Report to Faculty Senate, April 24th, 2013

By Professor Jack Fiorito, Senator and UFF-FSU Vice President

Consultation, Ballots, and Bargaining

Much has happened since our last meeting. Since the March Faculty Senate meeting we held a consultation with President Barron and Provost Stokes and other top administrators. The discussion was wide-ranging and cordial.

That same day we counted ballots in the UFF-FSU Chapter elections. As you probably know, Professor Jennifer Proffitt is our new President. I am pleased to be a Vice President once again.

Earlier this month, chief negotiators for the faculty and administration/trustees teams exchanged lists of contract provisions they intend to renegotiate this year. The lists are fairly lengthy. The teams will roll up their sleeves starting May 15th – negotiating new provisions to take effect July 1st or as soon as possible thereafter.

This Just In … April 2013 Faculty Poll Results

Results from our latest UFF-FSU faculty poll were released today as announced by UFF-FSU President Proffitt earlier. You can find links to the results at our web site, www.uff-fsu.org I would like to mention a few results. First, as hinted in President Proffitt’s subject line earlier today (referring to the song, “Don’t You Forget About Me”), one theme is a call from the faculty to be remembered in what is shaping up to be a better budget year than we have seen for several years. Across-the-board raises were a popular topic, and more than one respondent argued that merit raises rewarding only a small slice of top performers are demoralizing when the rest of the faculty are effectively taking pay cuts in real terms as inflation erodes stagnant salaries.

We are hearing much about hiring new faculty, and we certainly need to do that as our ranks of assistant professors have shrunk through these budget-cutting years. Continuing faculty want it remembered that they are a major reason for FSU’s efficiency and success.

I also cannot resist calling your attention to a very encouraging result for a new poll item. In response to the statement, “I view participation in faculty governance as an ethical obligation and engage accordingly,” an overwhelming 73% of faculty members agreed or strongly agreed and only 6% disagreed or strongly disagreed. It is sometimes suggested that faculty members just want to be employees and leave governance to administrators. I am proud and pleased to see the vast majority of FSU faculty members reject those views.

There are undoubtedly many more interesting results in the latest poll. We have only just started to review the results but you can expect to hear more in the future. A special thanks is due to the hundreds of FSU faculty members who responded, especially at this very busy time of the year.

At the Ledge

As already noted, the overall budget picture seems to be improved and for a change there is no serious discussion of slashing state employee compensation. There are none the less some legislative initiatives that should deeply concern faculty members. Senate Bill 904, for example, poses a serious threat to university and faculty control of curricula. As a second example mentioned last month, retirement options are still at risk.

Lunch with Vice President Ostrander

There are still a few places available at our luncheon next Tuesday featuring our new Vice President for Research, Gary Ostrander. The luncheon will be held at Student Services Building (SSB) 214 at 12:30 on April 30th. If you have not already responded, please e-mail Professor Proffitt if you would like to attend, and we will try to squeeze you in (jproffitt@fsu.edu).

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