Town Hall Q & A
Spring 2018 Town Hall
Submitted questions --- and answers
(*Question also addressed at Town Hall)
Q: I would like to know if the Town Hall will be accessible via Zoom.
A: Faculty and staff working at other campus locations received a link to a live feed of the Town Hall. In order to encourage attendance, we did not make the session available via Zoom. We are always looking at solutions to provide greater access to this presentation and will continue to explore options.
Q: Please discuss your strategic initiatives that will address the Campus Climate Report Findings that approximately 1 out of 5 respondents (~19%) "indicated that they personally had experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct."How will you be using the results from the campus wide Survey to implement true and absolute progress for our community?
A: Following the release of the Campus Climate report to the community, I sent an email message outlining next steps, and emphasizing that we are now moving into a process of discovery, discernment, and action. I will soon name an Implementation Team of faculty, staff, and students who will be charged with soliciting feedback on the survey findings from our community in an organized and transparent fashion. They will also be charged with recommending action steps that USF will implement in the 2018–19 academic year. The survey reveals both encouraging news about our campus climate — such as the strong response rate across the university and the recognition of our values around justice and service. Yet the survey also reveals evidence of disturbing points of pain affecting the lives and wellbeing of members of our community. I join you in the ongoing process to view the findings in comparison to the ideals we share. We can be better. We can be more inclusive. We can and must cherish every member of our community — every student, every member of our teaching faculty, every staff member and administrator.
Q: Both the university and the School of Law have had racially motivated incidents in the last year. Both the university and the School of Law have also received demands for diversity and inclusion efforts from diverse student groups. What has been done to address these incidents and demands? What is actively being done to recruit and retain faculty of color? How can the university and the School of Law recruit and admit students of color without creating an inclusive environment that provides the requisite faculty of color, resources, and other support for these students?
A: This question raises concerns that are of critical importance to USF – and involves many areas on campus, from Academic Affairs to DECO to Student Life to Human Resources and my office. Faculty, staff, and students are all held accountable to conduct standards, and USF does investigations and takes appropriate follow up action, which includes education and discipline.
We are rightfully proud of our diversity: the School of Law is among the most racially diverse law schools in the country and the diversity of our undergraduate population places us among the top ten in the nation. Further, we strongly believe that every one of our students benefits from learning in a diverse environment. We have ongoing efforts to increase the diversity of our students and faculty – but diversity is just the starting point. Inclusive excellence is our common goal, and we are all responsible on a daily basis to make USF the beloved community we seek to be. We will continue to build capacity and to realize our ideals as a community.
*Q: How are USF and its leaders equipped to respond to what I am seeing as a racial bullying crisis?
A: First, USF vehemently, vigorously condemns bullying, harassment and bias of any kind. We act on reported incidents – through the Bias Education Resource Team as well as Title IX investigations. Each reported or known incident is handled by established protocols, with Public Safety, Student Life and other professionals consulted and involved as necessary. Our protocols are firmly in place, reviewed regularly and consistently enacted. I encourage members of our community to come forward when they are victims or witnesses so that, together, we can as a community eliminate bullying, hate and other behaviors that violate our culture and community standards. I want to assure you that incidents are rigorously investigated. We take an educational approach when working with students who have engaged in such behavior, and disciplinary processes are confidential. Additional training for faculty, staff, and students have recently been launched, and programs will be added or revised based on the outcomes of the Campus Climate findings analysis.
Q: The Seeley Center for Teaching Excellence focused this year on faculty wellbeing, in an attempt to acknowledge the strains faculty members can sometimes feel as they continually struggle to improve their courses and reach more students. We read The Slow Professor, we had a Faculty Learning Community on Mindfulness, we emphasized a "small teaching" approach, which emphasizes research-based, focused, sustainable changes in teaching. But I don't think we connected enough to the resources of the Jesuit community. What does the Jesuit tradition teach us about self-care that we may be more fulfilled in our work and more present for others?
