Chalk Dust in Classrooms

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: All Faculty

“Recently, a faculty member discovered, upon entering a classroom, that there was a large amount of yellow chalk dust on the blackboard tray and other surfaces.  Could we find a way to prevent this in the future?  It would help if faculty members would remember to use the dustless chalk.”

 

Written response from Faculty Association President, Dr. Gordon Rakita:

When possible, I encourage all faculty who use traditional chalk boards to use the dustless chalk out of courtesy to their colleagues.  I additionally urge departments to stock dustless chalk for faculty when appropriate and possible.

 

Gordon

 

Gordon F.M. Rakita, Ph.D., RPA

Associate Professor of Anthropology,

President of the UNF Faculty Association, &

Member of the UNF Board of Trustees

Department of Sociology & Anthropology

University of North Florida

1 UNF Drive, Building 51, Room 2304

Jacksonville, FL 32224-2659

http://www.unf.edu/~grakita/

Phone: 904-620-1658

grakita@unf.edu

ISQ Evaluations

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark Workman, Provost Academic Affairs

“I would like to submit the following questions anonymously to the Faculty Association and ask for a written response from the administration.  It seems UNF posted the Student ISQ evaluations of faculty to comply with state laws.
1. Why were faculty not informed?
2. Why was only one item selected?
3. Why were the grade distributions posted as well? What is the rationale? Is it required by law to post those?
4. Why are faculty IDEA ratings of administrators not shared with faculty? Would those ratings not fall under the Florida sunshine law?  Even if it is not required by law, what is the reason not to make these ratings of administrators available, especially in light of greater transparency and accountability?”

 

Written response from Former Provost Mark Workman, Academic Affairs:

Gordon,

Please share this statement or not, verbally or in writing, as you see fit.

 

Thanks.

Mark

 

It is important that we remind or inform concerned faculty that the GDRs by instructor are grade distribution reports already posted for the university on the www.myedu.com website.  It is Academic Affairs’ understanding that for several years, students requested UNF’s participation in the myedu.com site – the Registrar would create a file and the General Counsel’s office would then send (or clear the Registrar to send) an  instructor-level grade distribution report to  myedu.com; this data was considered public information. Because instructor-level grade distribution reports were deemed to be public information, the Registrar was essentially responding to the student’s public records request by providing myedu.com with the data to upload on its site.  Once on the myedu.com site, students created (free) accounts to access this information.  Before Student Government approached Academic Affairs with its request, the SG President and Vice President researched other institutional websites and provided Academic Affairs  with examples of GDRs (Texas A&M and Indiana University-Bloomington) which made this data available to students on the home university’s website.  This would obviate the need for UNF to send this data to myedu.com and require students to create accounts.  SG requested the same ease of access to this data for UNF students.  Once Academic Affairs confirmed that the Registrar and General Counsel were providing this data to myedu.com and there were no issues of GDRs having limited access protection, we asked the SG President and Vice President to discuss their request with the President of Faculty Association.  Following that discussion, ITS and Enrollment Services worked with SG to post the data in a highly accessible and visible place on UNF’s website. The project was completed ahead of schedule thus the notification to students and faculty followed the posting of the data on UNF’s site.

 

With regard to the question of using aggregated data, it seemed impractical to offer to students this option since they were already accessing instructor-level data through myunf.edu.  To restrict the data they already had access to via myedu.com would not be responding to the request for this (public) data.   Academic Affairs suggests that representatives of the Faculty Association or General Counsel meet with Student Government to discuss the possibility of providing GDRs that are aggregated at the department level.  Since SG requested this data, it seems they would be the appropriate body to discuss other options.

Exam Times and Graduation Dates Conflict

Questioner: Oliver Schnusenberg, Academic Standards Committee Chair

Posted to: Mark Workman, Provost Academic Affairs

“The Academic Standards Committee, in their initial evaluation the survey results for the final exam policy, noted that several faculty members commented on a potential conflict, well, not a potential conflict, a real conflict, between the exam times on Fridays and graduation.  This question is directed at the administration.  Would it be possible to shift graduation to a different day of the week?”

