Faculty Senate debates future of Faculty Advisory Council

The way the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) makes decisions may change if Tampa Faculty Senate members get their way.

In a vote Wednesday, the Faculty Senate agreed to pursue a change that would allow the Tampa campus to have representation within the FAC equal to the total combined representatives of each of the regional campuses.

The FAC is the principal faculty academic advisory body to the USF System. The council determines its own president, Faculty Senate President Huntington Potter said.

“The (FAC) takes representatives from all of the four campuses of USF and puts them in one organization, which votes among its members for a president,” he said. “That president sits on the Board of Trustees (BOT).”

The BOT is the high authority in the USF System with regard to fiscal and program decisions.

Currently there are 18 members on the FAC. Each USF campus – Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Polytechnic at Lakeland receive at least three representatives, and one additional representative for every 100 faculty above and beyond that, said FAC Vice President Elizabeth Bird.

“Sarasota and Polytechnic have three members each because they are well under a hundred (faculty members),” Bird said. “St. Pete has four because they are at about 120 (faculty members) I think right now, and another thing that was written into that was to allow a maximum of eight (members per campus) – so that results in (Tampa) having eight. The regional campuses all together have 10 (members).”

If enacted by members of the FAC, the proposal in question will change the maximum number of representatives a campus can have from eight to ten, which would give Tampa 10 representatives, the same amount as the combined regional campus.

“The way it’s set-up at the moment, Tampa can’t defend everything, but the regional campuses, by working together – if there were interests they considered to be theirs, but not ours – they could vote repeatedly to disenfranchise USF Tampa again and again,” Bird said.

Potter said the Senate will meet again to discuss what to do if the FAC rejects the proposal at their next meeting.

Current FAC President and BOT representative Elizabeth Larkin is a professor in the College of Education at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Prior to the formation of the FAC in early 2010, the faculty senate president from the Tampa campus represented the USF System faculty on the BOT.