Table of Contents
 Welcome back
 Faculty cohort
 The year ahead
 Administration searches
 Strategic plan
 Faculty survey
 Vice president human resources
 Legislative agenda
 Faculty challenge

Group Title: State of the University of Florida
Title: State of the University. August 31, 2004.
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00076699/00003
 Material Information
Title: State of the University. August 31, 2004.
Series Title: State of the University
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida. Office of the President.
Publisher: University of Florida
Publication Date: August 31, 2004
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00076699
Volume ID: VID00003
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    Welcome back
        Page 2
    Faculty cohort
        Page 3
    The year ahead
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Administration searches
        Page 7
    Strategic plan
        Page 8
    Faculty survey
        Page 9
        Page 10
    Vice president human resources
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Legislative agenda
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Faculty challenge
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
Full Text


1. Intro Welcome Back

2. The Year Ahead

> Faculty Governance

> Inauguration

> Elections

3. Administrative Searches

4. Strategic Plan

5. Faculty Survey

6. VP Human Resources

7. Legislative Agenda

8. Faculty Challenge

9. Conclusion


Good afternoon everyone. Welcome back to those of you who have

been away. Those of us who have been here all summer IN COOL

North Florida are glad you're back! The Fall term is underway and it

looks as if we will have the most outstanding freshman undergraduate

class in the University's history. Its size is the same as last year but

the talent of this group of students offers promise and a challenge -

to the faculty.

We are estimating the size and the overall quality of our graduate

and professional students will be increased slightly this year. This is

the result of much hard work in recruiting and resource allocations by

many departments, colleges and programs. Congratulations to all who

made it happen. This offers intellectual excitement for the campus

and promises to help us become an even better university.


> 230 New Faculty

We have an estimated 230 new faculty. They come from all over and

will provide new resources as well as intellectual diversity to the

University. This infusion of new blood is important for us.


In addition to the normal, and most important, emphasis on teaching

and scholarship there are a number of other important activities for the

year ahead.

This is a significant year for faculty governance. We need to

operationalize our structure and get the business of the faculty moving

forward. The councils will be formed, dialogue between the

administration and faculty needs to take place in a number of areas.

The faculty survey results, which I will discuss later, will be a focus

for the appropriate Senate committees. Since much of the dialogue of

faculty governance has not occurred before, there is much that needs

to be addressed. Some is procedural how do councils function?

How does the administration get and give input? How do college


governance units interact and interdigitate with the Senate? How do

we obtain needed participation from various components of the

University staff? This is all good stuff. It will be time-consuming

and, sometimes, confusing. But, it will be fun!

September 9 & 10 is the University celebration of inaugurating a new

president. I've been here 8 months and we need to get this done!

Hopefully, it will be tasteful and in harmony with the mission and

goals we hold dear. To say I enter this process enthusiastically would

be a stretch. However, I am rather pleased with the plans and hope

you will be able to participate in some way. I appreciate efforts by the

colleges and other academic units. This is an opportunity to celebrate

our academic accomplishments and both faculty and students are

working to make the event a success.

This fall is also important because it is an election year. There are

important issues at the local, state and national level. We anticipate

considerable exposure to national candidates and I am hopeful the

campus will engage in this important dialogue. The students are

announcing a voter education initiative entitled "Chomp the Vote"

which we can support and, perhaps, emulate in some way.


1. Patricia Telles-Irvin
2. Sr. Vice President IFAS
3. Vice President University Relations

4. Sr. Vice President-Provost

I am announcing the beginning of the search for the Provost. The

committee will be posted on www.aa.ufl.edu. Doug Barrett will chair

the committee. The goal is to complete the search this semester. This

will be Provost Colburn's last semester and I have appreciated his

commitment and his help during the transition.

** Pleased to note there is stability in governance boards BOG,

BOT. Both entities are setting into their prescribed roles in ways that

should be reassuring to the faculty.


One of the important tasks we must accomplish this year is to take a

close look at the University Strategic Plan. This plan was completed a

year and a half ago. It needs to be reopened and retooled if


I have asked the college deans and various program directors to

engage the faculty this fall in discussions about the current plan. We

cannot and should not throw out what has been done. We should -

and must redo and reprioritize the plan where indicated. I need your

help and so do the deans. I am asking each academic unit to report to

me by the end of this year that's December this calendar year.

Please help!


By now most of you have heard, and perhaps seen, results of the

Faculty Survey that was conducted in the spring. I want to thank

Angel Kwolek-Folland and the Senate's Task Force on Quality of Life

Issues for Faculty for their assistance in constructing the survey

instrument. I am quite pleased that so many of the faculty took the

time to participate. I am still sorting out what to make of the results.