 

Written response from Interim Provost & Vice President, Dr. Earle Traynham:

Gordon,
Back on April 10, 2013, the Provost received a question asking about the possibility of shifting graduation from Friday to a different day of the week.  Since the stated purpose of the shift is to eliminate the potential conflict between exam times and graduation, the only day to shift commencement to would be Saturday.  As I understand, this question has been examined by Academic Affairs, Enrollment Services and the Academic Standards Committee.  It is simply not financially viable to hold commencement on Saturday as all staff required to work at commencement would have to be paid overtime.  There was discussion of changing the final exam schedule to eliminate the possible exam conflicts, and this was rejected by the Academic Standards Committee.
We regret very much that some faculty may not be able to attend a commencement ceremony, and hope that this situation does not impact many faculty members often.
Thank you.
Earle

Skateboarding on Campus

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Shari Shuman, VP of A&F / Thomas Serwatka, VP & COS to the President

“In the past two years, the number of skateboarders on campus has increased exponentially. Besides ignoring the signs currently posted on campus, they race through crowds of people even through the walkways that are only 2-4 feet wide. Recently at FSCJ, a pregnant woman was struck by a skateboarder and almost lost her baby.

It has gotten to the point that every day that I walk to class, I am in fear. As this is my workplace, I do not feel that I should be subjected to this type of risk. I also have students who have had boards fly at their shins, and in a quick poll, half the students in my large lecture agree that skateboarders are an issue.

Given that they pose a workplace hazard to faculty and staff as well as posing a huge liability for the university, what can be done to curtail skateboard use on campus? Like cars, are there strips that can be laid in parts of campus to make the boarders pick up their boards and walk at certain places?”

 

Written response from John E. Dean, Chief of Police:

Every week UPD conducts deployments (officers assigned for a specific purpose) in reference to skateboards and bicycles in the crosswalks and the core campus area. In addition to the deployments, the officers assigned to the core are required to monitor and enforce bicycle and skateboard violations daily. At the beginning of each fall term we (in conjunction with Healthy Osprey) conduct a threefold education and enforcement program. In the first phase officer’s hand out educational material to violators for a specified time period, in the second phase they issue warnings to violators and give t-shirts to those that comply (positive reinforcement) and in the final phase they start issuing paying citations. In addition to this program we also talk about it at student orientation and other group meetings. Since January 1st of this year, UPD has issued over 100 written/warning and verbal citations to skateboarders and bicyclists.

 

Since January 1st, there have been (to our knowledge) two people hurt as a result of skateboards. In each case the skateboard rider fell off their board and only injured themselves (no other person injured). In only one case this year (reported to us) has there been any property damage. At this time Student Affairs and the Police Department are exploring other options to address this issue.

Library Designation Proposal

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: David Fenner, Co-chair, Faculty Affairs Committee

Comments:  “If Library personnel are able to be given the designation of emeritus, why are senior instructors also included in this proposal?  It seem as if the Library personnel are attempting to obtain benefits that are exclusionary for senior instructors who have served for longer than the five years library staff is requesting. Why are instructors not included in this plan?”

 

Written response from Dr. David Fenner, Co-Chair of Faculty Affairs Committee:

Ellie, please confirm that the language below is the FINAL language we settled on in Faculty Affairs.  I think it is, but I don’t have the minutes of that meeting (actually, would you mind sending me electronic copies of all the minutes you’ve taken?  That would help me out a lot!  THANK YOU!)

The title “emeritus” is an honor that may be conferred upon a tenured professor or associate professor or associate or university librarian upon retirement, in recognition of a distinguished record at the University of North Florida. It is expected emeritus faculty will have made significant contributions in the areas of teaching, research, or service (including administrative service); or any combination thereof. Faculty who held a title in addition to professor or associate professor or associate or university librarian for at least five years at UNF (e.g., dean) shall be eligible to have that title included in their emeritus honor.

