Instructor Positions in Coggin College of Business

Questioner: Anonymous

Posted to: Mark C. Dawkins, Dean of Coggin College of Business

The Dean of the Coggin College of Business recently attempted to convert two instructor positions to two tenure track assistant professor positions — without allowing faculty to conduct searches for the two assistant professor positions. Thankfully UFF and Academic Affairs stepped in to stop his efforts. This represents yet another decision by the Dean of the College of Business to lower academic standards at UNF. [Is this a lowering of standards by Dean Dawkins?]  Since arriving the Dean has made other decisions that lowered academic standards including lowering admission standards in the MBA program (UNF’s largest graduate program). My question is to the Dean of the Coggin College of Business – why are you making decisions that lower academic standards? UNF aspires to maintain high academic standards. Successful deans work to increase academic standards in the colleges they serve – not lower them.

Response by Dean Dawkins: 

I disagree that CCB has made decisions that lower academic standards, and note that admission standards in the MBA program (and changes therein) are approved by CCB faculty.

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.

Hiring of Chair in Mathematics and Statistics

Questioner: Anonymous

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

The new Dean of COAS came in with a budget for an outside chair search in the department of Math & Stat and formed a search committee with a chair from a different department, four Math & Stat faculty, and a couple of others. Some Math & Stat senior faculty offered to serve on the committee but were told no. The search committee identified two good prospective candidates and were favored by most in the department survey, but the COAS dean offered the position to neither one and announced an internal search for a permanent chair. An internal interim chair was not considered acceptable last year, and last August the department was assigned a faculty member from a different department as an interim chair. Can you please explain how the sources of discord in the department have disappeared when dispirited faculty feel otherwise?

Response by Provost Chally: 

I am not sure that I understand the question posed in the last sentence.  However, the decision to do an external search for the Chair of Mathematics and Statistics was made by the Interim Dean Dan Moon in consultation with Provost Earle Traynham. Dean George Rainbolt selected the interim chair. After he arrived, Dean Rainbolt met individually with each member of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and attended multiple Department meetings. The search committee, of which a majority were Mathematics and Statistics faculty, was composed to reflect the many units at UNF who have a stake in mathematics and statistics. He also met with the external candidates and reviewed their application materials. After these meetings with the faculty and this review of the external candidates, Dean Rainbolt came to the conclusion that there were multiple good internal candidates to be chair of the Department and that neither of the outside candidates was a good fit. Therefore, he closed the external search, opened an internal search, and requested that the budget for an external chair be converted to funds for an additional instructor. I agreed with Dean Rainbolt’s view of the situation and granted his request. The standard procedures for internal searches were followed and Dr. Richard Patterson was selected as chair. Although issues remain, the Department seems to be on the right path.

Presidential Candidates and Florida Politics

Question from the Floor by Pali Sen to FA President Radha Pyati:

How do we know the presidential candidates are able to handle politics in Florida?

Answer from the Floor by FA President Radha Pyati:

There is a faculty session for each candidate with opportunities for faculty to ask that very question. The sessions will occur between 10:35 a.m. through 12:05 p.m. In discussing with faculty representatives on the search committee, candidates will give a 10-minute presentation on “Why UNF?” The remaining of the session will be a question and answer session. The feedback from that session will be gathered from you by using an online link.


Follow-up from Pali Sen: In case I miss the meeting, someone else can ask that question.

Faculty Participation in Search Committees

December 1, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: John Delaney, President, University of North Florida

The Provost’s descriptions of past searches note the value placed on faculty participation in the process, but the actions issuing from Academic Affairs suggest a pattern of setting aside faculty input, or skipping faculty input altogether, in searches and in other areas. This recurrent ignoring creates the perception that faculty governance doesn’t matter, despite assertions to the contrary. How can the administration demonstrate, going forward, that UNF is a university in which faculty participation in governance is essential?

Response from the Floor from Provost Earle Traynham:
We do indeed read all feedback received from the search committee. Typically the search committee limits the list of acceptable candidates to 2 or 3 and lists the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. A decision is made based on feedback that the office has received during the interview and search process, feedback from the committee, as well as feedback from other administrators and faculty who were not part of the search committee but who submitted input regarding the candidates. A decision is made, then, based on one’s best judgment. We assure you that we pay attention to all input.

Additional Response from the Floor from FA President Radha Pyati:
We have had a lot of faculty concern expressed about meaningful faculty input and meaningful faculty governance, and we have had efforts by the administration to show how faculty input is taken. Moving forward, a focus on our actions is important to demonstrate that faculty participation is listened to and that faculty continue to participate. Paul Eason, for example, explained how faculty can have input into the strategic planning process. Faculty should participate in the upcoming Dean searches. Going forward this Spring semester, we should take an actions-oriented approach to making sure faculty input is copious and valued.  

