Mr. Luther Coggin, Ms. Toni Crawford, Mr. T. O’Neal Douglas, Ms. Donna Harper Gibbs, Mr. Steven T. Halverson, Mr. Hank Rogers, Ms. Carol Thompson, Mr. Kevin Twomey, Dr. Floyd Willis.
Mr. Wilfredo J. Gonzalez, Ms. Ann Hicks, Mr. James Stallings, Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton
Chair Thompson began by calling the meeting to order and asking for a motion to approve the minutes. Trustee Gibbs moved that the minutes be accepted as distributed. The motion passed unanimously.
Chair Thompson suggested that with the length of the agenda she would withhold giving a long report at this meeting. She did, however, want to assure the Board that over the next several meeting they would be looking at a number of items they discussed at the retreat. She also stated that a schedule of regular meetings would be sent out shortly.
For her report President Hopkins provided the Board with a brief summary of the past year and what had been accomplished at the University. During the 2001/2002 academic year UNF had exceeded its enrollment targets, while improving the SAT scores for its fall term freshmen class. It had also been through a successful, albeit at times difficult, review of its reaccredidation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
During this past year the University won the Peach Belt’s Commissioner’s Cup for the third year in a row. It has also been a very successful year in fund raising for the University. UNF has received $63 million of the $65 million needed to reach the goal for the Access to Excellence capital campaign. Howard Serkin became the new Chair of the UNF Foundation Board. At the same time, it was a difficult year in relation to State funding, with a 5% budget reduction mandated by a special session of the Legislature.
The University of North Florida completed construction on and opened its new Fine Arts Center and its newest student residence complex, the Crossings. UNF began construction on the new Science and Engineering Building.
The University began working on strengthening and improving its auxiliary enterprises. This included signing a new bookstore agreement and a new food service agreement. It also included negotiating a new pouring rights contract.
The year began with the launching of the University’s new governance structure, which included the seating of its first local board of trustees. Throughout the year the University was fortunate to have Janet Owen provide leadership in Florida’s School Code rewrite.
President Hopkins also announced that this coming year it was very likely that Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu would be a visiting faculty member at UNF. This would occur in Spring 2003.
When the President finished her report, Chair Thompson commented on how 2001/2002 had been a challenging and productive year for UNF and its Board of Trustees. Chair Thompson then called on Trustee Halverson to present the Finance and Audit Committee’s report.
In opening his report, Trustee Halverson stated that the committee had met the day before the full Board meeting and had an open and thorough discussion on the items that they would bring before the Board for its consideration. Other members of the Board joined the Committee during these deliberations.
As his first item of business, Trustee Halverson presented the increase in parking fees and parking fines proposed by the University and recommended by the Finance and Audit Committee. He commented about the need to meet the debt service ratio for the parking garages through these fees and the increases in other expenses covered through these fees and fines. He also commented about the fact that the fees for administrators with designated spaces would be raised more than for others using UNF’s parking facilities and that the rate for visitor parking would not be increased.
Trustee Halverson moved that the Board approve the increases. Trustee Douglas provided the second for the motion, which passed unanimously.
As his second item of business Trustee Halverson spoke about the proposed distribution of PECO funds for the 2002/2003 fiscal year. The Florida Legislature and the Governor allocated $10.9 million in capital improvement money through PECO for 2002/2003. These funds must be spent on two approved projects: the new Library addition and remodeling buildings 2 and 3. The Board could reallocate the money among these projects. The University proposed and the Committee recommended that the distribution of funds remain the same as the allocation that came from the Legislature.
On behalf of the Committee, Trustee Halverson moved the allocation be accepted as proposed. Trustee Coggin seconded the motion. The full Board approved the motion by unanimous vote.
The University of North Florida also received an allocation of $803 thousand as Courtelis Facility matching funds from the State Legislature. Again, the Board could reallocate the funds among the five approved projects: the University Center, the Fine Arts Complex, the Science and Engineering Building, the Track and Soccer Stadium, and the College of Business’ State Farm Investment Room. It was the recommendation of the University that these funds be reallocated among four of projects. The Committee concurred with the recommendation, knowing that they could request matching funds for projects that received no allocations this year in future years, including the Science and Engineering Building.
Trustee Douglas took a moment to honor the memory of Alex Courtelis, the man for whom this matching program is named. Mr. Courtelis was a successful businessman who used his money for various philanthropic endeavors and helped launch this program.
Trustee Coggin asked why funds were not allocated to the Science and Engineering Building. President Hopkins explained that the decision was based on the fact that since the building would not be completed until Fall 2003 it was possible to wait until the next legislative session to secure the money, which would help equip the facility.
Trustee Halverson moved the item with a second by Trustee Gibbs. The motion passed unanimously.
The next item Trustee Halverson brought before the Board on behalf of his committee was the proposed 2002/2003 E&G budget. The Florida Legislature allocated an $87.6 million budget for UNF for 2002/2003. It also gave the University Board of Trustees the discretion to increase tuition rates for graduate students by an additional 5% and to increase tuition rates for out-of-state students by an additional 10%. The University brought a proposal to the committee that (a) raised graduate tuition by an additional 5%, undergraduate out-of-state tuition by an additional 4%, and graduate out-of-state tuition by an additional 2%; and (b) showed changes to the 2002/2003 budget that would result from the additional money included in the total estimated budget of $87.9 million dollars. The proposal also asked that the Board approve an emergency rule to allow and post the State and UNF approved student tuition increases.
During their deliberations the Committee recommended that Trustee Halverson work with UNF in developing a system that the institution would use in presenting budgets to the Board in the future.