A: There is a quite a bit in the literature about “care of the self” within the context of the Ignatian principles of cura personalis and cura apostolica. We can only truly care for the whole project if we care for each person within our community, including our own self. There is a great deal of generosity that animates the professional engagement of faculty and staff here at USF – I see this all the time. I have also experienced peers who say “no” to me when I ask them to take on an important project, and I am glad that they feel comfortable enough to say so. Ignatius often instructed young Jesuits to age quod agis, literally “do what you are doing.” This sort of mindfulness about and presence to the task or the person in front of me is key. There is so much around us that can distract us from what is truly important and ultimately essential. Slowing down to do one important thing well is far better than doing several things haphazardly.
Q: Is there a fear that an organization like USF can occasionally cut too much? Too much pressure on the staff leads to high turnover. Nothing is more expensive than replacing high-quality staff and I'm worried that currently the University of San Francisco is so focused on saving money that we are not accounting for long term irreversible negative impacts to our organization.
A: I recognize that like the entire higher education sector, we here at USF are going through a challenging period in terms of budget reallocations over the past few years, and that we’re going to have to continue to make tough decisions over the coming years about our institutional priorities. I also recognize that if budget cutting goes too far, or is not done wisely and in the light of our mission, it can lead to a negative spiral: decreased staff means decreased services and a decreased perceived experience for our students, which leads to further enrolment declines and decreased revenues, etc. That’s why it’s so important for our unit managers to work together to identify opportunities for better collaboration, opportunities to recommit to the most student-facing investments, opportunities to generate new revenue, and opportunities to look hard at programs that are not at the level of excellence that we expect at USF.
Let’s also keep in mind that we’re not saving money for the sake of saving money. These budget reallocations are a statement of our values. The vast majority of our reallocated resources are being invested in our people: compensation for our employees and financial aid for our students. Right now, many institutions of higher learning are suspending pay increases for their employees. Because the cost of living in the Bay Area is so challenging for so many of our employees, we’re trying to provide compensation increases that at least roughly keep up with the rate of inflation. And because higher education is currently beset by a demand-supply imbalance – that is, relatively too many seats for relatively too few students -- we have to pull out all the stops to matriculate the bright and diverse cohorts of first-year and transfer students that we want to see every year. In addition to higher-touch engagements by our admissions team and transformative technologies like Slate, we’ve been deploying financial aid more aggressively. And that’s a very expensive but absolutely necessary strategy.
Q: I heard that the new dorm will be running on gas rather than electricity - could you please explain how this is an environmentally sustainable choice?
A: We will be using micro-turbines to co-generate electricity and heat – this technology is very efficient, but yes, it does release carbon. Other campus facilities updates are reducing our energy usage – new boilers, windows, washing machines, etc. As a whole, we will continue to reduce our carbon footprint. I look forward to sharing more information regarding construction in the months to come.
Q: USF is ranked 110 in the most recent US News and World Report. Any effort to improve the university's ranking? If USF is ranked in the top 80 or 50, the university will be in a much better situation to fulfill its mission.
A: We are dedicated to improving USF’s reputation and raising awareness of our distinctiveness. College rankings are indeed one of the important ways that potential students (and their families) develop a first interest in an institution. We know that there are other factors that influence college choice – such as the campus visit experience, the opinion of a high school teacher or college counselor, etc. While we are not overly focused on rankings, when and where we can make some smart, low-cost investments that may help better position us in the rankings over time, we are going to do it. One example is our decision to fund the pre-professional health advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences. This person is not only charged with securing better graduate placement options for our pre-medical and pre-dental students, but also with counseling students out of that track who are not likely to end up in medical or dental school. By having these students switch into alternative, better-matching majors earlier in their career, we will slowly improve our 4- and 6-year graduation rates, which are key variables in determination of the U.S. News and World rankings. Too, our mission has always included lifting students from the working classes into the professional classes, and our students as a whole outperform their expected graduation rates as compared to other universities.
Q: There are 9 deans in the College of Arts and Sciences (one dean, five associate deans, three assistant deans). Is that normal?
