Regalia at Commencement

Questioner: Jose Franco (Mathematics & Statistics)

When we were preparing for the commencement, we were told that there is a possible interest of doing uniform regalia for the marshals for the commencement. I would like to know if you could conduct a survey among faculty, because many of us are very proud of our colors, of our regalia, and we would want that not to be taken away from us. Me, in particular, I’ll say that. So could you conduct a survey just to in that way inform the people organizing the commencement ceremonies on the sentiment of faculty.

Answered by David Fenner, FA President and Pamela Chally, Interim Provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Dr. Fenner:  So let me say two things. First thing to say is I will pass it on to the Executive Committee, and we we will pick that up as a discussion of the Executive Committee, which is going to happen in two weeks or around there.  And so YES, we’ll definitely take up the issue, and if we could do a survey the committee will do a survey.


But may I say something else, which is kind of just purely anecdotal. So when we had the inauguration not too long ago, Sharon Ashton and I had a big fight about this and the fight was about me being in one of the uniform gowns, so what I expressed was that my primary role in the inauguration is a representative of the faculty, and not a member of the Board of Trustees.  She allowed me to wear my own gown and so forth, but I did not sit with the Board of Trustees. I actually ended up sitting on the row with the deans. Now all of the Board of Trustees members were in the uniform gown, which is blue with gray bands here. And so with the vice presidents, so for somebody like Vice President Shuman being in that kind of gown is not—I mean, it’s actually a little bit nicer than what she was wearing before. She was just wearing a standard black master’s gown. I don’t know how Dr. Chally feels about this, but I felt slightly bad for Dr. Chally, that she was wearing a gown that did not have doctoral bars on it, all that stuff. I believe that the president is interested in having a kind of uniform look to some degree, but I don’t know how far it’s going to go.


Dr. Chally, responding to Dr. Fenner asking if she’d like to add anything: added: I’ll just speak for Dr. Rhodes down the road.  If I had stayed in this position, I would have ordered a gown that had stripes, but it was just in the UNF colors.  Since I’m interim, we didn’t do that.  I’m sure Dr. Rhodes will do that. I can’t really add anything more than what you said.

Survey For Graduating Students

Questioner: Anonymous

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

Can Academic Affairs make the survey for graduating students mandatory?

Response from Earle Traynham, Provost & Vice President Academic Affairs:

In order to address the Faculty Association question regarding whether it is possible for Academic Affairs to make the graduating senior survey mandatory, I have sought the guidance of Judy Miller, Executive Director of Assessment who is responsible for the design and distribution of the graduating senior survey.  Judy raised some very valid points which I have summarized below regarding the feasibility of layering on a mandatory completion requirement for this survey.

According to the terms of the IRB application for the graduating senior survey, respondents have to be able to opt out of the survey.  If we make this survey mandatory, we have to decide on a penalty for not completing the survey.  If we define a penalty such as not being able to graduate or receive your diploma, we are essentially creating a new degree requirement for which we would need to seek approval.  We would also have to submit a revised IRB application with a requirement for completion which would change the survey’s current “exempt” status.

It is unlikely the faculty and administration would want to impose a new degree requirement on students, particularly at a time when time-to-graduation is a critical metric for UNF.  What we can do as an initial step is review the survey with the Director of Assessment when he or she comes on board and determine whether there are changes we can make to the instrument which will increase rates without the risk of delaying graduation or disrupting the IRB exempt status.