University of North Florida
Board of Trustees
Educational Policy Committee

  • Meeting
March 14, 2005
University Center at 12:00 p.m

Minutes

Committee members present

Luther Coggin, Wilfredo Gonzalez, Ann Hicks, Judith Solano, Bruce Taylor 

Committee members absent

Toni Crawford 

Other trustees present

Carol Thompson

 

Chair Hicks asked for a motion to approve the minutes. The motion was offered by Trustee Taylor and seconded by Trustee Solano.

 

Chair Hicks asked about flagship programs. President Delaney said the proposal was to have two programs designated by June.

 

Regarding the 115 percent capacity in housing reported at the last committee meeting, Chair Hicks asked if this was still the case. President Delaney confirmed that housing was still at 115 percent capacity and that occupancy had been tripled in some rooms. He added that the students did not seem to mind as housing was then a little cheaper for them. Construction on additional housing was planned for sometime in 2008, Vice President Shuman said. Vice President Gonzalez stated that first year students were being accommodated, but less so for upper class students. Trustee Gonzalez asked about vacancy during the summer months. Vice President Gonzalez replied that vacancy was around 60 percent during the summer, but noted that a number of camps were held at that time so the housing was really only vacant for a few days between camps. In answer to another question from Trustee Gonzalez regarding whether corporate executives ever used campus housing, Vice President Gonzalez said they did not. President Delaney said the other downtime was used for maintenance. He added that incoming freshmen were now coming to campus earlier, the Wednesday before classes started rather than the Sunday before, to help them get acclimated to campus and ease the transition.

 

Vice President Giordano introduced Dr. Dale Clifford and Dean Workman, who were in attendance to discuss the limited access program request. Dean Workman said that in the time the BA in Liberal Studies had been offered, it was always intended to be limited access program and students who applied were assumed to be at a certain level in maturity and academically. He said one of the reasons for the limited access designation was a lack of departmental resources or faculty to support a program or degree. In the case of the Liberal Studies program, faculty supported the program on a voluntary basis as they had great confidence in it. Since 1990, sixteen people had graduated from the program. He said that the elite program was intended for extremely mature students with a personal vision of the degree they would like to pursue. In a review of the program several years ago, the reviewer said that though it was actually limited access de facto, it had never been presented to trustees as such. Dr. Giordano said the University was bringing the program before the committee to make sure the practice agreed with the rubric.

 

President Delaney said that establishing the limited access designation would eliminate the possibility that unqualified students could argue that they were entitled to go into the program. Dr. Clifford noted that the program was typically for the student with a burning desire to pursue a specific topic. She gave an example of a former student who had a passionate interest in hospice. The student built a program from a variety of disciplines including health and sociology and was eventually connected with a national organization. The student was able to obtain the type of employment she was looking for in her field of interest.

 

Vice President Giordano observed that limited access programs were typically programs where student demand exceeded the number of desks available. He gave nursing as an example. Last year approximately 1000 students applied, over 800 met all of the criteria for admission and would have been admitted if the University had sufficient faculty, space, internship sites, and funding to support them. Of the more than 800 qualified students, 125 were interviewed, 75 were admitted, and 10 were put on a waiting list in case someone dropped out. Cut by a factor of 100, Dr. Clifford said, the same was true for the Liberal Studies program based on the number of inquiries versus the number of students actually qualified with faculty backing for the program.

 

Trustee Solano asked if students must have already found a faculty advisor before applying to the program. Dr. Clifford responded that she helped students find an advisor. When asked by Dr. Solano if she had chosen to be coordinator for the program, Dr. Clifford said the chair of the History department had always served as the coordinator. Trustee Taylor said he assumed the program was an upper division endeavor and hoped it did not supplant a basic core education. He also thought the focus should be more for graduate level rather than the undergraduate level. Dr Clifford said most students interested in the program were talked into taking a traditional major then pursuing their interest at the graduate level. She said she thought Trustee Taylor was absolutely correct and had offered one of the main reasons why the program should be designated as limited access.

 

Chair Hicks noted that she was a product of this degree. She said it was a mini-master’s degree and highly supervised.

