USF Provost Renu Khator will meet Friday with all the university’s department chairs to address several faculty concerns, according to an e-mail sent from associate English department chairwoman Alma Bryant to department members on Wednesday.
Khator could not be reached late Wednesday, and USF spokeswoman Michelle Carlyon could not comment on the e-mail.
According to Bryant’s e-mail, the meeting will cover issues that have been brought to Khator’s attention in recent weeks. The e-mail quotes Khator as saying these questions include problems in the English department, budget cuts and the possibility of layoffs, faculty members’ use of their own textbooks and the reasons behind a series of audits being performed by the university’s office of audit and compliance. Also to be addressed, Khator is quoted as saying in the e-mail, will be USF’s diversity picture and the salary package proposed by USF recently.
The news comes after a week after English professor Joe Moxley was found in a university audit report to be guilty of misusing school funds for personal expenses and for misusing university resources to maintain an online textbook he co-authored. In May, another English professor, Debra Jacobs, was found by USF to have used a textbook she co-authored for her classes without gaining the proper approval.
Moxley responded by saying he was not aware of some of the rules he was said to be violating.
In April, English department chairman Phillip Sipiora was forced to step down after the university said he was responsible for misusing nearly $70,000.
USF recently proposed a new method for giving out raises, one that would give all faculty the possibility of a 5.5 percent raise and all staff the chance for a 2 percent pay increase over the next three years. Several faculty and staff members have expressed concern, however, because the means for paying for these raises has not been made completely clear.
In an e-mail responding to notification of the meeting, Tom Ross, program assistant in the College of Public Health, said even a need for this meeting should be cause for faculty concern.
“That the provost feels the need to inform all chairs about a policy as fundamental as that on using one’s own textbook reflects rather poorly on the upper administration,” Ross’ e-mail said. “Clearly, new chairs are not being properly prepped (there’s an 80 percent turnover rate every four years). Trust me, there are dozens of policies tucked away which haven’t been ‘noticed’ for years–all just waiting to be resurrected when it’s time to scapegoat someone.”
The time and location of the meeting could not be confirmed Wednesday night.