In discussing the tuition increases and the budget, the committee also heard from a student representative who was one of four students to work with the University in developing the recommended locally approved tuition increases. Two of the students who participated in developing the recommendation were at the full Board meeting. All of these students felt that the recommendation was reasonable and supported student needs. The students on the committee included graduate and undergraduate students, and an international student.
Trustees Halverson and Douglas spoke about the thorough review the proposals received in the committee meeting. Trustee Twomey commented about how impressed he was with the support the students gave to the proposal. Trustee Halverson moved approval of the proposed the tuition increases with a second from Trustee Douglas. The motion passed unanimously.
Trustee Halverson moved approval of the proposed budget, including local the local initiatives, with a second from Trustee Gibbs. The motion passed unanimously.
After approving the budget, the Board reviewed Fixed Capital Outlay Budget Request for 2003/2004. In reviewing this item the Board was provided with a spreadsheet that showed a proposed list for the next five years and a rationale for each of the items on the list. For 2003/2004 the University proposed to ask for $22.9 million to help support (a) improvements in its utilities/infrastructure/and capital renewal projects, (b) road improvements, (c) the first installment on a new education building, (d) remodeling and renovating the natural sciences building, and (e) the Robinson Center.
After discussion of these items, Trustee Halverson moved approval of the item and Trustee Willis seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
The final item to come from the Finance and Audit Committee was approval of a Legislative Budget Request for Special Initiatives for 2003/2004. The University proposed six items, which were tied to the proposed strategic plan. In discussing these items Trustee Twomey spoke about the fact that this represented a wish list on behalf of the University and could be altered at a later date. Chair Thompson stated that since the items were tied to the proposed strategic plan a vote on this item would need to be ratified after the strategic plan was accepted. The Board supported the list with a vote to ratify the list to be taken after the vote on the strategic plan.
Because it was impossible to schedule a Educational Policy Committee meeting prior to the full Board meeting, Chair Thompson asked the Board to consider a proposal for a new master’s degree in Applied Sociology. President Hopkins asked Provost Kline to present the proposal on behalf of the University.
In presenting the proposal for a Master of Science degree in Applied Sociology, Provost Kline spoke of the fact that the proposal reflected the success of the Center for Community Initiatives, which is directed by members of the Sociology faculty and demonstrates the need for professionals who can conduct program and agency research. Through the M.S. in Applied Sociology the Sociology Department would be able to train researchers for these agencies and would be able to prepare other students for further graduate study at the doctoral level. The proposal would require the commitment of 1.25 faculty members per term and 2-5 stipends to support graduate assistants. The program would provide a rigorous education for the enrolled graduate students and would enable the University to attract and retain well-qualified faculty for the Department. Surveys indicate the graduates would have no difficulty in finding employment.
After the presentation on the program Trustee Douglas asked about the survey that demonstrated the need for the program. Dr. Frey, Chair of Sociology, commented about the survey and the results. Provost Kline also spoke about the fact that a recent JCCI study also supported the need for professionals in this area.
Trustee Douglas moved the Board approve the program. Trustee Crawford seconded the motion. The motion was approved unanimously.
Chair Thompson called on President Hopkins to present the proposed University of North Florida Strategic Plan. President Hopkins, in turn, asked Dr. Gary Fane, Chair of the UNF Faculty Association Strategic Planning Committee to join the Board in their discussion on the plan.
In discussing the plan President Hopkins talked about the plan as an evolving document, which would need to be reexamined and possibly modified on an ongoing basis for the next five years. She also spoke of the need to develop ways to gauge the University’s progress toward meeting the stated goals and objectives.
The plan is based on the deliberations of a number of different groups including those of the Board of Trustees and the members of the Faculty Association Strategic Planning Committee. President Hopkins asked Dr. Fane to talk about the process used by the Committee in developing its document, which helped define the proposed plan.
Dr. Fane told the members of the Board that the current plan was consistent with the document produced by the Faculty Association Committee. In describing the process used by the committee, Dr. Fane stated that they started by asking faculty to submit their responses to the ten questions that President Hopkins had proposed at the February Trustees meeting. After receiving responses from the faculty, the Committee reviewed these and developed a collective response to the questions, forwarding this document to the President. The Committee then met with the President and found that they were in accord on each of the basic tenets. Dr. Fane felt that the committee and the faculty had had opportunity to both provide input into the plan and to guide its development.
In asking for ratification of the plan President Hopkins thanked the faculty and staff that participated in the process.
Trustee Twomey moved adoption of the plan. Trustee Gibbs seconded the motion. The plan was approved by a unanimous vote.
In her concluding remarks President Hopkins addressed the Board and the University community. She told them that she had agonized over a decision about her future and had come to the conclusion that she needed to step down as President as of August 2.
President Hopkins’ decision was based on her personal need to lessen the stress in her life so that she could fully recover her strength and health. In speaking about this decision the President spoke of how much she enjoyed her role as President and her belief that the University of North Florida was a institution with great realized and unrealized potential.
In stepping down as President, Dr. Hopkins would return to the role of a faculty member in the Department of Public Administration and Political Science after a sabbatical. She thanked all of those individuals who had helped make her term in office so successful, including the members of the Board of Trustees.
Chair Thompson thanked President Hopkins for her service over the past three-and-a-half years. She also thanked her for working so closely with the Board. Board members spoke of the service that the President had provided to the institution and the impact that she had on them individually.
Trustee Willis made a motion to accept, with regret, President Hopkins’ resignation. Trustee Douglas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Trustees Douglas and Halverson asked that the Board meet quickly to review the terms of President Hopkins’ future employment. Chair Thompson stated that she would move quickly to convene the Board.
In its final action the Board affirmed its acceptance of UNF’s Legislative Budget request for 2003/2004.
The meeting was then adjourned.
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