follow up to UNF Facebook question

Questioner: Anonymous

question asked from the floor

I do want to follow up about the “president and First Lady posts” anonymously… I can understand the president being an indicator of engagement, but the president’s wife is not a member of the university administration.


Dr. White will ask the President and Eric Bruder about this, noting that the President frequently visits campus with his wife.

UNF Facebook

Written Question

After a quick scan, it appears that about 10% of the posts on the UNF Facebook page feature President Szymanski, often with his wife. What is the strategy behind featuring the president so heavily on this platform?

 Answered by Eric Bruder, VP of Marketing and Communication

I want to thank the faculty for this question. We do not have any set objectives on how often we highlight the President and First Lady through social media. Nor are these highlights part of a larger marketing strategy. However, we have featured them more often during the pandemic. We believe highlighting the face of the administration is extremely important and reassuring during these challenging times. We have also noticed that adding the First Lady to these posts increases engagement. The best way to truly judge these posts is to look at total engagement (likes, comments, shares). When looking back at the last 20 Facebook posts as of 11/1/2020, the two President/First Lady posts were among the highest in total engagement (#3 & #4 ranked of last 20).

University of North Florida (UNF) metrics performance

Question asked from the floor by Dr. John White, Faculty Association (FA) President:

I’ve seen the marketing department promote how well UNF performed/improved on some of the metrics but have not seen them provide the final ranking. I have heard that UNF once again has ended up ranked among the bottom three universities in terms of overall metric score. Is this accurate? If so, how did this affect UNF’s funding? When hired, was the university president’s main mission to get us out of the bottom three?

Answered from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

Dr. Coleman’s data office is a good resource, generally, for these kinds of questions, and confirmed that UNF is still in the bottom three for points in SUS. He stressed UNF’s ongoing process to improve in those metrics and is not standing still in working on how it improves. He explained that UNF scored 15 points (83) higher than when the president arrived two years ago.


Anonymous question for Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

The university markets itself as “Uniquely UNF,” yet the flagship programs – among the most distinctive and impactful programs on campus – have had their budgets cut severely. Will someone from Academic Affairs please explain this decision? Where do the flagship programs fit into the Provost’s vision for UNF going forward?


Answer from the floor by Dr. Rhodes

So some of these decisions were made before I arrived. I know the president is still taking this under consideration. So that’s the first part of the question. Second part of the question. In terms of my point of view, I can see the flagship programs are clearly notable strengths at UNF and I see that, I celebrate that. The president also sees that, noting that it is the center point of his <inaudible> proposal. I’ve been faced with many questions about this since I got here, but I do need to tell you, I’ve had an almost equivalent number of questions asking why do we still have flagships? Why does a certain discipline have a special status, but my discipline does not? And I think that is also a fair question and I think we should look at the big picture. So as with the other topics and the principle of this meeting, this is a discussion we should have as a campus community. My personal feeling is I would like this to look for where we can take these existing strengths and integrate them into interdisciplinary cross college, cross-discipline things that build in a bigger way to cross-campus ends.