Summary of Faculty Comments from the USA Faculty Senates
Fall 2003 Survey
Faculty Senate Website Version
Richmond Brown, Chair
USA Faculty Senate
April 22, 2004
|Administration, President Moulton, Dean COM, College of Nursing, Graduate Dean, COE Dean,Library Dean, Administration Search Issues, Board of Trustees, USA Foundation, Faculty Senate, Campus Police, Research Support, Teaching Support, Distance Education, Faculty Evaluations, Student Quality, Support for Grad Students, Workload, Service Opportunities/Expectations, Faculty Searches, Salary, Tenure, Promotion, Faculty Development, Medical Affairs, Library Faculty Concerns, Treatment of non-tenured faculty, Sexual Harrassment Policy, Faculty Morale, Library, Biomedical Library, Sponsored Programs, Computer Services and Technology Issues, Bookstores and Meeting Facilities, Health Plan, Dental Plan, Maternity Leave, Parking, Speed Lumps, Fund Raising, Community Relations, Lost Paperwork, School of Dentistry, Cultural Diversity|
A faculty member complains of "poor communication from the top down;" there needs to be "more regard for the faculty" and "better communication between administration and faculty."
"No new ideas, nobody rocks the boat, nothing substantive changes."
"Administration does not know what it is like in the trenches; LISTEN TO YOUR FACULTY."
A number of long-serving leaders will be retiring soon; "we need to be effective at recruiting strong administrators over the next five years to retain our importance and effectiveness."
"I believe that the administration treats faculty as if they are a group of factory workers who are to do what they are told. The faculty handbook is becoming more and more prescriptive with many rules that infringe on academic freedom. Faculty "do not deserve the oppressive climate that the continuing litany of rules and regulations has created.... The present administration does not have the leadership skills to run a 21st century organization. Hire a president and SVPAA from outside USA. Faculty morale is getting worse. Without some change in the way this university is run it will be hard to attract new faculty, difficult to retain good faculty members, and the only faculty that will stay will be those who cannot go elsewhere."
"VP Covey makes decisions without consulting the faculty, the Faculty Senate, the Joint Policy Committee."
USAs president lacks the proper credentials (should have a terminal degree, as do new faculty).
The President who does not hold a Ph.D. should NOT wear a Ph.D. hood at graduation; its an insult and undermines intellectual integrity.
One faculty member "resented the politicization of the campus in support of September tax vote, including memo from the A&S dean."
"Search for a new president with academic credentials."
A faculty member criticized Dr. Kreisberg for "extremely poor handling of the hematology/oncology crisis" and opined that "Kreisberg should be replaced."
"The Dean is totally insensitive to the needs of individual departments and faculty members and interactions between USA and community physicians. The departmental faculty should be intimately involved with decisions regarding chair searches and clinical income that is taken from one department and given to another."
"Dr. Kreisbergs arrogant and confrontational style effectively weakened COM as a provider of healthcare services in the region.... We can expect additional departments to disappear from USA."
College of Nursing
The College of Nursing "is not willing to devote itself to excellence and is reactive in its approach to problems. For example, the Dean, associates and chairs react in crisis mode when board scores go down, but do not devote planning and rewards to faculty development of excellence in teaching enhancement. In the college there is a bottom line, go for the gold, take their money approach which assaults the very core identity of teaching and nursing. Teaching is not as valued as administrators seek to rise to the level that takes them out of the classroom and away from the bedside and never, never do they return. Not even to fill in for faculty illness or just for the reward of performing a nursing skill or teaching in the classroom or remaining abreast in the profession they chose. It is abandonment. The administrators from chair and above are a sorority of their own and it is sickening to the faculty who still love to teach and love to practice nursing, but feel that two worlds exist and never come together in purpose."
"We have no graduate dean. Dr. Stout is doing double duty, as deputy to VP Academic Affairs and Acting Dean of the Grad. School. This is delaying a lot of things crucial to some programs. The issue and selection of a new Grad. Dean should be expedited. A person [with an] established record of administering graduate level matters and peer evaluated credentials should be selected."
COE Dean Chilton
"There is no two-way communication, its all top-down."
Library Dean Wood
"Dean Wood fails to communicate with the faculty almost entirely. His meetings are long dull reports. He fails to see the real strengths and weaknesses of his staff... He is not open to honest communication his office is outside the library doors and his secretary sends most correspondence..."
Note: There were numerous complaints about deans relations with faculty, but colleges were not identified.
Administrative Search Issues
USA needs "a vp of high quality."
"We seem to see the same set of people on search committees. Is the same person appointing them? Allow the faculty senate the power to appoint half the members to college and university-wide search committees."
"Searches are often shams. They must be done but the responsible individuals making the choices sometimes have agendas and ignore recommendations. The administration was miffed when Roberts was chosen leader of the USA Foundation following a sham search process, but this is the same thing that has gone on here at USA. People in glass houses ..."
"The college of medicine dean is there because no one qualified would accept the position."
"Bringing in a library director as tenured was against the rules as Ive read them. And giving a Deanship to an administrator who is less than successful is an interesting compensation method."
"Search committees are heavily weighted with members that are considered safe to the administration. These are people that are not going to rock the boat and will vote as they are expected to. Include Faculty Senate members on these searches and deliberately seek out those whose opinions are known to be respected even if they are at times viewed as controversial allow for more of a dialogue and exchange, a deeper probing of the needs of a given department."
"Look at the mess in the college of ed. How come we dont have money but we have money for those searches in New Orleans?"
"What about the term limit? The current president was supposed to have an official review four (or was it five) years after being installed without a search. This has not happened. Junior faculty who came in at the same time are up for tenure. What about the president? It undermines the universitys credibility with the outside world and the administrations credibility (particularly with junior faculty who went through a rigorous search and later a tenure process while someone hired on a whim, making four times what we make, serves on with no review at all.)"
"The recruitment process for the presidency was not even a process. It was no accident that the last searches for a VP for academic affairs and dean of A&S chose in-house people. I have no faith at all in a process that is not a process."
We still have no dean in the COE. We need someone who will increase minority faculty and students, make loads and assignments equitable, and be interested in ALL the departments missions and research."
"Search committees are being formed using very questionable judgement. Non-tenured faculty are appointed to high level search committees. Considerations, other than rank, competence, and experiences are disregarded. There is also the issue of female representation that sometimes makes matters worse. A female member from the social sciences will know nothing about how to evaluate an applicant for the Chair of Radiology, for instance."
"The administration does what it wants regardless of institutional procedures. Key administrative positions are filled without a search. This results in inbreeding and cronyism and not very good administrators. Simply follow established procedures for open, external competitive searches."
"The way high level administrators are recruited is a farce. Moulton turned out to be a liar when he promised over 5 years ago that there would be a search within 5 years for a real president. The hiring of Covey was another farce. Her friends and cronies were put on the search committee. She was the least qualified and yet got the job."
"Assistant and Associate Deans are being appointed without proper faculty input."
Board of Trustees
"I do not believe that the Board exercises authority over the university. Instead, they tend to do the presidents bidding. The foundation/board split is a product of the way Whiddon was forced out of office. The level of misinformation and animosity on both sides is incredible. With Roberts/Moulton in firm control of their respective coalitions, the problems are irreconcilable."
"The Trustees need to understand more about what a university is and does. Trustees need to know more about what it means to be a university in the 21st century. Trustees need to understand that professors are more than teachers, and that a university should not be run like a community college. Let trustees visit and talk with folks from other major universities to learn more about how universities run outside of South Alabama."
