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Florida University Faculty Raises Concerns Over High Turnover of College Teachers

During a Friday meeting, the Florida Board of Governors advanced Gov. Ron DeSantis’ pledge to undermine tenure, which he has disparaged as granting “lifetime appointments” to teachers who engage in “indoctrinating students.”

The ultimate decision on the problem further codifies the state’s latest law Senate Bill 266 — signed May 15 — that requires tenured faculty members in Florida’s public universities to undergo a comprehensive post-tenure review every five years.

As well as, the law assigns university presidents with final authority for hiring, and it also outlines the best way that the reviews shall be assessed, monitored and reported moving forward.

While nearly all of the board was in favor of the proposed amendment in regards to the post-tenure review changes, Board of Governors member Amanda Phalin — who recently joined the board in August — stood against the choice.

Phalin, an instructional associate professor on the University of Florida within the Warrington College of Business, currently serves as chair of the Board of Governor’s Advisory Council of Faculty Senates.

Related news:Faculty tell board erosion of tenure has prospective profs saying ‘not Florida, not now’

Challenge:Recent College professor who was denied tenure sues school’s board of trustees

Board member Timothy Cerio, who says he and Phalin have spoken so much on post-tenure review prior to the Friday meeting, explained how he’s committed to maintaining a tally of critical aspects like unintended consequences that would potentially come from the change.

“We’re following what was passed by the legislature, but we will definitely be mindful and make certain we’re collecting the suitable data to observe its impact,” Cerio said Friday.

Timothy Cerio, chairman of the Board of Governors Audit and Compliance Committee.

A number of the other tenure-related changes under the law include the requirement for university presidents to present performance evaluation results to their board of trustees, and it specifies that faculty grievances are prohibited from being appealed beyond the university president.

Universities can even now be required to issue final dispositions in writing to school, which “should not subject to arbitration,” based on the board’s report on the approved regulation.

“I believe there’s a possible that this laws can have the unintended consequence of leading to more lawsuits quite than arbitration,” Phalin told board members Friday.

“It could be a very good idea for the system to maintain track of how our expenditures and the time that we spend in these kind of legal situations may change consequently of removing arbitration from the table as an option,” she added.

University of Florida Board of Trustee member Amanda Phalin listens to students and faculty during the UF Board of Trustees confirmation hearing on Sen. Ben Sasse at Emerson Hall in Gainesville, Fla., on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022. (Lawren Simmons/Special to the Sun)

United Faculty of Florida calls for change before damage is ‘irreversible’

Prior to the board’s discussion and approval on the post-tenure review item, the United Faculty of Florida published the outcomes of a multi-state faculty survey revealing that faculty are refusing to return to Florida.

“Key findings from the survey indicate that greater than 65 percent of respondents wouldn’t recommend their state as a desirable place to work for colleagues, while just over 30 percent are actively considering interviewing elsewhere in the approaching 12 months,” UFF President Andrew Gothard said in a prepared statement.

J. Andrew Gothard, president, United Faculty of Florida (2022)

The survey was conducted by faculty organizations from the states of Texas, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.

Out of 642 Florida faculty who participated within the survey:

  • Almost 300 said they planned to hunt employment in one other state inside the following 12 months.
  • 545 said they’d not encourage a graduate student or faculty colleague in one other state to hunt employment in Florida.
  • 233 said they didn’t plan to remain in academia long run due to changes to tenure, contracts, and academic freedom.
  • 612 identified the political atmosphere around
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