 

The process for receiving the honor is as follows:  A nomination is sent to the department chair (or equivalent) including the emeritus title requested; self-nominations are allowed. The tenured faculty of the department or library faculty at the rank of associate or above shall vote by secret ballot on the candidacy. If the majority of the department’s  tenured faculty or library faculty approves, the vote of the faculty, the candidate’s vita, and recommendation letters from the department chair or equivalent and college or library dean shall be forwarded to the Vice President for Academic Affairs for final approval and action.

 

Gordon, if these are the final adjustments to the Faculty Handbook, then the answer to the question below is that instructors are not on tenure lines nor do they have ranks that include “professor/university librarian” or “associate professor/associate librarian.”  This is why instructors are not included in emeritus designations.

 

If there is a wish to include instructors among those eligible for emeritus designations, a proposal for this first must be presented to Faculty Affairs.

 

David

General Education Proposal

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark Workman, Provost Academic Affairs

“Should the Provost have the power to reject a General Education proposal – a proposal that has been painstakingly crafted by the General Education Council and the General Education Task Force, that has been reviewed by the leadership of every college, that has the documented support of every college dean, and that has been praised by the Gen Ed external program reviewer who recently visited UNF – because of his opposition and that of one other faculty member?”

 

Written Responses from Mark Workman, Provost Academic Affairs:

Well, the proposal ultimately will have to be reviewed by this entire body, so really, you’ll have as much say in its composition and structure as will I, but like all actions taken by the Faculty Association with regard to academic programs, they come to me for my approval and then I forward them on to the President for his approval. That same chain will be in effect in this case. I regret that there’s a perception that I summarily dismissed the proposal. I thought we had a good conversation about it. There is merit in the proposal. I’m very grateful to the people who labored in putting it together. From the outset, I indicated to members of the Gen Ed Task Force that I had some concerns with the proposal, and I regard it as very much my responsibility as the chief academic officer of the university to express my concern. But I would love to engage in a constructive dialog with members of the committee to make sure that we’re very much on the same page and that we have a Gen Ed curriculum that we can all feel good about. So I’ll look forward to further constructive, positive, and very collegial conversations on this matter.”

Creating a Football Program at UNF

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: John Delaney, President University of North Florida

“Given the recent data on the short-term and long-term effects of concussions and sub-concussive injuries on young men playing football, why would UNF even consider creating a football program and adding to this mounting tragedy.”

 

Written response from Dr. Thomas Serwatka, Vice President & Chief of Staff to the President:

As President Delaney indicated in his oral response, it is quite likely that the financial numbers will not support adding football at this time. If and when the numbers do support adding a football team, there will be a more comprehensive review of whether football is appropriate for this campus. In these discussions, we would certainly put the health of the student-athlete as a primary point of discussion. Professional sports and college athletics are beginning to look into ways to mitigate the injuries that are occurring. When, and if, it becomes financially feasible for UNF to consider football, the safety precautions may have advanced significantly. But we won’t know until we are there and you can be sure that, under this administration, the safety of the student-athlete will be a critical component of any decision-making process.

 

I hope these responses address the two issues raised. We would be happy to meet with individual faculty members to provide more information, as such information becomes available.

 

President Delaney would also like to thank the questioners for keeping our attention focused on important questions such as these.

 

Respectfully,

 

Thomas S. Serwatka

Ratio of Faculty to Administrators

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: John Delaney, President University of North Florida

“A recent widely published study indicates that 3 to 1 is the ideal ratio of faculty to administrators at a university. Data on the SUS web site indicates UNF’s ratio is 2 to 1, if we include non-tenure- track faculty, and that our ratio is worse than many others in the SUS. What can UNF do to improve these numbers, operate more efficiently, and reduce the administrative bloat?”

Written response from Dr. Thomas Serwatka, Vice President & Chief of Staff to the President:

Unfortunately, there are two different problems with the data that the anonymous faculty member was using as the basis for this question.

