Greetings Fellow UFF-FAU Members!

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.

Collective Bargaining

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.

UFF-FAU Election

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 mmountfo@fau.edu. Open for nomination:

President
Vice-President
2nd Vice-President
Secretary
Treasurer
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.

Mandatory On-line Training

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.

New Florida Legislation for Guns on Campus

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
you feel.

Standardized Class Scheduling

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.

New Evaluation Standards and Assignments for Faculty

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.