University of North Florida
Board of Trustees
Educational Policy Committee

  • Meeting
September 14, 2004
University Center at 2:00 p.m.

Committee members present

Edythe Abdullah, Luther Coggin, Ann Hicks, Bruce Taylor, Jerry Watterson 

Committee members absent

Toni Crawford 

Other trustees present

Carol Thompson

Chair Hicks called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to approve the minutes. The motion was proffered by Trustee Taylor, seconded, and approved unanimously.

Y-Axis for BOG Strategic Plan

Chair Hicks asked Dr. Serwatka to discuss the Y-Axis item. President Delaney added that Agenda Items 3 and 5 were related and would be discussed together.


Dr. Serwatka passed out the draft of the Board of Governor’s strategic plan, noting that the plan contained a number of quantitative measures in terms of degree capacity as well as a smaller number of qualitative criteria to measure the stature of programs. He said that recently the BOG chair, Carolyn Roberts, had written to the universities asking what they would do to contribute to the numbers and measures of success discussed in the BOG strategic plan. Responses were due October 15, which meant the Board of Trustees would need to review the response at the October 14 meeting. Indicating the attachment, Dr. Serwatka said the first two pages provided the goals set for the state university system by the BOG. The final page gave UNF’s numbers, detailing the number of degrees the University would be producing broken down by level and estimating the number earned by individual minority groups.


Dr. Serwatka said the figures were taken from the five-year enrollment plan submitted earlier this year. He added that the estimates were relatively aggressive. In previous years, the University’s predictions had been conservative, which ultimately cost the institution in subsequent funding for student enrollment. He said President Delaney had brought about the change in policy.


He noted that the Board of Governors also wanted degrees classified in terms of critical need, high wage, and high demand. High wage was considered $32,000 or more a year. The amount of research dollars generated was also considered. Dr. Serwatka observed that those estimates were conservative and the actual numbers could well be greater.

BOT Chair Thompson asked from where the increase in research dollars would be derived. Dean Serwatka replied that the engineering program, as it was a new program, was just beginning to obtain federal monies, which were likely to increase given time. Also, he believed some other avenues for significant funding were untapped at present.


Another item discussed was the number of patents. Specifically, the University hoped to have one patent per year. Additionally, Dr. Serwatka said the number of doctoral degrees reflected University administration’s plan to bring a new doctoral degree in physical therapy before the Board in the future. He said that at this point, the master’s degree was still predominant but the doctoral degree was growing faster. The BOG also asked for less defined characteristics such as national research. As UNF was not a Research I institution, this prediction was not given for the ten-year period.


Dr. Serwatka said, in regard to the item on centers of excellence, that two years ago, FAU, UCF, and UF had received $30 million for their centers of excellence. The BOG had asked if other universities would apply if money was available. After surveying the institution’s colleges, UNF’s administration came up with four possible centers: (a) an advanced weather information systems research center; (b) a center for remote sensor technology; (c) a center for the study of improved designs and materials for affordable housing capable of withstanding hurricanes and other environmental stresses; and (d) a center for the study of the genomics and biotechnology of mosquito control and possibly tick control as well. Though these would be the centers applied for, it was unlikely that all four would be approved as the application process would be highly competitive. The BOG was examining three characteristics in determining possible centers: technology transfer; ability to attract external funding, the centers must be able to build partnerships with non-university entities; and the number of patents produced.


In response to a question from Dr. Abdullah, Dr. Serwatka said the first two possible centers listed had shown significant success and brought in funding already. The University had a federal project for sensor technology and one for advanced weather technology working with the NOAA. The third possible center had been proposed by the new chair of the engineering division who felt it was time to examine this issue in Florida. This area had not yet established a history but there was a beginning track record in terms of mosquito control. The COAS had also found another faculty member interested in the field. President Delaney added that the affordable housing component was primarily concerned with manufactured and mobile homes. He believed the topic would be of strong interest to the legislature and the State in the future.