 

The data on the SUS website were drawn from IPEDS data submitted by each institution. In most cases, the data we are required to send to IPEDS are very standardized and precisely prescribed. There are, however, some elements that require university judgment.

 

The IPEDS directions for this data element state that managerial-level people should be included in the executive/administrative category if the individuals spend at least 80 percent of their time in administrative tasks, as opposed to providing direct service. When UNF enters its data, we do so based on title and fail to measure the amount of time spent on direct services. Our submission includes directors and assistant directors while other institutions do not. In some cases, our directors are appropriately included in this category: for example, the director of the Florida Institute of Education. In many other instances, the individuals who hold the title of director are spending considerably more than 20 percent of their time in providing direct services. And, it is highly unlikely that any of our assistant directors even comes close to the 80 percent criteria, yet we include them under this code. We need to work on our system of reporting to make it more consistent with the definition and/or the practices across the state.

 

One other reason that may cause the significant differences you see on the tables presented by the SUS is that UNF includes its auxiliary services employees in this count. We have reason to believe that some other institutions are only counting E&G funded positions.

 

Before any meaningful comparisons across institutions can be made, we need to standardize coding for this element. Our Office of Institutional Research has been asked to see if the system can address these discrepancies in reporting data. When we get this resolved, it is likely that our data will more accurately reflect the national norms.

Custodial Services Change

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Shari Shuman, Vice President Administration & Finance

Is informing “UNF employees” of significant changes in the cleaning of their offices by publishing this information under the heading “Change in Campus Custodial Services Starts Today” in the Osprey Update of April 30, 2012 (at the end of the Spring semester) an effective way to communicate such policy changes to UNF employees? (1)
Can the cleaning of offices be reduced to emptying trashes once a week? Is this sufficient? Is the implication here that UNF employees should clean their offices?
Could the sudden and unprecedented occurrence of fruit flies in some of our offices have been avoided by a more effective information campaign in regard to “Change in Campus Custodial Services”?
Is the line of trash cans laying outside of our offices adding to the so-much worked for aesthetic quality of our campus?
Furthermore, are the decrease in office cleaning, limited circulation regarding to policy changes affecting the cleaning of employees’ offices, and the spraying of our offices with pesticides evidence of RATIONAL CHOICES in the long term? Could such changes negatively impact the environment and employees’ overall health? Are these decisions in line with our alleged commitment to a cleaner environment? In light of this all, is the Change in Campus Custodial Services” cost-effective?

(1) The following was the only source of info regarding change in campus custodial services I was able to identify:
ORIGINAL TEXT PUBLISHED IN THE OSPREY UPDATE OF APRIL 30 2012:

Change in Campus Custodial Services Starts Today
Beginning today, custodial services to the campus community will change. Through attrition, custodian staffing has been reduced, resulting in a $200,000 annual savings. As of today, individual offices will be cleaned weekly instead of daily. Custodial staff will continue to pick up trash daily, as long as the trash cans are left outside individual office doors at the end of the work day. Trash pick-up for employees in cubicles won’t be impacted. Classrooms, restrooms and all other common spaces will continue to be maintained on a daily basis. For more information, contact Shelia Lopez in Physical Facilities. Contact: Sheila Lopez at lops0002@unf.edu or (904) 620-1979.

 

Response from Shari Shuman, Vice President for the Administration & Finance:

Below is the response the faculty association question.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

 

Is informing “UNF employees” of significant changes in the cleaning of their offices by publishing this information under the heading “Change in Campus Custodial Services Starts Today” in the Osprey Update of April 30, 2012 (at the end of the Spring semester) an effective way to communicate such policy changes to UNF employees? Osprey Update is the official source for providing notices to the campus community every day the University is open. 

 

Can the cleaning of offices be reduced to emptying trashes once a week? Is this sufficient? Is the implication here that UNF employees should clean their offices? As stated in the notice, trash will continue to be collected daily if left outside of the individual’s office.  Offices are cleaned weekly by the custodial staff.  Daily cleaning is excessive.

