept.  

Click title above or click HERE for the article.

Predatory Journals: What Faculty Need to Know

“Predatory open-access publishers are those that unprofessionally exploit the gold open-access model for their own profit. That is to say, they operate as scholarly vanity presses and publish articles in exchange for the author fee. They are characterized by various level of deception and lack of transparency in their operations.  For example, some publishers may misrepresent their location, stating New York instead of Nigeria, or they may claim a stringent peer-review where none really exists.”                           – Professor Jeffrey Beall (Chronicle of Higher Education)

         Predatory publishers began proliferating in the past few years with the increase in open access publishing. These journals claim peer-review, scholarly integrity, and have titles that often sound impressive despite their predatory nature. There has also been a sharp rise in predatory conferences, some which choose a name nearly identical to an established, well-respected conference. Traits common to predatory publishers and conferences are high acceptance rates (for manuscripts or proposals), quick turnaround, and fees to publish or present. It is important to note that predatory publishers may also claim to be included in directories and indexes when they are not. Some claim to have prominent university faculty on their editorial boards even when those individuals have never agreed to serve in that capacity. See also Open Access, Open Education, & More: Predatory Publishing.

How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher

Check with departmental colleagues or discipline-area peers elsewhere to see if the journal is reputable. It is critical that faculty members differentiate between open access, fee-based journals, and predatory journals (there are distinctions of varying degrees between each of these). Also, look for the publisher and the journal on the predatory publishing lists linked below.

You may also contact the University Library for a second (or first) opinion about the authenticity of a publisher or journal. The library has numerous resources, the most valuable of which is Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.

In addition:

  • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including  a physical address, on the journal site. Be cautious of outlets that provide only web contact forms.
  • Check that a journal’s editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. If in doubt, contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
  • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees. Avoid outlets that require author fees (except when explicitly accepted within the discipline).  While some disciplines may find author-fee associated journals acceptable, most do not. Check with experts in your discipline to learn about which fee-based journals–if any–are legitimate.
  • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members. Such solicitations have become ubiquitous in recent years. In short, if you receive a mass email about publishing in a journal, be skeptical!
  • Generally, avoid open access (and even print) journals that have published very few volumes and issues. While some highly reputable organizations (e.g., the American Educational Research Association) have recently started new open-access journals, predatory journals are notorious for having very few volumes.
  • Read some of the journal’s published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experiences.
  • Check that a journal’s peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.  Avoid journals that have low impact factors or have no impact factor.  You can confirm Impact Factor via Journal Citation Reports.  Impact factors are, most simply, a ratio of citations per article per journal issue. For more on Impact Factor, click HERE.
  • Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org). [Some questionable journals appear in directories such as DOAJ and Cabell’s; we don’t advise using this as your sole criteria.] Be especially cautious of journals that are not affiliated with a scholarly or professional organization.
  • Be cautious about open-access journals published in developing nations. This is not to suggest that these countries do not have reputable journals or that you should not seek publishing opportunities in foreign presses. Nonetheless, predatory journals based in developing nations (e.g., India, Nigeria) have flourished in recent years.
  • Be skeptical of journals with dubious titles or claims that are too grandiose (e.g., The International Journal of…, The Universal Journal of…). While some reputable journals have such titles, this is also a hallmark of predatory journals.
  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.
  • Contact your librarian!

Resources for Scholars

Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers 2015

Scholarly Open Access on Predatory Journals

Journal Citation Reports (available at Carpenter Library & other university libraries)

Recent Articles & Research Papers on Predatory Publishers

On Predatory Publishers: a Q&A With Jeffrey Beall, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing, Nature

Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too), New York Times

Sham Journals Scam Authors, Nature

“Predatory” Open Access Publishers — The Natural Extreme of an Author-Pays Model

‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics

Also see our recommendations for writing a strong curriculum vita and preparing one’s dossier for promotion and tenure. Visit our Promotion and Tenure Page.

