Putting Education Reform To The Test

Drafting The Three-Volume Plan For Florida’s Universities


Florida’s Board of Governors plan for the future is a trilogy.

Most states have long-term goals and an accountability plan to make sure everyone follows through.

But Dr. Jan Ignash, Vice Chancellor of the State University System, says it’s the middle volume that could be the most interesting as the board meets at the University of Central Florida this week.

“The board is now in the middle stage of what our chancellor calls the three great books. The strategic plan sets the long-range system plan and includes goals for degree production, research and other measures out to the year 2025,” said Ignash. “The accountability report is the other book end.”

“But in the middle are these university work plans, and this is really unique. There are not many states that do this,” said Ignash. “This middle piece is very unique and what it does is it allows for an opportunity to align the goals of the individual institutions with the system as a whole.”

There are three major sections of each university work plan:

  • Strategy – This refers to the university’s mission, vision, market strategies, strengths and challenges, and three most important initiatives.
  • Key performance indicators – This section contains goals unique to each institution. It also focuses on information unique to research universities.
  • Operations – This is fiscal information including tuition differential requests, enrollment planning, and future program offerings.

Each university will make a 20-minute presentation to the board, followed by questions from the Strategic Planning Committee. The committee will then decide whether to approve the 2012-13 portion of each institution’s work plan.  Any plan that is not approved will have to be revised and sent to the BOG for approval in September.

The real money discussion comes Thursday morning when the Budget and Finance Committee takes up tuition hikes and capital improvement requests. Committee recommendations will go to the full board for a vote Thursday afternoon.

Members will consider each institution’s request individually, so some universities may leave happier than others. For those that don’t like the decision, university trustees will be able to appeal.

Board members will consider lots of data for each university, such as freshman retention rates and how many students graduate within six years. Dr. Ignash said issues that impact those numbers include “financial aid, tuition, the recession, higher cost of living in places where there are urban areas, and the fact that in this day and age students tend to stay in school longer sometimes because there are no jobs out there.”

The Board of Governors is also scheduled to fill vacancies on the boards of trustees for New College of Florida and Florida A&M University. The board has five openings to fill on the new Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees, but that will happen later since the interview process for applicants is ongoing.


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