Posting of Questions from Faculty Association meetings

Questioner: An0nynmous 

Questioned posed to Dr. David Fenner, Faculty Association President

Are faculty questions even looked at or posted anymore? It’s hard to believe that there has not been a single faculty question asked or answered since June of 2019.


Answered from the Floor by Dr. David Fenner, Faculty Association President

Well, interestingly, we did have four or five questions that came from November that were in November’s meeting. But, Eve, our new executive secretary has about, you can imagine, 5,000 things going on right now, and we just didn’t get those posted fast enough. They are posted now and I think that our unanswered questions are down to just like two or three. We’ve gotten very, very short. So the website now with questions and answers, questions and responses is completely up to date. But I will say that it is odd. We did not have questions in September because of the hurricane. We did not have questions in October because that was sort of our technically first meeting of the year. We had questions in November. We had no questions in December. You know, from a couple of years where we were getting like 20, 25 questions a meeting, we’re now down to like a couple, and they have to do with t-shirts. It’s a different—I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t have a good explanation for why that is. It just is that case.


He expanded:


I’ve that I’ve gotten a lot of questions in response to the email that I sent out about putting together the task force for thinking about restructuring academic units. Many of those emails really got me thinking about things I hadn’t thought about before. It was my mistake not to have thought those things through more carefully earlier, but they have got me thinking now. So right after this meeting, the provost, Mitch Haney, as Chair of the Council of Chairs and I are going to meet to talk a little bit more about this. The questions that faculty have asked about the reconstruction task force, those are going to get answers. I’m going to send out lots of answers to those things and I’m going to do it for everybody so we’re all on the same page. That’s going to happen very soon.


One of the concerns that we had that I think is a very important concern is protection of those individuals who are on the task force who are junior faculty who are before tenure or who are instructors who may be in an uncomfortable position if pressure is put on them with regard to the restructure with regard to their opinions about restructuring.


So we want to make absolutely 1000% sure that we are not going to put any faculty members in any kind of jeopardy or vulnerability through their service on this group. But we will have something more concrete to share with you soon. But I did want to say to you that we have got lots of questions and they are going to be answered

UNF FA and President’s attendance to meetings

Questioner: Anonymous

Question Posed to David Fenner, FA president

Under the UNF Constitution and as stated on the FA’s website, the UNF Faculty Association is the core of UNF’s shared governance structure. Thus, it was extraordinary to hear on from the FA president on May 9, 2019, that the UNF President will no longer be presenting a President’s Report to the Faculty Association and that in general terms neither will the UNF Vice Presidents. In both instances the UNF President and VPs will not attend meetings of the FA and only the Provost will attend and answer questions. Given this extraordinary change, can the Faculty Association President comment on his agreement with this change and describe the impact that this change will have on the Faculty Association as the core of UNF’s shared governance structure. Can the FA president also share his view on whether he believes the President hosting so-called “jam sessions” in colleges is a comparable substitute for the President’s attendance, Report, and responses to questions brought forth by the Faculty Association.

Answer from the floor by David Fenner, FA President

I want to say two things. The first thing I want to say is about the lunches:  I’ve always taken the lunches—as I think most of you have, too—as a gift. John Delaney started this six years ago. It’s been a blessing not only because we’ve had the opportunity for camaraderie and the opportunity to be fed, but also it allowed us to make certain we had a quorum to get faculty association business done. We had five years of lunches under John, and we have had a year’s worth of lunches under President Szymanski. I take those to have been a gift. What money Shari is going to continue to give us for lunches, I also take that to be a gift. The only concern I have is to make certain we have enough faculty who are participating on a regular basis to make sure that we can do the shared governance part of our work, that we can handle the curriculum and the legislative calendar and ensure that faculty voice is heard.

The second thing to say is that when I was in the graduate school, I had an opportunity to interact with Coggin in a serious way for the first time. I realized then that Coggin has a different kind of administrative structure that many of the other colleges. For a number of years under at least two deans, there was a relationship where the dean was very outward facing; the dean was interested in connecting with the community, was interested in fundraising, was really looking outside, was looking at the horizon—if we could use the captain of a ship metaphor. And the Associate Dean was responsible for running the day-to-day matters of the college.  That was certainly the case with Bobby Waldrup. I think it might’ve been the case with Jay Coleman and Jeff Steagall when they were there. That was a model that I was not used to. You know that our president comes out of a business school background and so I believe he is giving us a new model and that new model is more like a business school model where he is going to be outward facing. He’s going to be looking at the legislature, he’s going to be looking at fundraising and it’s really going to be the provost who takes on the duties of being sort of master of the ship, to extend the metaphor, who is really going to be responsible for the day-to-day operations. So an awful lot of what I’m saying is resting on the hope and expectation that Simon Rhodes will be brilliant and will connect with us in very close, intimate ways.