 

Could the sudden and unprecedented occurrence of fruit flies in some of our offices have been avoided by a more effective information campaign in regard to “Change in Campus Custodial Services”?  According to our pest control vendor, fruit flies in offices are usually attributed to house plants fungus, not trash.  

 

Is the line of trash cans laying outside of our offices adding to the so-much worked for aesthetic quality of our campus?  It is not ideal but cost effective.

 

Furthermore, are the decrease in office cleaning, limited circulation regarding to policy changes affecting the cleaning of employees’ offices, and the spraying of our offices with pesticides evidence of RATIONAL CHOICES in the long term? Could such changes negatively impact the environment and employees’ overall health? Are these decisions in line with our alleged commitment to a cleaner environment?  In light of this all, is the Change in Campus Custodial Services” cost-effective?

A cleaner environment starts with reducing how much trash is generated.  This change saved the University more than $200,000.  We believe this change has been cost effective and more efficient for the University.

 

Shari Shuman

VP, Administration and Finance

University of North Florida

1 UNF Drive

Jacksonville, Fl  32224

904-620-4727

Summer Classes Budgets

Questioner: George Candler

Posted to: Associate Provost Bobby Waldrup, Academic Affairs

Apparently when we do summer budgets, we allocate x dollars to pay for faculty to teach summer classes. These classes then generate tuition revenue, which I’ll call y. The problem seems to be that y and x do not interact. To take the graduate program I teach in (the MPA): we average 20+ students for our classes. To put me in front of that class will have a marginal cost of maybe $10k, at 12.5% of my salary, plus retirement contribution (no extra health costs are incurred), and a bit of electricity. Yet with 20 graduate students at tuition of $1272 each, the marginal revenue generated by this class is over $25k. We only offered three MPA classes this summer due to budget constraints, rather than our usual four. I’ve no doubt (student numbers are healthy) that we left $15k (revenue of $25k – cost of $10k) on the table. If the revenue side of the equation was added to the cost, we would be able to make less harmful decisions about how many classes we can ‘afford’ to offer.

 

Written Responses for Question Synopsis
Bobby Waldrup, Associate Provost for Academic Programs:

Gordon,

Please find the question offered by Dr. Candler to the September Faculty Association meeting and my response below.

Thank you,

 

Bobby

Bobby Waldrup, Ph.D., CPA

Associate Provost for Academic Programs

Academic Affairs

University of North Florida

Phone 904-620-2700

 

From George Candler at Sept 6th, 2012 FA Meeting

I’ve got a question about summer scheduling, about a problem that has existed everywhere that I’ve taught. It might be best directed at Provost Workman.

Apparently when we do summer budgets, we allocate x dollars to pay for faculty to teach summer classes.  These classes then generate tuition revenue, which I’ll call y.  The problem seems to be that y and x do not interact. To take the graduate program I teach in (the MPA): we average 20+ students for our classes. To put me in front of that class will have a marginal cost of maybe $10k, at 12.5% of my salary, plus retirement contribution (no extra health costs are incurred), and a bit of electricity. Yet with 20 graduate students at tuition of $1272 each, the marginal revenue generated by this class is over $25k. We only offered three MPA classes this summer due to budget constraints, rather than our usual four. I’ve no doubt (student numbers are healthy) that we left $15k (revenue of $25k – cost of $10k) on the table. If the revenue side of the equation was added to the cost, we would be able to make less harmful decisions about how many classes we can ‘afford’ to offer.

 

In matching marginal tuition generated against its associated marginal costs, the 12-month fiscal year is used as opposed to traditionally bifurcated academic year / summer term.  In the short run, the university’s expenditure budget is approved and set in Tallahassee, and therefore we do not locally have the freedom to deviate significantly by adding additional summer costs regardless of possible tuition generated.  In the long run, the vast majority of costs at the university is fixed in nature across the 12-month fiscal year, and must be matched against the FTE generated across that same 12-month period.  Since 99% of summer enrollment is constituted of non-transient students, the marginal tuition that would be generated by increased summer enrollment would come at the expense of future Fall/Spring tuition revenues.