ISQs and Promotion

Questioner: Anonymous

Question posed to David Fenner, FA President

Word is out there that UNF has denied tenure to faculty members who have only a little less than perfect scores on the ISQs even though the university committee’s evaluations were positive as were those that came earlier in the process. Can the FA Executive Committee bring a resolution to notify the BOT that this administration is destroying people’s lives at the university?


Answer from the floor by David Fenner, FA President

I will pass this on to Dr. Rakita, FA vice president and chair of Executive Committee, to pick up this question at the Executive Committee. Because this is a matter of terms of employment, the Union needs to take center stage on this rather than the Faculty Association. But having said that, we’ll certainly be involved with that. I’d also like to say that in the past, Faculty Association presidents have been strong voices of advocacy with regard to both faculty salaries and with promotion and tenure, where they sit as members of the BOT. I believe that all of that is going to come up at the June BOT meeting, and I will be there represented as appropriate.

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.

Liberal Arts and the New University President

March 1, 2018

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President Faculty Association

Directed to Radha Pyati in her capacity as Faculty Association representative on the Board of Trustees.

First, as you observed in last week’s Board of Trustees meeting at which the new president was selected, there was significant concern expressed by faculty during the campus interviews regarding Dr. Szymanski’s appreciation of the role of the liberal arts in public universities and at UNF in particular. One trustee seemed to dismiss that concern, asserting that faculty, or at least some, don’t understand the difference between a liberal arts institution and a state university. Is it your view that this is indeed the view of our trustees?

Second, some trustees did express discomfort in acknowledging the gap between the views of Szymanski and those of some faculty members. They also advanced the view that Dr. Szymanski would be charged to fix the concerns. What is the standard or metric that faculty and the trustees might employ to verify that Dr. Szymanski has indeed fixed the concerns?

Responses from FA President Pyati on the floor:
I will answer from the floor. It is not my view that the view of our trustees is that faculty don’t understand the difference between a liberal arts institution and a state university.

Regarding Dr. Szymanski, we are all facing a new situation with excitement and some trepidation. I believe that meeting with Dr. Szymanski enables faculty to express to him the importance of the liberal arts at UNF. I think that the metric to verify Dr. Szymanski’s fixing these problems are his actions here at UNF. I would suggest that Dr. Szymanski show with his actions the following:


  • A demonstrated commitment to the liberal arts – in terms of scholarship, teaching, and community engagement
  • An understanding that in addition to being a different way of thinking, the liberal arts are
    • An essential part of UNF’s contribution to the cultural and intellectual life of the region. The position description approved by the Trustees states that continuing UNF’s commitment to the arts is a characteristic of the new President.
    • A nexus of UNF’s scholarly excellence on an international scale
    • A central building block of UNF’s public regional comprehensive identity, offering a full range of academic fields of study to our students, many of whom are place-bound
  • Broad support of the work done for students by faculty in all our disciplines and colleges.


Retirement Program

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: John Delaney, UNF President

There is a rumor going around that you are in the DROP program for retirement. Could you comment, please?

In responding of Retirement from President John Delaney:

The simple answer to the above question asked in the Faculty Association’s April meeting is I became eligible for DROP in 2013, when I concurrently signed a five year contract. I did sign up.

To elaborate on the answer let me say that as we come closer to the date for retirement as set forth in the DROP agreement, the Board and I can certainly reexamine whether my continuing in the DROP program makes sense in the life of the university and my family. But with four years ahead of me, I don’t spend much time thinking about the decision I will need to make in 2018. Instead, my focus remains on how we continue to build the remarkable university we are becoming.  So as of now: Yes, I am in DROP and when we move closer to that date, the Board, our faculty and staff, my wife Gena, and my grandsons Jack and Owen will need to help me decide what’s right for all concerned.



President's Signature