A: Every school and college at USF has different organizational models and structures. I recognize that there has been growth in mid-level administrators at some of our academic units. This is due in part to increased responsibilities tied to comprehensive campaign, the design and launch of Engineering, the Honors College, our WASC review and other initiatives. As our deans, vice presidents, and vice provosts wrangle with budget reallocations, I'm encouraging them to look for opportunities to consider not filling vacant positions, to think about combining positions, and to remember that we would like to achieve efficiencies that allow us to put as many people -- staff and faculty alike -- in student-facing contexts.
Q: The building of the new facility on Lone Mountain offers a great opportunity to finally have an on-site childcare (for faculty, staff and students) as has long been proposed (and agreed upon). Will this actually happen?
A: We are not currently looking at options for on-site childcare. The new building on Lone Mountain will be a student residence hall. Instead of providing on-site childcare, a joint decision was made to provide monthly subsidies to employees to support their childcare expenses at sites of their choosing. We are currently spending approximately $700,000 per year on this employee benefit.
Q: Given the pressures of the San Francisco/ Bay Area housing market - what will you/ the university do to mitigate this for (junior) faculty, staff and students?
A: The Bay Area is a very expensive place to live, and we can’t change those market conditions. Given our limited space and limited financial resources, our priority is finding housing for our students so that we can better realize our dream of a residential urban educational experience. We want to move away from being a commuter school -- not only for our faculty and staff, but particularly for our students. Our students want to see a more vibrant and more engaging campus culture; they made this clear to us in the recent Campus Climate Survey, and we are making that the priority. We do our best to offer competitive salaries and benefits to all of our employees.
*Q: The arts programs at USF - art, architecture and performing arts - have all been steadily growing over several years. Are there any plans to address their growing space needs? How do you plan to support the Arts at USF? Our Arts facilities remain over crowded and in poor condition, while numerous other large projects are starting.
A: The arts are essential to our academic offerings and our liberal arts identity. We recognize the challenges these highly valued programs are operating under. Space obviously is at a premium on our campus and in San Francisco. We are constantly reviewing space needs through the Space Committee and proactively researching alternatives. That said, we do not have immediate news to share regarding the arts given other critical and pressing priorities like housing. Please note that Provost Heller has funded $60,000 in within-wall improvements to the Art+Architecture space in the basement of Fromm Hall during FY18. This funding is part of a proposed three-phase plan to improve the quality of the admittedly limited space used by our Art+Architecture students, staff, and faculty. Too, in the current Campaign, we have prioritized an additional 70,000 square feet of academic space that will allow us to decompress all of our impacted academic programs.
* Q: Will you conduct a pay parity audit and then address the pay gaps women experience at USF?
A: This area is critically important to USF, and we saw it raised in the Campus Climate Survey. We proactively and reactively review compensation levels across the university on an ongoing basis, and recently we engaged an outside consultant to review systematically the salaries in the Law School. It may be time to look at the possibility of engaging an outside firm to undertake a comprehensive audit of compensation. I will keep the community informed about decisions and developments.
* Q: I am very concerned about cuts that have been made to the Gleeson Library budgets especially in journal subscriptions and access to Librarians (spread thinner with loss of Librarians at Branch Campuses). Our graduate nursing and health professions programs depend on students being able to access the strongest possible evidence in order to improve health care. This requires adding not deleting subscriptions. What is being done to enhance Gleeson Library budgets for subscriptions and access to librarians for in class teaching as well as video conferencing? Will we ever be able to budget for books again? How will we be able to build collections to support these without dismantling collections to serve existing programs, or reducing staff at a time when we actually need more resources and staff to support the regional programs that are losing their libraries and staff?
A: In this year’s budget planning process, the library’s subscription budget is not being cut. However, the rate of growth of these subscription budgets must slow from the previous 6-8% per year to 5-6% per year or less. As with many expense categories across campus, we must work to pull back on rates of growth. This situation is not unique to the library.
