Computer Currency Program Cancellation

Questioner: Debbie Wang

Question asked from the floor

The computer currency program has been cancelled in 2020 (and maybe 2021?). Could someone comment on this? Why is this program cancelled during a time when we are using technology to support distance learning?

Answered by Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Dr. Patterson affirmed that Scott Bennett would be the best person to follow up on this question with to provide a response for faculty, and a response would be forthcoming.

Bookstore failure to order correct textbooks

Written Question

For President, Provost, or FA President:

I want to know how the university is responding to the dozens of classes affected by the bookstore’s failure this term to order correct textbooks (or any) for Spring Term. Since this is a third party provider what contract compliance measures are being taken to insure this does not recur? What do we tell students who have waited a month for the correct texts?

Answered by Dr. John White, Faculty Association President

Dr. White shared that he had received complaints from faculty over the past month and a half, and he reached out the bookstore manager and their regional person but has not heard back. He confirmed that they have met with a number of chairs to discuss several complex issues. He noted that he understood that going forward the bookstore would be purchasing enough textbooks to cover enrollments, which had previously been an issue as the bookstore was fearful of being able to sell enough texts.

Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs added

Dr. Patterson added that a meeting took place to discuss this concern, and she will share a follow-up with FA to share any of the outcomes from that meeting.

Dr. Gordon Rakita, Director of Academic Technology and Interim Associate Vice President for Faculty Development suggested

Dr. Rakita suggested that FA reach out to Tully Burnett (A&F – Business Services) to discuss possible next steps, and Dr. White remarked that Mr. Burnett has been a part of the conversation so far and he will follow up with him, too.

Dr. Georgette Dumont shared her personal experience with bookstore ordering issues and how they affect student learning

Explaining this issue has been ongoing for at least several years. She shared that the bookstore has previously explained this under-purchasing issue (i.e., not purchasing enough for enrolled students) as stemming from their ordering based on a percentage calculation of previous semesters’ purchases for that class. Dr. Dumont added that this business model may work for the bookstore but that it doesn’t align with the university’s model of ensuring students have the materials they need when they need them.

Dr. Marianne Jaffee, Executive Assistant to the Provost and Director of Planning added

Marianne Jaffee added that there has been a number of issues this term, echoing Dr. White’s note that these issues tend to be complex, but that the bookstore is working to add more supports and processes to ensure fewer issues in the face of issues related to COVID and lack of staffing. She reported, too, that a conversation is scheduled to take place with the bookstore to help them understand faculty needs.

Interim Provost

Questioner: Heather Truelove

Question from the floor, Posed to Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

now that Karen is in her new role, I’m wondering about her old role—if we’re going to have someone in a temporary/interim position while she’s filling the provost role—if there’s been any discussion about that yet.

Answered from the floor by Dr. Karen Patterson, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

the question is under consideration, and she promised more to come on that topic soon and having a faculty member in that position.

Provost and Promotion an Tenure

Question posed to Dr. Szymanski, UNF President and Dr. Coleman

Given that the provost’s voice weighs heavily in the promotion and tenure process, is there any guidance from you or your office for the folks went up this year?

Answered from the Floor by Dr. Coleman and Dr. White, FA President

Dr. Coleman answered that he’d rather avoid an answer here and would instead leave it at he would likely examine research in a way similar to Dr. Rhodes.

Dr. White offered that OFE is a good resource too.

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.

Evaluation of Teaching and Promotion

Question asked from the floor by Dr. Beven Livingston:

I understand that you have done the evaluation of teaching and the promotion and tenure timeline, but what about the impact on our scholarly activities?

Answer from the floor by Dr. Malcom – Bjorklund, President of the United Faculty of Florida (UFF):

This is a great question and that UFF needs to look at this more closely. She added that in an earlier survey, many faculty (~77%) reported that their scholarly work has been negatively affected by COVID as they are shifting to ensuring their teaching continues to go well.

Answer from the floor by Dr. Simon Rhodes, Provost and Vice President (VP) of Academic Affairs:

while the fall MOU is under negotiations the P&T deadline (i.e., an extension process) is being worked on to help individual faculty make decisions that are good for their circumstances. This has yet to be approved by both parties for fall 2020.