 

Trustee Coggin asked a question about the nursing program, stating that the inability to take in anywhere near the number of qualified nursing applicants concerned him. He asked what the University planned to do in terms of providing nurses and technical assistance to support the new Baptist Health facility and the new Mayo facilities. Vice President Giordano replied that the University was in the third year of funding from a consortium of area hospitals. Additionally, the University had also gotten some funding on its own. He said he was hopeful that the consortium would leave the funding in place to help UNF come up with secure funding mechanisms. He said UNF was also planning a certified registered nurse anesthetist program in conjunction with Shands. He anticipated that program would emerge in the next eighteen months. The nurse anesthetist program would be a partnership program with the community; some of the hospital personnel would serve as faculty members at UNF for the program. Vice President Giordano noted that the pay scale for nurse anesthetists was quite high and should be a great attraction for students.

 

President Delaney added that one of the major problems faced by the nursing program was finding internship sites. Local sites were often filled by UF and FSU students as there weren’t enough sites in their areas either. He said that for both education and nursing money was a factor, either for scholarships and pay for teachers or for faculty for the nursing program. Though there had been great cooperation from the local hospitals, he said hoped that with the opening of new facilities, more clinical spots would be opened for the UNF nursing program. Chair Thompson said that, from the health provider side, she thought it would be a good idea to reform again and look at non-traditional ways to fulfill the clinical training part of nursing education. She said that though it was hard to get faculty to consider working evenings and weekends, which was not unique to Jacksonville, it might be a good idea to consider it as an option.

 

Returning to the discussion regarding the limited access program, Dean Workman said the limited access designation did not disadvantage students who were or the students who were not qualified, as the students who were not qualified needed help to find the right program. He said the program was an asset to the college and to the occasional student who was qualified for the program. President Delaney added that it also fit with what the Board had said repeatedly, which was that the focus of the University was on quality.

 

Chair Thompson asked if a single person made the decision about acceptance into the program and how it was remediated if a student complained. Dr. Clifford said no one had ever disagreed, but a faculty review panel would be put together if anyone ever did. Trustee Solano added that a student could always appeal a decision. Trustee Gonzalez asked if the degree was generic. Dr. Clifford responded that, though it sounded generic, students had to take classes in specific areas that made coherent programs with electives at the upper level. She said the degree was interdisciplinary rather than generic.

 

Trustee Solano moved the item and Trustee Taylor seconded it. The committee was unanimously in favor.

 

President Delaney asked Mr. Richard Crosby to go over the current changes to the University’s master plan, stating that this was preliminary and would require board approval in June. He said the plan had been vetted through a number of groups including students, staff, faculty, and members of the community.

 

Mr. Crosby introduced Mr. Zak Ovadia, the new director of Facilities Planning. He said Mr. Ovadia came to UNF from Dartmouth and had been very involved in the development of the new master plan.

Indicating the map, Mr. Crosby said that the first phase of the campus to be discussed was the athletic and recreation area in the north section of campus. The new plan proposed extending the existing road near the police department to connect with the northern campus. Some areas were reserved for unnamed potential future development. Mr. Crosby noted that one of the largest future issues for the University would be parking as many of the existing parking lots in the campus core were planned for future building construction, which would mean the University needed additional parking to replace these areas. Mr. Crosby said extending the road would provide for the ability to connect the parking areas.

 

Another area was designated as a future baseball field softball field/complex, though no funding was yet set aside for that purpose. Tennis courts were also shown in the area as the planners recommended moving the existing tennis courts to free up space at the core of campus for future development. The recreation area also had space set aside for a skate park. President Delaney noted that one of Trustee Watterson’s major objectives as Student Government president had been the skate park.

 

Mr. Crosby indicated another piece of property designated for future development next to Central Parkway, stating that the idea was to move the University’s storage areas, heavy equipment, etc. over to the area adjacent to the industrial park on Central Parkway and away from the core of campus.

 

To the left of the area bordering Central Parkway was property designated for Greek housing. The planned Greek housing would locate students near the athletic and recreation areas, as well as the future Student Union.

 

Trustee Coggin asked who owned the property by Central Parkway. President Delaney replied that it was owned by Fox and Clear Channel, among others. He added that it was clear that obtaining frontage along Central Parkway and Kernan would be a good idea.

 

Mr. Crosby said the planners were suggesting an expansion to the Arena, already in dire need of additional space. An expansion to the existing fitness center had also been discussed.

 

Regarding extending the previously mentioned road on the western ridge, President Delaney said there was some opposition on campus as the proposed road would go through some wetlands. He said both he and Mr. Crosby had met with faculty, primarily in the Biology department, and he thought they had come up with some compromises on how to go about extending the road. He said he was working to build consensus and that the road would be built as environmentally consciously as possible. Without the road, students would have to drive six miles around to get to the same place. He told trustees they would probably hear more about the proposed road as it was a somewhat controversial issue. He indicated the proposed road’s location near the police department and said it was currently a walkway.

