Sunday, December 17, 2017
Opinion

Column: Florida universities on right track

Some things happen overnight. Tides turn. Meteors fall. YouTube videos go viral and fizzle out. (See: The Harlem Shake.)

And then, there is a different kind of change. The kind that comes with time and persistence and a larger sense of purpose. A shift, at times imperceptible, that lasts.

For many years, our university system was in a state of flux. We had a governing board, then dismantled it, had another, then dismantled it, added local university boards and then entered a new world of shared control. There have been conflicts, lawsuits, differing philosophies and power struggles: all growing pains.

My, how far we have come.

For the first time in a long time — and notably as we enter this year's legislative session — Florida's higher education stakeholders are all on the same page. From the Board of Governors and universities to elected officials and business leaders, everyone has the same goals for the State University System: improve quality, expand access and do it in the most accountable, transparent way.

What does that look like?

It is the governor, in his State of the State address just last week, supporting performance-based funding for our universities and advocating to help the University of Florida break into the top 10.

It is House and Senate leadership already proposing legislation to support universities' technology programs and enhance online learning — the tools that will help us build Florida's knowledge-based economy.

It is our university presidents working together as part of this year's student-led Aim Higher initiative, pledging to keep tuition low while providing a good return on investment for the state.

We are in a better place than ever, and we are here because of these kinds of commitments. As the next 50 days come and go in a frenetic whirl of budget-hammering and horse-trading and law-making, let us hold to that collaborative spirit.

Everyone may not always agree on everything, but we can stand together to voice support for our university system, the second largest in the nation. We are hopeful that, come sine die, we will celebrate that Florida made higher education a priority — not only for the good of our hundreds of thousands of students, but for all of us.

Frank T. Brogan is chancellor of the State University System of Florida. He wrote this exclusively for the Tampa Bay Times.

Comments

Editorial: Warren’s smart approach on guns, domestic violence

Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren would make it safer for victims and police alike with his plan to remove firearms from defendants charged with domestic violence. These cases are toxic enough, and having guns at the ready only adds to a dang...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

Editorial: St. Petersburg council right to reject Bayfront deal

The St. Petersburg City Council made the difficult but correct decision this week to reject the proposed sale of a local nonprofit’s minority stake in Bayfront hospital. Despite months of negotiations, there were too many questions, a few suspicions ...
Published: 12/15/17
Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Editorial: Congress should fix flood insurance, children’s health insurance before Christmas

Here’s a snapshot of misplaced priorities in Washington. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission foolishly rushed to scrap net neutrality rules and allow internet service providers to treat different content differently despite overwhelming ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

Editorial: Scott’s smart changes to sexual harassment policy

With misconduct allegations rippling through all levels of government, Gov. Rick Scott has taken the prudent step of ordering uniform sexual harassment policies throughout state agencies. The executive order strengthens protections for victims, which...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

Editorial: MOSI faces a clean slate and should give everyone a piece of chalk

For three years, the only news about finances at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry was bad news: "Struggling MOSI asks Hillsborough County for $400,000 loan," one headline read, "Audit sees MOSI finances slipping," read another, and "MOSI donor ...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Published: 12/14/17

Another voice: A shameful anniversary

Josephine "Joey" Gay should have celebrated her 12th birthday this week. She should have been surrounded by friends and family in a place festooned with purple, her favorite color.Chase Kowalski should have been working toward a Boy Scout merit badge...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Editorial: Congress should block efforts to expand offshore drilling

Timing is everything, and Sen. Bill Nelson seized the right moment this week to call on his colleagues to pass legislation he filed earlier this year that would block the Trump administration from opening additional areas to offshore drilling. With t...
Published: 12/13/17

Another voice: Alabama picks an honorable man

THANK YOU, Alabama.In Tuesday’s special election, the state by a narrow margin chose to spare the nation the indignity of seating an accused child molester in the U.S. Senate. Though the stain of electing Republican Roy Moore would have sullied Alaba...
Published: 12/12/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

Editorial: Tax cuts aren’t worth harm to Tampa Bay

As congressional negotiators hammer out the details on an enormous, unnecessary tax cut, the potential negative impact on Tampa Bay and Florida is becoming clearer. The harmful consequences stretch far beyond adding more than $1.4 trillion to the fed...
Published: 12/12/17