Students on Skateboards and Bicycles

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to:  Shari Shuman, Vice President, Administration & Finance

Students riding skateboards and bicycles on the sidewalks and breezeways near the academic buildings has created a very dangerous situation. At least once or twice a day,  I observe one of these students coming down a narrow sidewalk at full speed, weaving in and out of the pedestrians.

Yesterday, one young man rode his skateboard on a crowded sidewalk while looking at his iPhone. I often have to step aside onto the grass to avoid the possibility of being struck.

Response from the Floor by Vice President Shuman:

In the month of November, 80 students were cited for pedestrian moving violations.

Response from UNF Police Chief Frank Mackesy:

The University Police Department (UPD) does enforcement of skateboard violations on a regular and routine basis. We handle both on our own and in response to complaints. This is a problem area that UPD takes seriously and will continue to work as time permits.

Pay for Former Administrators

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

At the last FA meeting (September 2018), an anonymous questioner asked why the university pays former administrators at the same rate of pay even after they have stepped down or been pushed down from administrative roles—a policy that creates golden parachutes, grossly differential pay for the same work within a department, and costs the university hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Provost Chally’s answer, that “That has been a current policy that has been in effect for a large number of years” does not answer the question. I would appreciate an answer that includes a justifiable rationale for continuing a policy that Folio Weekly called a “demotion bonus.”

Response from the Floor by Provost Chally

There are two parts that need to be included in the answer. UNF has maintained the belief that individuals that are Associate Deans or Chairs are in roles that are difficult. These individuals have to manage faculty, often large number of faculty, and manage other duties that are quite challenging. The Policy that was referenced in the previous question is the policy that was established so that Chairs and Associate Deans that serve a given amount of time are able to maintain a portion of that stipend.

The second part of the question pertains to individual administrators who have negotiated strong parachutes when they returned to faculty. Interim Provost Chally stated that she was not a part of discussions that took place when previous administrators left their positions and therefore cannot comment further.

Regarding Anonymous Questions

Comment from FA Vice President Dr. Gordon Rakita regarding the anonymous questions:

There are faculty members and administrators at UNF that will attest to my support for the tradition of the anonymous question here at UNF. Our Past President John Delaney and I have debated their merit multiple times. I do not believe I have convinced him of my position; I know he has not convinced me of his.

In the face of administration intransigence or poor judgment – as a recourse to administrative inaction or the administration ignoring legitimate faculty grievance – the anonymous question has its place. However, of late, I fear too many faculty resort to the anonymous question to vilify administration – and I fear that some do so precisely because they know that they can remain anonymous.

If they have sought answer or recompense from multiple venues and the anonymous question is still the last place to plead their case – then I bid them welcome to it. However, if their intention is not to seek resolution, if they have not sought explanation or mutual understanding through other means – then I ask them to consider carefully. I especially appeal to that full, tenured faculty – if your grievance is valid you will find support for your position.

Further, for untenured colleagues, I offer this suggestion – select a trusted member of the Union or the Faculty Association and raise your issue with them confidentially. We who have agreed to serve here are to do just that. We can offer counsel, we can advocate for your point of view, and we can protect your identity if you fear reprisal. Allow us to do our join and act as your representative. Our voice as your representative is stronger if you place your trust in us. And to my administrative colleagues – I urge you to take the anonymous questions seriously. My experience has been that the number of questions and the level of thinly veiled antipathy within that are a fairly reasonable proxy for the ire of the faculty. It is a foolish leader who ignores the opinions and voices of those they lead. I appreciate your indulgence.

Ordering of Faculty Association Agenda Items

Question from the Floor by Judy Rodriguez, Professor, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics:

Is it possible to reorder the Faculty Association agenda such that the Question and Answer portion is moved to the end, and the legislative calendar is moved forward in the agenda order? In most meetings such as this one, questions and answers are typically held at the end of the meeting.

Response from the floor by FA President David Fenner
The order of agenda items for the Faculty Association meeting are set by the FA Bylaws. At an upcoming retreat of the Executive Committee of the FA, we will discuss whether there could be more flexibility in the order of agenda items.

Harsh Faculty Evaluations

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Weren’t chairs directed by Provost Traynham and you to evaluate faculty more harshly. Specifically, weren’t chairs to to give more accurate annual ratings, because they were rating faculty too positively?

