Top Ten Professional Member Misunderstandings

The following Top Ten Misunderstandings List was developed by Vice-President for Professionals John Cote and Labor Relations Specialist Kathy Briggs Renadette. The list reflects issues that frequently arise for professionals and many apply to academic members as well. Please contact your Chapter leaders at with any questions about the list or if you are experiencing any of the situations yourself.

  1. Self-Evaluations – At no time is it the responsibility of the member to self-evaluate their performance; evaluation, per Article 30 of the Agreement, referencing Appendix A-28 and Article XI of the Policies of the Board of Trustees. Evaluation is the responsibility of Management. The Potsdam UUP Chapter leaders have requested that item 7 on the Annual Evaluation of Professional Staff form be amended to delete “personal evaluation”; the revised form has not yet been published by Administration. Promotions and salary increases must be requested in writing on the form provided by the College, the Personnel Action form. Verbal requests are not official requests. As in #1, Potsdam UUP Chapter leaders have made the same request for removal of the “personal evaluation”.
  2. Each Annual Evaluation must be checked as “Satisfactory” or “Unsatisfactory”. The narrative from your supervisor must match the designated Summary Characterization. Both an “Unsatisfactory” and a “Satisfactory” with negative narrative can be appealed immediately to the Committee on Professional Evaluation. The process starts at the level of your supervisor.
  3. Evaluations of Professional are not a consensus or group process – only the supervisor conducts the evaluation of a professional. If a secondary source is listed on the performance program when created then that person may convey to the supervisor about the professional’s performance only as it relates to the common functions of the professional and secondary source. The supervisor must write a summation of the secondary source input in the evaluation if any of the feedback is utilized in the evaluation.
  4. Dress codes – There is no language in the Agreement, our contract, about dress codes. Dress codes are a mandatory subject of negotiation thus can only be developed by the mutual permission of President Fred Kowal of UUP and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations. This is because only the parties to the Agreement, The State of New York and United University Professions, can alter the Agreement. No local campus, department, or agent of management has the authority to develop or implement a dress code for UUP members.
  5. Professional Development Leaves (aka sabbaticals for Professionals) – professionals often overlook the fact that they can use paid and unpaid leaves for their professional development. Contact VPP John Cote for more information.
  6. Union Meeting Attendance – If you are asking for release time you are doing it wrong. Professional obligation requires you notify your supervisor of your intent to be out of the work area to attend a meeting/event. If you are experiencing difficulty attending meetings and workshops contact VPP John Cote ASAP. You have self-directed flexibility in how you fulfill your daily/weekly/monthly responsibilities.
  7. Union service as the service component of my professional obligation if you wish to serve contact the chapter office for more information 315-267-3177 or There are many ways to serve and support your Union. The members are the Union. The Potsdam Chapter is as strong as its members. – If you serve at chapter level, state level, or both, you are preforming vital advocacy services that count as part of your professional obligation. UUP activities support SUNY and local campuses. Local activism informs local legislators.
  8. Your FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) designation – If you are incorrectly assigned the designation of exempt it could have a major impact on your earnings, both in cash and compensatory time. I suggest you review what you actually do, compare that to the job posting, then go to FLSA – Professional checklist fillable-1 answer the questions used to determine proper FLSA designation . If you don’t believe the job you do is classified correctly contact me ASAP. The correct FLSA designation is critical for compensatory time, extra service
  9. Stay in Your Own Lane – Do not over-reach the job duties or authority of your appointment. Contain your job activities to those things that are legitimately your responsibilities. The appropriate response to any request or expectation for you to exceed your job scope or authority is to respectfully refer those actions/decisions to your supervisor.
  10. No Direct Dealing – Only UUP and the State of New York, or their properly designated representatives, are authorized to negotiate the terms and conditions of your employment. Individual members cannot direct deal, nor can Management or any of its agents. All UUP members, even those who are supervisors (thus agents of Management in that role) are subject to the same contract; the same rights; the same responsibilities; the same benefits; and the same standards of professional performance and conduct.