University of North Florida
Board of Trustees

  • Meeting
November 21, 2002
University Center at 2:00 p.m.

Minutes

Trustees in Attendance 

Mr. Luther Coggin, Ms. Toni Crawford, Mr. O’Neal Douglas, Mr. Wilfredo Gonzalez, Mr. Steve Halverson, Ms. Donna L. Harper, Ms. Ann Hicks, Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton, Mr. Hank Rogers, Ms. Carol Thompson, Mr. Kevin Twomey, and Dr. Floyd Willis.

 

Trustees Unable to Attend 

Mr. James Stallings.

 

Call to Order and Approval of Minutes 

Chair Thompson called the meeting to order, offering her apologies to meeting attendees for the late start. She brought up the first order of business, asking for a motion to approve the minutes. Trustee Gonzalez moved to approve the minutes and the motion was seconded by Trustee Halverson and unanimously approved.

 

Public Comment Period 

The Chair asked if those who had requested permission to speak during the open comment period would delay their remarks until the discussion on NCAA Division I, the item they wished to address. They agreed that the delay would be more suitable. Chair Thompson thanked them for coming.

 

President’s Report 

Dr. Kline indicated that he had only a few brief points to discuss. First he wished to address the University’s stance related to devolution. Preparations are underway to move ahead with existing law and school code rewrite until instructions are received to do otherwise. No changes have been made to UNF’s personnel policies and these policies will still be in effect on January 6, at which point the University will become its own employer. The University is, however, examining personnel policies and benefits, along with suggestions from a related consultant’s report. The review will take some time to complete.

 

The second item mentioned was in regard to a University decision to purchase its own computing system rather than continuing to operate with a consortium of state universities. Dr. Kline pointed out that since that decision, the consortium had dissolved.

 

A visioning workshop was held on November 19. Three of the Trustees were able to participate.  Following the workshop, a lecture was given at the University Center by Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International and renowned columnist.  Dr. Kline declared that the lecture was the best ever held at the University and that he hoped the University would continue to hold events of that caliber.

 

President Kline ended his report, announcing that a reception would be held prior to the basketball game with Edward Waters College on Saturday, November 23. He invited the Trustees to the reception and to the game.

 

Chair’s Report 

Chair Thompson spoke of the recent passage of Amendment 11, stating that she and the Trustees assumed that there were no changes in their duties at this point as a result, and that they would continue to act accordingly until notified otherwise. She indicated that the Board would continue work on projects already in progress as she believed that the Trustees had established strong relationships with faculty and staff and were operating as a functioning Board.

 

Chair Thompson encouraged Board members to continue their participation in the open Transition Steering Committee meetings, stating that it was very helpful to have them in attendance. She summarized the discussion from the last Steering Committee meeting of November 19, indicating that the committee decided to begin one phase of the search process and were requesting that four search firms meet with the committee members to discuss creating a profile of characteristics to be used in determining the most suitable candidate. 

 

Chair Thompson assured meeting attendees that the search would be an open and thorough one, and that no candidate had been pre-selected by the Board. Trustee Gonzalez spoke of a news account of the last Transition meeting, stating that he believed it was inaccurate. Chair Thompson said that, while a number of people had surfaced as potential candidates, the Board had not yet articulated its expectations for a possible profile for presidential candidates. She reiterated that the Board was committed to going through the process to ensure that all candidates who were qualified would be considered. While it was inevitable that there would be much speculation, no candidate had been pre-ordained for the position. She said that she took comfort in the fact that the University was under the leadership of a very competent interim president, thus it would not be necessary to rush the process.

 

Trustee Douglas spoke of calls he had received from the press regarding the issue, and said that his response was to refer them to Chair Thompson as the spokesperson for the Board. He encouraged other Trustees to give the same response.

 

Chair Thompson asked Dr. Serwatka to schedule the next Transition Committee meeting around the beginning of December if possible, in accordance with the committee’s wishes.