Response from the floor by Provost Chally

Regarding evaluating individuals more harshly, we encourage our evaluations to be accurate. They do not need to be high — they do not need to be low — they just need to be accurate.

Vote of No Confidence – CCEC

Anonymous Question to: Faculty Association President, David Fenner

What is the process for a Vote of No Confidence in the Dean of CCEC?


Response from the Floor by FA President Fenner

According to the College of Computing, Engineering, and Construction bylaws (

“Failure to execute faithfully the duties of the office constitutes cause for the Dean’s removal. On receipt of a petition to consider a secret retention vote, signed by at least 50% of the College faculty excluding the Dean, the VPAA shall schedule a meeting of the College faculty without the Dean to determine if such a vote shall be taken. Petitions to consider such a vote may be submitted only during the academic year and no more than 2 such petitions may occur during an academic year.”

CBA Training for Department Chairs

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Pamela S. Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

The UNF Constitution requires that department chairs “Department Chairs shall have an understanding of applicable collective bargaining agreements.” However anecdotal evidence suggests that some Department Chairs do not have a basic understanding of the UNF-UFF agreement. This lack of understanding can result in dysfunctional conflict, unnecessary grievances, and in some instances law suits. What training is provided to new chairs for understanding the CBA? What training is provided to existing administrators to update them on changes to the CBA? The UNF administration spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for an outside lawyer to represent them in CBA negotiations, how much money is spent on compliance training?

Response from the Floor by Provost Chally

That is an area that I believe we can improve. It is my intention that there will be a training for those individuals identified.

Instructor Positions in Coggin College of Business

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark C. Dawkins, Dean of Coggin College of Business

The Dean of the Coggin College of Business recently attempted to convert two instructor positions to two tenure track assistant professor positions — without allowing faculty to conduct searches for the two assistant professor positions. Thankfully UFF and Academic Affairs stepped in to stop his efforts. This represents yet another decision by the Dean of the College of Business to lower academic standards at UNF. [Is this a lowering of standards by Dean Dawkins?]  Since arriving the Dean has made other decisions that lowered academic standards including lowering admission standards in the MBA program (UNF’s largest graduate program). My question is to the Dean of the Coggin College of Business – why are you making decisions that lower academic standards? UNF aspires to maintain high academic standards. Successful deans work to increase academic standards in the colleges they serve – not lower them.

Response by Dean Dawkins: 

I disagree that CCB has made decisions that lower academic standards, and note that admission standards in the MBA program (and changes therein) are approved by CCB faculty.

Admissions Standards for MBA

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark C. Dawkins, Dean of Coggin College of Business

The College of Business has again voted to lower admission standards for UNF’s largest graduate program — the MBA. Previously, at the behest of the new Dean, faculty agreed to do away with requirements that applicants submit minimum admission test scores (i.e., GRE and GMAT). This time requirements for certain applicants with a GPA below 3.0 were altered. This occurred despite anecdotal reports of declining student performance and increasing questions about student retention and graduation rates – the same metrics that have challenged UNF in the Board of Governors (undergraduate) Performance Funding Model. Questions (for the current/incoming administration): What is the strategy? What are the costs? How does lowering standards fit with UNF’s mission, vision, and strategic plan? It’s one thing to increase enrollments while maintaining standards, its altogether another thing to increase enrollments while lowering standards.

Response by Dean Dawkins:

I disagree that CCB has lowered admission standards, and note that admission standards in the MBA program (and changes therein) are approved by CCB faculty. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be interviewed and must submit a 1) statement of purpose and 2) letters of recommendation. The interview and additional documents allow for a holistic review of each applicant whose GPA is below 3.0 so an admission decision can be made.

Ballots and Ranking for Job Candidates

Question from the Floor by Pali Sen:

It came to my attention that ballots were being used for committee decisions on chair, associate dean and dean searches. If they have three candidates A, B, & C, the voting instruction says to vote for each candidate, as acceptable or not, instead of ranking the candidates. Ranking data is supported by the statistical procedures and is accepted for a standard decision but yes or no on each candidate for the same position does not support any statistical practice. Can you please find out about the validity of the ballots before the university is being accused of unfair practice?

Response from Provost Chally: 

Thank you for your questions, Pali.  The process depends on the objective.  If the hiring officer wants to know who is acceptable, then indicating yes or no answers the question.  If the hiring officer is asking who is deemed superior,  a ranking procedure would be appropriate.