Burned out, undervalued: WUCF takes ‘cultural audit’ after resignation
Image via WUCF.

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The situation is improving, the auditor notes.

WUCF employees said they felt burned out, overworked and undervalued, although morale has been improving since the station’s leader resigned last year, according to a new study released recently by the University of Central Florida.

WUCF Executive Director Phil Hoffman resigned in August after employees complained he had a bad temper and created a dysfunctional environment, UCF records showed. Hoffman previously denied the accusations to Florida Politics.

In the aftermath of Hoffman’s departure, UCF hired a consultant to interview employees at Orlando’s PBS affiliate and WUCF 89.9 FM and perform a “cultural audit.” UCF chose the Maue Center, a human resources consulting company with offices in Altamonte Springs and Pittsburgh. The university previously said the consultant cost $11,250.

Maue Executive Coach Timothy Edris‘ summary report was a 570-word narrative and two charts, which UCF released to Florida Politics.

But the full details of what employees shared with Edris isn’t known.

UCF is fighting to release any interview notes or other documents tied to those conversations when Florida Politics requested them.

What Edris’ report did say was, “The interview process turned up some interesting themes around burnout. During the period before August 2021, staff sentiment could be summarized as overworked, not trusted to execute their work properly, and not being valued in general.”

Some at WUCF said they felt micromanaged, and co-workers didn’t trust each other. Another complaint was people didn’t know the long-term vision for the station.

But the situation was improving, Edris noted.

“One final significant finding in the survey and interviews is that since August 2021, staff feel progress is being made towards a better culture, but they would like to ensure that this progress is institutionalized to ensure consistency and accountability into the future,” Edris’ report said. “Overall, staff indicated that they are mission-driven and are at WUCF because they believe in the kind of work that WUCF undertakes.”

Florida Politics asked for Edris’ notes from the interviews, pointing out the consultant had been paid with taxpayer money.

“The consultant’s notes only become a public record if they are shared with someone else, and the consultant did not share them,” said Mark Schlueb, a UCF spokesperson.

Edris declined to comment Friday.

First Amendment Foundation Executive Director Pamela Marsh argued it was more complicated than that, saying it depended on the purpose of the interview notes. She also questioned if Edris was the only name on the WUCF contract and wondered if he shared his notes with others at Maue, which Marsh believed could make it public records.

The First Amendment Foundation is a Tallahassee-based non-partisan, non-profit that pushes for government openness and transparency.

“Bottom line: This is a fact-intensive question about how the notes were used and what they were intended for when made. It would be helpful to have a better explanation from UCF, rather than just a conclusory statement that ‘the consultant did not share them,'” Marsh wrote in an email.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is a journalist who covers theme parks and Florida tourism. She previously worked at the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Toledo Blade and the Kalamazoo Gazette. She graduated from Michigan State University.


One comment

  • politics

    February 20, 2022 at 10:29 am

    well if they can not keep up with the rest of the worlds sweat houses i do not know

Comments are closed.


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