HIGHLIGHTS: Board of Governors meeting, Nov. 20-21
Board of Governors Meeting Highlights
A new chancellor, a prestigious new scholarship program for Florida students, a new system for meeting Florida’s workforce needs, and other highlights of the November meeting of the Board of Governors at Florida International University
MIAMI—Joined by its newly appointed State University System chancellor, Marshall Criser III, the Board of Governors on Thursday recommitted to providing access to high-quality higher education through several important new initiatives.
Not the least of which was the announcement of a new scholarship program to allow the brightest State University System students to study at the distinguished University of Oxford. This program, established by the foundation of longtime educator and Board of Governors member Patricia Frost, will provide full scholarships (covering all tuition and fees) for 10 State University System graduates who wish to obtain a Master of Science Degree from Oxford in the areas of science, technology, engineering or math. Learn more at http://www.ox.ac.uk/feesandfunding/prospectivegrad/scholarships/university/frost/
“Supporting our students is job No. 1 for the Board of Governors,” Frost said. “It’s our hope that this scholarship will enhance the already high-quality higher education our students receive, opening up new doors and experiences for them so that they can return to Florida and use what they’ve learned to further strengthen our state.”
In another major announcement, the board also approved the final report of the Commission on Higher Education Access and Educational Attainment. The group, created by the board in May 2012, has worked hard to answer some of the most critical questions facing Florida higher education today, such as: Is Florida on track to produce enough baccalaureate graduates to fill statewide workforce needs? Which workforce areas need graduates the most? Does Florida need any more colleges or universities?
As laid out in its final report, the commission found that workforce areas with the largest baccalaureate-degree shortages include computer and information technology, accounting/auditing/financial services, and middle school teacher retention.
The board is now calling on Florida's colleges and universities to offer ways to fill those workforce gaps. The 2013 Legislature provided $15 million for incentive funding for this purpose, and, pending legislative action, another $15 million is planned for a second year. Colleges and universities are encouraged to submit grant applications—with partnerships strongly encouraged—for a portion of the funding.
“I’m very proud of the collaborative work of the Commission in answering some of the toughest questions facing higher education in Florida,” said Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson. “Insightful strategies for growth, like the ones in this report, will help catapult us even further into national prominence.”
Other meeting highlights:
- The board signed off on a proposal to create the statewide Florida Center for Cybersecurity, to be housed at the University of South Florida. The report was commissioned by the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott in proviso language of the 2013-14 General Appropriations Act. It will now be transferred to the Legislature and Governor for further consideration.
- The University of Florida and Florida State University presented plans to utilize $15 million granted to each of them as preeminent institutions during the 2013-14 legislative session to enhance academic quality. UF aims to move into the top 10 public universities in the country, and FSU aims to join the top 25.
- The board took another step in the refinement of its 10-metric performance-funding model, approving one metric for each university that was chosen by its respective Board of Trustees. Those metrics join eight common to all universities plus one chosen for each university by the Board of Governors, creating a robust model that will ensure accountability and encourage further excellence. The model is part of a $50 million legislative budget request for 2014-15 session.
- Alexander Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic, was appointed to the University of Central Florida Board of Trustees. Martins is an alum of the UCF College of Business. His appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate and to Martins attending an orientation session. His term runs through Jan 6. 2016.
- The board named a new chair and vice chair, who will begin two-year terms in January 2014. Mori Hosseini, currently vice chairman of the board, will replace Dean Colson as chair. Tom Kuntz, chair of the board’s budget and finance committee, replaces Hosseini as vice chair.
For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at www.flbog.edu. The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 15-16 at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers.
# # #
Facts about the State University System of Florida and the 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 more than 335,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit www.flbog.edu.