"Views, goals and perceptions. USA Board of Trustees does not seem to want to do the best for the university. For the most part the BOT and the Foundation remain completely uninformed about what it is that faculty achieve and what the goals of the university should be. The Foundation needs to work with the BOT on the long-range planning committee. Both bodies should realize that the university is more than a medical school and more than a training camp for health care workers. The University of South Alabama is not yet a true academic institution where tradition, scholarly achievements, and where liberal arts programs of note and depth persevere. The University of South Alabama is mysteriously alienated from its community in all
issues beyond those affecting health care. The College of Education, Mitchell College of Business, and the College of Engineering do not seem to have any initiative with regard to thinking out of the box with regard to Mobile and the opportunities therein. [Without changes] the University will continue to have low rankings, be undervalued not understood nor regarded by the community. The potential is here but it lies dormant given the lack of vision on the part of the USA Foundation and the BOT."
"We have a bunch of old fogies who havent a clue about what academia is all about. A bit like the inmates running the asylum."
"Really, isnt it about time everyone started acting like grown-ups and started working together? Isnt the Foundation supposed to SUPPORT the University financially, or am I just confused? Get rid of the lawyers; get people in the same room (without sharp sticks) and dont let em out until theyve straightened themselves and the situation out."
"The Foundations selection of Maxey Roberts to replace Fred Whiddon as the Foundations chief officer says it all. No other university on earth has such a huge problem with its Foundation. This problem needs to be fixed someway/somehow."
"Kill the Foundation. Theyve got the $$$. They waste/withhold the $$$. Get the $$$ back."
"The USA Foundation does not support the university. It takes money away and does not give it back."
The "Foundation is incompetent. Poor administration, laughing stock of the community. Foundation should be disbanded and the money invested appropriately. Its an embarrassment."
"The FOUNDATION is reprehensible as far as its duties to the University goes. The Foundation acts as if it could care less about the well-being of the very institution they were created to serve. It is a prime example of small people with small ideals who have too much power. Its just sad."
The "USA Foundation [is a] self-serving group uninterested in the quality of the university. Dissolve the Foundation; send resources to University of South Alabama for a new foundation that resides on this campus. The current leadership seeks to exhaust the holdings on salaries for officers who have no interest in the university except to support their own salaries."
"The USA Foundation Board has up until now been a major player in making sure that university funds are not spent on developing a NCAA Division I football program. In my opinion, thats been the real issue all along."
"Foundation needs to change. Cooperation in the future is paramount. Current relationship is poor. Replace the leadership with people who have the best interests of USA in mind."
"Foundation and the Board: They do not collaborate, recent issues well known and reported in the media underscore the dysfunctional relationship. The foundation needs to be changed in its power over the funds. USA is doomed ro remain a non-entity in the state of AL because Whiddons ego needs weave through all the decisions the foundation makes."
"What the hell is the mission of the foundation anyway? It seems to me that they would rather piss away all of the funds on legal fees than do anything good for USA. That is blatant self-serving political maneuvering and should stop right now!
""I think that the USA Foundation is an embarrassment for the University; it is amazing what they have been allowed to get away with regarding the mismanagement of funds and endowments. Due to the very public nature of the situation between USA and the Foundation, I am extremely surprised that anyone would want to give donations to USA since the funds are so poorly mismanaged."
"USAs faculty senate is and always has been a joke. The organization is extremely ineffective when it is compared to what happens at other universities."
"Change [faculty senate head] from chair to president."
"Great job; please continue; dont stop; never give up; well go under if you dont support us."
"They are getting better, but sometimes go off the deep end (e.g. sick leave)."
"The Senate needs more power. It has no real leverage with the administration."
"Committees: they do exist. They dont meet, therefore, Senate gets very little done. Committees need to do more. [Otherwise], the Senate will always be late in addressing issues."
Re: faculty governance: "I know you guys try really hard, but I dont see the administration taking you seriously."
"The Faculty Senate is unable to exert any real influence over the administration, no backbone. Get stronger representatives with a bit of courage."
Re: continuity: "Many topics that the senate addresses are vital to the mission of the university. Rapid changes in membership often result in no resolution to issues raised year to year. Implement carryover procedures with outgoing and incoming senators."
"The Faculty Senate has become nothing more than a self-help club and an extension of the universitys central administration. The Faculty Senate did not represent the faculty in the development of the sexual harassment policy. What is the Faculty Senate doing with the faculty mentoring program? A good program, but its not the Senates business. The Senate must serve as the watchdog for faculty interests and must from time to time be confrontational. The Senate should be turning away continuing threats to increase teaching loads, curb the campus polices abuse of its power, rewrite the sexual harassment policy that flies in the face of common sense and ones rights. Im thoroughly disgusted with the Senate. The Senate needs to be reorganized its too large and unwieldy. It does not represent us."
"In this type of system, what does it matter how hard the faculty senate works?"
Re: effectiveness of the senate: "Senate members are dedicated and care about making the university a better place. [But] the administration does not seem to listen to the Senate. Maybe senate members can discuss how the senate could become more effective."
Campus police have overstepped bounds, including investigating one professor for "rudeness."
"The University gives lip service to research, but seems to value teaching over research; there needs to be more balance, and more support for research."
A College of Education faculty member wrote that the "lack of space, personnel and interest in grant writing and scholarship are hindering research efforts (lack of space for research assistants, data collection and storage; college needs a grants specialist)."
"Our college does not support efforts to secure external funding.... No release time to write grants. Lack of willingness to let people be bought out by grants."
"Sponsored programs does not facilitate grant application procedures."
The College of Ed "has no research infrastructure. More external funds could be obtained if the college of ed would put more money into research and grants. There is no space, no grants administrator, and no support by department chairs or the dean for research."
"The University does not recognize actual research in regard to promotion and tenure. Only recognizes external funding."
"Support of some faculty is poor; more support is given to new faculty than current. Medicine here is a competitive business."
"Charging $5 per reprint request hurts research productivity in light of poor library journal holdings. Increase holdings or remove or reduce the fee ($1). Indirect costs tacked on to grant awards should cover these fees as part of operating expenses. Alternative: allow one year moratorium to incorporate fee structure into grant budget requests."
"The faculty is expected to publish on a par with faculties of major research institutions and yet we are given a greater teaching load and fewer resources. And the central administration has contemplated increasing the teaching load. Its downright shameful."
"We have great travel support because we have a grant and monies generated by the department that help pay for it. Without these sources we would have little to no support."
"The IRB process at USA is becoming a huge detriment to original, social science research. It is absolutely ridiculous for social science faculty (and graduate students) to have to receive approval from a College of Medicine dominated IRB. Let Academic Affairs, or Arts and Sciences, establish its own IRB. Better yet, dont mess with our academic freedom and let us do responsible research without IRB. If not, faculty will produce less research, more graduate students will select non-thesis options and/or will seek out research methods that do not require human contact."
"There is a disconnect between what is expected of faculty (e.g. high teaching performance and competitive research, committee work, public outreach, mentoring, etc) and what is physically possible. Productive faculty need more release time to devote efforts to research endeavors."
"There has been a steady erosion of funds available to attend meetings. Now barely cover a single meeting per year. None left for journals. Productive people should get more."
Theres "not enough time to do research," because "the teaching load is too heavy."
"Faculty who wish to pursue grants need time to carry them out. In my department, there has been no ability to provide me with release time, even when I had the funding to get it." We need to "increase faculty. Without course release time, there is very little incentive to pursue funding. Hence, people will not write grants or do activities on the side as consultants rather than work within the university context."
"Reimbursement comes only after a fight."
"Small departments dont consistently support equal access for faculty to attend national conferences."
