University of North Florida
Board of Trustees

  • Retreat
May 17, 2002
Ponte Vedra Inn & Club at 8:30 a.m.

Minutes

 Trustees in Attendance

Ms. Toni Crawford, Mr. T. O'Neal Douglas, Ms. Donna Harper Gibbs, Ms. Ann Hicks, Mr. Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, Mr. Steven T. Halverson, Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton, Mr. Hank Rogers, Ms. Carol Thompson, Mr. Kevin Twomey, Dr. Floyd Willis.

 

Trustees Unable to Attend

Mr. James Stallings, Mr. Luther Coggin

 

Call to Order

 

Chair Thompson began the retreat by welcoming the members of the Board of Trustees and the members of the University community that were present. In her welcome she introduced the newest member of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Hank Rogers. Mr. Rogers is the newly elected President of the UNF Student Government. Based on a recommendation from Trustee Douglas, Chair Thompson then asked each individual present to introduce him or herself.

 

Role of The Board

 

After the introductions, Chair Thompson began a discussion on the role of the Board and the difference between its roles and those of the University's administration. In her discussion she stressed that the Board was to set policy not to manage the day-to-day operations of the institution. During the discussion on the role of the Board, Trustee Halverson suggested that a white paper be drafted on this topic, including statements about what is and what is not the responsibility of the Board.

 

Trustee Gonzalez proposed that such a white paper contain a statement such as the "Board brings a diversity of perspectives to assist the University to integrate and engage with the community-at-Iarge." Chair Thompson spoke about the Board having a unity of purpose, with respect for the mission and the quality of the institution.

 

As a part of the discussion on the role of the Board, Ms. Janet Owen reviewed what the recent actions of the Florida Board of Education and the State Legislature mean to the operation of the University of North Florida and its Board of Trustees. As of January 2003 the University of North Florida's Board of Trustees will become a public corporation and shall serve as the public employer for the University of North Florida.

 

In her review, Ms. Owen spoke about the need for UNF to develop its own rules and policies as the FBOE repeals its rules and policies governing state funded universities and as the State Legislature devolves powers down to the university level. Among these are policies on personnel, collective bargaining, purchasing, investing tuition dollars collected, and the use of carry forward funds.

 

In the new school code adopted by the Legislature boards of trustees are given forty-one specific power and duties. Presidents are given nineteen powers and duties. It is anticipated that boards will delegate some of their powers to the president of the institution. In many cases these powers and duties carry a statement that the powers and duties are to be carried out consistent with State law and rules developed by the Florida Board of Education. At this time the FBOE does not have its own rules in many of these areas, leaving universities free to develop their own systems until such rules might be promulgated.

 

During the discussion on powers and duties Ms. Owen spoke about the constitutional amendment proposed by Senator Bob Graham. This amendment would create a board that would oversee all eleven public colleges and universities. In speaking about the probability of the amendment being on the ballot and the impact that this amendment would have on UNF's Board of Trustees, Trustee Willis suggested that it would be helpful to have routine communication from the University that provided brief summaries on issues such as this. There was a suggestion that having cross-board communication among the eleven university/college boards of trustees was also important.

 

In considering how the Board might approach major issues, Trustee Gibbs proposed that the Board hold workshops that focused on specific topics. These workshops could also help U1e Board outline how it would accomplish its new duties.

 

Strategic Issues

 

The discussion on the University's Strategic Plan began with a review and comments on the current mission statement. In framing this discussion President Hopkins spoke about tile various types of universities and the role of the comprehensive university. Provost Kline spoke about the lack of strength at many comprehensive universities and some of the errors they make. He pointed to The College of William and Mary and University of North Carolina at Charlotte as examples of strong comprehensive universities. They both also spoke of the need for UNF to find its niche and to develop a curriculum that was broad enough to meet student needs, but not so broad as to dilute resources. For UNF to continue to grow in quality it needed to ensure that programs had depth.

In the conversation that followed the introduction to the mission, the members of the Board supported the idea that it was appropriate that UNF remain a comprehensive University. Some trustees, however, suggested that at some point the institution might want to review its mission statement and consider adding statements that discussed output as well as input. In considering output statements it might be appropriate to add a more explicit statement about meeting community needs. Another trustee pointed to the idea that the intent of the mission statement was good, but it seemed to lack a clear indication of tile University's focus on the student.

 

In the discussion trustees spoke about the importance of a curriculum that taught students to think critically, communicate clearly, and understand the issues confronting them today and those that are likely to confront them in the future. They also spoke of the need to clearly differentiate the roles of the University versus the community college and to address the issues related to "mission creep." Several Board members spoke to the need for UNF to remain a strong comprehensive university.

 

There were several suggestions that came out of the discussion on the mission. These included having the University, through its academic colleges, determine current community needs and how well suited UNF is to meet these needs. A second suggestion was for the University to examine current societal issues that influenced its students and curriculum and determine how the University might address these: e.g., the unwillingness of many students to consider teaching as a career.

 

Quality of faculty, programs, and student body; and the size of each of these was the first strategic issue the Board considered after the mission of the institution. In discussing these issues President Hopkins spoke of the need for greater depth within UNF's academic programs. She illustrated this by pointing to programs where there were too few faculty members to support a major and yet the University approved and offered such majors. In this discussion, the President and Provost Kline spoke about UNF needing to be a comprehensive university, but that the University could not improve the quality of its programs if it attempts to be all things to all people. To maintain quality the University must remain focused while being responsive to the changing needs of society. It would also benefit from greater collaboration across disciplines.

 

The President spoke about the University's goal to provide students with opportunities for personal learning and growth such as study abroad programs and student research programs. She also spoke about the benefits gained by attracting increasing numbers of students who would qualify for merit-based scholarships. These students improved the rankings of the institution which would bring more funds to the University. These students would also help to raise the overall education level for all of UNF's students.