Interim Provost Search

October 13, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

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

Is this Provost Traynham’s last year with UNF? If so, should we not be starting the search process for his successor now?

Response from FA president, Dr. Radha Pyati: 

FA President Pyati spoke with President Delaney, who stated that an announcement will be made in early spring 2017.

From the announcement: “…Dr. Pam Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health (BCH), has been selected to become the interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs for the next approximate two years.” – UNF President John Delaney


Search for New UNF President

September 1, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: John Delaney, President, University of North Florida

There are reports that this may be President Delaney’s last year with UNF. If that is so, should we not begin planning the process to find the next president? If not, could President Delaney tell us his plans for the future?

Vice President Tom Serwatka provided a response from the floor.

This is not President Delaney’s last year. When President Delaney does decide to step down, there will be a plan for a search in sufficient time.

Dean Salaries and Faculty Input in Dean Interviews

September 1, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

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

Part A. Did I miss the call for applications for the Interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies? There was one for the COAS interim dean. There were even interviews for that position. It would have been nice to give the appearance that faculty had input into this latest appointment.


There was no call for applications for the Interim Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and there was no formal search process. Once the search process for the Interim Dean of COAS was concluded and the decision was made to appoint Dan Moon, I was eager to identify someone who could successfully fill his position as AVP and Dean of Undergraduate Studies on an interim basis. I discussed the position with several people and was very pleased that Karen Patterson expressed interest in the position. Given the potential for a domino relationship between these two positions, it did not seem to be a good use of everyone’s time to go through a search process. There will, of course, be a search process to fill this position on a permanent basis, should that become warranted in the future.
Part B. Exactly what is the rationale for paying an interim dean a salary higher than a sitting Associate VP and Dean especially given the fact that the Interim Dean chose to leave his permanent position? Seems to me a deal could have been reached to just increase his salary by a token amount. It appears that we continue to drive up deans’ salaries to ridiculous levels that are not consistent with our stagnant faculty salaries or the deans’ performance.



This question is essentially the same as a question posted in May, 2016 to which I responded as follows: 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.

Faculty Input in Administrative Searches

September 1, 2016

Questioner: Anonymous

Posed to: John Delaney, President, University of North Florida

What can they do to ensure that administrative searches are conducted with integrity and that the voice of the search committee and the faculty are taken into consideration when final decisions are made on the hiring of academic administrators? There have been a series of searches from the Provost to the COAS Interim Dean and others that did not fully respect the principle of faculty governance or the value of search committee input in the selection process.


Strange as it may seem, we appreciate this question. It provides an opportunity to discuss the search process that is used for the hiring of academic administrators, and the important roles that are played by the participants in these processes. There are occasions in which a formal search process is not used, but excepting those instances, we believe that searches are conducted in an honest and fair manner, i.e., with integrity. We currently have several searches underway: COAS dean, BCH dean, Honors dean, and Division of Continuing Education dean. The details of the search process may vary from one college or unit to another, depending on the existence of by-laws in a particular unit.

In COAS, for example, the college by-laws stipulate that each department must elect a member to serve on the search committee. Presumably, these are fair and open elections. Typically, additional members may be appointed to permit representation of A&P employees in the college, the dean’s advisory council, and to assure diversity. The dean typically designates the member from the dean’s advisory council, and may make recommendations concerning other appointments. Not surprisingly, the search process in COAS resulted in a large and, we believe, representative search committee. In the case of the COAS dean search, a dean was appointed to chair the committee. The provost meets with the search committee to assure them that they will control the search process up to and including the on-campus interviews. Following the on-campus interviews, the committee is asked to provide the provost with an unranked list of acceptable candidates, with feedback from the committee regarding strengths and weaknesses of each acceptable candidate. The provost always assures the committee that no one will be hired who is deemed unacceptable by the search committee. Using the position description from the previous COAS dean search, the search committee discussed, drafted, and approved a position description, which is used in the on-line vacancy announcement and the advertisement(s) of the vacancy. Of course, Equal Opportunity and Diversity staff meet with the search committee, and a majority of the committee members must undergo EOD training. For this particular search, the position was listed as “open until filled” with a set review date. Once that review date is reached and EOD has certified the pool of applicants, the committee begins the application review process.