 

Change of Name for the Coggin College of Business Administration 

Dr. Kline asked Dean Traynham to explain a request for a change to the full title of the College of Business. Dean Traynham stated that faculty of the College had voted overwhelmingly in support of the removal of the word “Administration,” changing the title to the “Luther and Blanche Coggin College of Business,” to be known as the “Coggin College of Business.” They felt this would be clearer, simpler, and would also sound better. Dr. Kline supported the change as well.

 

Trustee Douglas moved to accept the change. The motion was seconded by Trustee Gonzalez and passed unanimously.

 

Chair Thompson again expressed the Board’s great appreciation for the generous gift from Blanche and Luther Coggin.

 

Report on the Florida Board of Education 

Chair Thompson opened the floor to Dr. William Proctor, stating that the Board was very pleased to have him in attendance to speak of developments at the Florida Board of Education. 

 

Dr. Proctor thanked the Chair, expressing his appreciation for the invitation to address the Board. He noted his 30-year history of associations with the University of North Florida due to his positions with Flagler College. He observed that several of his faculty and staff members had received their degrees from UNF. Dr. Proctor indicated that his statements would be solely his own opinions – not those of the FBOE.  

 

Dr. Proctor communicated the FBOE’s intention to continue operations, as originally prescribed by the Governor, until a decision had been made regarding the manner in which Amendment 11 was to be carried out. He indicated that there were two fundamental principles of the K-20 concept that he hoped would be preserved. One of these was the devolution of authority and the other was the concept of system planning, including programming and budgeting. He felt that support for those two principles was so widespread that they would be continued, observing that although people often expressed concern that this system would spark competition for resources among universities, it would be a small fight compared to the competition that previously existed between K-12, community colleges and universities. The establishment of state priorities, rather than separate priorities with no coordination, greatly assisted in alleviating this competition. Dr. Proctor stated that once all three groups were together in one room, many things were accomplished, such as a decision regarding which baccalaureate degrees were most important for the state, a determination that quality of instructional staff was of great importance, and agreement that a focus on need-based financial aid should be considered a top priority. He reiterated that he felt that the important aspects of K-20 planning and devolution would be preserved.

 

Dr. Proctor also spoke of devolution stating that it was only one side of the coin, the other side being accountability. As responsibility was shifted to the local level, processes were required to determine that duties were carried out as prescribed.  He gave FCAT as an example, stating that while some were dissatisfied with the test, he believed it was a successful measurement as it established requirements. He also mentioned the CLAST, a similar test at the community college level, and indicated that the FBOE was considering measures to determine effectiveness for the upper division. He questioned the view of graduation rates as an indicator of quality. He said that a committee had been appointed to examine this issue and another had been appointed to examine the issue of funding.

 

Dr. Proctor acknowledged that restrictions placed on the Board of Trustees regarding the establishment of fees and tuition rates were a problem. When compared with other universities around the country, Florida universities received an adequate amount of support from the state. However, in the area of tuition and fee rates, the Florida university system was far below that of other university systems.

 

Dr. Proctor discussed the notion of allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees, observing that once a community college offered a single four-year degree, it then became a Level 2 SACS institution. He said that he believed the university system needed to give greater consideration to this issue as the 2 + 2 system was gradually being abandoned. The existence of more universities could relegate all universities to mediocrity.

 

Dr. Proctor brought up the current teacher shortage, stating that even without taking into account institution of the class size amendment, 10,500 teaching positions would be unfilled next year. This year, a shortage of 3600 teaching positions had been recorded. The shortage of nurses, including educators for the nursing profession, was also of issue.

 

Another issue currently before the FBOE was that of research within the state university system. For example, FIU wants to become a research institution, USF is becoming one, and Florida Atlantic has aspirations in this direction. Such schools are exceedingly expensive. Dr. Proctor spoke of an idea he felt could fairly address the issue. He suggested that each university submit a list of fields considered most likely to achieve national recognition within the next five to ten years, so as not to have duplication of fields among the state universities.