Dr. Serwatka went over another item requested by the BOG, other forms of national recognition for outstanding academic programs the universities might be willing to pursue. He said this would satisfy the strategic plan’s commitment to establishing flagship programs. Responding to a question from Chair Thompson related to the Board’s promise to the public to establish flagship programs, President Delaney said that although UNF’s reply did not detail possible programs other than the Jazz program, he hoped to have a couple of programs outlined by next year and the rest selected the year after.


The final item asked about by the BOG had to do with unique areas of focus in terms of meeting community needs and the institutions’ own individual missions. The University hoped to provide an outstanding undergraduate education and experience in addition to the flagship programs. The response document listed UNF’s efforts in community service and research and included the centers involved.


President Delaney summarized, stating that the BOG had set up an outline of its strategic plan, indicating the number of degrees it hoped to produce in the State and asking what each university planned to contribute to meeting that goal. The BOG wanted to make sure critical needs were addressed and examined the number of research dollars, how much faculty were producing, as well as whether or not the research was relevant to the community at large. He added that UNF’s Board of Trustees had done particularly well in meeting the deadlines given by the BOG, even though the universities had often been given a rather narrow window for responding. He also explained the meaning of the terms X- and Y-Axis, indicating that the Y-Axis was the list of what the BOG wanted to accomplish and the X-Axis was how well the universities were hitting those goals.


Trustee Abdullah asked if it would be beneficial to refer to the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and JADC for reports that indicated what the community has said about addressing community needs and the University’s relationship with the community. President Delaney agreed, stating that it was a great idea to list how targeted industry needs had been met according to the community.


Trustee Watterson asked why the projection from the State had not been included on the first page. Dr. Serwatka replied that the BOG did not yet have the projections, but had a proposal to hire someone so they could do the projections themselves.


Chair Hicks asked if there were any other questions or comments. Trustee Taylor pointed out that centers of excellence at the other universities used reasonably broad descriptors: biomedical marine biology, etc. He felt the descriptors given for possible UNF centers were too focused. He suggested reexamining the concepts behind the centers so as not to limit the university, allowing more latitude and allowing the programs to mature. President Delaney agreed.


Trustee Abdullah noted that the targeted program degrees on page 3 showed a decline from 2002-03. She was uncomfortable showing a decline in an area listed as a high need area by the BOG. President Delaney said that the decline was a result of the targeted enrollment projections already submitted to the BOG with the five-year enrollment plan. Dr. Serwatka believed it would be difficult to resubmit the enrollment plan. Trustee Abdullah asked if there was any way to put an asterisk by the item with a note to explain the anomaly. Dr. Serwatka said it would be done.


Chair Hicks asked if a motion to take the document to the full Board as enhanced would be appropriate. President Delaney agreed that it was a good idea to approve the document as augmented by the committee. The motion was made by Trustee Taylor, seconded by Trustee Watterson, and passed unanimously.

Five-Year Enrollment Plan

Dr. Serwatka directed trustees to attachment 5A, stating that the University had been asked in the summer to send in the projected growth for different categories. He said that in the past, universities were taught never to overestimate enrollment so there was a history of underestimation. However, he said, there had been a penalty for underestimating enrollment as it watered down the cost of a degree, resulting in less money by the following year. Under President Delaney’s leadership, university administration decided to get closer to the numbers the University would actually produce. He said the chart broke down the number of degrees by discipline, stating that the prediction was not sacrosanct but was revised every year according to the rate of growth. There was no penalty for overestimating the numbers so long as the discrepancy was not severe. He informed the committee that the enrollment plan had been submitted to the BOG over the summer and was presented for the Board’s information so did not require approval.


Chair Hicks thanked him for the report, stating that he has done a wonderful job, as always.

