Charge of Retention Metrics

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Earle Traynham, Provost Academic Affairs

“Why is the person in charge of the retention metric being moved to another position (Dean of COAS) when we have just finished last in the state in the performance metrics?”

Response from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President for the Academic Affairs:

It is important to remember that there is no one person “in charge of the retention metric.” Retention is not the responsibility of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Retention belongs to literally every one of us, and first and foremost to the faculty. It does not matter what programs are put in place to assist students – and as I describe below, there are many – unless the faculty and the students take responsibility for student success, we will never improve our retention rates. We are very hopeful that we will improve our performance on the retention metric, but this will require all faculty to support this effort. For their parts, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and the Associate Vice President for Enrollment have been working diligently on new or expanded initiatives to promote and facilitate retention:

  • Restructured orientation programming. Orientation is now a more immersive 2-day overnight experience that includes lectures, writing assignments, and placement testing in writing and math, which focuses more on integrating academically into UNF.
  • The revamped orientation is now part of a new Summer Student Success Strategy, which also includes preparatory modules and skills-building classes in math and writing to help the transition to the type of rigor students will see here at UNF. These approaches will take advantage of our terrific Writing Center as well as the new Math Emporium.
  • Implemented a plan for intrusive first year advising in ACE, which includes a minimum of three meetings during the first year with an advisor.
  • Advisors are also contacting all FTIC students with 90+ credits to promote and facilitate graduation.
  • There’s an increased emphasis on communication and interventions with students. As evidence of that increased emphasis, our Student Enrollment Communication Center in Enrollment Services made over 100,000 calls to prospective and current students over the last year regarding admissions, financial aid, orientation, registration, and events and tours. To put that in context, that center didn’t exist until two years ago.
  • Expanded our Supplemental Instruction program from 56 students in Spring 2015 to 942 in Fall 2015, which offers innovative support for gateway courses and results in an average half-letter grade improvement for students who attend. Even more investment is being made in the SI program for 2016-17.
  • Expanded tutoring to add evening hours, more subjects, more locations (including the library and the dorms), and launched online tutoring for select subjects.
  • One Stop is now One Stop in Two Spots: One Stop now is also operating in the library’s Learning Commons, which provides greater reach and better support for students.
  • We are now strongly encouraging students, through advising, marketing, etc., to take 15 credit hours per semester, or 30 per year. Academic merit scholarships are also going to be aligned with a 15-credit hour load. Our own analytics indicate that, even after controlling for academic preparation and numerous other factors, students attempting more hours are more likely to be retained and graduate.
  • Launched the Provost’s House Calls program, in which 89 UNF faculty, staff, and administrators visited freshmen in the dorms midway through fall semester.

Dean of COAS

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Earle Traynham, Provost Academic Affairs

“Do the President and Provost give their assurances that the search for the Permanent Dean of COAS in the Fall will truly be an open search and not have a predetermined outcome like the search for the Interim Dean position did?

Response from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President for the Academic Affairs:

First, I need to correct a misstatement in the question. There was no “predetermined outcome” in the search for the Interim Dean of COAS. With that correction, the answer to the first part of the question is yes. The position has already been posted and it will be advertised nationally.

Interim Dean Raises

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Earle Traynham, Provost Academic Affairs

What is the rationale for giving the interim dean of COAS a $40,000 (approximately) raise on top of a $40,000 (approximately) less than a year earlier when he was appointed Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Associate VP for Faculty Resources? Is it really appropriate and warranted to give raises totaling $80,000 to anyone who is appointed internally–that is, without having competed in a national (market-based) search?

Response from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President for the Academic Affairs:

The rationale for establishing the salary for the Interim Dean of COAS at its current level is that this is, by far, the largest college at UNF, and the position is a senior level administrative position which carries a tremendous amount of responsibility. The performance expectations of the current Interim Dean are not significantly less just because he is an Interim Dean. In short, in my opinion, the salary is both warranted and appropriate. I look forward to a successful national search to identify the best person for this position.

Dr. Falbo’s Departure

May 5, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President, Academic Affairs

Why did Dr. Falbo leave UNF?
Has the provost met with anyone to sound out his or her interest in the position, Director of the Center for Community Based Learning, Dr. Falbo has vacated?


Dr. Falbo’s contract was not renewed. An internal search has been announced; a search committee has been organized; the position has been posted on Oasys; and we hope to conduct and conclude the search over the next few weeks. In the meantime, Heather Burk has agreed to serve as the Interim Director of the Center for Community Based Learning.

