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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

BOG meeting this week: USF Poly, dental schools, budget and more



The Florida Board of Governors meets tomorrow and Thursday to discuss a myriad of issues facing Florida's 11 public universities. One, in particular, has been in the news a lot lately -- the potential separation of the University of South Florida Polytechnic campus from the main USF umbrella. But there are plenty of other items on the governors' plates.

Among the most potentially interesting:

  • State university system Chancellor Frank Brogan's presentation on "National Trends in Higher Education": It's a timely talk, considering the board's recent work on its new strategic plan. It also comes at a time when Texas's higher ed reforms are on Florida's radar -- with Gov. Rick Scott circulating Texas Gov. Rick Perry's seven-point plan, which emphasizes teacher evaluations, merit pay and the idea of the student as a "customer" of higher education. Read more here.
  • Legislative budget requests: the BOG wants to ask for $3.98 billion for the state university system next year, which is a 14.5 percent increase over last year. There are two major reasons for that jump, according to agenda materials: $150 million for funding the New Florida initiative, and $271 for the major gift matching program, which Brogan warned could be in trouble, according to the Florida Current.
  • New dental school proposals: The University of Central Florida and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University both want to build new dental schools, and the University of Florida wants to expand. (Right now UF is the only public school with a dental program. The private Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale has one, too.) The question is, does Florida need more dentists?
  • Organizing the System for Success: This was once a touchy topic, with university leaders chafing at the idea of having to limit expansion outside their immediate areas. But since a special task force revamped the language of those proposed regulations, there hasn't been as much push-back.

And then, of course, the big polytechnic presentation. Marshall Goodman, regional vice chancellor of USF Polytechnic, was tapped by USF President Judy Genshaft to talk to the BOG about the campus's future after about 30 Polk County folks sent a letter to the BOG urging it to separate USF Poly from the mothership.

What's interesting, though, is that the agenda item for this discussion mentions nothing of a possible split. And there's no presentation attached either, which is unusual this close in advance of a meeting. The Times independently requested a copy of that presentation from USF Poly several times, most recently on Friday, and we still haven't heard back. Could it be that the presentation won't be as juicy as we're anticipating?

Check back tomorrow and Thursday to find out.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 10:20am]


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