 

Mr. Crosby said the first major change would be to parking lot 4 where the new Student Union was to be built. The Student Union would be the signature building on campus, breaking from the current architecture on campus. Just north was the slated location for the alumni house, near the Boathouse. A green would also be provided for students so they would have more freedom to congregate without having to be overly concerned about class disruptions. Additionally, the new location for the Student Union was closer to the athletic and recreation area, as well as parking and Greek housing. The old student union building was to be refitted for academic use. The new building would also be more aesthetically pleasing on the core campus loop.

 

Chair Thompson asked how large the building was to be. President Delaney replied that it would be about 150,000 square feet, at a cost of approximately $200 per square foot or approximately $35-40 million, with kitchen facilities, a theatre, and possibly a bowling alley and food courts. He said the project might have to be completed in phases if the building should be larger than planned, by including a ballroom for example. Most student unions did have a ballroom but thus far the decision on the current plans for the student union was not to duplicate space, such as the ballroom space already available at the University Center. Mr. Crosby said the University had just completed interviews with several companies on the design of the Student Union.

 

Just south of the planned Student Union was the proposed new College of Education, a top priority in this year’s PECO request. An extension to the Coggin College of Business was also planned though construction was probably a couple of years out still. Although it was not included in the presentation, Mr. Crosby said an addition was proposed for the College of Health. Though it was originally intended for construction to the stadium, $2.3 million was already in hand for the addition. President Delaney explained that the original theory was to put classrooms for the College of Health under the soccer track stadium, but it did not appear that an addition to the College of Health would be more expensive and keeping the classrooms together and centrally located made more sense. The space under the stadium was now being considered for offices for the coaches.

 

Across from the Science and Engineering building, construction in a similar footprint for the new Social Sciences building, currently being designed, was expected to begin by this summer. About $12.2 million had been set aside for construction of the first section of the building and construction of the second wing should start within the next few years, Mr. Crosby said. Future expansion of the Information/Technology building was also planned.

 

Chair Hicks asked if funding could be found to increase the aesthetic appeal of the older buildings on campus. President Delaney said the board had authorized funding for landscaping to the campus, which he felt would make a significant improvement to the appearance of the buildings as well. There had also been discussion of changing the color of the concrete on the buildings and possibly growing some ivy on the walls. He said it was important to recognize that though the new construction planned might be more expensive than the original buildings resulting in fewer buildings, the new buildings would last longer and look better in the long run, which was vital to attracting people to the campus.

 

Moving to eastern ridge of the campus, Mr. Crosby indicated Kernan and the property just purchased that was part of the research and development park. Part of the undeveloped eastern ridge was now slated for housing. The first building would be six stories of suite style units with a raised walkway, similar to a boardwalk, through the wetlands. The boardwalk would be constructed environmentally consciously around large trees and large enough for a car to drive down in case of emergency. The housing was due to be completed in 2008 and was a $40 million project. Vice President Shuman noted that the $40 million was only for the first phase and included the infrastructure and road. Across the walkway from the new housing was Osprey Landing and Osprey Hall, where the new housing office would probably be housed and possibly the student medical center. President Delaney said the rule of thumb for traditional campuses was to have about one fifth of the student body living on campus. In response to a question from Trustee Coggin, he observed that campus housing paid for itself after the first year or so.

 

Mr. Crosby discussed the First Coast Technology Park, stating that it was the key to further growth for the University. He said there was a move to six lane Kernan Road, which would result in a huge increase in traffic for the area. The University was proposing that Kernan be rerouted around the Technology Park, turning the original Kernan into an access road for the University. Part of the park had been sold to Phillips, though the deal had not yet closed. The intent had been to sell twenty-four acres but the parcel was actually about thirty-six acres. The University was involved in active litigation to call off the sale and keep the property. President Delaney strongly felt that UNF should hang on to the property for the University’s development.

 

Mr. Crosby wrapped up his presentation returning to the area by St. Johns Bluff, stating that the area was designated as a passive sanctuary and welcome center as well as for parking operations. He also talked about roundabouts on campus and indicated where tasteful marques would be placed to announce campus events and designate entrances to the University.

 

President Delaney encouraged trustees to contact him before the board meeting if they had any observations or concerns regarding the proposed master plan.

 

Trustee Gonzalez asked about student involvement in the plan. President Delaney assured him that they had been involved at every turn and that there had been mostly positive response. As there were no further comments or questions, Chair Hicks adjourned the meeting.