"This institution completely ignores actual research. USA recognizes only the Almighty Dollar."
"In-state travel funds are inadequate to reimburse expenses." We need a "higher per diem." Otherwise, "fewer faculty will present in the state of Alabama. As a result, the state loses the benefit of the expertise of its professors."
"One of the universitys strengths is supporting extra-curriculum activities." But, "the state is slowly going bankrupt so funding for these activities is thinning out (not the fault of the University)."
There is "lots of talk and little support" for travel. We get "money for one meeting, often not enough to cover that. Course/service load makes substantive research difficult if one is to do a good job in the classroom. Very demoralizing. Decide on priorities. Stop trying to get more output by putting more pressure on faculty without providing resources to support added demands."
"Additional work load leaves very little time to pursue research interests."
"My research is important, but I am so overloaded with other responsibilities I have little time for it! I am an excellent researcher who was told that research would be a significant portion of my work here. I have no assigned graduate assistants to work with me, I am overloaded with teaching, and I get no reassigned time to do my research. Make loads equitable, assign research time to those actually doing research (rather than time for low-load faculty and administrators to make extra money doing other jobs)."
"Teaching/advising loads are a significant challenge to research productivity."
Although the library expansion is great, "the library needs to subscribe to academic journals in my field, both for faculty research and for that of our graduate students. The absence of major journals is a serious problem that my graduate students face; similarly, we faculty members need hard copies (up to date). Electronic access to J-stor is of some help, but not in terms of keeping up to date. We need to order the major liberal arts journals real paper covers the real thing!!! The lack of journals makes it very difficult for graduate research and for scholarly research by the faculty in my department."
"Teaching and advising loads along with required committee work leave little quality time or energy to devote to research and publication."
"More reasonable teaching load and more attention to non-tenure track faculty participating in research opportunities."
"There is not time allotted for faculty to perform [research]. It is expected to be performed in addition to a maximum workload. Decrease teaching load and add hours to the faculty assignments for scholarly activity (research, publications, presentations, clinical practice)."
USA needs "university-wide standards on protected time for junior faculty."
"Interdisciplinary research projects are not seen at USA. The old faculty are afraid to interact with other disciplines."
"To enhance teaching we need more space for classrooms and offices for faculty."
"A strong research program is critical to a strong teaching program. Novel research allows students to experience hands on state of the art technology."
"Teaching is not just time in the classroom. The administration doesnt seem to realize that effective teaching involves continuous reading in the discipline, updating materials, going to conferences, and (in most cases) staying active in your own scholarship. Many of the excellent scholars in my department are thinking about leaving this institution because of the lack of raises and the increased demands of teaching and service."
"There should be a specific limit on class size and the limit should not be violated without giving the faculty credit for another class."
"A fair teaching load is 3-2." USA has "way too many part-timers." We should "hire more full time tenure track faculty."
There is "poor support for teaching mission. Multiple preps, large classes, no help whatsoever. This is in addition to growing pressure to produce more research, and more service assignments."
"Equipment is not available and not enough. Faculty must supplement from own resources."
"Resources are inadequate in terms of number of courses taught per semester, number of students supervised, and number of advisees assigned."
"Excessive teaching assignments, very limited supplies and funds available for non-tenure faculty development. I have not been able to attend conferences, etc for almost 2 years due to a lack of funds or teaching. I have to beg for media equipment (videos, CDs, creative teaching media). Computers, etc. frequently need repair." There are "not enough funds available to provide the best teaching experience." USA needs "more funds or more equitable distribution of funds to all faculty, not just those a PhD, administrative, or grant producers."
"Distance learning will not work until faculty get paid appropriately and retain property rights."
"Should USA be in the correspondence course business?"
"Faculty should be assigned credit hours when in the process of course development."
"Distance learning has been successful in many institutions, but it costs money and time."
"Distant students are charged for shipping and handling of physical library materials because there was no money budgeted to handle this issue. Library resources physical and electronic are not addressed by many faculty teaching distance courses and their students are the ones who would most benefit from the electronic subscriptions to quality materials. Create a library budget for supplying distance students with physical library materials."
"Distance learning is not always the right answer for every department."
"I have developed and taught DL courses. Its nice to pretend... E-College is AWFUL (though it is better than it used to be). Students are under the impression that e-courses should be easy (the ad stating you can earn a degree without coming to classes may have something to do with that). The administration has pressured e-faculty to make courses easier to satisfy the customer. But this is also true in on-campus courses as well."
"Distance learning and engineering: As far as I know, the tools for teaching technical classes in engineering as distance learning classes are unavailable at USA."
"E-Companion is a powerful aid for classes."
"In the MCOB, the student evaluations have been shown statistically to be invalid measurement instruments. Many of the best teachers receive the worst evaluations because they expect the most from their students and because they actually require their students to perform to college-level standards. Thus many of the most effective teachers receive lower than deserved teaching ratings because many of the students do not like teachers who make them work.... Student evaluations should be used to identify teachers who truly fall below acceptable standards. Open ended student comments should be used, rather than a statistically invalid numerical system, to determine which teachers are effective and reasons, if any, students are dissatisfied with a particular professor. Failure to teach the material is a legitimate gripe; his/her tests are too long or, I dont like his/her attendance policy are not. Like the faculty survey, a lot more can be learned from open-ended questions and responses than from numerical "fill-in-the-blanks."
The "quality of international students, particularly graduate students, is uneven. Our standards need to be higher."
"We consistently get students in the college of engineering that are very poor in mathematics. We regularly spend at least a year remediating them."
In engineering, "one gets the impression that to increase the body count, some colleges are intentionally avoiding the setting of some sort of standard. One can therefore see students admitted to engineering programs that, even after three years of being in the program, have no better than a 7th graders understanding of engineering. Its effect on the instructor in nothing short of frustration and despair. Having a group of reasonably endowed students capable of understanding engineering principles is becoming more and more rare. One struggles to get even the simplest concepts across. The solution lies in some sort of minimum admissions standard."
"Admission policy: The quality of students is improving. [But] too many weak students with absolutely no hope of success are being admitted to USA. Then there is so much pressure on retention when the cases are sometimes hopeless to pursue. The faculty gets unfairly blamed for these situations. Raise ACT standards and high school GPA for admission. Not everybody has to go to college -- there are other good and viable alternatives in the area for those who do not have the ability and preparation to attend university classes."
Support for Grad Students
"We need more support for USA grad students; we should not look to the Foundation; without it, well lose top-quality students to other programs."
"We need to increase the stipend for Graduate Teaching Assistants." ($2000 per semester plus tuition remission is too low); "keep lobbying the Foundation."
"A ready pool of graduate assistants would facilitate the attainment of external funding which, in turn, would help to increase the quality of our students."
"There are currently no graduate assistantships available for our graduate program. This is a severe impediment to our recruitment of top-notch students."
Graduate stipends are "embarrassingly low, unethically low. We cannot build strong programs without strong graduate students. Our stipends deter good graduate students." USA should "mandate that stipends for graduate students triple. That will provide incentives for increased amounts in grants and will provide the hunger to seek new sources of funding for grad students."
"We dont pay our graduate students enough and we should provide insurance for them."
"Financial aid comes too late in the semester, getting text books are a problem for many students."
Allied Health lacks graduate assistantships. We "dont have the funding for this activity for our students or to accept other students from different university programs or colleges."
"Graduate assistantships dont exist in my department, stretching the faculty too thin."
We "need to get financial aid to students on time and not mess up their applications. Students leave because they have to put money up front that they dont have."
"The stipends for G.A.s and T.A.s need to be increased substantially to attract top-notch students."
