TAMPA — The University of South Florida Polytechnic defended its independence plan in writing Monday, responding to two dozen criticisms outlined by USF administrators last week.
In a letter sent to the state university system chancellor Frank Brogan, USF Poly's leader, Marshall Goodman, said the school's enrollment projections — deemed overly ambitious in the review by USF — were on par with similar institutions' growth.
USF Poly said in its plan that it would jump from 1,300 students to about 16,000 in 15 years. As an example of the feasibility of that growth, Goodman pointed to the University of Central Florida, which grew from about 2,000 students to more than 15,000 in the same time period, he wrote.
Goodman added that concerns about USF Poly's plan to pay for its independence were also misguided. "A full strategy has been developed to establish a new brand identity for the polytechnic, regardless of independence," Goodman wrote, adding that the money for that strategy would come from "other operating expenses."
Here a look at some of his other responses:
Accreditation concerns: USF Poly said it revised the timeline for its accreditation, extending it until 2013, and said it was "well understood" that it must manage its transition to independence to avoid putting USF accreditation at risk. USF's accreditation is up for review in 2015.
Technology dollars: In response to USF's concern that the independence plan doesn't spell out how it will pay for students to "work in a technology rich learning environment," Goodman says "student tech fees" will pay for it.
International connections: To USF's question about how USF Poly can handle more international students, Goodman said that the campus has trained its staff to process international students and has taken into account the costs of increased international recruitment.
USF's administration reviewed the business plan at the request of the Florida Board of Governors, which is scheduled to meet next week and consider the bid for independence.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.