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HIGHLIGHTS: Board of Governors Meeting August 28-29

FORT MYERS — The Board of Governors advanced several key initiatives Wednesday and Thursday to increase student success, decrease costs for students, and enhance the State University System’s research prowess.

The Board discussed the System Accountability Plan, which compiles data from all 12 State University System universities in order to analyze System-wide trends. Highlights include a 10 percent increase in four-year graduation rates over the past five years, fewer graduates with excess credit hours, a 38 percent reduction in the cost for students in the past five years, and an expanding research capacity — with System expenditures at a record $2.3 billion.

“There’s no denying that the State University System is experiencing incredible momentum,” said Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board of Governors. “By nearly every quality measure, Florida public universities — and therefore our students — are thriving.” 

The Board also approved the summary report for the Drugs, Alcohol and Mental Health Task Force, which has worked for the past 18 months to identify the System’s most critical drug, alcohol and mental health issues and develop System-wide recommendations to address them. Solutions in progress include mental health literacy for faculty/staff, peer education programs, student life skills courses, and community partnerships.

“The State University System is fully committed to ensuring student wellness and safety, and we will continue to keep this topic front and center,” said Marshall Criser III, State University System Chancellor. “When we welcome students to our campuses, we want to make sure we do everything possible to keep them safe and help them be successful.” 

Other meeting highlights:

  • The Board welcomed its newest member, Charlie Lydecker, CEO of Foundation Risk Partners.
  • The Board approved an action plan for obtaining letters of commitment from publishers and campus bookstores so that students may obtain course materials at more affordable prices.
  • The Board approved its 2020-2021 Operating and Fixed Capital Outlay Legislative Budget Request.
  • The Board heard the final update on the State University System and Florida College System Mathematics Redesign effort. The initiative is designed to improve student success in mathematics.
  • The Board approved the reappointments of Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg and University of West Florida President Martha Saunders.
  • The Board recognized Ms. Kathleen Smith and Ms. Kristina King, who completed their Master of Public Administration degrees through Florida Gulf Coast University’s online MPA programs. This is a part of the State University System’s initiative to recognize exemplary online students.
  • Board members heard from Florida Gulf Coast University Senior Adam Scigliano, of the Earn to Learn program. The program is an initiative of the Southwest Florida Women’s Foundation that helps low-to-moderate income students earn a higher education with little or no debt. 

For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at The Board’s next meeting is October 29-30 at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

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The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. 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 or follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.