"All graduate students in COM graduate program are awarded excellent stipends ($20 K/year, plus tuition waiver). In addition their insurance ($2K/yr) is paid. Most of these costs are paid by individual faculty or by the Department. This is an expense (other than tuition) that therefore is not paid by the University."
"The heavy workload is affecting research and faculty morale; increase faculty and change incentives (tenure and promotion)."
"[I] currently teach 21 hours per week and have 8-10 hours per week of clinical paperwork to grade."
A nursing faculty member has "way too many students to teach effectively on-line, especially with the proliferation of so many programs in nursing. 25 and 30+ students in class is excessive on-line. So is carrying more than three on-line courses. Some faculty here carry as many as 7 to 8 online courses per semester." "We need more faculty;" current practices "will lead to student dissatisfaction and faculty burnout."
"Too many students in a class including on-line" leads "to a low quality of education"
Nursing faculty member cautioned about "generating revenue/graduates at the expense of quality learning experience and reasonable demands on faculty. New programs are added without new faculty."
"[A&S] Dean Johnson has done a great job of securing release time for faculty in my department. I hope that he is able to continue this productive policy as it helps faculty initiate and complete significant scholarship."
"Teaching vs. research: "Not enough time to do a good teaching job with a 12-hr teaching load and also to do an effective job in seeking research funding. If I am serious about both, which I am, I find myself regularly working 60-hour weeks. Even if I have a research project that buys me out of two courses a semester, I still have to teach six hours, which is a full teaching load at many universities."
"The teaching load is already too high to really do good research. Adding courses would be impossible."
"If you want USA to become little more than a community college, then just increase the faculty teaching load. Given that the highest administrators are NOT scholars, and the president does not even have an academic degree, it is not surprising that they care only about teaching." USA should hire a new president with an academic, terminal degree, and a VP with a publication record."
"Teaching loads are currently too heavy, resulting in less time for research and grant writing."
"On-line courses should be weighted to reflect the greater time involved."
"No time for research, publications due to work load."
"Teaching loads are too high."
"I am already overloaded with teaching (though some faculty are not). Administration works faculty to the bone and enable themselves to look good. Some faculty (such as myself) are teaching the equivalent of a 5/6 course load (non-credit lab courses that have similar demands as credit courses count as nothing in my load), while others teach a 2/2/3 load. I have no time for the research I am doing in order to get promoted. I get no reassigned time for my research or working with doctoral students. I cant look good by getting publications as demanded with this kind of teaching load."
"The Dean of Arts and Sciences has done a great job of approving release time. If faculty teaching loads increase, some of our best and brightest junior faculty may leave for other universities."
"I cannot imagine adding more to a teaching load actually I feel the load needs to be decreased to perform scholarly activities which are required to maintain position."
"Faculty are required to teach on both SHAC and Baldwin County campuses, leaving only one hour to travel, eat lunch, and be prepared for class on the opposite campus. Assign faculty to one campus; perhaps rotate assignments each semester."
We "get mixed signals from the administration: they say they want increased research production, yet they are adding increased clinic loads."
"Online teaching loads in nursing are excessive."
"[In Nursing] workloads are intolerable for some, numbers are juggled and there is partiality, some for personal and political reasons and some for grant reasons. For example, faculty not on grant support work sometimes as much as twice the amount of hours as those who do not. Padding of cvs make some appear to be productive who are not. There is plagiarism, stealing of ideas, plastering others work on online courses and proudly taking credit for material that they could neither create, design, or teach. Fairness needs to be re-instituted. Evaluations are a joke. Raises dont happen. The atmosphere is at a critical point for many who are only working for weekends off or state retirement. Others consider returning to the clinical side of nursing as the pay scales are higher than our salaries now. My car is always full of papers to grade and I feel the online courses have destroyed my time away from the office as I am expected to be always available. One solution would be the option of 9 month contracts, option to take vacation time currently the policy is that we only can take time off if the university is on break, but we work three semesters a year, so despite hours being accrued, you cant take a vacation when you want one. Most are smart enough to know that you dont have to take the vacation time when on breaks because so many administrators and chairs are out of the office; no one knows your schedule anyway. It seems the university financial staff would have recognized this abuse already as it would be smarter to allow time off as requested within reason than to have policies that encourage dishonesty."
"Time for service becomes an issue sometimes. Due to courseloads, some requests cannot be met."
"No time for community service due to class overload."
"Service goes well beyond institutional service."
"Too many committee appointments. And many committees are advisory, and, therefore, despite many hours of thoughtful deliberations, recommendations regrettably can be ignored because of some other agenda by the person(s) being advised!"
"We have three times as many committees in our department as faculty members. More and more tasks are being shifted down to the individual faculty member (registration, moving students in! etc.) This is not really what we have been trained to do or are good at. Give us a chance to make a difference in our discipline thats how USAs salary money is best spent."
"The College of Education needs more college-wide committees to help develop a more unified mission. Currently there are poor relations among faculties in our college. The college is having a difficult time developing a vision for NCATE."
A librarian considers "it important to support this institution and its students, but must work 8 to 5 everyday with no time compensation for service provided outside of those hours. While I would like to support speakers and student activities and be a visible member of the university community, I am not allowed to leave early to handle family matters so that I can come back at night to attend or participate in campus activities. I dont even get a paid lunch hour, so that having lunch with my colleagues and collaborating with faculty informally this way is a loss of time to my family needs." USA should "allow comp time for real service or business-lunches."
"Institutional service is a rewarding activity which enables faculty to connect with other faculty members and with the community. Service is not given any recognition other than word of mouth. Faculty are not taken seriously." USA should "greatly increase the ability of faculty governance. Have faculty on all university committees and have them chair committees rather than administrators."
"We provide a lot of service because we are committed to do this and to keep skills competent. We lose our clinical skills when we are not allowed or supported to engage in faculty practice either for money or via service opportunities. Too difficult to get permission to treat within USA instead faculty more easily work for competition to get paid." USA should "allow faculty practice opportunities consistently within colleges."
"Hello, teaching 7 courses, research and publications, and doing service? Hello, are you listening?
"Institutional service is completely ignored."
Regarding the role of institutional service in tenure and promotion, "faculty members are evaluated on an item over which the faculty member has absolutely no control. Faculty members are rated on their participation on University and College committees, but faculty members have NO input as to which committees for which they are selected or, at the University level, whether they are selected for a committee at all. Indeed, at MCOB, a handful of faculty members are on multiple university committees. The majority of faculty members are not on any university-level committees. Significant emphasis should not be placed on an item over which the member has no control."
"We get very little credit for time spent on service projects."
"Unable to do institutional service during working hours dues to teaching responsibilities/load."
Service is "part of the core mission of USA" but there is "no true commitment." USA needs "change at the top in vision."
"The interview process was not as professional as other universities where I interviewed. The past dean was not interested in the interview. The department did not encourage a research presentation or require presentations to a class. I could tell the program was not respected."
"The administration seems to be unaware of the academic time schedule. Approval to search and approval of search ads is occurring so late that we are at the tail-end of the search game. To get excellent people to come to USA, we have to get out of the gate quickly and have an attractive package.... Almost every search I have seen or heard about in the last five years has had a serious glitch, that in many cases resulted in USA losing a desirable candidate."
"We now have an Assistant Dean for Systems whose position had previously been tenure-track and who feels he does not need to be collegial or consult with faculty about decisions which affect the function of the library. Second: finally, after several years an irresponsible decision is to be rectified, as I understand it. After advertising a tenure-track position, and the candidate having accepted, was low-balled into one which wasnt. If not illegal at least unethical. Downgrading librarians is just another example of the lack of understanding of the role of librarians in the academic life of a university."
