To provide excellent higher education to FGCU students in service to the five-county region. We further believe we share a common vision for the greatness of FGCU’s future. Education is a vital resource, indispensable to a free society. Excellence in higher education requires each of us – whatever our role in the educational process – to consider with care the conditions that help us live up to our shared values.
Fundamentally, contract negotiations are about ensuring faculty’s ability to deliver an excellent education to our students.
For faculty to provide a quality education, FGCU must:
We are committed to raising the value of our student’s educational experience, but we are also members of families and communities. We pay mortgages, save for retirement and college tuition, and invest in our local communities. For us to do our best work, we need to be secure in the knowledge that our University values us and is committed to helping us protect our lives outside of work. That means just, fair, and equitable compensation must be the institution’s first priority, given its array of commitments and available resources. Benefits need to be stringently preserved and strengthened for all members of the University community.
Like many skills and abilities, education gets better with practice. Consequently, we believe that salary and compensation structures must recognize the contributions of experienced faculty and honor that commitment in fair and equitable ways. While we acknowledge the need for the University to remain competitive, retaining faculty always costs less and yields higher productivity than replacing faculty. Moreover, a demonstrated commitment to faculty retention creates an upward spiral in morale, deepening our commitment to the University and strengthening our dedication to do the work it takes to continue to grow and expand the delivery of high quality education, even in perilous economic times.
Historically FGCU has been a place where faculty and administrators were able to talk with each other as members of any family would: sometimes disagreeing but always recognizing the value of a shared commitment to a vision greater than any of us individually. Given that this tradition has facilitated conversation and meaningful progress for so long, we are perplexed and troubled to see the deterioration in the culture of collaboration and collegiality here. Thus, we as faculty are not just claiming the right to bargain the terms and conditions of our employment; we are driven by the need to return a sense of collaboration to the process, to share fully in the conversation and decisions that affect the entire University community.
Whether in the classroom, with our colleagues, or in our personal lives, we know that one-sided conversations never yield agreements that last very long, if at all, and FGCU will always be a better place to work when administrators and faculty make decisions jointly. Florida law gives faculty the right to bargain the issues outlined above, but we would prefer to preserve our bargaining rights and remove the current impediment to a collaborative conversation without calling on state law. Instead, we seek a collegial, open dialog in which administrators and faculty are equally invested. We trust that the process currently unfolding will bring meaningful resolution to the problems we face and help us address the barriers that stand between us and FGCU’s continued growth and success.
We spend a great deal of unrecognized personal time and resources furthering the aspirations of our graduate students and improving the quality of education for our undergraduates. Education doesn’t just take place in the classroom, between the pages of a book or online. Recognizing what students need takes attention and energy. We need unstructured time in the day for the unexpected opportunities we encounter to meet students’ individual needs. Assignments need to include recognition and accommodations for increasing workloads resulting from large classes, graduate supervision or master’s and post-master’s research, or compensation for extracurricular teaching activities such as internship, undergraduate and graduate research mentoring. These concerns are not an abstraction but are rooted in the many long hours we spend outside of the classroom, at our own expense, to ensure the integrity and excellence of the learning environment at FGCU.