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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

With USF Poly off their plates, the BOG is back



 Yes, believe it or not, there are more issues on the Florida Board of Governors' agenda than the University of South Florida Polytechnic's potential independence. Today, in the culmination of the board's meeting at Florida Atlantic University, the group that oversees the state university system will discuss the university system's strategic plan, budget and vote on market-rate tuition proposals and a couple potential new dental programs.

It's back to business after the huge distraction of the USF Lakeland branch campus's pitch to split off and become the state's 12th university -- after a four hour debate on Wednesday, the board came to a compromise of sorts, recognizing that the fledgling polytechnic's emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math was important, but delaying the split pitch by setting several benchmarks.

Well before that controversy emerged this summer, the board had already begun working on a strategic plan to better organize the 11-university system and plan for its growth in the future. Today, they'll vote on the 2012-2025 plan, which prioritizes a "knowledge-based economy."

They'll also consider five universities' petitions to charge higher "market-based" tuition for certain high-demand programs that are not in critical-needs areas. That strategy has been a popular one for the schools, which have struggled for years to overcome dwindling state funding support.

Also on the table is a discussion about several new schools' requests for new or expanded dental schools. On Wednesday, the University of Florida, the only public university with a dental school, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, which wanted to start its own program, told the board that they had come to an agreement to team-up on a program that would recruit more dentists in minority or rural areas. The board had previously asked the two schools to get together on the issue, but on Wednesday still seemed concerned about funding. The University of Central Florida and Florida Atlantic University had also asked for new programs.

[Last modified: Thursday, November 10, 2011 9:25am]


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