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News Clips 02/14/2013
FSU preparing teach-out for students in West Palm
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 02/13/13
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By Doug Blackburn
Administrators at Florida State are working on a plan to provide a “teach-out” for the 25 students enrolled in the film school’s new animation and digital arts program in West Palm Beach.
The Board of Governors is expected to recommend during its Feb. 21 conference call meeting that FSU move the program, which began in August following several years of planning, back to Tallahassee. A BOG panel voted 3-0 on Friday to close the West Palm Beach program, in the aftermath of the September 2012 bankruptcy filing by FSU’s industry partner Digital Domain. FSU President Eric Barron told BOG last month that the university would follow BOG’s recommendation.
A “teach-out” guarantees that students enrolled in the program are able to complete their degree in a manner that matches the expectations of the program. Teach-outs must be approved by the university’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Garnett Stokes, FSU’s provost and vice president for academic administration, said the new program has a complex curriculum which would be difficult to duplicate in Tallahassee at the film school’s main campus.
“We are committed to making sure the students get the education we promised them when they decided to major in digital animation. We assume this will require a presence in West Palm for some time,” Stokes said.
Frank Brogan, chancellor of the State University System, wrote an open letter to the 24 FSU students who had signed a letter saying they were disappointed the BOG panel had not solicited their input before making its ruling. Describing Florida’s decision to invest $20 million to entice California-based Digital Domain to establish headquarters in Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach “one of the worst economic disasters the state has ever seen,” Brogan told the students he sympathized with their plight.
“We will work with each of you to ensure that you are able to continue your studies without upheaval,” Brogan wrote.
BOG members had voiced concern about the higher tuition for students in the program in West Palm Beach. Because it is a continuing education major located away from the main campus, students were paying about $18,000 a year for the animation and digital arts major, about triple the tuition for in-state undergraduates in Tallahassee.
“I do believe the cost to the students was a factor in (BOG’s) decision,” Stokes said.