We cannot raise tuition at 6 or 8% annually. All units are making difficult choices right now -- all of them, including the Library, are engaged in intentional and informed work to ensure that budgetary decisions are based on assessment and usage. Working with faculty, the library will use assessment tools to inform decisions about which subscriptions to keep and which to let lapse. The librarians are also looking at processes and technologies that will move some purchases to an on-demand framework, and they will continue to make purchases as consortium members, which saves money and provides rapid interlibrary loan services.
The Library is committed to wise and judicious use of its endowment funds, and to working with Development to increase gift giving in support subscriptions, books, and materials.
Q: I'm concerned about services to students in the branch campuses. With the closure of the branch campus libraries, students at the branch campuses will have far less support than they do now. Gleeson Librarians will be able to provide service, but it will not be at the same level as what the students are receiving now with dedicated librarians present in the physical space. I understand that the budget situation is serious and that cuts had to be made, but there has been a complete absence of messaging to the students in the branch campuses. Faculty received a vague and honestly confusing message from the provost, but students haven't received anything as of yet. I'd also like to know how the university plans on preparing the remaining branch campus staff members to support the students with their technology needs...particularly given that the librarians on those campuses were doing much of that support. And this help will be particularly important going forward if the students are going to be expected to receive instruction via zoom, as well as connect remotely to hilltop support services (like reference librarians and the writing center). There needs to be someone there who is trained and available to help students. They are going to be very, very unhappy if they are simply left without support.
A: Students at our distributed campuses received a second email from Vice Provost Jeff Hamrick about the elimination of the in-person part-time librarian services on April 23, 2018. This email followed an email from Provost Heller on January 29, 2018.
Additionally, Vice Provost Hamrick recently teamed up with the Graduate Student Senate to administer a comprehensive survey about student services at our distributed campuses. It is my understanding that he has widely shared the results of this survey and is working on both a related communication plan, meetings with stakeholders, and short- and long-term responses.
Also, Vice Provost Hamrick is working with the distributed campus organization on a new approach to providing ITS support in the regions. I am aware of the fact that some of our part-time librarians were providing this support on an ad hoc basis. Those support activities are going to move over to a combination of the distributed campus staff -- who will also be committed to expanded work hours starting fall 2018 -- as well as ITS staff who will be brought in to do training (e.g., how to print using the Pharos system, use Zoom, etc.) at particular points during the semester. Vice Provost Hamrick is also collaborating with ITS to redouble efforts to make campus stakeholders aware of how to gain access to ITS support at a distance.
Q: What are you doing as President to improve the climate/relationship between Faculty and Administration?
A: I am tremendously proud of our faculty, and I am constantly impressed by their dedication to their disciplines and to their students. I see this first hand when I attend faculty lectures and student presentations. I also see it in the program reviews, the remarks of external reviewers, the tenure and promotion cases, and the retirement tributes. USF is a special place, and I and the rest of the administration are grateful to be a part of it and partners with the faculty and the staff in the enactment of our mission.
I recognize that the contract negotiations last year were long and trying, and the agreement we reached was not as generous as any of us would have wanted it to be. Our revenues are not growing as fast as more robust compensation would require. Administrators and faculty are working together to design and launch new programs, grow enrollments, grow the endowment and otherwise strengthen our business model, and for all of this work, I am very grateful.
During my first two years I held monthly listening sessions. In the coming academic year I will resume this practice so that I can hear directly from faculty and staff your concerns as well as your suggestions. The Vice Presidents and Vice Provosts have recently begun similar listening and sharing sessions. I am awaiting the final report of the Magis Project Steering Committee, on which I and the Leadership Team will spend a good deal of time this summer.
Q: What are your plans for Star Route Farms?
A: Our acquisition of Star Route Farms — with the generous support from benefactors — is moving forward in concrete ways. Provost Heller has met with faculty members and academic and administrative departments that are interested in conducting research, exploring new ways of thinking about sustainability, and engaging students at the property. Academic programming at the farm will be part of the portfolio of our new vice provost, who will set up a process for advancing proposals. That said, faculty have already taken groups of students to Bolinas, and the farm is already being integrated into teaching, research and scholarship.
