Brittany Davis Wise
HIGHLIGHTS: Board of Governors Meeting, March 29-30
From data on student mental health to the Board of Governors’ first-ever Annual Report for Online Education, the Board this week took up a number of important initiatives during its meeting at Florida A&M University.
Tallahassee -- The Board of Governors this week pushed forward on several initiatives to ensure accountability and progress for the State University System and to make sure students are getting the resources they need to be successful.
Those include approval of the Board’s Annual Accountability Report, which showed that universities demonstrated year-over-year improvement on six of the eight performance funding metrics that are shared by all universities. The Board’s new metric on cost to the student showed that the average cost of earning a bachelor’s degree is less than $15,000 after financial aid is taken into account. Additionally, the report shows that 34 degree programs were eliminated during the 2015-16 academic year.
“The Annual Accountability Report is a critical part of the Board’s nationally recognized accountability system, and it plays a huge role in keeping us on track to meet our goals,” said Tom Kuntz, Board of Governors Chair. “Best of all, if you look at our remarkable improvement each year, it’s clear that our approach is working.”
The Board also approved its first-ever Annual Report for Online Education, which documents the System’s progress toward the goals set out in the 2025 Strategic Plan for Online Education and identifies opportunities for improvements. Florida continues to be a leader in online education, ranking second in the nation in the number of students enrolled in distance learning courses. Sixty-one percent of State University System students took at least one distance learning course in 2015-16.
“Florida is one of the first and only states to implement a Strategic Plan for Online Education, which guides the growth of online education in the System and makes sure that our 12 institutions have high-quality and cost-efficient instruction and services,” said Ned Lautenbach, Board of Governors Vice Chair and Chair of the Innovation and Online Committee. “Our Annual Report shows that we are moving in the right direction to meet our goals.”
The Board also heard new data on student mental health, which included a steep increase in year-over-year demand for services. As an example, the number of crisis visits more than doubled from 4,200 to 9,100 between 2014-15 and 2015-16, and the number of Baker Act hospitalizations grew from 300 to 440.
“Many of our students are dealing with serious and complex mental health issues, and we need to make sure that those who need counseling are able to access it quickly and without barriers,” said Norm Tripp, Chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. “In some cases, counseling could make the difference in whether these students are able to graduate and go on to live healthy, productive lives.”
The meeting also included a Think Florida: A Higher Degree for Business panel, including Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Director Cissy Proctor, Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson, and Florida Council of 100 President and CEO Bob Ward. The panel was moderated by Chancellor Marshall Criser III and included questions from Board members.
“The business community is a critical partner for our universities, which is why we have ramped up our efforts to make sure we’re listening to employer needs,” Chancellor Criser said. “All three of our panelists came with great ideas and advice for our universities and students.”
Additional meeting highlights include:
- The State University System launched of the Safer, Smarter, Stronger campaign, designed to promote the State University System priorities on student mental health and security, university research, and performance funding.
- The Task Force on University Research discussed the Research and Innovation Metrics Dashboard, designed to document the System’s progress toward its research goals. Additionally, the Board heard a presentation on the immediate and long-term impact of university research on the economic and social vitality of Florida.
- The Board confirmed the appointment of Michael Martin as president of Florida Gulf Coast University, contingent on a revised employment agreement.
- The Board confirmed the reappointment of University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft.
- The Board appointed Dean Colson to Florida International University’s Board of Trustees. Mr. Colson previously served as chair of the Board of Governors and chair of the University of Miami Board of Trustees.
- The Board approved the University of Central Florida Lake Nona Medical Center, a joint-venture between UCF’s College of Medicine and Hospital Corporation of America. No state funds will used for construction of what is proposed as an initial 100 bed hospital.
For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at http://www.flbog.edu/. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for June 19-21 at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
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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 341,000 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 flbog.edu, think-florida.org,or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.