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HIGHLIGHTS: Meeting of the Florida Board of Governors, November 7-8
An update from the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education, a discussion on solutions for funding facilities, and other snapshots from the November meeting of the governing board of the State University System of Florida
SARASOTA — If there were any doubts of the importance of higher education to the state of Florida, the November meeting of the Florida Board of Governors surely laid those to rest.
With visits from both Gov. Rick Scott and the chairman of Scott’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education, the two-day Board meeting had the future of the State University System squarely in the spotlight — and rightly so. With a continued push toward more accountability at Florida’s 12 public institutions, the Florida Board of Governors shares the Governor’s interest in providing a good return on investment for our students.
“We applaud the fact that all of the state's leaders are lining up behind the idea that our universities are critical to the state's future, and that our State University System needs the resources to elevate it to greatness," said Chancellor Frank T. Brogan.
As part of his education tour, which also included visits to the Association of Florida Colleges and state Board of Education this month, Scott touted the many successes of the State University System, boasting that there are “so many things to be proud of.” He also voiced support of more robust measurement of universities’ performance, which the Board of Governors shares in its efforts to secure performance-based funding.
Dovetailing Scott’s presentation was an update from Dale Brill, chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force created by the Governor earlier this year to explore enhancements to Florida’s higher education. Brill detailed the Task Force’s final recommendations, which align nicely with the Board of Governors’ own goals for the State University System.
Among them: increased coordination of System-wide goals, increased funding for the System and funding tied to performance metrics.
The Board is already working toward many of those initiatives.
Advancing an effort to secure performance-based funding for the State University System, the Board this week further discussed metrics by which universities might be evaluated. They include benchmarks intended to measure both excellence and improvement, such as post graduation job success, degrees in areas of strategic emphasis, graduation and retention rates and more.
The Board is asking for approximately $100 million in new funding from the State Legislature this year to be tied to specific goals at each university.
In other funding news, the Board discussed a number of recommendations from its Task Force on Facilities, which has been surveying solutions to the state’s drop-off of Public Education Capital Outlay money. Known as PECO, the fund is paid for with taxes on utilities — like home phones or electric bills — and in the past couple years has all but dried up.
The Board of Governors will now work with the Governor, the Legislature, and System stakeholders to determine next steps.
More meeting highlights:
- The Board named its final appointment to the Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees. William Mitchell “Bill” Brown, president and CEO of the Harris Corporation, joins ten other trustees from across the state. The Board of Governors also on Thursday formally approved the transfer of assets from the University of South Florida’s former Lakeland campus to the new Florida Poly.
- Board of Governors Inspector General Derry Harper gave the Board an update on the continuing investigation into Florida A&M University’s internal controls.
- The Board reviewed the progress of its three-year market-rate tuition pilot program, by which universities can request the ability to charge higher tuition for certain graduate programs. It approved new market-rate proposals at four universities: Florida International University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida and the University of South Florida.
For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at www.flbog.edu. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 16-17 at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Facts about the State University System of Florida and Florida Board of Governors
The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The System has 12 universities and a total enrollment of more than 330,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. The Board was created in 2003 by constitutional amendment (Article IX, Section 7). Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and ensuring the System’s coordination and operation. Members include 14 who are appointed by the Governor plus a faculty member, a student representative and the Florida Commissioner of Education. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the State University System’s chief executive. For more information, including the Board’s Strategic Plan and Annual Accountability Report that reflects key measurements for the System, see www.flbog.edu.
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