Scott creates ‘Blue Ribbon’ panel to revamp higher edby Dara Kam | May 4th, 2012
After vetoing a tuition increase for FSU and UF, signing off on a controversial new state university and axing $300 million from the universities’ budgets, Gov. Rick Scott launched a possible remake of Florida’s higher ed system with a new “Blue Ribbon” panel announced today.
“The state has a vested interest in ensuring its higher education system produces world-class talent to serve as engaged citizens and meet the demands of Florida’s emerging knowledge-based economy. 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.” Scott said in a statement announcing the “Blue Ribbon Task Force on State Higher Education Reform.”
Dale Brill, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation, will chair the seven-member panel. The other six members will be chosen by House and Senate leaders and Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson and Vice Chairman Mori Hosseini. The panel is slated to deliver its recommendations to Scott in November.
Scott last week vetoed a measure that would have given the University of Florida and Florida State University the ability to raise tuition as high as they want. The university presidents insisted the unprecedented authority was necessary to bring tuition at the institutions more in line with the higher-ed market.
But in his veto message, Scott said schools first need to reduce costs and administrative salaries and prove that their degrees equate to jobs for students.
State university system Chancellor Frank Brogan said Florida’s already “traveling toward a new frontier of accountability” and he hopes the Blue Ribbon panel will rely on work already done by the Board of Governors that will create “the most accountable public university system” in the nation.
“In particular, the Board’s Strategic Plan and Annual Accountability Report provide more than 60 System-wide comparative data points at-a-glance. I am confident that these products taken together can provide the strongest possible foundation for this group’s discussion,” Brogan said in a statement.
Board of Governors Chairman Dean Colson reacted with a cautious response that stopped short of an endorsement.
“Additional support for Florida’s public universities is always welcomed, especially if it accelerates the achievement of the Board’s goals and metrics for our university system,” Colson said in a statement. “During the past two years, the Board of Governors has laid out a comprehensive vision through three significant work products: a new 2025 Strategic Plan1, transformed metrics in the Annual Accountability Report2, and a three-year work plan template3 that each university will present annually. We look forward to a meaningful dialogue that bolsters a shared vision for the State University System.”