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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Still no decision on new dental schools, but it's not looking good



The two proposals for new dental schools, at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and the University of Central Florida, garnered a hesitant, if not dissident response from members of the Florida Board of Governors on Thursday.

The proposals were detailed on Wednesday, as part of the board's strategic planning committee meeting, and the board took up the discussion again on Thursday after taking some time to "sleep on it." No vote was scheduled to be taken on the proposals yet, but board members said they wanted to give some guidance to the schools before going forward.

The essential question remains: Does Florida need any more dentists?

Several board members came back to the table saying if they did have to vote at this time, they would vote no. They weren't convinced that there was a need in the state to create the new schools, nor to expand the University of Florida's exising program, given the state of the economy.

"We don't have any money," said board member Patricia Frost. "We really don't."

State university system Chancellor Frank Brogan reminded the board that if there are any needs in the dental field, that's really a public health issue, not necessarily reliant on the state university system to take action. "We're a partner here," he said.

The board urged FAMU, UCF and UF to try to find ways to collaborat to maximize cost-effectiveness, should the plans end up coming to fruition. The issue will likely come up again at the board's November meeting.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 15, 2011 10:23am]


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