The search committee typically creates a scoring rubric based on the required and preferred qualifications of each candidate. Through a process developed solely by the search committee, the number of applicants is narrowed to a short list of approximately 3-5 candidates, and these candidates are invited for on-campus interviews. It is important to note, that up to this point, the only decisions made in the process are those of the members of the search committee; they have total control of the pool of applicants and the determination of which applicants are moved forward and which are eliminated. So, in the example of the COAS dean search, the committee alone reviews typically about 100 applications, skype interviews approximately 15 applicants, and from that skype interview pool, determines which 3-5 candidates should be invited for on-campus interviews. Following the on-campus visits, the search committee reviews the feedback received from those who participated in the interview process, discusses each of the candidates, and determines which are acceptable or not. The provost meets with the search committee to listen to their assessments. Finally, the names of those deemed acceptable by the search committee are forwarded to the provost for further consideration, and, hopefully, a decision to extend an offer to one of the acceptable candidates.

While the questioner may think that the search committees do not operate with integrity, I suspect the belief is that it is from this point forward that the integrity of the process breaks down. The questioner states that “There have been a series of searches … that did not fully respect the principle of faculty governance or the value of search committee input in the selectin process.” If we are interpreting the question correctly, we respectfully disagree.

First, it is always made clear to the search committee at the beginning of the process that the decision regarding extending an offer to someone rests with the hiring officer. In the Office of Academic Affairs, the provost has that responsibility.
Secondly, it is clearly stated that only those candidates the search committee finds to be acceptable will be considered for an offer. However, this is not an election, and the candidate with the highest number of search committee votes does not automatically receive an offer. Indeed, this is one reason the search committee is asked not to rank order the candidates.

The “principle of faculty governance” does not mean that the search committee makes the decision as to whom is offered a position. Clearly, the input from the search committee is highly valued. It is the search committee that decides to eliminate about 95 percent of the applicants from further consideration. It is the search committee that decides who gets invited for on-campus interviews. It is the search committee that decides, following the on-campus interviews, if a candidate is still acceptable or not. It is the search committee that provides input on the strengths and weaknesses of the acceptable candidates. Search committees will base their assessments on their opinions and those of others who provide feedback to the committee. Typically, the search committee assesses such factors as the competence of the applicant to perform the job at UNF; their relevant experience and leadership style related to our needs; their interpersonal skills; their personality, and other attributes. There is an extensive list of qualities that we would like to know about the candidate, including such things as their willingness to work hard, the degree to which they are highly motivated, their level of self-confidence, their judgment, their commitment to UNF, their integrity, their supervisory skills, and their sense of humor, to name just a few. Additionally, we are interested, for example, in the degree to which any particular candidate will complement and work effectively with others, such as department chairs, deans, and other senior administrators; their effectiveness in developing and working with external constituencies, the complementarity between a candidate and others in academic affairs. We also think that there are times when a college may benefit from external experience, and other times when internal stability is more desirable. These are just some of the considerations that should be added to the input received from the search committee.

In the search process for the COAS dean that occurred during the 2015-16 academic year, there were three candidates forwarded by the search committee for consideration. After meeting with the search committee, receiving their feedback, soliciting feedback from other constituents, and based on the assessment the assessment of the candidates by the provost and the president, it was decided that it was in the best interest of the College of Arts and Sciences and UNF to not extend an offer to any of the three final candidates and re-open the search. Even though the search committee found the three candidates to be “acceptable”, it was our belief that we had not yet found the right person to lead COAS. The provost met with the committee to discuss this decision. No one on the search committee objected to this decision, voiced concern that it did not respect the principle of faculty governance or value the search committee’s input in the selection process. These are critically important searches, and it is extremely important that we hire someone about whom we (both faculty and administration) are confident that she or he is the right person for this challenging leadership position. Interestingly, we had a similar experience in the search for the dean of COEHS, and have had, we believe, a very positive outcome.

The COAS dean search has been re-opened and, to date, the search committee has received more than 100 applications. The posted review date is September 30 and at that time, the committee will begin the process of assessing these applicants and reducing the number to be further considered. We are very grateful to the committee members for this arduous, time consuming task. The work they do is very important. The provost has again met with the committee and asked for an unranked list of those candidates that they determine to be acceptable, along with their assessment of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. We are confident that the members of the search committee will do their part, and, to the best of our ability, we will do ours. Additionally, we need to emphasize the importance of faculty participation during the interview process. The search committee creates fairly rigorous on-campus schedules for candidates including an opportunity for college faculty who are not on the search committee to attend interview sessions. We believe it is incumbent upon the faculty to exercise their right to participate and evaluate these candidates so that the committee has as much input as possible during that part of the process. We assure you that the voice of the search committee and the faculty will be taken into consideration in making the final decision.