Chemicals in Dust and Higher Rates of Sickness Across Campus

January 10, 2019

Questioner: Anonymous

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

In the last few years, I have noticed many students, staff, and faculty becoming ill – a much higher incidence than in my previous 15 years at UNF. Has any research been conducted on the composition of indoor dust at UNF? Indoor dust is known to contain toxic chemicals. Some phthalates, fragrance, flame retardants, and phenols are consistently found in 90 percent or more of dust samples across multiple studies (according to the Natural Resources Defense Council). Please forward this concern to the appropriate department.

Response by Vice President Shuman 

We have an indoor air quality investigation protocol that is utilized when we are made aware of an issue with a given building population. There are criteria that triggers the need for an investigation and whether or not air monitoring is appropriate. Many air contaminates have no known threshold for toxicity and this can make interpretation of any data inconclusive. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that contaminates are present in the home, car and other locations where people can be exposed.

Policies and Restrictions on Drinking Alcohol on Campus

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: David S. Szymanski, UNF President

Can you please explain the recent new restrictions on students drinking alcohol?  Are these warranted?

In my country, most of universities give the students freedoms for drinking the alcohol when legal age is attained. To me it now seems that UNF wants more restrictives for students drinking the alcohol. How come is this? We know the students will drink – we now should focus the efforts on education and safety. Please someone to explain the reasons for more alcohol restrictives.
Thank you much.

Response from the Floor:

We have a new alcohol policy. It is modeled off of national trends set forth by the National Institute of Fraternity guidelines will be followed; alcohol will be allowed on a permission basis.

Leadership Crisis on Campus

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: David S. Szymanski, UNF President

What are you doing to address the current crisis in leadership on our campus? We have some ineffective deans, a severe lack of inspiration, and the metrics failure fiasco. Are we going to see bold, courageous, long-term solutions from you?

Response from the Floor by President Szymanski

Yes, they plan to work on inspiration, leadership transformation, and success. We are going to be a great institution.”

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

Promotion and Tenure Standards

Questioner: Anonymous

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

UNF is supposedly an institution that provides undergraduate students with an exceptional classroom experience and promotes and rewards excellence in teaching, per UNF Strategic Plan Goal 3 Strategy 2. As a 10-year faculty member in a large department in a large college at UNF, I teach and meet with a large number of undergraduate students. It is my opinion that many of our students are not always getting the excellent experience in the classroom they deserve. Yet every single tenure candidate and every single instructor promotion candidate was approved this past year–that all of these candidates are truly “excellent teachers” seems implausible. What is UNF doing to ensure that we sort out what is really good teaching (as opposed to “I put my course online and therefore I am a good teacher”) and spare our students the poor teachers that we seem to be claiming from the promotion data do not exist, yet whom we all know do exist?

Response from the Floor by Provost Chally

That is an important issue. It is important that we become extremely cautious of the individuals we deem as exceptional teachers. Our students deserve the very best.

Selection Process for Large Sculptures on Campus

February 8, 2018

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: Radha Pyati, President Faculty Association

What is the selection process and criteria for the selection of the large art sculpture pieces on campus? My concern is for the balance between displaying undergraduate student art and the perception of it by the public and potential students and their families.

Response from the Floor by Debra Murphy:
The approval for those sculptures occurs through a competitive process governed by the Art on Campus Committee, Chaired by Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez, Vice President of Student and International Affairs.

Money Spent on Campus Beautification

December 1, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

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

How much money is spent annually on campus beautification, including grounds keeping and gardening? Can this amount be justified when instructional resources are scarce?

Response from the Floor from Administrative & Finance Vice President Shari Shuman:
I will come back to you all with actual amounts for this question. The way that the campus grounds keeping is funded is not with recurring E&G monies. Most of the funding comes from special allocation for plant operation and maintenance funding which is a separate allocation within the legislative budget. When special projects arise, such as the botanical garden between Building 1 and Building 39, we use other non-recurring funds. We do not typically use recurring funds, which are typically reserved for educational purposes.

Artworks on Campus

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Debra Murphy, Associate Professor & Chair, Arts and Design

What happened to the large, yellow duck that was floating near the library and business building? Will we be seeing this artwork again?

 

Written response from Dr. Debra Murphy:

“I get the important, intellectual question. The duck has had a very interesting few months of adventures. As you know, it was in the pond by Coggin and the library. Apparently, a group of students decided to ride it like a bronco, and there was some minor damage. (Inaudible) But there was writing on the duck, and it was kind of a triumphal boast, and the poet couldn’t resist adding that word that rhymes with “duck.” And so, it had to be repaired and repainted. It has been at the zoo for the last month; rumors have it that Sergeant Quackers received a few proposals from the aviary. He’s back on campus now, and I’m happy to report that he’ll be returned to the pond tomorrow.”

Moving Departments with Consultation

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Earle Traynham, Interim Provost Academic Affairs

1. Can a department at UNF be moved from physical location to another without being consulted? We ask because rumor has it that such plans are in the works which would be very costly and adversely affect a department on campus (and the plans have not been discussed at all with the department, let alone them being consulted).

 

2. For years there has been talk of creating a college of science, or some such college. Are there serious plans to do so, as it seems a logical thing for UNF to consider?

 

Written response from Earle Traynham, Interim Provost & Vice President Academic Affairs:

Gordon,

 

At the last Faculty Association meeting, I was asked the following question:
Can a department at UNF be moved from one physical location to another without being consulted?
We ask because rumor has it that such plans are in the works which would be very costly and adversely affect a department on campus (and the plans have not been discussed at all with the department, let alone them being consulted).

 

Since I have no personal knowledge of this potential situation and have not heard this rumor, I consulted each of the college deans.  Three of the deans (BCH, CCB, and COEHS) were unaware of this rumor.  Dean Hetrick and Dean Tumeo said that they knew of no “plans in the works” to move a department, and certainly would not do so without involving/consulting with the department in the planning process.  They speculated that this question may be linked to some very preliminary conversations about potential ways that space in buildings 3 and 4 could be used, once these buildings have been renovated.  Funds for this renovation have not yet been appropriated by the legislature.  As this process moves forward, planning will take place, and deans as well as affected departments will have input in the planning process.  At this point, I have no idea if any departments will be moved.

 

Thank you.

Earle