Conduct of Administrators

February 7, 2019

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Pam Chally, Interim Provost & VP of Academic Affairs

My questions concern the business school and its Dean. This past summer three female office managers, with 35 years of experience among them, walked off their jobs accusing the Dean of creating a hostile workplace. A lawyer was hired to investigate. However, the inquiry was limited to if the Dean violated laws against discrimination and sexual misconduct. Not surprisingly, the lawyer found “no appearance” the Dean violated such laws. What standard of conduct are administrators at UNF held to? Is it limited to whether they break the law? What about the “highest standards of ethical behavior” and “professional practice” called for in the UNF rules and regulations? The investigator’s report contains disturbing accounts of threats, intimidation, coercion and retaliation; as well as other forms of aggressive and unwanted behavior. What is being done about this conduct? Will it be investigated under UNF’s Code of Ethical Conduct? The investigation also produced a “supplemental” report that evidenced among other issues that the Dean tried to interfere with the Presidential Search Committee to further his own candidacy and when he was unsuccessful he retaliated against a committee member. What steps are being taken in response to this second report and this evidence? In both reports, most (but not all) of the evidence came from administrators and staff who work closely with the Dean. There is also evidence that the administration has long known about many of the allegations. Is this what faculty and students can expect from the new administration? Is this who we are? Aren’t we better than this – aren’t we?

Response from the floor by Interim Provost Chally

Interim Provost Chally stated she had concerns about discussing personnel issues in a public forum. She will answer it in the future.

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.

Administrator/Faculty Bullying Policy

December 6, 2018

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: David Fenner, President, Faculty Association

The new “bully” policy was motivated by concerns for protecting against faculty-on-faculty bullying? However, many faculty have witnessed administrator-on-faculty bullying. Does the new policy apply to administrator-on-faculty bullying? What procedures should a faculty member follow if they are the witness or are the victim of administrator-on-faculty bullying?

There is confusion over its application where administrators who are also members of the faculty are involved. Does the policy protect faculty against bullying by a member of the administration?

Response from the Floor by David Fenner:

The new Bullying policy does not protect faculty from administrator bullying. The purpose of the existing Bullying policy is to protect faculty on faculty bullying. Where there is a difference in level, such as cases where there is a difference in level, such as administrators bullying faculty or faculty bullying administrators that fall under the purview of the United Faculty of Florida and the CBA.

Follow up statement:

CBA article 10.4F has broad language that protects faculty from bullying from administrators:

 “Observe the published rules and regulations of the University, provided that the rules and regulations do not contravene academic freedom, which includes the faculty member’s right to responsibly criticize and seek revision of those rules and regulations;”

Math-Stat Department

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

  1. There is talk that Lev Gasparov, as part of his acceptance as Associate Dean of COAS, was granted approval for software that cost around $30,000 or more by Dean Rainbolt. Despite the fact that administrators do not have research programs, much less that this is an extraordinary amount to spend on one person’s request, how does the Dean justify this extraordinary expense?

Response by: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Thank you for your question. I place a high value on the transparent allocation of resources. The COAS Dean’s Office is happy to answer any questions about resource allocation.

In COAS, associate deans and the Dean are expected to maintain research programs. Of course, the level of research expected of associate deans and the dean is less than expected of other faculty.

In 2007, Lev Gasparov and Jay Huebner received a grant of approximately $850,000 from the Office of Naval Research. Approximately $320,000 was used to purchase a Raman spectrometer. (In Raman spectroscopy, a sample is hit with a laser and the light that is scattered back reveals information about the sample.)           Dr. Gasparov used the spectrometer to earn two NSF grants totaling approximately $275,000. Over his career at UNF, Dr. Gasparov has secured more than $1.5M in collaborative and sole PI external funding, has published 20 articles in the leading peer reviewed journals, and has mentored many students. This led to his being designated a Presidential Professor. The Naval Research grant and the two NSF grants alone have resulted in the award of more than $110,000 in indirects to UNF.

The spectrometer is eleven years old and requires new controller. If a new controller is not purchased, the spectrometer will become useless. The cost of the new controller and the controller’s software was $20,915. It was paid for as follows: Dr. Gasparov Summer Research Grant $4000, Physics $3,410, Academic Affairs: $4,000, COAS Sweep Funds: $9,505.

