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<p>UF Faculty Senate President Amanda Phalin goes over the goals for the meeting Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.</p>

UF Faculty Senate President Amanda Phalin goes over the goals for the meeting Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.

Faculty senators gathered Thursday in the Reitz Senate Chambers to hear UF President Ben Sasse, Senate Chair Amanda Phalin and UF Provost Joe Glover deliver reports on rebuilding UF’s foundation, senior position searches and multi-year contracts for non-tenured professors. 

The Faculty Senate also voted Sarah D. Lynne to become the new chair-elect starting on June 1, passed the multi-year contract resolution and heard from Scott Stricklin, the university’s athletic director. 

In Sasse’s 30-minute report, he talked about “rebuilding some pretty big chunks of the foundation.” Some of this rebuilding can be attributed to generational hiring, he said, because some faculty and staff members were hired 35 to 40 years ago and are filtering out. 

Currently, there are 11 to 14 senior cabinet or dean searches underway, Sasse said, touting Florida’s growing economy as a factor to attract new talent.  

“The economy of this place is booming in ways that are kind of unprecedented,” he said. “The reality is, the more financial flows to the state of Florida in the last 39 months than to any civilized situated geography over that time period in human history.”

This presents a challenge, Sasse said, but it’s also an “unbelievable opportunity” for institutions like UF. Flagship institutions are responsible for upgrading people’s lives and teaching them how to live and serve a community, he said. 

House Bill 1355, and its sister bill, Senate Bill 264, were a concern for some senators. The bill prohibits the People's Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party, any other political party or members of political parties in the People's Republic of China from purchasing Florida property. Phalin reassured faculty this bill would not affect them. 

“I've been told that this particular bill will not impact our faculty and students,” she said. “I just want to go through the language with you.”

However, while concerns remained about House Bill 999, faculty seemed less tense. 

“We're just kind of hunkering down and doing the work to try to push things in the right direction,” Phalin said. 

The senators elected Sarah D. Lynne, a professor of associate professor in the department of family, youth and community sciences, to be the new UF Faculty Senate Chair-elect. 

There are high hopes for the position, Lynne said. Chair-elect is the first chair position of three, with Senate chair and past chair following it. In this new role, Lynne will act as chair when the actual chair cannot. She will also serve as a voice for the faculty, she said. 

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On June 1, Phalin will step into her new role as past chair, while Danaya Wright, a UF Law professor, will take over as Faculty Senate chair. 

“Increasing that bi-directional communication, enhancing shared governance because that's really the backbone of shared governance,” Lynne said. “True authentic dialogue between faculty and administration.”

Lynne wants to increase dialogue between university administration and faculty, she said. 

Provost Joe Glover presented a short report covering UF Levin College of Law Interim Dean search and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Dean search, which will not start until Fall. 

A search committee attempted to hire an engineering dean in 2022, which did not end successfully, Glover said. A search team will begin to create a candidate pool in May but will not engage with those candidates until September. 

UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin gave a report on UF student athletes. UF has over 546 student athletes representing 36 states and 32 countries, he said. 

“They really represent a cross-section of all the various disciplines that are here, academically,” Stricklin said. “We have a group of them that participate in every graduation cycle.”

Angela Linder, associate provost of undergraduate affairs, presented a request that would reduce the number of required journalism credits from 124 to 120. Originally, students within the College of Journalism and Communications were required to take 90 credits outside of their degree, which increased the usual credit requirement from 120 to 124. 

This change will lower the overall cost of attendance for students, and attract lower-income students, Linder said. 

The final action item of the meeting was the multi-year contract resolutions. Introduced by Compensation and Equity Committee Chair Sean Trainor, the resolution would allow non-tenured faculty to have three-year contracts at UF.

If a non-tenured faculty member finishes the academic year with an annual satisfactory evaluation, their contract will start over on year one. However, if they receive an unsatisfactory evaluation, their contract will move to year two, according to the resolution’s preamble. This is described as a “rolling” contract.

The final Senate Faculty meeting of the Spring semester will take place May 4 at 3 p.m. in the Reitz Senate Chambers. 

Contact Ella at Follow her on Twitter @elladeethompson.

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Ella Thompson

Ella Thompson is a third-year journalism major and the Spring 2024 Metro Editor. In her free time, she likes to go to the beach or read a good book. 

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