Faculty wants stronger voice in realignment

Faculty leaders said USF isn’t letting them have enough of a say when it comes to making key changes to the University’s structure — and some have even decided to ignore USF’s recommendations altogether.

Few faculty members protested the proposed changes — which include a major reshuffling of departments and colleges — but many said they felt they were not consulted in the decision-making process.

“Many more people were upset with the process than the product,” said Faculty Senate President Laurence Branch at a meeting Wednesday.

Top USF administrators had to re-organize the number and leadership of the University’s colleges and schools to cope with $50.4 million in budget cuts.

During the process, called realignment, some professors said they were unaware of changes in their own departments until USF made an announcement.

“I suddenly found myself in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences without ever being asked where I wanted to be,” said Emanuel Donchin, chair of the psychology department.

College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Interim Dean Eric Eisenberg said it is hard to tell whether the administration talked to faculty enough.

“It’s something that people can disagree about,” he said.

CAS decided to disregard the administration’s recommendations and create its own plan for realignment.

Though the recommendations are the product of faculty and administrator collaboration, the Faculty Senate has outlined a new way to recommend changes to the academic structure of the University.

Under the process, anyone who wishes to suggest a change to the University’s structure must submit a proposal to the faculty of each affected department, as well as the college’s dean.

The Faculty Senate would then vote on the proposed changes. The senate could review a proposal, however, even if it does not receive a positive reaction from the college it affects.

The process, which still hasn’t been approved by the Faculty Senate, would have no official bearing upon the University’s final decision.

At the senate meeting, Provost Ralph Wilcox said he is open to any suggestions, and that he tried to consult faculty members when he was drafting the administration’s recommendations.