Originally, the Department of Physics was going to contribute approximately $8,000 for this project. The faculty of the Department of Physics discussed and approved the allocation of $8,000. However, Karla Calliste-Edgar used her outstanding budgeting skills to transfer some of this burden to the College’s sweep funds.

Sweep funds are funds allocated to departments, but not spent by the departments. At the end of each fiscal year, the unused funds are “swept” by the College. Then a call goes out to chairs for requests for the use of sweep funds. Last year, all sweep requests submitted by departments were funded before funds were allocated to Dr. Gasparov’s spectrometer. In the past two years, sweep funds have been used to support faculty in departments such as Music, Art, Communications, and Chemistry.

The expenditures on the Raman controller were a sound investment in a piece of equipment and a faculty member with an excellent record of research productivity.

Yours in peace,

George Rainbolt, Dean

College of Arts and Sciences

 

 

2. A new position was created in the Math-Stat department for a “Lower Course Coordinator.” This person is granted a course release which will cost the university around $18K a year. There was no need for this position as faculty in the department did this work for free. How does Dean Rainbolt justify this unnecessary expense?

Response by: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Thank you for your question. Course releases are an important resource and so it is important that they be allocated fairly and transparently. The COAS Dean’s Office is happy to answer any questions about resource allocation.

When he became Chair, Dr. Richard Patterson proposed a reorganization of the service roles in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Part of this reorganization included a Lower Division Programs Coordinator. This position comes with a release of one course per year and a stipend of $1,500. The University and the College is encouraging the Department to make significant changes to its lower-level courses. I agreed with Dr. Patterson’s view that these changes merited this additional service role and a course release.

The primary duties of the Lower Division Coordinator are to provide leadership, to maintain quality and consistency, and to coordinate improvement for all lower division mathematics and statistics courses. Specific duties are:

  • To foster consistency, the director sets the course syllabus for all lower division courses.
  • In consultation with faculty teaching the courses, the director determines common textbooks to be used for these courses.
  • The director provides regular guidance and oversight for adjuncts and GTAs who are teaching standalone courses.
  • The director assists the chair in optimizing the lower division course schedule.
  • The director coordinates and compiles assessment data at the end of a semester.

The cost of a one-course release varies depending on whether the course is three hours of four hours and on whether a course is canceled, covered by an adjunct, or covered with an overload. In this case, the course was covered by an adjunct at a cost of approximately $3,000. However, in future years, an overload may be required. In that case, the cost would be $6,000 or $8,000 depending on whether the course is three hours or four hours. Therefore, for this year, the cost to the University was approximately $4,500, not $18,000.

Yours in peace,

George Rainbolt, Dean

College of Arts and Sciences

 

3. It has been proven by UNF’s own data that the ALEKS Math Placement Test and Remediation software has a positive effect on increasing math ability. It is also known that success in mathematics classes directly correlates with graduation rates. Faculty members in the Math-Stat department tried last Spring to correct severe communication problems between administrative departments as well as help them provide the correct information to students. Despite their knowledge of the issues and their ability to quickly correct the problems had they been given the chance, faculty were admonished and even retaliated against by Dean Rainbolt and Interim Chair Gasparov. These problems still exist. If the University is so interested in increasing pass rates and lowering DFW rates in math, why are these faculty not supported? Also, since these issues have not been resolved and metrics are a University priority, who is willing to listen to the ALEKS implementation issues in an effort to resolve them?

Response by: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Thank you for your question. I appreciate your concern for helping our students increase their mathematical abilities. As you suggest, data from the UNF Office of Institution Research indicate that ALEKS placement test is a good predictor of the level of math course that is best for a student. For this reason, we have been using it more extensively than in the past.

I do not believe that there were any serious communications issues regarding the ALEKS test last spring. As with the roll out of any expansion of a program, there were some bumps along the way. However, overall reports that I have received were positive. I would particularly like to thank the Enrollment Services office. They graciously agreed to fund and manage the expanded ALEKS placement testing.