I am very excited about the work of a group of faculty from across disciplines who have been meeting for the past year to explore the viability of creating a Center for Sustainability and Just Futures. This is an exciting idea bringing the diverse work taking place across our campuses on the intersection of environmental justice and social justice – and highlights how important it is for faculty members to talk to one another and learn from each other and collaborate with each other across departments and schools.
This faculty learning group is helping us all to think about how the marginalized are often the most adversely affected by climate change and pollution. One member of this group is working on the health impacts of the lack of access to green spaces, another on sustainable cities, and a third on the impact of urbanization in China.
Similarly, given the central importance of ecology in Catholic social thought and theology, the farm presents exciting opportunities for the university to engage as a forum – with partners from across the Bay Area – in interfaith dialogue and action.
Most of our work on sustainability will happen here on the Hilltop, but Star Route Farms is both a laboratory and a potent symbol of our engagement in research and teaching of what Pope Francis calls integral ecology. I’m excited to see the progress on this mission-rich initiative.
Q: Faculty heard recently that there has been a decision by the Provost to remove all computers from classrooms. The plan is called "BYOD" -- Bring Your Own Device. The plan is apparently being put in place as a cost-saving measure, rather than what best serve student's needs. The removal of computers from classrooms will drastically hinder the teaching effectiveness of the majority of faculty on campus: part-time instructors. How is an important decision like this handed down from the top, without prior consultation or discussion with the communities most affected -- faculty and students?
A: The Provost and the Office of Planning and Budget, and my whole Cabinet are looking at dozens of ways for our University to save money during these challenging times. Many of our faculty use their university provided, or personal laptops, at classroom podiums when they teach, which does call into question the necessity of having a desktop computer in nearly every podium of nearly every classroom. However, neither the Provost nor Information Technology Services has yet made a decision about the so-called 'Bring Your Own Device' initiative. This idea is under discussion and has been wide-ranging, and it has included faculty members and representatives from the Division of Academic Affairs. Stay tuned.
Q: In the aftermath of USF’s Casa Bayanihan Program shutting down over the last year: What will the university do in order to maintain USF’s relationships with the various marginalized communities, NGOs‚ and Jesuit universities in the Philippines that have so generously worked to help make sure the students of the program were got the best education they could? What comes next after Casa Bayanihan? What opportunities will USF provide to our students so they can study abroad in developing countries with a curriculum that reflects Jesuit educational values?
A: After careful consideration, the University of San Francisco made the difficult decision to permanently close its Casa Bayanihan alternative study abroad program in Manila in July 2017. The program, which was founded in 2011, had faced declining enrollment in recent years and had struggled to attract the minimum number of students to cover the program’s direct costs.
The safety and security of our students and employees are our highest priority, and we carefully evaluate potential study abroad and immersion opportunities in all locations around the world. That said, we are looking for opportunities for our students to study internationally, including in marginalized communities, and we are exploring immersion opportunities where our students can experience Jesuit educational values at the margins.
Q: What can be done to improve the status of Adjunct Faculty within the School of Education? Most of the positions have been offered to the full-time faculty. How can an adjunct faculty member become a full-time professor if they are not able to obtain a part time faculty position?
A: It sometimes happens that a faculty member at USF begins as an adjunct and then moves into a fulltime position. Occasionally, adjuncts are elevated into non-renewable (or even renewable) term faculty positions, depending on the needs of the unit. When a full-time position is created, our existing qualified adjunct faculty members are eligible to apply for the position.
Like many other schools and universities, we often employ adjuncts to fill temporary gaps in our labor force -- when a tenure-track line is vacated, or when somebody goes on sabbatical, or when we need the expertise of an industry practitioner to offer a specialty course in some program. One of the categories our accreditors – both institutional (WASC) and disciplinary – measure us on is the proportion of our faculty who are full-time, so hiring full-time faculty is a priority. There are some situations in which we are clearly dependent on our highly skilled adjuncts – such as in Rhetoric and Language, and in the Modern and Classical Languages department.