 

Following the framing of the issues, the members of the Board of Trustees raised questions and issues related to quality and size of the institution. In response to a question on the quality of the current programs at UNF Provost Kline stated that it varied across programs with some being considered very strong and others being somewhat weaker. He pointed to programs that were considered strong based on the scholarship and professional level of the faculty and programs; and while large, other programs were not considered as strong because of a lack of scholarship on the part of the faculty.

 

In response to a discussion on the size of the institution and how large UNF should grow President Hopkins suggested that a 20,000 to 25,000-student headcount might be as large as the University should grow. This estimate was, in part, predicated upon her sense of how large UNF could grow and still offer personal attention to its students. It was also dictated by the size of the campus itself. In the discussion on the size of the institution some members of the Board suggested that UNF should reflect on the long-term future of the institution and not squander the opportunity to build toward that future. In particular the institution might want to consider building height and how compact the core campus can be made. In discussing the size of the student body it was pointed out that in some ways increasing the size of the student body ended up costing more than was actually gained in State revenues and tuition dollars.

 

In planning for future growth of the institution Board members suggested that UNF study the demographics for the region and the country and plan programs that would meet the needs of future students and the society as a whole. During this conversation issues related to the growth and the aging of the population of Florida and Northeast Florida were discussed.

 

Members of the Board also spoke about the need to increase external funding, in particular contracts and grants. These funds would help to improve the research productivity of faculty and students.

 

Funding needs and flexibility in how UNF budgets and allocates its funds was the second strategic issue discussed by the Board. In framing the discussion around this issue President Hopkins spoke about the low rate of state appropriations and low tuition costs. She also spoke about the need for additional revenues from contracts and grants and auxiliaries. President Hopkins also spoke about the added value of gifts and the success of the institution's capital campaign, Access to Excellence. In discussing the campaign she asked Trustee Hicks and Vice President Allaire to discuss the Courtelis and tile Major Gifts programs in Florida.

 

Trustee Hicks and Vice President Allaire spoke about the benefits that are gained by investing in UNF's capital campaign, including the dollar matching that occurs as a result of the Courtelis and Major Gifts programs. They also stated that Vice President Allaire would take time during lunch to discuss how the Trustees could become involved in making the campaign a success.

 

During discussions on funding Trustees spoke about the conflicts between the goal of building a quality institution and the limitations that were placed on funding. They also discussed the impact that higher tuition would have on the reputation of the institution and on student access to the institution. The need for additional merit scholarships was mentioned as was the need to manage the budget process efficiently. Because of the time constraints the discussion on this strategic issue had to be cut short.

 

In light of the time constraints, President Hopkins briefly touched on the three remaining strategic issues: the quality of the infrastructure; the quality of the environment for living, learning and working; and provisions for a seamless education. During her brief overview of these items the President touched on the need to preserve the natural beauty of the campus as UNF develops the buildings and other infrastructure needed to support growth, the need to increase wages, and the successes UNF has had in building connections with community colleges and K-12 educational programs in the surrounding counties.

 

Discussion of Performance Measures

 

After lunch, President Hopkins and Provost Kline spoke about the requirement that each public university submit a list of preliminary performance measures that might be used in assessing the institution's ability to meet its stated goals. The measures would be reviewed by staff at the Division of Colleges and Universities and the Florida Board of Education. By December 2002, after review and discussion, a final set of measures would be selected. Ten percent of the University’s 2004/2005budget would be dependent upon meeting the goals established for these final measures.

 

The University proposed to submit nine measures under seven different categories for as its preliminary list. The seven different categories were (a) graduation rates for first­-time-in-college students and for associate of arts degree transfer students; (b) the level of diversity among UNF's students; (c) total degrees granted by the University; (d) scholarly productivity as measured by external grants and contract funds received per ranked faculty full-time faculty member; (e) the percentage of lower level courses that are taught by full-time faculty; (f) the percentage of the E&G budget that is spent on instruction; (g) the number of undergraduate students who engage in special learning opportunities-i.e., study abroad programs and student research; and (b) the percentage of faculty service which is provided to public schools.

 

The Trustees reviewed the categories and the currently available data for each measure. During their review of the measures trustees asked if these measures were the best ones for assessing the University's success. In the discussion on this question the President suggested that there were limitations on the types of data that could be used in the measures submitted to DCU and FBOE, and that it might be possible to create other measures that would look at the University from different perspectives. Unfortunately these would not fit the requirements for this mandate. The Board and the University could, however, develop an additional set of measures. These two sets of measures, those submitted to the State and the internally developed ones, would enable UNF to more completely judge its successes.

 

There was also a discussion on what changes might occur between submission of this first list of measures and the adoption of the final list. Provost Kline suggested that there might be considerable differences between the two lists. The President and the Provost also told the Board that they would keep them informed on what progress was being made on selection of the final measures.

 

Discussion of Board Calendar for 2002-2003

 

The last item on the agenda for the retreat was scheduling meetings for the 2002-2003 academic year. The President asked the trustees how they felt about having a fall retreat. Members voiced support for this idea. The Board also discussed how often the Board should meet. There were differences of opinion on whether the Board should meet every month in on-campus meetings or whether conference calls could be used in alternate months. Members of the Board suggested that the President and the Chair of the Board could work out the schedule. Some Trustees did ask that meetings remain on Thursdays.

 

Adjournment

 

In adjourning tile meeting Chair Thompson listed a number of items that were suggested at the retreat which the Board and University staff would need to address. These included developing routine communications with the Board on issues of importance, scheduling workshops on specific topics, establishing a work plan for addressing the powers and duties assigned to the Board, having colleges assess community needs, assessing societal and community issues, and developing mechanisms for cross-board discussions.