Electronic P&T Dossier Software

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: John Delaney, President University of North Florida & Earle Traynham, Provost Academic Affairs

Given the budget issues discussed in President Delaney’s message from the President on February 29th, is the administration/UNF Faculty Association still considering the electronic P&T dossier software, which has an estimated recurring cost of $25,000 per year?

Response from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President for the Academic Affairs:

Dear Chairs,

We will not be able to purchase and implement any electronic P&T software for this next cycle. Earlier in the year, I was hopeful that it might be possible to select, purchase and implement an electronic dossier system for this fall. However, it has not worked out. First, the ITN process took longer than expected. The task force did an excellent job of reviewing and evaluating the available alternatives, and has recently made their recommendation. They also negotiated a “Best Final Offer” from the vendor. However, there is not adequate time to ask everyone one who plans to go up for promotion and/or tenure this fall to adopt the e-dossier software, even if we had it today. Given the tight budget situation facing the university for this next year, it is also unclear if we should make this investment at this time. For these reasons, it is best to continue with our traditional dossier process relying on binders.

We are continuing to investigate the possibility of purchasing the electronic P&T software, with the hope of implementing it in the future. I would appreciate it if you would inform anyone in your department who might be preparing their dossier for P&T to proceed with the traditional process.

Thanks for your help with this.


UFF Officers

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: John White, President United Faculty of Florida

Given that the UFF bargains the contract for all faculty, not just those who are UFF members, will the UFF consider allowing all faculty to vote for UFF officers?

Response from John White, President of the United Faculty of Florida:

There are three answers to this question. The first is a common practice that is at the core of union activity. Officers of a chapter are responsible for setting the direction of that chapter, for creating and enforcing a collective bargaining agreement, and for providing its members with specific services. These duties necessitate that officers be nominated and selected by dues paying members; by definition, paying 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.

Finally, and most importantly, all in-unit faculty have ample and equal opportunity to have a say in the governance of their UFF chapter and in the contract that governs our terms and conditions of employment (the CBA): they can join the union. Membership has its privileges.

Master’s Programs

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President Academic Affairs

More than one new Master’s Program has been developed lately and others are in the works. Are there any concerns that these are not in STEM fields and thus might have a negative impact on the metrics?

Answer from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President, Academic Affairs: 

“Yes, there is some concern, as we prefer not to take actions that may lower our performance on any of the metrics. However, a major part of our mission, as a comprehensive regional university, is to meet the needs of the northeast Florida region. If new Masters Programs address these needs, we should develop and offer them.
Some of the programs we are adding, e.g., Master of Social Work, are in areas of strategic emphasis and will improve our performance on the STEM metric.”

Inertia costs

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President Academic Affairs

Can the Provost please explain the so-called inertia costs in Academic Affairs that are needed for next year’s budget?

Response from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President, Academic Affairs:

“Inertia” costs may be classified as Recurring and Non-Recurring.

Recurring include: promotion increases (this year $420,875), continuing to replace long-term visiting positions, which are in violation of the CBA, with regular faculty (this year $253,820), two additional faculty required to address accreditation concerns (this year $174,825), extra salary rate required to replace 2 deans (this year estimated to be $129,500), stipend increases for department chairs approaching 8 years of service (this year $5180), electronic P&T dossier software (estimated to be $25,000). These commitments total $1,009,200. There are additional commitments that have been made against recurring dollars, but most of these are related to enrollment growth which will provide additional tuition to cover the projected costs. Of course, the total required varies from one year to the next, but this year is not atypical.

Non-Recurring include: startup funds, mostly in the sciences and engineering (estimated to be $500,000), accreditation support (estimated to be $250,000), Assessment expenses (estimated to be $50,000), Scantrons (estimated to be $20,000), Visiting faculty (estimated to be $800,000), Adjunct/overload expense (estimated to be $1,270,000), Transformational Learning Opportunities ($300,000), equipment budget ($300,000). These commitments total $3,490,000. As with the recurring funds, the total varies somewhat from year to year, and there are always some additional non-recurring items which are not required.

These recurring and non-recurring commitments are pretty standard each year, and total about $4.5 million. Given these commitments, it is easy to see why we do not want to be in the bottom three on the metrics and receive no new money.

Service Request for Mathematics and Statistics Department

December 3, 2015

Questioner: Pali Sen

Posed to: Shari Shuman, Vice President Administration & Finance

The lights need to be looked at in the stairwell of the Mathematics and Statistics Department.


The lights need to be looked at in the stairwell of the Mathematics and Statistics department.

We will replace/upgrade the exterior stairwell lighting as part of the next round of LED lighting retrofits. The Safety committee will also look at this area when they do their annual night safety walk in the fall.