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Enough is Enough Rally

By Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President

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On January 14, 2016, the Florida Education Association (FEA) held an historic rally titled, “Enough is Enough.” Thousands of teachers, education staff professionals, parents, college and university students, faculty members, sister unions, and community supporters from around the state attended. Speakers included FEA officers President Joanne McCall, Vice President Fedrick Ingram, and Secretary-Treasurer Luke Flynt; Mindy Haas, President of the Florida PTA; Adora Obi Nweze, president of the Florida NAACP; Wendy Bradshaw, former teacher; Karla Hernandez-Mats, UTD secretary-treasurer; Tiffany McClary, president of the FAMU Student FEA; Lynnita Lucas, secretary of LESPA; and Monica Russo, Florida SEIU president. Participants rallied behind the theme, “Enough is Enough,” in response to more than a decade of legislative tinkering with Florida’s K-20 education that has focused on dismantling our public institutions in favor of for-profit education schemes. I was fortunate to have been asked to speak at the rally, and I focused on the corporatization and privatization of our public higher education institutions. The text of my speech is below. A video of the rally highlights can be found here.

That same day, UFF First Vice President Elizabeth Davenport, UFF Government Relations Chair Teresa Lucas, and I visited Senate offices to explain our opposition to the guns on campus bill. A special thanks to Elizabeth and Teresa for their work on this important issue!

Click HERE for Jennifer’s Prepared Remarks

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Beware: “Study Sites” Posting Final Exams and Faculty-Owned Materials

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 9.25.53 AMFinal Exam on Studyblue.com

In recent years, a number of websites have been created that ostensibly help college students study more efficiently and effectively. Sites such as studyblue.com offer students a means for accessing materials posted by other (generally former) students in a particular class. In other words, the site posts class notes, powerpoint slides, and even midterm and final exams from prior semesters. They do so without the knowledge or consent of the faculty who created those materials. Furthermore, these sites publish exams that in many cases could only have been copied through cheating.

When one of our chapter’s officers contacted studyblue.com to ask that her materials be removed from the site, she was told that the onus was on her to determine which specific materials needed to be removed and why (which itself requires creating an account through the site). She was also told that they would not remove materials without copyright and that even those materials that were copyrighted might not be removed (citing “fair use”). 

A preliminary search shows that a number of UNF faculty members’ midterm and final exams are posted on the studyblue.com site.

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ALEC-led Attack on State Employees and the Florida Constitution

“It is going to be a nuclear war between the government, the unions, the Republicans and the Democrats,” Trujillo said on the air Sept. 30. “That war is coming.”

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Why continuing contracts matter; State College of Florida trustees should rescind vote to eliminate tenure

Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President

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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.

Read more HERE

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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

 

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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.

 

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Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 3.06.31 PMMore than 500 researchers sign NCLB letter to Congress: stop test-focused reforms

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 5.27.58 PMCourt upholds college tenure changes

 

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Outstanding Faculty Service Award, 2014-2015

Dr. Susan Perez

UNF-UFF Vice President & Associate Professor of Psychology

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In addition to serving as Vice President of the chapter, Susan served as lead faculty negotiator in the creation of our current CBA, a role she has continued throughout this year’s long and frustrating contract re-openers. In addition, Susan has served as a union-administration liaison, as grievance co-counsel, as a chapter Senator, and has been a writer and/or editor of virtually all UNF-UFF communications with faculty. We are very lucky to have her as a chapter leader and are pleased that the UNF faculty has recognized her tremendous accomplishments in this and other service areas.

CONGRATULATIONS SUSAN!

 

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UFF-UNF Chapter Council

Officers, Senators, and Committee Chairs are expected to attend.  Lunch will be served and the location is TBD.

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UFF-UNF Chapter Council

Officers, Senators, and Committee Chairs are expected to attend.  Lunch will be served and the location is TBD.

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UFF-UNF Chapter Council

Officers, Senators, and Committee Chairs are expected to attend.  Lunch will be served and the location is TBD.

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New Faculty Happy Hour

The United Faculty of Florida, UNF Chapter, would like to invite you to a New Faculty Happy Hour!

Join us for local beer, wine, and amazing appetizers.  This is your opportunity to meet our 50+ new faculty just joining UNF.  Members and non-members are welcome!  Great drinks, food, and colleagues await you!

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