 

Dr. Proctor stated that independent institutions’ resources are fairly substantial, but that given the state’s financial problems more attention should be directed toward that avenue.

 

Shortly after the Board was appointed, a search for three chancellors was initiated. Two of these positions have been filled. Dr. Proctor announced that the search for a Chancellor for K-12 continues. Chair Thompson asked if he anticipated that the position for Chancellor of Higher Education would remain under the new system. Dr. Proctor replied that the issue had not yet been decided upon by the Legislature.

 

Dr. Kline and Chair Thompson thanked Dr. Proctor for his presentation.

 

Legislative Priorities 

Janet Owen addressed the Board regarding the latest legislative session. With respect to Amendment 11, she relayed a message from the Governor’s office indicating that the Board should continue conducting necessary business as usual. She encouraged Trustees to submit any recommendations for the new Board of Governors. The universities are working together to identify a common list of the most critical powers and responsibilities under the current system, as well as those powers necessary but not yet permitted.  Ms. Owen affirmed that UNF and its sister institutions will be prepared to present a clear set of priorities to assist the new Board of Governors in establishing powers and duties for the new boards of trustees.

 

The General Revenue Estimating Conference was held on November 15, reducing the estimate for the current fiscal year by $6.9 million. For the upcoming 2003-04 fiscal year, the conference reduced the estimate by $232.3 million (largely due to a reduction in sales tax collections) yielding only $802 million in additional revenue for next year.  However, with the built-in deficit of $1 billion and the transfer of nearly $200 million in earmarked trust fund dollars to general revenue, the Legislature was actually projected to have $138 million less in available funds for next year than was spent this year. In late October, the FBOE presented an additional total need for cost-to-continue and for funding strategic imperatives of $719.61 million in new revenue. As previously reported, the PECO Trust Fund estimates increased to $596 million, significantly improved from the original $384 million estimate.

 

Ms. Owen discussed the major gifts program, stating that the program has been an excellent incentive, currently there are $101 million in funds to be matched. However, the backlog of funds to be matched has grown exponentially. The vice presidents for advancement have discussed options and come up with a possible solution, they recommend bonding $8 million in lottery funds for twenty years.

 

Ms. Owen requested that the Trustees review and approve the Legislative Priorities for UNF for the 2003 Legislative Session.   Additional FTE was requested over last year’s funding level, the Legislature was asked to fully fund enrollment growth, and PECO dollars were requested to address the needs of the Social Sciences Building and to complete the Allied Health Programs facility in the Soccer/Track Stadium. 

 

Chair Thompson asked for the motion. Trustee Twomey moved to adopt the Legislative Priorities and Trustee Coggin seconded the motion. The Board approved the motion unanimously.

 

Chair Thompson thanked Ms. Owen for her report.

 

Discussion on the Potential Move to NCAA Division I 

Chair Thompson opened the floor for the public comment period, requesting that speakers limit remarks to three minutes.

 

Mr. Dave Polovina, two-time president of the Osprey Club spoke in support of application to Division I, as did Mr. Rick Bretz, current president of the Osprey Club. Mr. Bretz assured the Trustees that they would have the full support of the Osprey Club, regardless of their decision on this matter. Chair Thompson expressed her appreciation of their support and of all the hard work done by the Osprey Club, stating that the club was an asset to the University.

 

President Kline reminded the Board that he had been charged with researching the issue and making a recommendation at the last meeting. He thanked Gary Fane and the Strategic Planning Committee, Richard Gropper , Kathy Klein, the coaches, students, faculty, and Dr. Serwatka for all their work in researching this issue.

 

Dr. Kline acknowledged that the University has an outstanding athletics program and that he felt the University would be ready for application to Division I very soon. He felt the University no longer fit very well in Division II and believed a move to Division I would bring increased visibility. He did not see any structural barriers to such a move, nor did he consider academic standards or the facilities issue of major importance.