"In several recent hirings, interviews were conducted and decisions made prior to the closing date of the posting. While there can be legitimate reasons for this (such as fear that the position will be frozen or exceedingly qualified professor has another offer) making decisions prior to closing can eliminate potentially qualified candidates and potentially could run afoul of the affirmative action obligations of the University."
USA needs to "increase faculty lines. The administration does appear to want to fill vacant lines. The administration makes filling vacant lines seem to be the only steps they need to take to meet faculty/student desires. The University, if it wants to grow, should emphasize the need for more faculty lines, especially in departments with growing student enrollment. The quality of education is already suffering due to many departments over-reliance on part-time instructors."
"Not enough females and minorities recruited."
"Women and minorities are not a priority at USA. Few women or minorities are in positions of power (especially in the COE); rotate chairs to give women and minorities an opportunity."
In the College of Nursing, there is "limited communication to faculty about potential positions. Faculty have little input until review form appears in their box, then unsure what the position/applicant is being hired for. Better communication from administration regarding faculty positions being advertised, etc. More involvement of faculty in decision to create a position/hire, possible interested applicants."
"Recruitment of faculty is fine. Who knows about recruitment of chairs? Faculty are not informed until a chair is filled, then we get an email."
Salary, Tenure and Promotion
One faculty member expresses "concern over potentially not having raises two or three years in a row... budget needs to looked carefully and every attempt made to try to give faculty well-deserved raises; questions money for the baseball stadium; need rewards system for faculty attracting grants; talented faculty may leave."
Inequity in pay and faculty loads; "some faculty with less years at USA and less experience teaching at the college level are receiving significantly higher salaries than faculty with" more of both; workloads are not equitable.
With regard to pay equity, "solutions are often created from the top with limited input from the bottom; the solutions are more in tune with administrations perception of the problem rather than ours. Equity adjustments made at the department level do not address the lack of equity across departments."
"I am underpaid by about $20,000 according to a recent survey of faculty at my rank, etc. It really hurts not to have raises for several years near the beginning of ones career. Compared to a colleague of mine who was hired at the same time at a university in NC - with raises this person is up about 12,000 from me. If you multiply these differences over time, I made a million dollar mistake coming to USA."
"There are vast salary inequities. Some faculty receive salaries far in excess of others who are higher ranked and do more for the university."
"Salary compression and discrimination is happening throughout the College of Education. An assistant professor in Educational Leadership and Foundations makes almost the same salary as me - I have 25 years of service she has 3. One former Superintendent of Baldwin Co. schools has a very, very high salary. The former dean, Uhlig, sucks $$$ from the COE budget and does so little in return. The Chair and Interim Dean will not even allocate the across the board percentage to me. Take away administrative raises and pass along to the faculty whose salary is compressed."
"Assistant Professor positions seem to be competitive and expectations for tenure clear enough. Associate, Full, and Part-time positions are way undercompensated. Most facultys pay at the associate and full rank is 5-10% less than that of comparable institutions. Promotion expectations are not fair and do not reflect those of a given department in every case. There doesnt seem any way to overrule decisions in a department where decisions are more political than they are merit-based English, for example. Salaries must be raised and should surpass those of similar institutions. The continued problem of salary compression needs to be more aggressively handled. This whole issue is a priority issue. Promotion standards need to match those of a given department in which case a department chair may need to present him/herself to explain the standards for their given department. In the case of a known political department, the Chairs and the departmental committees recommendations need to be regarded in view of the prejudices at play."
"The faculty handbook is a worthless document. It is repeatedly ignored by Dept. Chairs and tenured faculty in regard to promotion and tenure decisions. Tenure is bought at USA, not earned."
"When adjusted for inflation, I still make exactly what I did when I was hired, despite merit raises. Something has to be done to make automatic cost-of-living raises. It is ridiculous that merit raises only keep pace with inflation and do no more. It is also wrong that I make only 2% more than my junior colleague hired this year. (I am in year 6)."
"Unfair and vague policies allow the old boy administrators and faculty to keep the system unfair and to their advantage. Policies for promotion are very vague and vary depending on who you are, how well you are liked by/connected to administrators/old boys. For example: some Full Profs/administrators have almost no publications while other faculty are required to publish regularly (some have been told they must publish a book) in order to be promoted to Full Prof."
"I consider the tenure process unfair because I will be judged predominantly on publications although the majority of my time must be devoted to teaching and advising. There are great inequities in salary among colleagues at the same rank within my college not to mention in comparison with faculty across the university."
"Faculty are not adequately rewarded for what we do, especially compared to the national average. Discrepancies between colleges are large. I realize salaries are market driven, but it is unfair to see someone in another college get paid 150% of what you get for doing the same work."
"Most administrators in my college cant explain personnel policies and/or know nothing about them."
USA needs "promotion levels for Instructors. Currently, there is no advancement level for faculty with non-terminal degrees. Institute levels for advancement for instructor-level positions."
"In the COM, [salary and promotion] are driven by grant dollars and politics."
Re: tenure/promotion and grades: "Im concerned that the monitoring of student grade performance in undergraduate classes has become a de facto, but not official, consideration in tenure and promotion decisions. Although not official policy, there is strong inductive evidence that instructors with higher than average numbers of Ds, Fs, and Ws, are penalized at tenure and promotion time. Furthermore, these decisions appear to be independent of the difficulty of the course. If the university is going to use failure and withdrawal rates as further criteria in tenure and promotion decisions, then that should be made clear, and the expected percentages of Cs, Bs, and As ought to be made public. If, on the other hand, the university wishes to leave the decision as to which students should pass to the instructor of the course, then the use of these variables as a hidden condition of tenure and promotion ought to be abandoned."
"Success in research is important," yet, "success in research is very unevenly and unfairly assessed. Requirements for promotions seem arbitrary. I do not advocate a universalization of promotion guidelines because there are differences from discipline to discipline with regard to a reasonable amount of output. However, people should be ranked and rated according to guidelines established by a given department. As it is now, even within a department some people are promoted for nothing and others have to write several books."
"[Nursing] faculty need hours assigned to perform research for doctorate and clinical time; impossible to maintain these requirements teaching 42 hours per year. Allow 3 hours a semester (and 9 per year) to have a faculty practice or perform scholarly activities."
"If you want an advanced degree it better be in instructional design."
"Faculty development -- pursuit of Ph.D. while teaching: "There are inconsistent supports to promote the completion of advanced degrees within the college and within the department. Some are allowed extended time off while others are not. Promote more universal opportunities for faculty to pursue degrees and have consistent supports and opportunities available."
"USAMC does a lot of work for KPH and C&W but does not get credit. Therefore USAMC does not get the equipment it needs. USAMC gets the short end of the stick compared to UAB."
"COM needs a grants administrator to facilitate grants management."
Library Faculty Concerns
Librarians often feel that we are not considered real faculty by the higher administration. Because we dont teach in the strict sense of the word and because no one in [the administration] is exactly sure what we actually do, we often feel like we are treated as secretarial staff... The administration needs "to become more familiar with the variety of specialized, highly technically literate professionals in the library." Otherwise, "the library faculty will feel less and less a part of the larger university community."
"Librarians are expected by the Dean to publish and go to conferences yet time is not allocated for this nor are financial resources allocated for attending conferences."
"Im not sure that the administration has any idea of how librarians teach students." They should "recognize the importance of librarians as teachers of a mostly unrecognized component of a liberal education and actively support that endeavor."
