UF-IFAS Faculty Council Meeting Minutes
15 January 2008
Red Larson Dairy Building, Room 102
Individuals present: David Holmes, Judy Butterfield, Brenda Rogers, Bill Lindberg, Adegbola
Adesogan, Billy Crow, David Norman, Mike Kane, Sherry Larkin, Tom Obreza, and Jimmy
Cheek attended in Gainesville; Monica Elliott and Samira Daroub participated via Polycom.
Guests (IFAS Constitution Committee): Judy Butterfield, John Capinera, Millie Ferrer, Bill
Lindberg, Charles Guy.
David Holmes called the meeting to order at 1:30 PM. He welcomed the Constitution Committee
and made some preliminary remarks emphasizing the importance of their job. Dr. Cheek
provided the committee's charge: They are to examine the current constitution document and
determine if it makes sense, i.e., is it something IFAS can work with. The committee should
compare the IFAS document with other constitutions on campus, e.g. Law School, College of
Education, College of Engineering, Veterinary Medicine. They must involve the General
Counsel's office from the beginning by consulting directly with Barbara Wingo. The IFAS
document can refer to information in existing governance documents, but it should not repeat
what is in them. Bill Lindberg (Chair of the Constitution Committee) indicated IFAS is facing
critical decisions that shared governance can make more rational for all. We have an
opportunity to define how dialogue occurs between administration and faculty, and we need to
solve problems before they occur. The Constitution Committee will attempt to complete their
assigned task in a 2-day meeting scheduled for Feb 12-13. The meeting site is yet to be
The Constitution Committee guests (other than Bill Lindberg) left the meeting at 1:45 PM.
Dr. Cheek proceeded to discuss the IFAS budget situation. IFAS was very successful at the
federal level this year. The TSTAR program was reinstated at $7.5 million. This budget is
divided between Florida and Hawaii, and some of Florida's allocation goes to the Caribbean.
IFAS received $1.3 million for citrus research, garnered $4.5 million from the Dept. of Defense
funding for a perishable supply chain project, and was awarded $150,000 for biofuel projects.
Thus, the top four federal-level priorities were funded, plus several smaller allocations were
received. IFAS traditionally has not fared well in the Farm Bill, but this year several potential
inclusions were targeted, including $200 million worth of competitive funds for specialty crop
projects. Also, biofuel research, particularly dollars for cellulosic ethanol, was emphasized. For
example, what crops are the best to grow to make biofuels? IFAS feels that new plants need to
be developed in addition to the crops currently being considered. The big question is will a Farm
Bill be passed before or after the November 2008 election.
Bola Adesogan asked if TSTAR projects that were halted when the program was cut will be
funded automatically now that the dollars have been restored. No specific answer to his
question was available. A major priority of TSTAR is invasive species research, which is a very
Dr. Cheek continued by commenting on the state budget situation. More cuts are coming this
fiscal year, but the magnitude of those cuts will not be known until around March 1st. We also do
not know if all or a portion of the cut will be recurring. Whatever their magnitude, these cuts will
have a huge effect on UF because it is difficult to determine how they will be absorbed without
certain devastating effects. No guidance has be provided at this time, so we can only imagine
what might happen. Dr. Cheek would like to hold a statewide faculty meeting to describe the
picture, both good and bad, to all. The most recent year was the best IFAS has ever had in
terms of grant support, and the capital campaign is going well. One of our goals is to see that an
endowment is established for every county in the state. Thus, some good things are happening
within IFAS even with a very poor state budget.
The previously-mentioned cuts must come from the current operating budget. Dr. Cheek asked
the group how this information should be conveyed to the faculty. Everyone who reads the
newspaper wonders how it will affect them, but no answers are forthcoming. It appears that the
cut will be between 4 and 8%. Most retrievable money in IFAS is in salaries. We have numerous
"holes" in IFAS due to deaths and retirements. Everyone wonders who will be the first to lose
their position when the axe finally falls. Tenured faculty would be the hardest to remove unless
an entire unit was eliminated. Different scenarios exist depending on the circumstances. Brenda
Rogers suggested that IFAS administration tell faculty that information is on the way, because
by doing so a line of future communication will be opened. The message should indicate that
faculty will know the facts as soon as the administration finds out the specifics. Even if the
scenarios presented are bad, it is still better to be in the light than kept in the dark. Samira
Daroub furthered this idea by suggesting that, if possible, administrators show the light at the
end of a dark tunnel by describing what is being done to prevent more of this in the future. Bill
Lindberg's interpretation of the discussion was that regardless of the situation, it appears there
will be layoffs. Dr. Cheek confirmed this, but he cannot predict the magnitude of it yet. Bill
Lindberg indicated that this is not the first time IFAS has faced draconian cuts that we never
fully recovered from, and asked if buffers can be put in place for the next time it happens. Bola
Adesogan commented that it would be useful to debunk myths that appear in the newspaper,
such as publishing exact dollar values of cuts prior to the time of their true determination.
