Three-and-a-Half Quick Notes for UF Faculty

President Ben Sasse
August 24, 2023

Gator Faculty,

Hope your school year has started off smoothly. Wanted to give you a quick update on the Faculty Senate meeting, provide you with a link and give 3 quick, summary bullet points.

Video of my update should be available here soon.

  1. UF Is World-Class and We’re Not Done Yet. Nobody in higher education has done the things that you have done in the last dozen years, and as we write the next chapter we’re not backing down. We’ve got exciting work to do together. 
  2. The World Is Moving Fast, So We Must Move Fast. We can’t sit back. The state has made some incredible investments in us, but hundreds of millions of dollars — many of them around our Jacksonville initiative — will expire if we’re not moving fast. 
  3. Join Our Strategic Planning Process. Faculty are the foundation of a great university, and our strategic planning process needs your input. Please talk with your dean about upcoming sessions. We have had meetings in the last three weeks with 13 of our 16 colleges. It has been great — you've shaped my thinking and refined our options. I’m grateful. I don’t come to this with any plans written in stone, but a definite zeal for us to move more quickly so we can take advantage of our moment and our opportunities. 

To Be Upfront

I want to be honest and upfront about one item of concern that has come up. In many of my conversations, I have heard faculty tell me that a significant portion of their colleagues have “quietly retired.” I want to be clear: that’s something you — our faculty — have repeated to me. I'd never heard the term before. But, having spoken with most of our colleges, I have heard it many times. We can and must do better. 

All of us want to have a productive and world-class faculty. That means we need to have understandable metrics to hold ourselves accountable. Of course, metrics will have to vary from discipline to discipline (we’re a big university with a diverse faculty). But different metrics doesn’t mean no metrics or just paper metrics. We need to hold ourselves to the highest standards because our students, and Florida's taxpayers who pay our bills, deserve nothing less. I want us to reward our highest-achieving faculty with better pay, and I want to defend tenure against those who would politicize the business of a public university. We can do that only if we as a community continually commit ourselves to excellence and transparency. 

I hope to see you on campus soon and continue this important conversation. 

Go Gators!