Advertisement
  1. Gradebook

USF leaders suggest smaller campuses keep authority through consolidation

Trustees are still working through plans but seem open to keeping strong leadership in place at campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota.
USF System President Judy Genshaft | Times files
Published Feb. 12
Updated Feb. 13

TAMPA — Multiple University of South Florida leaders on Tuesday publicly voiced favor of a consolidation model that would preserve uniqueness and strong leadership at the institution's smaller campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota.

The comments, shared at a Board of Trustees meeting, likely calmed fears that those campuses might become "instructional sites" with little independence from USF Tampa, which is expected to become the university's main campus under consolidation.

Faculty and community members have said the designation would strip campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota of the independence that has helped them thrive. No longer would would the institutions have control over spending, hiring and curriculum.

Instead, those smaller locations should be deemed "branch" campuses with "fully developed programs," USF president Judy Genshaft said, though she didn't share details on how the structure will look. A final decision on the topic is months away and won't be final until March 2020.

"The regional institutions being called branch campuses is fine," she said. "What we still need to figure out is the structure we need to coexist and co-create our vision of the future."

MORE: As USF steers close to consolidating, a big decision remains

Accreditation rules say a branch campus must be permanent, offer course programs that lead to a degree, have its own faculty and administration, and maintain authority over budgets and hiring.

While Genshaft and trustees did not discuss those requirements specifically, they expressed support of a post-consolidation structure that celebrates and maintains each campus' strengths and community partnerships.

Trustee Jordan Zimmerman said he wants USF's smaller campuses "to be empowered." Trustee Les Muma agreed, saying that as a resident of Pinellas County, he "can understand the value" of keeping strong leadership in place at USF St. Petersburg.

Chairman Brian Lamb said he isn't aware of anyone who is against the idea, then praised regional chancellors Martin Tadlock and Karen Holbrook for being "highly engaged" in the consolidation process.

"I think it would be hard to have the right branch campus strategy without trying to lift up and support our regional chancellors," Lamb added. He also reiterated that Genshaft is "not opposed" to branch campuses.

Moneer Kheireddine, president of the USF student advisory council who also serves as a trustee, said students hope consolidation will create equal access to programs and preserve unique operations on each campus.

"I think the designation of branch campuses is a good step," he added.

Trustee Harold Mullis also voiced support of the branch campus set-up but said it must have "USF flavor" that spurs growth for the entire USF system.

Trustee Deanna Michael, an associate professor who sits on the board to speak on behalf of faculty, said Genshaft's stance brings comfort to faculty members who have worried about what USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee might lose in consolidation.

"The president's words have put them at ease that what they have worked for will not be lost in this process."

Contact Megan Reeves at mreeves@tampabay.com. Follow @mareevs.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. [SKIP O'ROURKE   | Times]
    It’s unclear if there will be any proposed changes to this method for measuring teachers’ impact on their students’ performance, despite complaints.
  2. A deputy's Sig Sauer P320, similar to this Glock 19, discharged in the cafeteria of a Wesley Chapel school April 30. The bullet lodged in the wall behind him. The deputy has been fired.
    Cpl. Jonathan Cross was lifting his pistol up and down out of its holster when it went off, Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
  3. Shirley Joseph is named superintendent of Madison County public schools. Madison County school district
    The previous superintendent resigned amid conflicts with the School Board.
  4. In this image from a Pinellas County school district video, former School Board member Lee Benjamin motions to someone he knows while sitting with family members during at 2013 ceremony to name the Northeast High School gymnasium in his honor. Mr. Benjamin was the school's first basketball coach in 1954 and later became Northeast's principal in a long career with Pinellas schools that included 14 years on the School Board. He died Wednesday at age 92. Pinellas County Schools
    A teacher, coach and principal at Northeast High, he rose to district administrator and served on the School Board. Mr. Benjamin died Wednesday at age 92.
  5. Hillsborough County School Board member Melissa Snively Times staff
    Board member Melissa Snively wanted to honor a community pioneer.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri chairs the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which is preparing its second round of recommendations for lawmakers.
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  7. Toby Johnson is the new principal of Martinez Middle School. MARLENE SOKOL  |  Times staff
    The School Board also suspended former Martinez principal Brent McBrien.
  8. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.
  9. Representatives from the Pasco County school district and the United School Employees of Pasco discuss salary and benefits during negotiations on Sept. 18, 2019. JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times Staff Writer
    The sides have not set a time to resume discussions on teacher pay.
  10. Census forms have to be printed soon. [AP photo by Michelle R. Smith]
    Citizenship controversy could be a psychological barrier.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement