Executive Director of Communications
Statement Regarding USF Polytechnic // Chair Ava L. Parker, Florida Board of Governors, State University System
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 9, 2011
FLORIDA BOARD OF GOVERNORS: USF POLYTECHNIC CAMPUS HAS BENCHMARKS
TO ACHIEVE BEFORE INDEPENDENCE
BOCA RATON, Fla.—The Florida Board of Governors of the State University System late today sitting as the full panel voted on a set of benchmarks that it said must be achieved before independence.Once these benchmarks are achieved, the independence issue would return to the Board of Governors for confirmation that the benchmarks have been achieved and for a final review and approval.
The benchmarks as expressed in the motion are:
• The USF Polytechnic Campus securing of separation accreditation for the branch campus pursuant to s. 1004.345, Florida Statutes;
• After separate accreditation is achieved, Polytechnic shall implement the programs identified in Phase I of the Business Plan upon approval of the programs by SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools). Highest priority for program development and implementation shall be focused on programs in STEM fields, and appropriate discipline-specific accreditation shall be sought.
• Polytechnic must attain a minimum FTE of 1,244 as calculated in the Business Plan, with a minimum 50 percent of that FTE in STEM and 20 percent in STEM-related programs;
• The following facilities and infrastructure shall be in place – the Science and Technology Building, Phase I of the Wellness Center, the modular resident hall (70 beds), and the residence hall (120 beds);
• Polytechnic shall have a full complement of the following services or functions, provided either directly or where feasible through a shared services model – financial aid, admissions, student support, information technology, and finance and accounting with an internal audit function;
• Students shall be given an option to graduate with a diploma from USF, subject to university criteria;
• The Board of Governors shall monitor the development of the campus and its operations, working in collaboration with the appropriate boards, on a semi-annual basis; and
• The Board shall be consulted on any significant change to the Business Plan prior to any action being taken on such change.
Sixteen of the 17 Board members were present for the special full Board meeting session on this first day of the two-day regular Board of Governors meeting, which includes committee meetings. The discussion on this item was nearly four hours. The vote by member is listed below at the end.
Written communications from the past two-plus months from students, faculty, Student Government leaders, Faculty Senate leaders, state legislators, business leaders, former State University System personnel and many others all was provided to the Board members in advance for their review and consideration. Four state legislators provided comments: Senator JD Alexander and Senate President-designate Don Gaetz in person, and Sens. Paula Dockery and Mike Fasano through letters they requested be read into the record. Governor Rick Yost, Ph.D., the faculty representative member of the Board of Governors, and Governor Michael Long, the student representative member of the Board of Governors, both spoke to summarize their discussions with their respective constituencies.
STATEMENT FROM BOARD CHAIR AVA L. PARKER: “First, on behalf of my fellow Board members, I truly appreciate the time and hard work that has been devoted to preparing and evaluating this effort from many parties, particularly from university personnel at USF campuses. The Board today has made a decision that is in the best interest of the State University System, which is experiencing rising student demand amid relative decreasing slots to accommodate those applicants, and a rising ratio that is tipping the tuition burden more toward enrolled and future students. We are committed to sustaining both the quality and value of the State University System of Florida.
“One of the Board’s constitutional responsibilities is to ensure a coordinated, accountable State University System. While growth is no doubt in our future, today we provided a set of reasonable benchmarks that USF Polytechnic Campus must reach in order to gain independence. These benchmarks ensure the development of a STEM-focused institution that will meet the growing demand for jobs in our state. The Board of Governors is committed to the support and oversight required to ensure the success of the university.”
BACKGROUND: Since a request during the summer from Polk County leaders asking the Board of Governors to fully evaluate USF Polytechnic’s future in the State University System, the Board of Governors has had two presentations – one at its September Board meeting, where the Board then asked for both a more detailed array of financial information and an academic transition plan. That second presentation was made at this Board meeting.
VOTES ON THE MOTION
13 votes yes: Governors Norman Tripp (maker of the motion); Chair Ava L. Parker; Vice Chair Dean Colson; Dick Beard; Chris Corr; Ann Duncan; Mori Hosseini; Frank Martin; Tico Perez; Gerard Robinson (Commissioner of Education); John Rood; Gus Stavros; Rick Yost, Ph.D. (faculty representative).
3 votes no: Patricia Frost; Michael Long (student representative); John Temple.
Governor Stanley Marshall, Ph.D., is not present for the November Board meetings.
About the State University System of Florida
The State University System of Florida is governed by a 17-member Board of Governors, a constitutional body and led by appointed public servants. The System is comprised of 11 institutions with a total enrollment of more than 320,000 students, making it the fourth-largest public university system in the nation in terms of enrollment (some states have more than one university system). The Florida Constitution (Article IX, Section 7) was amended by the state's voters in 2002 to establish a statewide system of governance for all Florida public universities. As a result, the Florida Board of Governors was created in 2003 to oversee the State University System of Florida. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and ensuring the well-planned coordination and operation of the System. The Board’s 17 members include 14 appointed by the Governor, with three serving by virtue of their designations (a faculty member, a Florida Student Association student representative, and the Florida Commissioner of Education). The Board of Governors appoints a Chancellor who serves as the chief executive and administrative officer of the State University System. For more, including the Board’s Annual Report that reflects accountability measurements and benchmarks occurring at each institution, see www.flbog.edu.