Gov. Rick Scott has created another task force. It comes on the heels of his new public safety panel charged with examining the Stand Your Ground law. This one will concentrate on reforming the State University System.
Scott says the Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform will look at how the State University System is governed. “It’s time to assess the progress of prior reform efforts and identify strategies to improve efficiencies and enhance the system’s effectiveness as an economic catalyst,” said Scott.
The Governor’s Office says the focus on higher education will help give Florida a competitive edge in growing the economy and creating jobs.
At a bill signing ceremony in Jacksonville, Scott said, “All of us know that we’ve got to make sure that our students that are going to our universities are getting degrees where they can get jobs. This will help focus on that and make sure we don’t waste any dollars.”
The announcement came just a week after the governor vetoed the preeminence tuition bill for University of Florida and Florida State University. It would have allowed UF and FSU, as the state’s top two research universities, to hike tuition above the 15 percent cap. Before he will allow a tuition increase, Scott said the Board of Governors must first review each of the state’s 12 public universities to identify potential cost savings and efficiencies.
The task force will be chaired by Dr. Dale Brill, president of the Florida Chamber Foundation and a former faculty member at Florida State University. Six additional members will be chosen by legislative and educational leaders.
Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson sent Scott a letter saying the board will also form two more panels to look at online education as well as ease of access to getting a degree.
The Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform will hold its first meeting in late May. Following a series of workshops, it will send recommendations to Gov. Scott by mid-November.