On October 4, when this question was asked, the Department of Math and Statistics was in the middle of reviewing how the ALEKS placement testing went this past year. They have since made some very helpful suggestions for improvement and I anticipate that many of those suggestions will be implemented for the class entering in Summer 2019.

Yours in peace,

George Rainbolt, Dean

College of Arts and Sciences

 

4. There is talk about changing the ALEKS Math Placement and Remediation from a proctored to an un-proctored test due to Enrollment Services not wanting to do the job. The point of having a proctored math test is to correctly identify and place students in the appropriate classes as well as provide them with 6 months of math remediation (at no cost to them). It has been shown that UNF students who spend only 5-10 hours in remediation can substantially increase their entrance scores as well as help them succeed in GE classes as it refreshes the math skills they learned in high school. This remediation positively affects departments in all colleges from accounting to nursing.

The Math Center Director resigned as the burden of testing was going to be placed solely on her shoulders. Given the concerns over DFWs, graduation rates and other metrics, and knowing how effective ALEKS is at UNF (even with its current haphazard implementation), why is the University not only not supporting full implementation of ALEKS so that it can help students (and UNF) succeed, but considering diminishing its effectiveness?

Response by: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Thank you for your question. I appreciate your concern for helping our students increase their mathematical abilities.

Data from the UNF Office of Institution Research indicate that ALEKS placement test is a good predictor of the level of math course that is best for a student. For this reason, we have been using it more extensively than in the past.

Proctoring a placement test is expensive and places a barrier to student enrollment. The UNF Writing Center has been successful using an unproctored placement test. Many other institutions use an unproctored math placement test.

The Director of the Math Center did step down because she found that the administrative burden of the Director position (including the supervision of math placement testing) was greater than she anticipated. She stepped down in a professional and helpful way. I am grateful for her service as Director of the Math Center and her help in smoothing her transition out of the Director position.

On October 4, when this question was asked, the Department of Math and Statistics was in the middle of reviewing how the ALEKS placement testing went this past year. They have since made some very helpful suggestions for improvement and I anticipate that many of those suggestions will be implemented for the class entering in Summer 2019.

Yours in peace,

George Rainbolt, Dean

College of Arts and Sciences

COAS Media Person

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

 

When there is a call for reallocation to student scholarships from across campus, all units must think of ways to contribute to that funding (which is fine since this is focusing on the students), but

1) Rate from unfilled lines may possibly be used so that departments may not be able to request a needed line (should be a priority to better serve students)

2) The dean says the COAS web/media person hire may be put on hold but might still be able to move forward. Why can’t departments continue updating their sites and maybe have meetings to make sure all units are on the same page (uniformity across the college)?

If unfilled lines are potential sources of the scholarship revenue, then so should this potential admin position (another one in the dean’s office).

 

Response by: George Rainbolt, Dean, College of Arts & Sciences

Thank you for your question. I place a high value on the transparent allocation of resources. The COAS Dean’s Office is happy to answer any questions about resource allocation.

In the recent temporary reallocation to support student scholarships, no rate from unfilled lines was reallocated. I have not heard anyone suggest that colleges will be asked to reallocate rate from unfilled lines to scholarships.

I believe that support for web pages across the College is an important priority. Several departments and office managers have expressed frustration with needing to design and update websites. As you suggest, some level uniformity seems to be a good idea. However, it would not be appropriate to have too much uniformity. We must strike a balance.

As you suggest, the Dean’s Office is exploring a number of different possible configurations for a web/media position. The Office of Human Resources specifies a number of different sorts of positions that might be used for a web/media person. We are also reaching out to other colleges to see how they configure their web/media staff in hopes that we may find some good models that we can adapt to the COAS situation. In consultation with the department chairs, I hope to select a model for the web/media position by the end of the fall semester.

Departments are free to update their sites as we explore the options for the web/media person. Several departments have updated their sites recently. Others have decided to wait on updates until this exploration is finished.