Dr. Cheek left the meeting at 2:40 PM.
David Holmes introduced today's special guest, Dr. Mark McLellan. After each Faculty Council
member introduced themselves, Dr. McLellan described his background and where he has been
before coming to IFAS 3 years ago. He distributed several items, including the document that
new professors are given describing expectations, two web pages, and Goals for IFAS
Dr. McLellan shared his perceptions and expectations of shared governance with the group. He
has been on the faculty at several institutions with shared governance in place, e.g. Cornell
University and Texas A & M University. One major difference between these two places is that
they had different shared governance styles. Dr. McLellan is glad that UF is stepping up in this
area. He feels it is beneficial to have a venue in which faculty, including himself, can put in their
"2 cents worth." Shared governance starts at the unit level. There is a need for a "regularity of
process" where faculty can feel involved in what goes on. Everything feeds forward from the
units. IFAS has a diverse management structure. What is missing is the fundamental
engagement process between administrators and faculty.
Dr. McLellan then discussed the process of evaluating publications and the IFAS Publications
Task Force. This evaluation took place because Dr. McLellan saw that IFAS faculty wanted to
draw attention to the quality of their work and were seeking new ways to do this. Some choices
were not the best to identify publication impact, e.g. "journal impact factor." Newly-hired faculty
in particular wanted to do this, but there was no mechanism in place. At about the same time, a
letter was issued from the Provost indicating that quality of publications would be a criterion to
be considered as a faculty member navigated the tenure and promotion process. Dr. McLellan
wanted to set this criterion before it was set for us, which led to formation of the Publications
Task Force. The group quickly determined that publication metrics is not a "one size fits all"
approach. After their report was issued in mid-2007, it was reviewed by departments, and task
force has now reconvened after receiving their comments. Once they produce an amended
version, Dr. McLellan would like to have a couple of units try it out to see how it fits. The new
metrics will remain as is until we observe the success of a new model. Shared governance is
the smart way to approach this. There are no plans at this time to turn the definitive guidance
from the task force into "rules."
Dr. McLellan proceeded to discuss SHARE funds vs. funds from contracts and grants. SHARE
money received by faculty via the UF Foundation is a gift. Not a gift for some work in return, but
a gift... period. There are no faculty obligations or requirements for a gift. There can be no
dictation by the gift giver to the receiver regarding what the receiver does with the money. Dr.
McLellan described a situation where a company was providing a considerable amount of
SHARE funds to a number of faculty members, all the while thinking they had a contract for
work. It is not appropriate for a faculty member to do anything specific in response to receiving a
gift, and it is also not appropriate for a company to accept data from a faculty member in return
for a SHARE donation.
Dr. McLellan commented on expectations for faculty members by directing the group to the
publication he distributed called "High Quality Research Programs." Dr. McLellan said that when
he evaluates a faculty member's productivity, he never focuses on the amount of indirect costs
they have generated. A suggestion was made that perhaps IFAS should look at research
expenditures instead of the value of research grants to more accurately gauge faculty
Dr. McLellan left the meeting at 4:00 PM.
The group proceeded to discuss the IFAS vehicle use policy. Elizabeth Bolton had prepared a
statement that the group reviewed. A few minor suggestions for changes were offered. After
these changes are considered, the statement will be presented to the faculty senate. The IFAS
Faculty Council is in support of the resolution regarding IFAS vehicle use. A motion was made,
seconded, and it passed unanimously.
The minutes from the December, 2007 Faculty Council were approved by unanimous vote.
Two new meeting dates were offered for later on this year: July 16th and August 26th, 2008.
Suggested guests for the February, 2008 Faculty Council meeting were Ashley Wood and Cindy
Littlejohn; for the March meeting, Larry Arrington; for the April meeting, Susan Hudson.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb 20th.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 PM.