Treatment of non-tenured faculty
Non-tenured [nursing] faculty have limited ability to seek relief from unreasonable assignments; complaints lead to termination or non-renewal; in some cases, faculty have been assigned 36 "in-class" hours in a single semester. Several nursing faculty are seeking other employment.
Sexual Harassment Policy
Concerned about lack of protection from frivolous accusations.
Faculty Sexual Harassment Policy: "Was this reviewed by outside employment counsel before it was issued? The policy seems to cover every potentially bad action of a faculty member but says little to nothing about what a faculty member is supposed to do if the faculty member is being harassed by a student, co-worker, administrator, staff member, vendor, etc. Isnt the point of this harassment policy supposed to be protection of the individual faculty members??? Harassment of students, staff, etc are covered by other policies that are already in place! Have the policy reviewed by someone who writes employment related policies for a living, rather than a committee comprised of members who may or may not have expertise in this very tricky area of the law. The policy should be easy to understand and follow, rather than a labored, cumbersome document that never gets to its intended point."
"Move the College of Education back on campus."
Re: academic freedom: "Basically, USA is a great place to work in terms of academic freedom. IRB policies and practices come very close to infringing upon my academic freedom in the class room as well as in my research."
"People holding unpopular or novel viewpoints have systematically left USA. We dont have enough minority faculty. We dont have a Womens Center. We dont promote dual career couples. We dont have an on-site daycare center. We are not progressive culturally."
"If you speak your opinion in the college of medicine your head is chopped off by Dr. Kreisberg and publicly!
Re: academic freedom: "Courses are developed by a course coordinator and then others who have to teach the course are instructed not to change content. This does not encourage creative teaching or excellence in teaching."
"Faculty are not taken seriously. The faculty at USA are the backbone of the institution. Without them the place would not exist. The faculty is not recognized for the services it provides to the university other than lip service here and there and an empty service award ceremony." USA faculty needs "compensation commensurate to or above that of peer institutions. Opportunities for much increased faculty governance." Otherwise, "good faculty will leave as many already have. Retention of good new faculty is made more difficult. Attracting candidates to this area will be more difficult. Remaining faculty will continue to be demoralized."
"If you express your opinion and it isnt the administrations one, you are doomed."
"What about academic freedom in research? This is completely ignored."
"What opinions? There is NO freedom at this institution to express opinions other than those expressed by the university administration."
"Not enough resources faculty and staff are overworked with no relief in sight."
"I trust neither the VP for academic affairs nor the president to take criticism in the constructive spirit it is offered. Campus polices abuse of powers to investigate terrorist threats imperils academic freedom as did the administrations encouragement to politicize the classroom with open support of the Sept 9 referendum."
"Composition class ceilings: There are too many composition students per section for me to adequately and individually teach them. Lower the ceiling! Hire more instructors."
"USA/COE is good at frustrating hard-working faculty. I am required to use a particular text because an administrator wrote it. Students judge me and rate me by it. I no longer get to teach courses I was promised to teach when I came. Students are less and less capable in basic skills and more and more view higher ed as a business (with faculty as their employees). This makes it difficult to teach the high quality level of skills and information these students need to be excellent professionals. I have no time to do the research and writing I want to do. We have unfair workloads. Workloads and salaries are inequitable. Administrators make excuses and lie to justify all the inequities. If I say anything I will be treated even worse than I already am. Get a dean who will treat everyone fairly."
"College and university administrators did not reappoint a colleague who had been recommended for tenure by the faculty. This was in retaliation for this faculty members exercise of free speech in terms of college and university policies and procedures."
"Teaching load [is] excessive and limits ability to maintain clinical skills, grow professionally, do research, and pursue educational opportunities."
Re: morale at COM: "Poor morale overall. Effectiveness and integrity if COM leadership is highly questionable. [COM needs] change in leadership."
"Our school has great difficulty keeping good faculty, including department chairs."
"No faculty should be required to attend convocations and should not have to attend more than one graduation per year. Forcing faculty to participate in move in day is a very negative thing. Move in day should be a family time and faculty should be left alone to enjoy their own families during this time."
"Move CON to main campus."
CON/AH: "USA School of Nursing and Allied Health programs need modern, adequate facilities to teach in. Enrollment at the School of Nursing continues to rise, as space become more a problem, and environmental conditions deteriorate. [We] feel disconnected from main campus, and have to travel for basic employee services." Please move us to main campus this millennium!
"Staff are very helpful, particularly interlibrary loan staff are extremely efficient. But no budget until late in the year."
Library is "short on titles I need."
"Compatibility with the DISL library system for on line journal requests."
There are "no web-based offerings by the library of lecture notes for individual courses as in other institutions. Provide a library service that posts lecture notes, homework, etc. on the web."
"We need to spend money for library resources."
"Poor electronic journal holdings."
Re: plug-ins. "I have been told that students use the library to study. Some of our course work here involves student software. While maintenance issues for such plug-ins are real, these should be universally allowed rather than universally discouraged. Students need access zones. Staff should not be expected to fix problems associated to software anymore than we expect them to fix xerox machines."
"Great staff and much improved facility."
"The ILL department is fantastic, and so is PETAL."
"Good job...always helpful as needed."
"Holdings! The library needs more books if South is to be a significant research university! Im sure it comes down to funding. How about local Mobile money for that?"
"USA librarians work hard to serve us. I appreciate all the effort the librarians have made to assist me and my students. Need more money for journals."
"The librarys willingness to scan reserve material and make it available to students online is very helpful, and reduces the financial burden on students for books."
"The substitution of electronic journal access for real, in-the-library journals is often unhelpful. My research is hampered by the failure of the Library to order the key journals in my discipline. Similarly, graduate instruction in my discipline is hampered by the absence of hard copies of the key journals in my discipline. J-stor helps a little but is not close as a substitute. Please order academic journals."
Re: library web access: "Excellent number of tools available to both faculty and students; I have used them myself and promote them to my students."
"The Internet based services are great. They allow me to work from home on weekends and nights."
"The newly imposed ILL fee occurred very suddenly and with almost no advance notification to stakeholders, particularly faculty in Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health. The increase was also a drastic change compared to the previous policy."
"While the library has sent out recommended journals to cancel subscriptions, they are also now charging (as of 10/1/03) $5.00 per interlibrary loan article. This is an outrage. Many faculty are supportive of abandoning paper journals in favor of more electronic journals, which directly should lower the costs of subscription and also lower the librarys budget for paper, copiers, and copier-related repairs since faculty would print the journals on their own printers (and absorb the cost of consumables). The $5.00 ILL charge is outrageous because the previous Dean (Baugh) promised there would not be an ILL charge at this University for faculty members. If a charge is absolutely needed, it should be more like $1.00 (10 cents a copy time 10 page average article)."
"Increase electronic journal holdings."
"Excellent collection, super on-line resources, great staff. They should have more money."
The BioMed Library has excellent services, but some library personnel have treated AHP students with disrespect, stalking one in particular. Training of personnel that students other than med students have equal privileges."
"Clinical materials are not up to date on campus; e-journals are not uniformly accessible or useable. Leads to difficulty writing protocols, manuscripts, and grants."
Re: ILL: "many requests are lost and not followed on."
"The biomedical library does an excellent job with the resources they have."
"There is not enough support, post-award, in our College. ...With our teaching loads it is difficult to put together a competitive proposal."
"The inability to answer [basic] questions for federally or other funded programs [is a weakness]. Facilitation of proposal submission is VERY POOR."
One faculty member commends Marion Leach but is concerned about continuity after she retires.
"They treat faculty as though faculty is there to support OSP rather than the other way around."
"We do not need a grant writing team, faculty are capable of writing fundable projects. [But] there is little budget help, and the university should have some boilerplate material on facilities and resources available at USA....Increase budget and support services for grant writing."
