Faculty Senate Discussion

Academic Personnel Board Proposal

Filed under Academic Personnel Board Proposal by salvers@ufl.edu on November 15, 2013 | 5 Comments

During the October 24, 2013 Senate Meeting, President Machen proposed an expansion and reorganization of the Academic Personnel Board. The proposal recommends: (1) an expansion of the membership on the APB from 6 to 10-12 members and (2) a reorganization of the Board into two panels (Panel 1: consider faculty in tenure-eligible positions along with distinguished professors, and Panel 2: consider faculty county extension agents, clinical track faculty and other tenure-ineligible positions). The impetus for the reorganization is to provide fairer review of candidates and, also, ease the workload of the Academic Personnel Board.

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Marc Heft
Chair, Faculty Senate

5 Responses to “Academic Personnel Board Proposal”

  1. As a faculty senator, and as an Extension Agent off-campus, I have been talking to as many of my fellow agents as possible. Overwhelmingly we agree that we do not want a separation of the board to evaluate us separately from the rest of the faculty. We are required to be academic, scientific professionals, producing work and publications for our respective audiences.
    We agree completely that the APB needs to be enlarged. The workload is overwhelming. But what we would much prefer is that
    1. The APB be enlarged.
    2. The enlarged board be subdivided into 2 or more groups.
    3. The packets as they come in be divided randomly among the various groups.
    In this way we would have the same evaluation, without the distinctions of different levels of faculty, but with a reduced workload for the board.

  2. I am not in favor of the creation of two academic personnel boards. I am in the College of Veterinary Medicine. I am a veterinarian with 30 year history of private practice, academic clinical practice, and now full-time teaching and research. The reason I stopped academic clinical practice was because of drive toward profitization of academic clinical medicine and the failure of academia to recognize clinical medicine as service. The final kiss of death has been the creation of clinical non-tenure track faculty. This has led to the creation of two classes of faculty and exceptional balkanization of resources in our College. Furthermore it has had a severe, detrimental effect on the quality of our scholarship as a national veterinary institution to point of encroachment of other Colleges in the Health Sciences into our resources, because of the perception CVM does not have “much going-on” in the way of extramural research. We now go out and “buy” established researchers instead creating a new generation of veterinary and medical health scholars. I think this activity could be found in all of the College of UF to a certain extent. Creation of two boards without a common goal of scholarship and retention with tenure will lead to further decline of the scholarly programs in medical health and extension in the University. It is time to think out of the box about this rather than go forward with further “siloing” of our great clinical and academic faculty. First there should be basic, clear guidelines across all Departments, with both academic and clinical appoints, based on the Faculty Senate Constitution and By-laws for promotion and tenure. Tenure should be awarded to both extension and clinical faculty. Clinical and extension work should be afforded the same scholarly status as “service” as research and teaching. There are many, many opportunities for scholarship within this concept: advancement of new clinical and extension expertise, health, agricultural, and cultural policy making through white paper publication and clinical board participation, development of new teaching, surgical, and agricultural techniques, case reporting. The list is long and we do not do enough of this because it is not asked of us. These are alternatives to pricing/salary schemes that take the place of job security, the reception of scholarly mentorship, and the development of good clinical and didactic teaching skills. A call to higher service results in better client satisfaction and, incidentally, leads to better profits. Without a program of scholarly development, clinical and extension faculty are glorified adjuncts and essentially at will employees. If its only for money that they stay and put up with horrendous clinical duties, little control over the administration of their services, and constant budget pain, it takes a very short time for our smart entry level clinical personnel and extension agents to figure out the rewards of private practice and industry, respectively. The revolving door created by a second class faculty leads to interruptions of other faculty’s work-load, loss of caseload, client disappointment and dissatisfaction, and perception by our stakeholders throughout the state that we are a dysfunctional mess. Having been at other institutions that figured this out and watching UF go down this road, it is a disaster. In the interim, the academic personnel board should be carefully composed of equal parts tenure-track and equal parts non-tenure track. It is the responsibility of the reviewers to review each package and the guidelines based on “what is this appointment” and did this person meet the standards. The ultimate mission then should be did this person advance University scholarship within this mission. The reviewing faculty must also teach each other and advocate the interdisciplinary and diverse missions of their colleagues. We all contribute and work exceptionally above and beyond the call, whether its midnight with an emergency surgery or writing a grant on deadline.

  3. I have not yet decided whether I am in favor of or opposed to the suggested change to the Academic Personnel Board, and so I am writing this comment in the hopes of encouraging the additional sharing of perspectives from my fellow Senators. From where I stand, we may currently be in an exciting period of higher education, and one in which the role of the faculty may be changing and diversifying. I am proud to be at a university with such a rich array of expertise amongst our faculty, which enables us to have a wide array of impacts on local, national, and global levels. And, given that we all serve the mission of UF together as faculty, I would expect that every single faculty member possesses the faculties to understand and judge the impact of the work produced by every one of his or her faculty colleagues (given the appropriate contextual and disciplinary information, of course). I am wary of making a significant administrative change to how we reward each other with tenure and promotion that might suggest otherwise, particularly in the midst of possible changes in the landscape of higher education.

  4. Good idea to have two boards. There is considerable debate nationally about tenure in colleges of medicine and some schools have abandoned it as having no value. There are many activities that contribute to missions of teaching, discovery and patient care that do not fit the traditional tenure process yet the individuals involved in these activities should be rewarded and retained. As with most things the trick will be populating the Board with people who understand the work being done and agree on the appropriate levels of achievement needed to preserve academic excellence.

  5. I agree with the idea of creating two separate boards since the criteria for the two different categories of faculty can vary widely. I believe it has put the faculty in the non-tenuring positions at a disadvantage to be evaluated in the same pool. Their work is essential in many disciplines, and to have them be rated in the same pool has not always resulted in fair decisions. I would also like to note that the current APB has not had a faculty member from the College of Education on this board for well over 25 years. I understand these appointments are made by the Provost, and I want to put on record my concern that the College has been seriously overlooked. If this proposal becomes the new operating procedure, I would hope that COE faculty will be considered for an appointment on both boards, and not be relegated to the new board only. I note that the College of Education has the highest total grant expenditures apart from the College of Engineering, CLAS, and the College of Medicine, which certainly attests to the faculty’s ability to conduct and evaluate research.

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