College Governance

CLAS Assembly Minutes

March 28, 2005

See Previous Assembly Minutes

Minutes prepared by Louise Newman
19-25 people in attendance

  1. At 4:05, Dean Neil Sullivan convened the assembly. Initially there were 19 people present, but by the end of the meeting there were 25 people in attendance. Sullivan expressed his dismay at the low attendance saying that he did not think there was a quorum present. He then announced that there were two business items that had to be addressed: ruling on the minutes from the last CLAS assembly; and calling for nominations to two college-wide committees.
  2. First, Sullivan called for a motion to accept the minutes from the last college assembly (November 15, 2004), which are currently posted on the Web. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously.
  3. Second, Dean Sullivan announced that he was calling for nominations to two college-wide committees: 1) the nominating committee and 2) the college curriculum committee, and that this call for nominations would remain open for forty-eight hours. He urged department chairs to disseminate the call to the faculty in their departments.
  4. At 4:10, Dean Sullivan turned the meeting over to the President of the CLAS Assembly, Maureen Turim, who introduced Allan Burns, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professor of Anthropology, to give us the results of the faculty vote regarding the length of the tenure probationary period.
    1. Associate Dean Burns began his presentation with an apology for the way in which the vote was administered. He explained that the dean’s office was caught unawares by the acting provost, Joe Glover, who on very short notice asked for the College to submit its vote by March 31. Thus, last week, the Dean’s office sent around ballots to the departments, requiring that they be returned by March 25, pre-empting the discussion on tenure, which had been scheduled for today’s meeting.
    2. Dean Burns noted that several large departments, including English and Chemistry, had very low turnouts and that the results from three departments were not yet in the tally, which was as follows: 304 votes were cast, 176 votes were cast for a 6-year probationary period; and 128 votes were cast for a seven year probationary period. Eight departments were strongly in favor of a six-year period (these included Communications, Criminology, Math, Physics, Psychology, Statistics, Zoology and Linguistics). Three departments were strongly in favor of a seven-year probationary period (these included Asian and African Languages and Literatures, Germanic and Slavic Studies and Political Science) and the remaining nine departments were split (these included Anthropology, Botany, Chemistry, English, History, Religion, Romance Languages, Sociology and Women’s Studies).
    3. Dean Burns stressed that the current policy is a tenure-when-ready policy, and this will remain in effect, as it has since the days when Betty Capaldi was provost. Burns defined the tenure-when-ready policy as meaning that a candidate was considered ready when s/he had obtained national/international recognition for his/her work. He mentioned that departments in CLAS have been following this policy, putting candidates up for tenure as soon as candidates are eligible, that the college T&P committee has been supporting the policy, but that on occasion the University-level Academic Personnel Board has questioned candidates who have come up “early” so there is “further education” needed at the university level.
    4. Burns then opened the floor up to questions.
      • Faculty Question: Do you have an estimate of how many votes still have to come in?

        Burns’ Answer: The three departments that have yet to submit their votes are small; there will only be a small number of additional votes.
      • Faculty Question: Will the current policy of having an additional year to find a job if one is denied tenure be in effect under either the 6-year or 7-year probationary period.

        Burns’ Answer: The letter of non-renewal always grants one additional year to enable faculty to find other employment.
      • Faculty Question: Will the administration honor existing letters-of-offer under which faculty were granted 7 (as opposed to 6) probationary years?

        Burns’ Answer: Letters of offer sent out last year (and this year as well) state that tenure will follow University of Florida guidelines. Burns indicated that there won’t be a final answer to this question until we debate the question further, and faculty submit letters asking for clarification, file grievances, etc. Some faculty who have written letters requesting 7 years have received a positive response granting their request, but others have been told that their request seems premature and that the matter will have to be revisited at a future date.
      • Faculty Question: Could you clarify what the phrase “tenure-when-ready” means? Is there a higher expectation for people who come up early?

        Burns’ Answer: In effect, there is a de facto versus a written version of the policy. Faculty who come up in their third or fourth year will essentially face the same standard as faculty who come up at the end of the probationary period. However, in very early cases—the first or second year, these cases will have to be very strong ones—an argument will have to be made that their impact on the profession has been like “lightning.”
      • Faculty Question: How will the administration view time that is put in at another institution? Will it matter if the time was not in a tenure-track position?

        Burns’ Answer: Each case is different, but it will depend on what the record is at UF; whether the faculty member has demonstrated adequate research and teaching at UF.
      • Faculty Question: Can you give us a number—how many people come up early?