 

Yours in peace,

George Rainbolt, Dean

College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Salaries

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: David S. Szymanski, UNF President

Part 1:
As a faculty member it was extremely disappointing this past week to learn that a National Education Association study found that faculty salaries at UNF are at, or near the bottom, compared to other State of Florida University System Schools. It was further disappointing to learn that this did not happen overnight. Instead as reported by UNF-UFF, faculty salaries at UNF have increasingly lagged behind inflation for more than a decade. However, it was insulting to learn further that during this time the policy of the administration was to permit some administrators to keep all or most of their salaries after they returned to the faculty and no longer were performing or involved in administrative duties. Sadly, these revelations and this state of affairs is now a part of the legacy of the current administration and the outgoing president. Looking forward to new leadership does the newly hired president plan to similarly prioritize and compensate faculty in the same way? What plans does the new president have for compensating faculty? Will these plans address the pay gap between UNF faculty salaries and other State University System Schools? Will they address the continuing and eroding effects of inflation? Will they continue the policy that permits administrators to keep their salaries even though they are no longer in an administrative role?

 

Response from the Floor by UNF President Szymanski

Regarding the first part of the question, we have approved a proposal which has been forwarded through the collective bargaining process.

 

Part 2:
Over the past year the UNF president has made repeated statements that his administration will be proposing raises. However, according to the most recent UNF-UFF “Bargaining Update,” to date no formal written proposal for salary or raises has been received. Is this true? Negotiations have been ongoing for months; why has the administration not made a salary proposal yet? Does the current administration plan to follow through with the statements of the outgoing president? According to the National Education Association, with the exception of one other school, the average faculty salary at UNF has fallen below all other doctoral granting institutions in the state. What are the intentions and plans of the incoming president for faculty salaries and raises? Thank you.

 

Response from the Floor by UFF President Rebecca Marcon

We will be receiving pay raises once the negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is ratified by the faculty and by the UNF Board of Trustees (BOT), according to Florida statutes. The faculty vote on ratification will be held September 24 and 25, and the BOT will hold their vote on ratification at their previously scheduled Board meeting on October 11.

Administrative Stipends

Questioner: Anonymous

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

Why are administrators that return to the faculty after completion of their term continuing to be paid their administrative stipend? These administrators are no longer performing administrative services. Is it true that these “excess” payments amount to over $100,000 annually (the union says it more like $400,000)? At the completion of their professorships, faculty are not permitted to keep their stipends. The argument that individuals would not take on administrative roles unless they were allowed to keep their salary stipends is not credible (according to the union and a recent Folio Weekly article no other university in Florida has such a provision in their contract).

 

Response from the Floor by Provost Chally

That has been a current policy that has been in effect for a large number of years.

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.

Faculty Salaries at UNF

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President Faculty Association

As a faculty member it was extremely disappointing this past week to learn that a National Education Association study found that faculty salaries at UNF are at, or near the bottom, compared to other State of Florida University System Schools. It was further disappointing to learn that this did not happen overnight. Instead as reported by UNF-UFF, faculty salaries at UNF have increasingly lagged behind inflation for more than a decade. However, it was insulting to learn further that during this time the policy of the administration was to permit some administrators to keep all or most of their salaries after they returned to the faculty and no longer were performing or involved in administrative duties. Sadly, these revelations and this state of affairs is now a part of the legacy of the current administration and the outgoing president. Looking forward to new leadership does the newly hired president plan to similarly prioritize and compensate faculty in the same way? What plans does the new president have for compensating faculty? Will these plans address the pay gap between UNF faculty salaries and other State University System Schools? Will they address the continuing and eroding effects of inflation? Will they continue the policy that permits administrators to keep their salaries even though they are no longer in an administrative role?

Refer to Response Provided by UNF President Szymanski and UFF President Marcon

https://facultyquestions.domains.unf.edu/anonymous/faculty-salaries/

 

Administrator Raises under UNF President, John Delaney

October 13, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President/Designee, UNF Faculty Association

Could the Faculty Association request the salaries of every administrator as well as the history of raises for all of these individuals during the time in which John Delaney has been president? Could the Faculty Association then report on the trends and especially the comparison with faculty raises over this same period?

 

Responses from FA President Radha Pyati:

The table below, provided by UFF, shows average faculty and administrator raises for the period 2009-2014. These six years of data provide a reasonable indication of a pattern worthy of faculty attention.

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