Update on Fall Enrollments

Chair Hicks asked Ms. Kaye to discuss the annual student profile, remarking that this was one of her favorite parts of serving on the Educational Policy Committee. Ms. Kaye passed out some materials, including the new viewbook to be distributed to students for next fall. She said the viewbook had been developed in-house for the associate director of Admissions and she thought it would go a long way in helping with the recruitment process. Trustee Abdullah said the pictures in the book were wonderful. Ms. Kaye told her the photographer was a former UNF student.


Ms. Kaye said she was very pleased to report that enrollments had exceeded expectations this year due to much hard work on the part of University staff. Indicating the first page of the viewbook, she said the bullets highlighted the most important details of this year’s profile. At the opening of the semester, there were just under 15,000 students. She joked that though parking had been a topic of some conversation, they had managed to fit everyone in classes. Of great surprise was the increase in the freshman class, with 300 more students than had been enrolled last year over summer and fall. She said it was a remarkable increase. Students’ average GPAs had remained about the same, but average SAT scores had increased and student diversity had increased a great deal.


Ms. Kaye said housing continued to be a challenge; because of the influx of freshman, the University had to triple the occupancy of 338 rooms. Housing was at 115 percent capacity. She expected the institution’s capacity to be stretched again next year but after that the new student housing building should be able to house all of the students who wanted to come to UNF. She noted that many of the incoming freshmen were from outside the service area due to recruitment out of the region. There had been almost a 4 percent increase in these enrollments and this figure would be affected in the future by word of mouth as UNF students and graduates went home and talked about their experiences here. Geographic diversity had increased, but minority diversity had been put forward as a focus for the year.


Ms. Kaye said that Admissions had been very serious about increasing minority enrollment and had succeeded in strengthening those numbers, raising them by 5 percent. She added that an increase of this kind was quite a feat, particularly as minority enrollments had gone down this year at other institutions. President Delaney observed that the Chancellor had brought that figure up specifically; UNF led the State with by far the biggest jump in enrollment of African American students. Ms. Kaye said many strategies had been in place to make that happen. UNF was committed to increasing diversity on campus and ensuring that students had the support necessary for retention and graduation.


Chair Hicks asked what strategies had been used in this endeavor. Ms. Kaye answered that the number of recruiters had been doubled with soft money. A decision had been made to do the same this year. Further, she had made it the business of everyone in the Admissions office to do this type of recruiting; it was the goal of all of the staff members. Additional focus had been given to recruitment activities. The African American Student Union had been instrumental in bringing students to campus. Close to 100 students had signed up for the AASU prior to starting class. Ms. Kaye said the leadership of the AASU organization had been instrumental. Admissions officers also called to seal the deal, she said, in a sequenced email, letter, and telephone campaign to yield the students and bring them back to campus.


President Delaney added that he thought minority enrollments would go up again next year, stating that the scholarships approved by the Board would assist in making that goal a reality. Trustee Watterson said he wished reiterate what the AASU had done for the campus and for minority enrollments. He said many of the students involved with the AASU were involved in student government as well and that collaborative efforts with the union had been awesome.

Indicating the last bullet, Ms. Kaye said that though at first glance it might appear negative, it was due to the increase in the amount of student need. She said the increased need had often resulted in greater student loan debt for students. In response to a question from BOT Chair Thompson, she said that approximately 77 percent of freshmen received state funding.


Ms Kaye noted that the yield rate of those who applied to UNF versus those who were able to attend varied greatly among transfer and non-traditional students due to the state of the economy from year to year.


Ms. Kaye said the enrollments given would not be finalized and presented to the Board until mid-October. She pointed out several other items of interest in the booklet, then ended her report stating that she knew the committee had a full agenda. In one final comment, she added that the Admissions office believed it could hit the aggressive enrollment target set for next year through the Board’s generosity with the scholarship funds they had approved. The Office planned to guarantee scholarships to very high profile students on top of any funds they may be receiving from Bright Futures or other avenues. Chair Hicks thanked Ms. Kaye for a fabulous report, stating that her excitement about UNF was really recharged when she heard reports such as Ms. Kaye’s.


