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UNF, faculty union agree on post-tenure review procedures

The University of North Florida and faculty union, UFF-UNF, officially came to an agreement over post-tenure review procedures, President Moez Limayem announced in a faculty-wide email last Wednesday. 

A week after the Board of Trustees approved a post-tenure review policy without union agreement, UFF-UNF President Tobias Huning wrote in a mass email that the procedures had “the most significant [post-tenure review] guardrails anywhere in the state.”

The procedures are different from the policy that was approved by the BOT. Instead, they are a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) between the faculty union and the university outlining how the post-tenure review policy will be implemented. To note, as of the writing of this article, the procedures have not been officially approved, but with announced agreement from each party, they are expected to be signed.

“We heard you and will continue to do everything we can to incentivize and retain our hardworking faculty,” Limayem wrote. “We also will work to ensure that post-tenure review is a rewarding and fair process.”

UFF-UNF is the United Faculty of Florida’s UNF chapter and represents UNF faculty.

One of the major concerns raised by faculty at the BOT meeting was whether their job would be at risk even if they scored “meets expectations” or higher on their annual evaluations. In a Q&A section of his email, President Limayem reassures faculty that such a situation wouldn’t arise with these procedures:

Faculty who have always gotten ‘Meets Expectations’ or above in their annual evaluations in each category over the five years will not be at risk of being placed on a performance improvement plan or terminated […] We have never intended to use post-tenure review to ‘target’ or ‘purge’ faculty, and these procedures make that clear.”

According to Limayem’s email, UNF’s post-tenure review procedures include the following protections for faculty, copied directly from the email:

  • A fair and transparent selection process
  • The ability to obtain extensions in extenuating circumstances
  • The right to notice and an opportunity to respond whenever materials are added to the dossier, and a commitment to only include disciplinary records for which there has been notice, documentation, and an opportunity to respond or grieve
  • Protections for freedom of expression, viewpoint, and political beliefs
  • Multiple levels of review (including a University committee of peers) and a subsequent appeal or grievance 

With procedures approved and the policy expected to be approved by the Board of Governors, the first faculty to undergo post-tenure review will be notified by Oct. 15, according to Limayem’s email. Though the statewide faculty union has yet to announce anything for sure, the UNF faculty union is expectant of legal challenges. 

UFF-UNF President Tobias Huning. (Justin Nedrow)

In his mass email to faculty, Huning wrote that the union will now “await legal action that will render [post-tenure review] defunct in the state of Florida and at UNF.”

President Limayem also included answered questions in his email, viewable below and copied exactly as they appeared in his Wednesday, Sep. 27, email. 

  • Will I be compared against other faculty, or placed on a bell curve? The Procedures make it clear that being above or below the “average performance of faculty” in teaching, research/scholarship/creative activity and service is a comparison of your holistic performance against performance expectations as guided by approved department guidelines for annual evaluations (or the model annual evaluation criteria found in the CBA). You are not being evaluated on a curve that would arbitrarily rank you lower or in comparison to others.
  • Am I going to be fired if I’ve always been told I was meeting expectations on my annual evaluations? Faculty who have always gotten “Meets Expectations” or above in their annual evaluations in each category over the five years will not be at risk of being placed on a performance improvement plan or terminated, so long as they do not have a documented disciplinary history that is severe or displays a pattern of behavior below meeting expectations. We have never intended to use post-tenure review to “target” or “purge” faculty, and these procedures make that clear. 
  • When is post-tenure review going to start? Is assembling the dossier going to be onerous? Individuals who will be undergoing the first round of post-tenure review will be notified by October 15. Their dossier will be due January 12, 2024. The dossier will be assembled using the familiar Interfolio system and was intentionally designed to be as simple to complete as possible. For example, we explain that the cover letter narrative you provide is typically 3 pages or less.
  • Are there any incentives to going through post-tenure review?  Yes! Associate and full professors who receive a performance rating of “meets expectations” will receive a one-time nonrecurring wage payment of three percent (3%) of their base rate of pay or $4,000, whichever is higher. Associate professors who receive a performance rating of “exceeds expectations” will receive a one-time nonrecurring wage payment of five percent (5%) of their base rate of pay or $6,000 whichever is higher. Full professors who receive a performance rating of “exceeds expectations” will receive a five percent (5%) increase to their base salary. Faculty who do not meet expectations and need improvement will take part in developing a thoughtful performance improvement plan so they can grow and be successful.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Carter Mudgett, Reporter
Carter Mudgett is a University of North Florida student majoring in multimedia journalism. He was Spinnaker's editor-in-chief from August 2021 to December 2023. Carter led Spinnaker to be awarded a 2023 Online Pacemaker Award, and most recently placed second in the Society of Professional Journalists's Sunshine State Awards for "Best Coverage of LGBT Issues" in the college category. Backed by a passion for creative storytelling and accurate reporting, Carter typically covers education, gender and race issues.
Justin Nedrow, Photographer
Justin Nedrow is a Jacksonville-based photographer who started volunteering for Spinnaker in 2020 and recently graduated in spring 2023 with a degree in sports management from the University of North Florida. Taking hundreds, if not thousands, of photos, Justin has helped Spinnaker reporters cover everything from sports games, protests, ordinary campus life and more. Photography is a passion project for Justin, one he started to meet new people and express himself without words.

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