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HIGHLIGHTS: Board of Governors’ Meeting

Board of Governors’ Meeting Highlights

TALLAHASSEE — Syd Kitson kicked off his first meeting as chair this week, delivering a powerful State of the System address and leading the Board on a variety of initiatives to enhance university quality and decrease student costs. 

As an example, the Board heard the results of its Action Plan for the Pricing of Textbooks and Other Instructional Materials, which secured letters of commitment from publishers and university bookstore vendors to provide access to quality and affordable course materials. The following publishers signed letters of commitment: Cengage, Lumen Learning, Macmillan Learning, McGraw Hill Higher Education, Pearson, Wiley, and W. W. Norton & Company, as well as the institutions’ bookstore vendors Barnes and Noble College and Follett Higher Education Group.

“Affordability is often the determining factor in whether a student can attend a university and graduate, and the Board of Governors is doing everything possible to make sure every student has that opportunity,” said Syd Kitson, Board of Governors chair. “I’m thankful to our publishers and bookstores for joining this initiative with us.” 

The Board also heard a presentation on the metrics in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, including the “Best State for Higher Education” ranking, which Florida has topped for the past three years. The discussion provided a deep dive into the metrics behind the institutional rankings and how they align with the Board of Governors’ performance-based funding metrics.

“The State University System’s rise in the rankings is the result of a deliberate strategy to enhance outcomes on areas that are widely believed to be important,” said Marshall Criser III, State University System chancellor. “It’s important to fully understand the System’s areas of strength as well as where we should focus our efforts to make sure we keep rising.” 

Other meeting highlights include:

·        Students from Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts did a cinematic introduction to kick-off a discussion about the process used by FSU’s film school to produce some of the country’s top filmmakers. The College of Music also shared the story of being the only band invited to participate in D-Day ceremonies in Normandy. 

·        The Board heard from a panel of business community leaders, including Jamal Sowell, President & CEO of Enterprise Florida, Inc. and Florida Secretary of Commerce; Bob Ward, President & CEO of the Florida Council of 100; and Mark Wilson, President & CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. The panel is one component of the Board’s renewed push to engage the business community and be responsive to workforce needs.

·        The Board heard a proposed plan for monitoring any funding provided to the State University System for the Pillars of Excellence for 2020-21, specifically funding for Preeminence and Universities of Distinction.

·        The Board approved the World Class Scholars Report, which provides an overview of State University System expenditures and progress on key research metrics. The Legislature allocated $90.5 million in 2018-19 to support the efforts of State University System institutions to recruit and retain exemplary faculty and research scholars. 

·        The Board approved the Professional and Graduate Degree Excellence Program Report, which tracks the State University System’s success in enhancing the quality and excellence of its professional and graduate schools. The Legislature provided $60 million in 2018-19 to State University System institutions for the initiative.

·        The Board approved a motion to provide a letter of support to the Florida Student Association’s food pantry initiative.

For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at The Board’s next meeting is March 24-25 at University of South Florida in Tampa.

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 or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.