Trustee Coggin asked about UNF’s philosophy concerning the future student profile. President Delaney replied that, of ten Florida universities, UNF ranked the fourth highest for SATs and GPAs behind the University of Florida, Florida State, and the University of Central Florida, consecutively. He added that if the scholarship offers were successful, the institution’s rank could be raised even higher. Mr. Coggin wondered if UNF’s increased averages for SATs and GPAs would affect access to the University. Chair Thompson said she thought the question posed by Trustee Coggin was very important and said it was one the Board had struggled with throughout the process of improving the University.


Dr. Serwatka noted that there were two ways of coming into the University: incoming freshmen and transfer students, including some from FCCJ who may have struggled during their academic career and might not have the same SATs or GPAs of other students but had shown that they could compete academically. President Delaney remarked that those who transferred from FCCJ graduated with a higher GPA than those who began at UNF as freshmen. Ms. Kaye said that another way access was provided was through academic potential. Students came to UNF during the summer probationary period. If they succeeded in the summer term, they received support throughout the following year to help with retention and graduation. Trustee Coggin said he thought it was wonderful that UNF had achieved an average GPA of 3.63 and average SATs of 1153, the highest in UNF’s history.


Trustee Taylor asked what percent were transfer students. Dean Serwatka replied that it was over 50 percent. Dr. Taylor noted that the figure was significant to Dr. Serwatka’s point and said it spoke well of what UNF was doing and of FCCJ. Trustee Watterson asked what percent of the summer APP program succeeded. Ms. Kaye answered that the success rate was 90 percent; the average retention rate was 85 percent. Chair Hicks thanked Ms. Kaye again for her report.

Division I Application

Regarding the item on application to Division I, President Delaney said a couple of elements must be tied to the decision about whether to apply or not: there must be no decrease in academic quality, UNF’s student athletes historically had high SATs and GPAs and such standing must be maintained; also, the move must be self-funding. He said funding came from two sources: the student fee for athletics and booster money. President Delaney quoted a previous applicant for the presidency, stating that Division II had been referred to as a no man’s land without the recognition of Division I and not voluntary like Division III. He said he felt a move to Division I would enhance the feel of campus life, linking students and their alma mater. He said that should the two qualifications previously mentioned be met, the move to Division I would be a positive one for the University.


In examining the financial aspect of the decision, President Delaney pointed out that there would be increased costs for remaining in Division II. These costs could be somewhat allayed by incrementally raising the student fee by 50 cents each year if the fee cap allowed it. The legislature had recently approved a one time increase of $2 in student fees for institutions looking to move from Division II to Division I. With this in mind, it would not cost much more to move toward Division I than it would to remain in Division II, he said. The next consideration he discussed had to do with whether UNF could compete in Division I. He said the institution’s facilities were better or equal to those of the Atlantic Sun Conference. Another consideration was the need for an equal average offered in scholarships. President Delaney said university administration had a proposal for meeting or exceeding that average. He noted that the student fee committee had already voted positively on the $2 fee increase and that Trustee Solano, the faculty representative, also felt positively about the move, as did student government. He asked Vice President Shuman to go over the financial implications of moving to Division I.


Ms. Shuman said that the proposal had been worked on by Student Affairs and Athletics many times. She passed out alternative outcomes based on remaining in Division II with no fee increase and with incremental 50 cent increases for four consecutive years. She said the two alternatives were based on the two possibilities resulting from the dictates of state statute. UNF was currently at the state cap of 40 percent. Without a tuition increase, student fees could not be raised any higher. Even with a tuition increase, there would be competing factors for additional student fee monies. Under both scenarios, additional funding from UNF’s boosters would be needed to remain in Division II until 2009-10. However, due to the new legislation, universities opting to move from Division I to Division II would be allowed to instate a one time student fee increase of $2, which would not affect the 40 percent fee cap. According to the proposal for moving to Division I with the instatement of the $2 fee, which Vice President Shuman said was a conservative proposal, no additional funds would be needed, and, in fact, an additional $304,000 would be available to put toward the additional scholarships needed for equity with other Division I schools. Thus any other monies raised by the Boosters could also be put toward scholarships.