Q: It seems like the campus is becoming increasingly secular. How can we increase our Catholic and Christian identity on campus in the context of cosmopolitan and pluralistic San Francisco?
A: The younger generation across the nation is far less attached to organized religion that preceding generations. This phenomenon is felt locally at USF and across the region. It remains our mission to expose our diverse students to the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, the Catholic Analogical Imagination and to Catholic Social Teaching. We also want to afford them the opportunity to study other world traditions of transcendence, wisdom and ethics. If our efforts lead students to be more reflective, more curious and more ethical, we have succeeded.
Q: Instead of a Dons Day of giving money, can you have a Dons Day of service? I know that our students engage in two publicized days of service in April & October, I'd love to see these days moved to during the work day M-F so that our staff and faculty would see them as officially sanctioned & encouraged.
A: The Day of the Dons is a one-day campaign that raises critical funds for scholarships and other university priorities. It is also an invitation to alumni and friends of the university to become involved and support USF. There is a day in the fall when scores of USF faculty and staff prepare and deliver groceries to hundreds of people living in the Western Addition so that they can prepare a festive Thanksgiving meal. It would be good to explore other opportunities for this type of collaborative service to our neighbors in need.
* Q: What is USF doing to provide more resources and services for graduate students? There seems to be a focus primarily on the undergraduate population.
A: This is a critically important area, and our accreditation self study revealed the need to more fully embrace our identity as a university with robust graduate enrollments. In both financial aid and career services, we are identifying ways to focus responsibilities to improve services in these areas for our branch campus locations and for graduate students here on the Hilltop.
The enrollment plan drafted by Vice Provost Michael Beseda calls on the institution to continue to expand its graduate population, even as we work to right-size our undergraduate population. Provost Donald Heller and his deans continue to review the business model underlying our graduate educational enterprise, as well as the challenges with offering competitive and attractive graduate programs. Services for graduate students are a prominent feature of that ongoing conversation.
* Q: Can we update our Vision, Mission & Values to include a statement that we as a university have a moral responsibility for the environment and a commitment to sustainability?
A: This is a most timely question. At the May meeting of the Leadership Team, we will be looking at our strategic initiatives and aligning them with the USF 2028 document. I’m certain that much of the discussion will focus on environmental sustainability, intergenerational justice, and how we should be explicitly including this view in our conversations, initiatives, and documents going forward. We will then share the fruits of our discussions with the Board of Trustees at the June meeting so that they can give their imprimatur to our synthesis. I expect that explicit language will emerge to guide our next steps and actions.
Q: What is the university policy of applying for green card for international full-time tenure track faculty? Is it applied after 2 or 3 years or there is no policy at all?
A: Much work is done by the university to help international faculty obtain the proper work visa. Decisions to assist faculty with applications for permanent residency are handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on the needs of the unit. The visa policy can be found here: https://myusf.usfca.edu/human-resources/policies-procedures/visa.
Q: Who is our campus contact responsible for ensuring our international students, from admission to graduation, are getting the support, the resources, and attention they need to be successful here at USF and beyond? What are we doing as a campus to sure our international students are provided the same resources necessary for success as our domestic students? What are we doing to ensure USF does not drop below the budgeted threshold for international students enrolled? What are our recruitment plans?
A: With students from 96 countries, there is a great deal going on in this area – touching every step of an international student’s experience at USF. In terms of recruitment, Strategic Enrollment Management has an excellent plan underway. While there are reports that many international students are not interested in US colleges, it is looking like we will hit our targets for retaining and enrolling new international students. Shirley McGuire has created two working groups – the Working Group on the International Student Experience – or WISE - and the Faculty Advisory Board for Internationalization – or FABI.
