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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

BOG still interviewing Poly board candidates, anticipates selection in the coming weeks



The Florida Board of Governors is still weeks away from choosing board members for the state's 12th university, according to the chair of the committee charged with overseeing Florida Polytechnic's creation.

The board was expected to announce its five picks to the 13-member board at a meeting this week in Orlando. But the interview process for the 52 applicants still remains underway, said Mori Hosseini, a Daytona Beach developer, in a news release Monday evening.

"Creating a new university is a rare and remarkable opportunity, and appointing a well-qualified, diverse and effective charter Board of Trustees will be critical for this new institution’s success,"  Hosseini said. He said the BOG was working with the Governor's office, which is in charge of six other of the board's slots, to avoid duplication. (Two additional slots will eventually be taken by a student and faculty representative). "We must ensure that the final full slate of trustees embodies a wide range of skills, professional experiences, and cultural diversity that will help us build Florida Polytechnic University."

That doesn't mean Florida Poly won't come up during the board's three-day gathering.

Hosseini is scheduled to address a concern he aired a couple weeks ago about the new campus's land in Lakeland. The donor of the land, the Williams Company, wanted a "reverter clause" to be put back into the donation contract when the land is transferred from the University of South Florida (from which the Polytechnic was split off) to the new university. It would stipulate that the land be used for nothing other than higher education -- a seemingly innocuous request that was nevertheless blasted by  Hosseini in a conference call. 

Hosseini said at the time that if that clause was not removed, he would call for the construction on the now greenfield site to stop. He is expected to discuss the issue at the board's regular meeting on Thursday.

Before that, the board will hear presentations from the existing 11 institutions on their current progress, future goals and requests for new tuition hikes. The annual "work-plans" are supposed to guide the university system toward better organization.

The board will also hear from the chairman of Florida A&M University's Board of Trustees on recent troubles in its audit office. That's all on top of  normal business of hearing system updates, considering new degree programs and other issues.

It kicks off today with a luncheon with Gov. Rick Scott, who opposes tuition increases.

Meanwhile, Florida Poly Vision, a Polk County group recently formed to advocate for the new university, just launched its full web site. It includes a link to the business plan developed by former USF Polytechnic leader Marshall Goodman, who is now in the midst of an investigation at the campus into his leadership.

The plan was presented at a November Board of Governors meeting after it was criticized by USF staff as being overly ambitious. The board eventually voted to allow USF Polytechnic to become independent -- but only after meeting certain benchmarks.

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:15am]


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