Ms. Shuman discussed the UNF logo and said that Michael Boele was attempting to make UNF apparel available outside the UNF bookstore. She also spoke of NCAA postseason travel, noting that though the University would lose postseason travel by moving to Division I, it would gain even more in game guarantees as other universities would want to play UNF, particularly in men’s basketball, and would be willing to pay believing they would beat the University. However, Ms. Shuman added, the other universities would have no idea what they were up against with UNF. Also, the NCAA allocation would begin after five years.

Vice President Shuman said that the cost of operations, including salaries, would remain much the same, but the institution would have to hire new coaches to remain in compliance with Title IX, regardless of whether it remained a Division II school or moved to Division I. She said the big issue in moving to Division I would be the number of scholarships needed to reach the average of schools in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

In addition to the positive cash flow created by the $2 fees, she said the Boosters had offered to do all they could to help with fundraising to enable UNF to offer more than the average amount of scholarships for members of the Sun Conference.


Trustee Watterson reiterated student support for the fee increase. He said the students would prefer to pay the increase up front and become a Division I school rather than gradually increasing the fees over a four-year period and remaining in Division II.


Trustee Coggin said that if he remembered correctly, the issue of a move to Division I had come up before. He said the Board had listened to pleas from a number of constituent groups and been given a strong presentation in favor of the move. He said he personally, and he felt the majority of the trustees as well, had wanted to take the steps to move to Division I, but at the time had seen significant problems with the move as the University had an interim president and provost and the $2 fee had not been an option. He believed that the Board had been much in favor of the move once the time was right. He said that it appeared to him that now might be the right time.


President Delaney added that the University had also had an interim vice president in Finance at the time. He said he had hesitated even last fall to recommend the move to Division I as he wasn’t yet comfortable with the budget and hadn’t seen that the move could pay for itself without affecting academics. He noted that the Boosters were eager to help with fundraising for the move to Division I and felt they would be even more successful once the move had been instigated.


Chair Thompson added that two major issues had been the financial impact and Dr. Kline’s hesitance to recommend the move for a president who had yet to be appointed. She felt those issues had been resolved. Committee Chair Hicks said she felt a third issue, the academic standing of the University’s athletes, had been resolved as well. Chair Thompson asked Vice President Shuman why no amount had been given for revenue raised by the Boosters on the chart outlining the financial implications of application to Division I. Vice President Shuman said the intent of the document was to present the worst case scenario so she had presented it as if the Boosters had not been able to raise any revenue, which had still shown in a positive cash flow for the University in the move.


Trustee Abdullah said she was in support of the move but asked if the increase to the student fees could be recouped by financial aid for those who received it. Dr. Serwatka answered that it could be recovered from any of the avenues for financial aid except for Bright Futures, though it would even be recovered from that over the four year period in conjunction with increases of tuition, which would raise the amount available under the mandated 40 percent fee cap.


Trustee Taylor said he felt the move to Division I was a desirable one. He asked if there were any potential ramifications to Title IX. Dr. Gropper replied that there were no gender equity issues entailed with a move to Division I that were not already presented by remaining in Division II. He added that the University was absolutely committed to being gender equitable. Dr. Taylor said he understood and was very proud of the institution’s commitment.


President Delaney said the item had been posited for discussion only and did not require a vote. He noted that the move to Division I was not likely to include football for some time to come as the total number of scholarships would need to double. He said the only possibility would be a walk on program without scholarships.


Chair Thompson thanked Ms. Kaye for the UNF umbrellas she had presented to trustees with the admissions information, noting the timeliness of the gift as it was raining. Her comment was echoed by the rest of the group. Committee Chair Hicks thanked all who had attended for their participation and adjourned the meeting.