 

However, he did consider finances an issue of concern. As he felt it important to be confident of success prior to application, he could not recommend application to Division I, even to begin the exploratory year. A cap on student fees has been established at forty percent. The University has already exceeded the maximum. Dr. Kline specifically asked leaders in the athletics program if the University could succeed as a Division I school without increasing the cap and they responded that it could not. As the law prohibits this increase, Dr. Kline could not recommend application to Division I. Even given the possibility that the cap could be raised, there were a number of other competing priorities such as the student union, the technology fee, and the fine arts center and as well as a strong possibility that funding could be cut from other sources.

 

Dr. Kline believed more information regarding the cap issue and other fiscally related issues would become available in the next several months and that the decision would not need to be postponed very long. He also thought it would be nice if the new president was allowed the privilege of announcing a move to Division I, as he or she would be the one to endure the five years of hardship that followed. Dr. Kline recommended that the issue be revisited next fall.

 

Mr. Gary Fane spoke for the committee appointed by President Kline to investigate the issue, stating that the committee recommended going through with the application process rather than waiting for another year. The committee felt that the financial issue could be resolved through exploration of other funding alternatives. Trustee Gonzalez recommended in favor of application to Division I, stating that the purpose of the exploratory year was to allow the time necessary to arrange for the required funding. Trustee Twomey supported President Kline’s position, remarking that while he certainly found the idea of application to Division I appealing, and had received a number of enthusiastic letters in favor of it, nothing had yet been presented indicating how such a move would be financially supported.

 

A discussion ensued regarding the possible impact of an unsuccessful application to Division I resulting in the eventual withdrawal of application. Trustee Rogers spoke on behalf of the student body as a clarification of their resolution, stating that they were not opposed to a move to Division I, but only to application this year as they felt it necessary to await the Legislature’s decision on the fee cap. Trustee Crawford asked what percentage of the student population was involved in athletics. An estimate of approximately 220 students out of 14,000 was provided in response to her question. Trustee Halverson favored President Kline’s position, stating that this was a time of great financial uncertainty as the University had no control over either tuition or fees and was therefore bereft of any meaningful ability to control the budget. He pointed out that state support was unpredictable, due in part to amendment 9, and that most of the possible solutions offered to that dilemma would involve appropriating money from other areas of education. Dr. Bowen encouraged the Board to consider the implications of application to Division I on their choice for the next president, as the type of leadership required for a Division I school might be different from that of a Division II school.

 

Chair Thompson called the motion to the table. Trustee Douglas stated that, while he was in favor of application to Division I, he felt that the Board should be more certain of success prior to application. He therefore moved to defer action, on any decision, until the financial situation could be clarified and until a new president was chosen. The motion was seconded by Trustee Newton. The Board voted unanimously to defer action.

 

Chair Thompson echoed Trustee Douglas, stating that while the decision of the Board was to defer action, the spirit of the Board was one of support for eventual application to Division I. She credited the enormous amount of work that had gone into researching the issue, remarking upon the passionate support from the Osprey Club. She indicated that the Board was quite aware of the community and campus interest in this decision and had great respect for the wishes of those concerned. Although the decision had been temporarily postponed, the Board would not just let the issue drop. Dr. Kline stated that while he felt the right decision had been made, there was no joy in the Board’s decision. Chair Thompson thanked everyone for their input and thoughtful consideration on the matter.

 

U.S. News and World Report Rankings 

President Kline recommended postponing Shawn Brayton’s report on the U.S. News and World Report rankings until the next meeting, when more time could be allotted, as he felt it was an important topic for consideration. Chair Thompson stated that the Board would very much like to hear Ms. Brayton and asked if she would be willing to speak to the Board at the next meeting. Ms. Brayton indicated that she would be pleased to do so.

 

Adjournment 

Chair Thompson announced that the Board would be meeting the first week in December to interview candidates for the presidential search firm. She thanked everyone for their participation and the meeting was adjourned.