Research Productivity at UNF

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: David S. Szymanski, UNF President

Under the past administration research productivity at UNF dropped precipitously. As revealed by the Faculty Union, revenues from grants and contracts – a key indicator of research – dropped from 28% of revenues to 6% of revenues leaving UNF ranked last among all other Florida schools. This decline has affected research productivity and also resulted in the loss of tens of millions of dollars in annual revenues that could have supported faculty, students, and staff. Remarkably, according to a Times Union story, this was part of an “intentional” strategy on the part of the past administration. The new president and the BOT have rightfully chosen to put UNF back on track. UNF’s current president is quoted as saying he expects to “grow UNF’s research offerings and reputation.” Moreover, the Board of Trustee’s (BOT) new strategic plan calls for UNF to “attract, support, and reward talented faculty and staff who promote student success through research, inquiry, the creative process, and the application of knowledge.” As a long-standing research oriented member of the faculty, I applaud the new president’s and BOT’s recognition of the importance and role of research at a major university like UNF. Question to the President: going forward what plans does the president have to “grow UNF’s research offerings” and its “research” reputation. Many current administrators, wedded to the past, have shown little initiative to grow UNF’s research offerings and to increase UNF’s research reputation. Question to the BOT: Going forward, what plans does the BOT have to “attract, support, and reward talented faculty and staff who promote student success through research, inquiry, the creative process, and the application of knowledge.” Under the BOT, faculty salaries necessary to attract research oriented faculty to UNF have fallen to the lowest level in the state.

Response from the Floor by President Szymanski

We have taken the first step in the Leadership Awards. These awards will be provided to faculty who are excellent in teaching and in their research efforts.

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