By Professor Jennifer Proffitt, UFF-FSU President
Several provisions of the 2013-2016 collective bargaining agreement have been implemented since the Faculty Senate last met, including raises for promotions, performance and sustained performance, merit, competitive adjustments, and of course, administrative discretion increases. Most faculty members also will see a one-time payment in their December 13 paycheck. This bonus will be around $200. Reclassifications for Specialized Faculty should be completed this month as well.
At our October consultation with President Barron, Provost Stokes, Vice President McRorie and other administration representatives, we discussed such wide-ranging topics as the prestige raises, parking, faculty salary compression and market equity, and promotion committees for specialized faculty. The next consultation will be held next week.
Legislative News, Protecting Faculty Governance
In legislative news, we are following the implementation of one of the bills passed in the spring that should be of interest to all faculty members: HB 7029 opens the door to for-profit entities to offer online courses to university students in Florida, courses that would replace our faculty-led courses. The Department of Education (DOE) has been tasked with writing a report regarding the implementation. That report is due February 1st.
We have time to influence the implementation of accreditation for corporate-controlled, rather than faculty-controlled, courses and programs by contacting our legislators to let them know that faculty must retain control of curriculum decisions. There must be strict oversight and accountability regarding accrediting courses offered by for-profit corporations such as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses.
The Legislature will need to vote in 2014 for the DOE plan, or some other plan, or it does not become law. UFF’s legislative campaign in the spring of 2013 helped to counter the most egregious proposals in the original bill, such as mandating a switch from SACS accreditation to a Florida Department of Education accreditation system, so with the help of faculty across the state, we should make our voices heard both at the DOE and in the legislature before and during the 2014 legislative session. If you have questions about HB7029, feel free to contact me at email@example.com, and I can send additional information to you.