Putting Education Reform To The Test

USF Polytechnic Starts Transition Into Standalone University


Work has begun to get Florida’s 12th public university up and running.

Florida Polytechnic University (FPU) will be a member of the State University System after splitting off from the University of South Florida (USF). It was known as USF Polytechnic in Lakeland until the Florida Legislature voted to make it an independent, standalone university.

A select committee of the Board of Governors (BOG) met this week for the first time since Florida Gov. Rick Scott approved the change in April. Members had a lot to talk about: money, construction, enrollment, hiring, and day-to-day operations of the new university.

But an awkward separation has to happen first. USF is phasing out of its role in Polytechnic as the new university gets Polytech’s budget allocations, plus buildings and equipment. USF had already started building a new campus for Polytech along I-4 in Polk County, and that construction will continue.

The select committee approved these five motions:

  • Existing leases – USF should continue to cover the monthly payment of leases held by USF Polytechnic.
  • Special institute – USF will continue to provide administrative support services to the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute, which was established two years ago as a research institute within USF Polytechnic. USF will be reimbursed for the cost of those services until FPU’s new trustees take over the responsibility.
  • Construction consultant – Until the new FPU Trustees are in place, USF will oversee construction of the Science, Innovation, and Technology building on the new campus.
  • Student fees – Fees paid by students at USF Polytechnic will be used for the benefit of students who are enrolled at USF by June 1, 2012.
  • Timing issues – The BOG placed a reasonable time limitation on USF’s responsibility involving the actions recommended. That period is three months from the time the FPU Trustees are appointed by the BOG and Gov. Scott.

During the transition, Select Committee Chairman Mori Hosseini said the BOG is working to make sure students of USF Polytechnic will be able to graduate from the school as planned.

The BOG is still seeking applicants for FPU’s Board of Trustees. The deadline is May 31.


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