        Burns’ Answer: I can’t give a real number, just an estimate. Out of 43 some odd cases, maybe three or four. It’s not something we track at the college level—we just discuss cases on their merits, unless the person is in their first or second year.

        Jane Brockman concurred, saying there are not many cases of early tenure, only 3 or 4.
      • Faculty Question: How will the policy of tenure-when-ready be applied to faculty who are brought in at the Associate or Full level, who are not granted automatic tenure upon arrival but come up for tenure at the end of their first, or second, year?

        Burns’ Answer: These cases are much less problematic.
      • Faculty Question: What should our letters-of-offer that we are sending out now say?

        Dean Sullivan answered this question: The letters of offer should explain that the University enforces a “tenure when ready” policy with a maximum probationary period of seven years, but that the length of the probationary period is currently under review.
  5. At 4:30, Maureen Turim introduced Angel Kwolek-Folland, newly appointed Associate Dean for Centers and International Programs and Professor of History and Women’s Studies, to give a presentation on “Quality of Life” issues.
    1. Dr. Angel Kwolek-Folland explained that she was giving a select overview of some of the recommendations that had been made by a faculty task force last year. She held up a document and mentioned that she still had a few hard copies left and that there also was an electronic version of the report available on the Faculty Senate website, containing the full list of the task force recommendations. The Faculty Task force disbanded last June (2004) after it delivered its findings.
    2. Dr. Kwolek-Folland reported that one of the task force’s recommendations was that President Machen do a survey of the faculty, which he did do last spring, but Machen’s survey was not as focused on quality of life issues as the faculty task force had hoped it would be. Machen indicated to the task force that he intended to do a faculty survey every year, as part of his annual evaluation for the Board of Trustees. Now a similar survey for staff is underway (which was also a task force recommendation).
    3. The Faculty Task force on Quality of Life Issues also issued the following recommendations, which have now been addressed to date in some fashion:
      1. that mentoring programs be established for faculty – all departments in CLAS now have such programs
      2. that tenure extension be discussed and resolved (Allan Burns has just given us the results of the faculty vote)
      3. that the President hire a campus coordinator for concerns specific to gay-lesbian-bisexual faculty. Machen did hire a staff member, but that person’s focus is really
        on students. Machen has indicated that he was not going to hire someone specifically to attend to faculty concerns.
      4. that a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy be formulated;. One has been formulated, but partner benefits are still an issue. (A full list of recommendations is in the Report on the Senate web site)
    4. Angel Kwolek Folland indicated that the suggestion was made to Pierre Ramond, President of the Faculty Senate, that the Faculty Senate might want to follow through on other recommendations as appropriate. Ramond indicated that the Senate was waiting for a new provost to be hired before proceeding further.
    5. An ongoing problem is that these issues do not fit into tidy boxes and thus it is difficult to know how to get and disseminate information. For example, the Faculty Senate has five policy committees, two of which could cover quality of life matters.
    6. The new provost and the Faculty Senate will have to keep these issues at the forefront of the University’s awareness—and this is being done during the interviews now being conducted of the candidates for Provost.
    7. Dr. Kwolek-Folland then offered to answer any questions that she could:
      • Faculty question: The real benefit of a survey is to see change over time. If the questions are changed on future surveys, the longitudinal value of the survey will be lessened.

        Kwolek-Folland’s response: Machen consulted with the faculty task force during the planning process of the first faculty survey. We suggested that he use MIT or Michigan as a model so that we would be able to make comparisons between ourselves and these institutions, but he chose to go with another survey group.
  6. At 4:40, Dean Sullivan took the floor, in preparation to ending the meeting and asked if there were any other questions or matters to be brought to the attention of the Assembly.
  7. Carol Murphy offered the following motion: “I move that the Steering Committee of the College discuss how it might interact with CLAS Faculty Senators so that the College is better informed about faculty college business.” The motion was seconded and a brief discussion took place. The motion was called and passed unanimously.
  8. In a final discussion, Dean Sullivan again reiterated his concern about the low attendance at today’s meeting. In response, several faculty noted that today’s meeting had in effect been pre-empted by the Acting Provost’s interference with the College’s vote. Some one mentioned that Joe Glover did not need a vote from the faculty until May, and that his insistence that the College submit its vote by March 25 appeared to be a maneuver on his part to pre-empt any real discussion of the matter. David Leavey, Chair of the English department, pointed out there were members among the faculty who registered their dismay by refusing to participate in the vote and boycotting the CLAS Assembly meeting.
  9. Dean Sullivan urged those present to submit nominations for the two college committees and adjourned the meeting at 4:50p.m.

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