Many of you have given me input and I encourage others to do the

same. Hopefully, these data will serve as a starting point for some of

the faculty Senate Councils. We need to look at what's being said as

we move forward. There are some obvious conclusions and there are

also some areas that need further study.

I am struck by the disconnect between the faculty and past central

administrations. We in the administration have work to do. There are

areas where misunderstanding of lack of understanding exists.

Benefits is one of those areas.

The responses of each college have been returned to the dean of the

college. They will be sharing that information. Likewise comments

have been distributed to the colleges. I hope this will be of some use

to these academic units.

I consider these data to be baseline information and food for thought.

We are committed to repeating the survey annually for several years.

Lets see what happens.


As part of my review of administrative practices at UF, I have looked

closely at issues involving people our human resources. As you may

know, faculty issues are handled by the Office of the Provost and staff

issues are managed in the Office of the Vice President for Finance and

Administration. I am concerned that we have too many unsolved

problems in human resources. I note that faculty benefits is the area in

the Faculty Survey that generated the most comments and questions.

There appears to be significant dissatisfaction here and I have

struggled with how to respond.

Another significant personnel glitch is the process at UF for handling

complaints about discrimination. The EEOC Office needs to be able

to serve as the initial receiver of such complaints both for faculty and


staff and it should conduct an independent investigation. The office

needs more authority. Currently, the unit in which the complaint is

filed conducts the initial inquiry.

Therefore, because of the magnitude of the faculty and staff issues and

my conclusion we are not currently set up to optimally address them.

I am announcing today that I will ask the BOT to create a new

administrative position Vice President of Human Resources. It will

report to me. It will handle both faculty and staff issues. It will

contain the Office of Equal Opportunity which will independently

investigate complains of discrimination. This is an additional

expense, but we will consolidate existing resources and, hopefully,

help make UF a better place to work. We can only achieve our goals

if our faculty and staff are provided a working environment that

enables them to be productive and feel rewarded.


This year will be important for the University in Tallahassee. We

need legislative support for faculty compensation. There is also a

compelling need for staff compensation. This year's $1,000 payment

is a one-time benefit. There was a significant state contribution to

staff health insurance such that there were no premium increases.

However, we must concentrate on obtaining real increases for faculty

and staff.

Devolution is another central issue for UF. We are no longer a state

agency but there exists considerable confusion about how we can

operate in this new environment. This affects all the state universities

and is something we will be working on.

Related to managing our own affairs is the historic shift in operating

systems that occurred this summer as UF changed every operating

system to Peoplesoft. This is a staggering undertaking and this

transition is going to take months. It has been my fate to be involved

in Peoplesoft conversions at three universities. We will make it

through this but it is going to take time. This is particularly difficult

on our staff the ones who transact the business of the University.

The key is communication and patience.


Finally, today I want to announce a major new initiative for the


This summer the BOT held a retreat to explore the issues facing UF as

we strive to achieve the goal of becoming one of the top 10 public

universities. We looked carefully at our current levels of excellence

compared to our peers and saw some positive signs. Our

undergraduate student body is as good as anybody. Our Faculty

research effort is strong and improving every year. Our facilities and

plans for improvement are on track.

However, there is one area where we fall significantly behind our

peers. That is in the category of Faculty support. We are behind in

salaries and benefits. We have inadequate support for research,

sabbaticals and graduate student support. We don't have enough

faculty for our workloads.

This is a big, multifaceted problem but the solution is simple. More

resources. We need to help our faculty by getting them the resources

needed to lift off to the top tier of higher education institutions.

Therefore, with support from the Board of Trustees, I am announcing

today The Faculty Challenge.

This multiyear initiative will focus on obtaining $150 million in

private funds for the faculty. It will be the central theme of our

fundraising effort until it gets done. We need everyone's help.

Hopefully, you will see this come to fruition in the next few years

when we launch a capital campaign. But, we start right now today

on this piece.


In conclusion, let me express how happy Chris and I are to be at

Florida. It was the right move for us and we love it here. Our

enthusiasm is kindled by the wonderful people we have met faculty,

students, staff, alumni, citizens of Gainesville, Florida.

UF is truly the Flagship for Discovery

The place for self discovery.

The place for discovering this wonderful, complicated world.

The place for discovering new expressions of art and culture.

The place for discovering solutions to society and mankind's

unanswered questions.

I'm looking forward to sailing with you.

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