Colson to chair universities’ Board of Govsby John Kennedy | November 10th, 2011
With higher education poised to take center stage in next year’s Legislature, the State University System’s Board of Governors elected a new chairman Thursday — Miami attorney Dean Colson.
Colson will succeed Jacksonville’s Ava Parker, whose term on the 17-member board expires next year. Colson served as former Gov. Charlie Crist’s adviser on higher education, helping shape eventual limits on the state’s Bright Futures program and a push to bring Florida’s low-tuition rates more in line with those seen nationally.
Gov. Rick Scott has already targeted higher education for the kind of systemic changes that he and lawmakers last spring imposed on K-12. Scott is pushing the state university system to embrace science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, while de-emphasizing liberal arts education. He’s also considering trying to loosen the grip of tenure at Florida universities.
Colson, elected by fellow board members meeting Thursday at Florida Atlantic University, sounds like he’s ready for the hot seat.
“At this challenging time for our 11 public universities, I look forward to continuing the strong commitment that I share with my fellow Board members to ensuring our State University System has the resources its needs while serving our more than 320,000 students at all levels,” Colson said. “The Board of Governors’ mission and its constitutional responsibilities have never been more tested nor more important.”