Student Life provides considerable support for our international students, and International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) does tremendous work to assist our international students, including visa issues. We all must keep in mind, as well, that student success begins in the classroom, so all of our faculty play a critical role in their success.
Q: Do you intend to maintain our existing strengths in the liberal arts and sciences, or does he hope to reshape USF into a technical school for Silicon Valley? And what is your honest vision for our institution in 10-20 years? Are we disinvesting in the areas of its historical strengths, namely, the studia humanitatis, which were the core of Loyola's ratio studiorum? It was this that attracted many of us to this university -- and if this is abandoned, then USF will be too. Please explain how establishing an entirely new college of engineering will make fiscal sense, when apparently we cannot even staff and supply the programs we already have. And please explain how this will all happen without alienating our existing alumni, staff, faculty, and larger community.
A: USF will long remain a university with a strong liberal arts foundation to all of our undergraduate degree programs. We have considerable strength in the humanities, and those students who choose to major in the humanities do quite well personally and professionally after they graduate. The liberal arts also supply a very strong core for our science majors, our nursing majors, and our business majors. We will soon add a modest sized engineering program which will be innovative, interdisciplinary and distinguished by the way we weave the humanities into the curriculum.
Q: How are OPE staff affected by the budget cuts?
A: USF is working very closely with OPE Local 29 regarding the budget cuts. Some vacant OPE lines may not be filled while the University evaluates staffing needs on campus.
Q: What is being done about professional training programs that have adequate enrollment but have no quality control and no professional accreditation?
A: We have been focusing on ensuring that all of our full-time academic programs are properly reviewed. We have been successful there. We will now move to the training programs and certificates because these programs are becoming an increasing part of our academic profile. The Obama administration was moving forward with non-degree program assessment in responses to abuses by the for-profits. The Trump administration is less interested in this type of quality control. Still, our accreditor will most likely move in that direction, and we want to make sure that all of our programs continue to be of high quality.
Q: Does USF have a China strategy? If so, what is USF's China strategy?
A: The Jesuit Order made China one of its five strategic priorities. At USF, we are continuing to monitor US relations with China, the availability of visas for Chinese students wishing to attend USF, and the mood among Chinese students towards the USA in general. We have had a policy for a number of years of diversifying the countries from which we draw international students, reducing our dependence on any one single country.
That said, we remain committed to recruiting students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels from China. Our Chinese students do well at USF and bring a rich set of perspectives to classroom discussions. Our office in Beijing is functioning well, and the strong staff there is an important asset in this effort.
Q: In terms of retaining and growing the best possible staff, it's important that all stakeholders at USF receive feedback. Will USF consider shifting to a 360-degree performance appraisal process so that managers have a formalized way to get feedback and grow?
A: I did a simple 360 at the end of my first year here, and as per the by-laws of the Board of Trustees, I did a full 360 this past year. Several members of Cabinet and the Leadership Team have done 360’s in the past few years, and we will continue this on a regular basis. I strongly endorse the 360-degree review process as a way for employees to receive feedback from throughout the organization (from peers, managers, and direct reports). We do not currently have a university-wide plan to institute these reviews, but as Workday is implemented, 360-degree reviews will be seriously considered.
Q:What can be done to improve the status of Adjunct Faculty within the School of Education? Most of the positions have been offered to the full-time faculty. How can an adjunct faculty member become a full-time professor if they are not able to obtain a part time faculty position?A: It sometimes happens that a faculty member at USF begins as an adjunct and then moves into a fulltime position. Occasionally, adjuncts are elevated into non-renewable (or even renewable) term faculty positions, depending on the needs of the unit. When a full-time position is created, our existing qualified adjunct faculty members are eligible to apply for the position. Like many other schools and universities, we often employ adjuncts to fill temporary gaps in our labor force -- when a tenure-track line is vacated, or when somebody goes on sabbatical, or when we need the expertise of an industry practitioner to offer a specialty course in some program. One of the categories our accreditors – both institutional (WASC) and disciplinary – measure us on is the proportion of our faculty who are full-time, so hiring full-time faculty.