"Grant funding is not a focus, when [grants] could replace lost state funding." This could lead to a "decline of programs."
"This administration is of little help in writing grants in my field -- not a criticism, just a fact."
"No one has been able to help me get money for my research."
"We compete with many Universities that have already developed grant writing staff to aid faculty. Just one new grant would likely offset the cost of such help."
Computer Services and Technology Issues
"Novell is very unsatisfactory for us Macintosh users."
"PAWS falls short in comparison to the promises that were made. Perhaps the biggest complaint is that nobody ever asked what I would want the system to be able to do for my classes and administrative and service responsibilities."
One faculty member needs Dreamweaver instruction.
"We need technological support in my [unnamed] department."
Re: computer support for dorm students. "Very slow or total lock up of internet services due to problems on the internet. These problems often prevent them from getting course materials, etc. which the university has strongly encouraged faculty to put on the web. If the University is going to provide internet access to dorm residents through their server, then they should provide virus protection and technical support. Having a computer and knowing the basics of how to use it, does not mean you are capable to troubleshoot. Students have enough to do without the headache of their computer locking up."
"It is worthwhile to consider setting up [wireless] zones on campus."
"Service is good but the department is understaffed for what they are asked to do. The information I get is good and quick but they do not have the resources to come to the departments and provide all the hands on service we could use in new setups and networking."
Computer Services "provides good quality, friendly service but they need more staff to be able to respond more quickly."
"I cant tell if the computer support staff is that overworked or if they are all on a propaganda campaign to make us think they are overworked. Either way, the quality of help needs to be improved and they need to be saved from their own administration." And after 6 years, Im "still not clear what the appropriate method is for attaining help."
"The people are competent when they come, but they must be understaffed because one waits a very long time for help/service."
"What services? The computer center at South is one of the most archaic in the country. We need new leaders with better experience and ability than the current computer center head."
"Some faculty wait years to get a working computer while others get the latest and greatest as soon as it comes available... Technicians are overloaded and seem to have no time to fix problems... Faculty receive endless spam when we are supposed to be communicating with our students via email. Online courses are expected to be easy to attract students. In reality, we attract few students who would not otherwise take the classes on campus. Faculty development (tied to OLL) is redundant and wastes grad students time that is needed in other areas. Dump most of the online program. Require online students be held to rigorous standards. There needs to be a university wide spam reduction program. There needs to be an enforced date-of-request list of faculty who need services/new equipment."
The "computer service staff is very helpful and knowledgeable and pleasant to work with. But there is "not enough staff, not enough UNIX support."
"Adoption of Microsoft as University Word Processor: I dont think the university should dictate what software I should use. I find Corel Word Perfect to be far superior to MS Word for writing grants and incorporating graphics/figures into my grants."
"Faculty should be asked for opinions before the University adopts and then forces use of specific software."
"What is the percentage of faculty who use the computer for class or research? I know faculty who do not know how to turn a computer on."
"Give up Microsoft and use StarOffice or one of the free software packages. Microsoft will bleed us dry!"
"Computer center is archaic, lack of efficiency."
"Email filter: there is no apparent email filter in place constantly getting bombarded with emails such as scams from Nigeria, ads for mortgage loans, penile enlargement, plumper lips, etc."
"We need Internet access in classrooms."
"Room consoles need reflective glass."
"Outdated, refurbished, problem-ridden PCs: My computer has needed new speakers, a new monitor, and a new CPU over the past year. It is very slow and often needs to be reset to boot up the monitor. IT support staff are excellent. Problem is equipment."
"Our college needs an IT person."
A non-windows computer user has not been allowed to replace his/her computer even though it is 6 years old. He/she requests to be allowed "to buy a computer of my choice within a budgeted amount."
"Groupwise sucks. Get rid of Groupwise. Now!"
Bookstores and Meeting Facilities
"Brookley is isolated."
Faculty Discounts: "There are many items now available at the bookstore which are not available for faculty discount. In the distant past all items were available for discount. When asked the bookstore employees state they are already marked down as low as they can go. Well, this is no benefit. If all we do is get the product at wholesale then the faculty discount at the bookstore can no longer be considered and advertised as a benefit for working for the University of South Alabama."
"Little to nothing is offered at SHAC for faculty or students in any format for cultural activities or even exercises. We ask, but do not receive."
"We need a new company to run the bookstore. The bookstore overcharges for everything. Students and faculty go elsewhere to shop as much as possible. Hire a company that will charge fair prices (in line with Anders)."
"Course packet prices seem excessive. Ive stopped using them as a result."
"It is outrageous for the bookstore to ask faculty to order books for the next semester so far in advance. Course are not canned. Book selections change; minds about courses change. I am not pleased at all with how the bookstore harasses faculty about book orders so far in advance. They try the guilt game of saying it is for the students benefit. Students are smart enough to go through on-line retailers."
"It would be great if the bookstore was open a few hours on weekends."
"The Mitchell Center is fine for meetings at present time, considering the financial crisis. Faculty and student needs should be addressed before we consider capital improvements."
USA Health Plan
"The selfishness of USA physicians costs me money. During the Prime Health years, USA physicians seemed to avoid practicing medicine and a number of non-USA physicians became eligible to take USA Prime Health patients. I went to one such physician because my USA doctors were changing every year, or so. Now I continue to go to the same physician but I have to pay a larger co-pay. A fair medical plan would have grandfathered in physicians such as mine."
"Substantial cost increases in a short period of time."
"I dont like all of the Drs. moving off campus to Knollwood. Campus clinic is so convenient and inclusive!"
"Life time limitations too low. With inflation and increasing medical costs, the life time limitation of the plan is too low."
"There is so little to choose from and the waiting is too long."
"USA should allow members to subscribe to PEEHIP."
"Some of the outpatients (pediatrics) are too slow. It takes almost 2-3 hours to be seen in pediatrics dept at Springhill despite having a scheduled appointment. Schedule more doctors at the OPDs."
"You guys cant keep doctors. I go to a non-USA doctor because he will be there year after year. I had seven primary physicians in less than ten years."
"Those of us who live (and have families) on the Eastern Shore were given short-shrift by the shift in plans and no one has ever really addressed this problem. In order to benefit from lowest office co-pays my family would have to have all appointments in Mobile. Thats fine for me (who actually works here in town), but not so great for my spouse and two (small) children. Have some consideration for your Baldwin County employees include some doctors/hospital(s) from the other side of the bay."
"All the gynecologists are in the same office. They are not bad doctors, [but] their office is a mess: incompetent, poorly organized, long waits in the waiting room." Needs "better management."
"Retention of primary care physicians at USA is very poor. I have had 6 different ones in Internal Medicine in the past 12 years. Other members of my department also complain about this frequently. Continuity of care is important. Why is the turnover rate so high?"
We are "paying too much for too little. The increases and reduced services over the past several years has increased our health spending by more than 100%. Provide better benefits. You cant really raise fees while at the same time reduce benefits and expect happy campers."
"Im paying more and getting less. When the changeover to Blue Cross was in the discussion stage, I was under the impression that they were only taking over the paperwork. Once the switch was made, I found that we were governed by their rules, which ended up costing me much more for doctor visits and particularly prescription charges."
"BCBS sends out too much useless mail telling me I do NOT have to pay a bill. What is the point? Prescriptions AND office visits cost more now."
"Eastern Shore has no primary care doctors. I love my doctors at USA." But "my doctors are almost never available when I need to see them. I had to wait four hours in an emergency last spring. I ended up seeing an assistant instead of a physician. I have to pay more to have aq primary on the Eastern Shore. I have to pay far more for my prescriptions now. I get no eye or dental care." Give us the same options as PEEHIP."
