Faculty Governance at the University of Florida Libraries
Minutes - June 18, 2007: 3:00pm
Marston Science Library, Room L107
The agenda and the 5/14/07 minutes were approved at the 3:03 PM start of the meeting. The Chair skipped her report to give more time for the Administration Update and our guest speaker.
Dean Judith Russell announced there will be a Strategic Planning Process (SPP) kick-off early fall. This will be an accelerated process which incorporates faculty, staff and student feedback. New representatives to the Tenure and Promotion Committee will have to be appointed, hopefully after the SPP. The Future of the Libraries Committee Report will weigh heavily in planning for and achieving desired outcomes in the SPP. Student government and faculty senate voices will also contribute to the process.
No word yet on next year's financial picture, but it looks like there will be a flat budget. The Provost will advise on the hiring freeze and how it affects current library searches.
Beth Layton reported that the HSCL Director's search is ongoing.
Dr. Rick Yost from the Chemistry Department, the 2007-08 Senate Chair, addressed the Assembly. Librarians are clearly serious about shared governance, somewhat more than faculty in any other departments/colleges. In terms of pushing shared governance down to the unit level, department/area committees are of major importance for shared governance awareness. Shared governance mechanisms must insure that faculty members at all levels are given the opportunity to participate. The annual Shared Governance Update Report has to address department level activity, not just that at the college level.
There have been changes to National Merit Scholarships, and UF's honors program continues to be very strong. A differential tuition bill starting in 2008 has passed through the legislature [and Governor Crist fortunately backed off from vetoing it]. The Board of Governors has threatened to fight the governor over issues such as only granting a $1000 one-time 2007 bonus for faculty/staff, rather than a more substantial raise. BOG members will meet by phone in two weeks. At UF there were 26,000 applicants for the freshman class, many more than could be accepted at current levels; this translated into the fact that 15% of people with high school 4.0s were not subsequently admitted.
With the state economy threatening to flounder, UF may see budget cut-backs and call-backs. In terms of tuition increases, with 90% of the undergraduates coming from within the state, Bright Futures and the Pre-Paid Tuition Program prohibit dramatic tuition increases to salvage the operating deficit.
Honorary degrees procedures will be on the table in the fall. With the rule on the books of no profit allowed from teaching courses, the hot issue of personal faculty course material available for sale in course packs will require extensive Senate deliberation. Library E-Reserves may play a big part in any solution. There is a continuing teaching faculty sensibility that course packs provide an outlet for those who cannot afford to buy expensive textbooks.
Cathy Martyniak raised the question of the Senate Chair now getting release time to carry out these responsibilities. Rick worked through his Chair to request the Provost get coverage for some of his teaching load, which she ultimately allowed. In the shared governance environment, faculty leaders in senate and committee chair roles have to work a lot harder.
Florence Turcotte mentioned that the budget cuts bring up the question of the Athletic Association contributing in some measure to funding academic affairs, especially in light of the recent national championships. Rick advised that evolving rules and other such concerns will incorporate such participation.
Betsy Simpson aired a question on how UFF fits in with all this shared governance momentum. Rick said it is important that the Union have the same goals as the Faculty Senate. The administrative proposal for taking senators out of the bargaining unit did not pass, and PERC ruled against the BOT on any proposed constituency revisions, namely, including Health and IFAS in the bargaining unit.
Carol Kem asked about the idea of expanding the size of certain campus committees, and to remedy the convoluted structure of some. The proposal to remove extension agent tenure packets from the Fall T&P process to relieve the current Committee's workload failed to pass. It is more likely that the campus T&P Committee will be larger over time; Rick stated he did not want to see it split up.
In terms of CLAS financial problems, Rick pointed out that the last dean hired too many faculty than what the budget could support. The one solution seems to be to find new money to bring the College out of debt, but that is a daunting prospect. Shutting down some programs seems inevitable.
University Libraries senators for 2007-08 are Michele Tennant, who is back in the fall, Ed Hart, Naomi Young and Patrick Reakes.
None at this time.
Carol Kem sent around a sign-up sheet soliciting volunteers for the Ombudsman Committee, the Market Equity Special Committee, and the research narrative/publications review group.
Suzanne Brown was not present to give further word on the UFF Statewide Taskforce on Librarian Salaries, however Carol Kem brought up the UFF report from the 90's which covered much of the same ground. Florida librarians earned 40% less than their peers. She reported that the ALA/APA has issued a library work-life publication which includes compensation strategies for academic librarians and a librarian salary survey.
A poster on the positive ramifications of the library's role in shared governance, with a handout with links to all the UF shared governance-related sites like the Faculty Senate, will be presented at ALA. The library in many campus environments is often ignored in campus-wide solicitations for feedback to the administration. At UF an important new aspect for campus visibility is the status of "Dean" now granted to the Head Librarian.
Carol Kem thanked all the officers and committee participants for the last two years of busy LFA activity. The open officer/committee member "turn-over" meeting at 3 PM Monday July 9 in Room 429 of Library West will be patterned after the faculty senate workday held each year in August: among other topics, a meeting schedule will be drawn up for next year, with assigned dates for HSCL and LIC to host particular meetings, and Val Davis will discuss the Nominating Committee's agenda for next year.
Joe Aufmuth thanked Carol in turn for leading the Assembly in both its fully-formed and gestational guises over the last few years.
The meeting adjourned at 3:59.
Next official LFA Meeting: August 20, 2007 at 3 PM, location TBA.