Feral Monkeys

Questioner: Anonymous

Question Posed to Dr. Simone Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic affairs

With the feral monkey debacle having reached Duval County, how is the university responding? Some of our best and brightest might approach these animals to take selfies with them. Are students being educated that some of the monkeys are infected with herpes B and that they should stay away from them and contact FWC (and CDC if bitten)? We heard from the university about coronavirus and the non-unique suggestion to wash your hands, but the feral monkeys seem to be a more imminent peril and there needs to be a compelling message.

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

I’m grateful to the person asking the question because that was a learning opportunity for me. Turns out there are two populations of feral monkeys. There’s one in Southern Florida. And then I think the relevant population here is this population of Rhesus monkeys, which were part of a population released on Silver Springs Island as part of a jungle boat tour attraction in the 1930s and they’ve been around Central Florida since that time because they can swim. So they have been spotted further North. I’ve had conversations with the chief [of UPD], and he’s conversations with JSO. There’s a big dispute whether they’re in Jacksonville proper, but they are certainly moving north. UNF is monitoring this situation. I’ve talked to the police and UNF communications about this and we are monitoring it. I do want to address the other point; we are focused on coronavirus, which is a health priority for UNF and the state of Florida.

Faculty Searches at UNF

Question asked anonymously via email

Question posed to Simon J. Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

We are currently conducting many faculty searches at UNF. Candidates’ itineraries often include meals that committee members must attend. There is wide discrepancy across the university about whether meals of faculty members serving on the committee are reimbursed. Some departments/colleges reimburse for all committee members who attend both meals, some reimburse one or two committee members for dinner and reimburse all who attend lunch meetings, and some do not reimburse for dinner nor lunch, with faculty expected to cover their own meals for work meetings with the candidates that they are required to attend. It reflects poorly on UNF when candidates have dinner with only one person or when faculty bring their own lunch to lunch interview meetings. Additionally, if a faculty member serving on a search committee attends three dinner meetings and three lunch meetings, this could easily cost them over $100. Are faculty expected to pay for their own meals or bring their own meals when they serve on search committees? What if some departments do not have funds to cover meals? Can these funds be provided by the college or AA?


Answer vie email by Dr. Rhodes, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

We are currently conducting 78 searches (which is about typical), and Academic and Student Affairs provides $3,200 for each search. These funds are general operating (E&G), and therefore can’t be used for reimbursing meals, only for travel and related costs. Meals would have to be reimbursed using foundation or concession funds. A&SA receives very little foundation and concession funding each year and does not have the ability to reimburse for meals for the high number of searches conducted across the division annually. Because the colleges and many departments/schools have far greater foundation and concession funding available than A&SA, the deans and chairs decide if and how they would like to allocate those funds for meals during searches. The foundation or concession funds vary among colleges and departments, and therefore reimbursement practices likely will as well. Chairs and deans are encouraged to discuss reimbursement for meals in advance of starting searches so that expectations are clear to all members of the search committee and faculty in the department.

Spinnaker on Attendance

Question asked anonymously vie email

Question posed to Simon J Rhode, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

The Spinnaker article on attendance (01/08/2020) quotes Jay Coleman as encouraging students to attend class because they pay for classes. He says, “You’re paying for a service or a product or however you want to look at it. It’d be kinda like paying for a movie ticket and not going or paying to go to a football game and then reading the scores in a paper as opposed to going to experience the game.” This view encourages students to view themselves as passive consumers, instead of active participants in their education. Does the administration view education as entertainment? As faculty members, does the administration think that our primary focus is to please customers?


Answer by email from Dr. Rhodes. Provost and VP of Academic Affairs:

Thank you for the question. It’s not a clean yes or no answer. When a student needs help with a financial aid or advising question, we should show that student the best in customer service. When a student is working several jobs to pay for tuition and fees, we should accept our responsibility to create the best learning and support environment for that student and by being as accessible and engaging as possible: I believe that we do owe both them and the State that. However, in the classroom and in the many other places where learning and development take place on our campus, the relationship is different; in those places, I believe that it is a joint responsibility of faculty, staff, and students to create an interactive environment of learning, discovery, responsibility, and personal development. As a friend of mine once said, and I am not sure if she was the first one to say it, overall in college the student is not a customer, they are the product.