The "cost of services has increased. This coupled with the lack of wage/salary increase equals an increased financial burden. Hold health costs constant or increase wage/salaries."
"BCBS is the biggest monopoly in the state. I hate them personally as an organization and have many documented reasons why."
"Health care is too expensive and co-pays are too high, especially for prescriptions."
RE: dental insurance and HIPA: Perhaps the school should consider offering dental coverage and honoring certificates of prior coverage (thus allowing new arrivals to escape the preexisting conditions clause)."
"Copay charges for follow up visits. The patient is required to copay even when requested by the physician to revisit. [There should be] no copays for follow up visits.
"Add visit co-pay to $15, make prescription copay less."
"Baldwin County residents are penalized in emergency situations when they cannot get to a USA facility it always costs more."
"My prescription copays have increased at least four-fold over what they were with Prime Health. This is because none of the drugs I need are on the BC/BS list for a $10 copay. I am not alone in this complaint. Many other people in our department have expressed similar concerns."
"Although the medical personnel are great, the process of getting to them (receptionists and what not) is a nightmare especially at the hospitals."
"If you live on the Eastern Shore you pay and pay."
"They will not allow preventive care you have to be almost dying to receive medical treatment."
"Birth control should be a maintenance drug. It is absurd to dispense birth control one month at a time. When I go out of town (and I sometimes go for the whole summer) I am in a lurch. It should be considered a maintenance drug and you should be able to buy three months at time."
Re: preventive care: "I had to pay, out of my own pocket, for a cholesterol test. It seems like it would be in the interest of the medical insurance carrier to know if I am at risk for heart disease. Also, there were tests as part of the annual physical exam that the doctor and I had to lie about in order to get insurance to cover the costs. I would be better off canceling my insurance and putting the money in the bank to cover my medical costs myself."
People are not aware of the fitness center.
"Increase premium, decrease copays."
"Drugs have increased, prescription copay is too high."
"If we had kept PrimeHealth, our costs probably would have increased as well. We cant compare the known cost of Blue Cross with the unknown cost of PrimeHealth.
"We have fewer doctors since many of our best ones have left due to extremely heavy workloads and poor compensation."
"I am not enrolled in the USA plan at present because of the cost and lack of coverage. I have a Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage under my wifes place of employment. They have much broader coverage including dental and ophthalmology services at approximately the same cost USA offers for much less service."
"Costs have gone up but quality of care has gone up even more, so I am not dissatisfied."
"There is one gynecological group we can go to. Our birth control is not considered a maintenance drug. Abortion is not covered."
"Too few docs, reduced benefits (our rx co-pays have more than doubled), no dental. We dont mind paying more but we need better benefits. All meds should have a maximum of a $10 co-pay even if there is no generic equivalent. People who choose the name brand when a generic is available should pay more. Im keeping my eyes open for a better job with better benefits."
"We pay far more than K-14 teachers for less coverage. Get USA into PEEHIP."
"Compensate employees in wage/salary to offset both cost of living and cost of health care."
Re: insurance premium costs: "Why does the University pay more actual dollars toward family coverage than for single coverage? Since it is an employee benefit, shouldnt every employee receive the same dollar benefit, rather than the current 75/25% of the total? Are single employees less worthy of benefits? If the University paid the same dollar benefit to all employees, the hundreds of dollars from the difference could be used to reduce prescription co-pays for all employees."
"Preventive care is not encouraged. Give people a reduced health care insurance rate if they dont smoke, dont drink, and get a physical every year. Medical costs to prevent illness are MUCH cheaper than medical costs to treat illness."
"We need it but dont have it."
USA has a "good [health] plan but no option for [dental] coverage. USA should "offer option for coverage."
"Dental insurance: it is a good thing. Look into getting it."
USA should "create option for dental coverage."
We "need dental coverage."
We "need dental coverage so bad."
"Perhaps the school should consider offering dental coverage."
"No dental plan is ludicrous. That farce of a proposal put forward a couple of years ago was a joke administration knew it would fail so it was just a stupid publicity stunt."
The "lack of effective dental plan will turn off quality faculty who would otherwise consider a position at USA. Make an effective dental plan a priority."
"Lack of opportunities to participate in dental health plan with coverage for preventive as well as emergent dental health services. Offer dental health coverage at reasonable cost."
"The Universitys FMLA policy provides leave accrual on a calendar year basis. So, every Jan. 1 otherwise eligible faculty and staff are entitled to 12 weeks of FMLA. This is a very generous policy. However, the FMLA makes a distinction for child birth. If someone is out on maternity/paternity leave at the end of the calendar year, the employee is only entitled to 12 weeks of leave. If the reason for leave is a serious health condition, however, the employee is immediately entitled to 12 more weeks of leave on Jan 1. It would seem that the distinction would run afoul of the pregnancy Discrimination Act."
"It is my understanding that sick leave must be taken [for maternal/paternal leave] (if paid leave is desired."
"There are not enough motorcycle parking spots, none near the library. Construct more."
"Parking at USA is cheap. Students parking in faculty/staff areas is a major problem that needs to be addressed. Increase fines or issue tickets more frequently. Assign zoned parking for students; this campus is not that large that they cant walk to class."
"Need better enforcement and more ticketing after first week."
"Speed lumps should go; theyre a drain on gas, brakes, transmission and shocks;" "the decision to install them was taken unilaterally" without University input; everyone hates them and they do nothing for traffic congestion.
"Except for the Mitchells there arent many private citizens involved in gifting. There are announced plans to change this, but I havent seen any tangible developments."
"This university is and has always been negligent in raising money to benefit the institution. There have been no serious fund raising initiatives even after a development officer was named. Shame!"
"Lack of funding is a major problem. Theres little the administration can do to improve the situation."
"The University is at a stage (40 years old) to begin to attract monies from alumni and friends. The new development officer is a positive sign of new commitment to raising funds from donors. The state does not provide sufficient funds - therefore it is imperative to be successful at development."
"are essential to growth and success"
"Potential: the Universitys location and the faculty are tremendous assets. The Research Park, incidentally, is a great enhancement. Im looking forward to the campus-wide transportation system also. Attention (in the way of adequate compensation and recognition) is not given to either faculty achievements in the area of research AND in the classroom. Mobile is a wonderful city, yet the university remains rather remote to the needs of the city. I do recognize President Moultons activities with regards to promoting the university and compliment him on his success therein. However, the city has not figured out what to do with the university yet. [USA should] develop outreach programs, similar to those that the health areas have to Mobile County schools, businesses, the port system, the Chamber of Commerce, the libraries, the arts program... etc. [Otherwise] "the University will continue to be disregarded by those stronger elements and voices in the Mobile community including the children of the well to do who attend St. Pauls and UMS and refuse to consider USA as a viable option."
Lost paper work: I have never seen so much lost paperwork. This seems to happen on a daily basis in many areas of the campus. We should be able to notify the supervisor of the unit when the problem occurs so that they will be aware of the problem."
A School of Dentistry?
"Establishment of a School of Dentistry: This will not only provide for the training of dentists in the Mobile area, it will also provide services to the public by trainee dentists at a minimum cost. Dental service are extremely expensive, and there being no dental insurance coverage, any dental service is heavy on the family budget. The objections I have heard is that there is not enough demand for it. Perhaps a survey could be more definitive."
The university needs to be more attentive to minority groups; any blessing should be ecumenical and inclusive.
University of South Alabama - Faculty Senate - Mobile, AL 36688-0002
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