TALLAHASSEE— Joined by Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford, the Board of Governors on Thursday recommitted to the strategic role the State University System plays in responding to the demands of the private sector and closing targeted workforce gaps around the state.
That was accomplished through several initiatives funded by the Legislature and approved by Gov. Rick Scott, including the Board’s move to award $15 million in grants for four proposals to close strategic workforce gaps in accounting and computer information and technology.
“I am focused on creating an opportunity economy for Florida and supporting efforts that create jobs for the next generation,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “Through this $15 million in grants, I am proud to support our universities’ programs that provide Floridians the knowledge necessary to get careers in high-paying jobs.”
The amount was allocated based on the findings of more than 18 months of work by The Commission on Florida Higher Education Access and Attainment, which has received national attention for its unprecedented level of collaboration and attention to methodology.
“This is just one great example of how our institutions are responding to the job needs of our state,” said immediate past Board of Governors Chair Dean Colson, who launched the Commission. “Florida is a national leader in that regard, as evidenced by the strength of the proposals that won these prestigious awards.”
The Board also took new steps to gear up for performance funding, which would bring new money for the System by rewarding excellence and improvement rather than only the number of students in seats. The Board plans to implement the model, based on 10 metrics, during the 2014-2015 school year.
“Our goal is to make it more likely that university students will actually earn degrees and that those degrees will lead to real jobs,” said Senate President Don Gaetz. “I’m pleased to support metrics of performance developed by the Board of Governors and hopeful that our 2014-15 state budget will take the next step to link substantial new funding and an equal amount of re-purposed base funding to further reward our outstanding universities based on these key metrics.”
“Florida’s economy will continue to improve if we make the right investments in one of our most critical resources: our human capital,” said House Speaker Will Weatherford. “By innovating in Florida’s higher education system, we can continue to ensure Florida’s students are prepared to compete in today’s global economy.”
Among other issues, Board members discussed the importance of data integrity and of ensuring that all universities submit data based on the same definitions.
“Our commitment to accountability is reinforced by the Board of Governors’, the Boards of Trustees’, and our Universities’ attention to the accuracy of the information we collect and report,” said State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser III. “As we ask Florida to invest in higher education, we are doing the due diligence that warrants that investment.”
Other meeting highlights:
● The Board welcomed Dan Doyle Jr. as its newest member. Gov. Rick Scott appointed Doyle to the post last week.
● The Board of Governors unanimously approved Garnett Stokes as Florida State University’s interim president.
● Board members approved a proposal by Dr. Donal O’Shea, president of New College of Florida, to offer targeted graduate degrees tailored to the needs of students in certain areas of study.
● In a goal-setting session commissioned by Chair Mori Hosseini, each Board committee spelled out long-term goals and outlined priorities for the next two years.
● Board members heard a presentation on ExpertNet, a new statewide portal of applied research expertise in Florida’s universities.
● University of Florida Provost Dr. Joe Glover updated Board Members on the progress of UF online, the country’s first online undergraduate program. Among other accomplishments, Glover highlighted efforts to recruit freshmen and protocols for tracking student success.
For more information, consult the meeting’s official minutes at http://www.flbog.edu/. The Board’s Innovation and Online Committee is scheduled to meet May 8 at Florida Gulf Coast University.
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.