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University of North Florida
Board of Trustees

  • Meeting
December 19, 2002
University Center at 12:00 noon

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, Mr. Hank Rogers, Ms. Carol Thompson, and Mr. Kevin Twomey. Dr. Terry Bowen, Ms. Joan Wellhouse Newton, and Mr. James Stallings participated via conference call.


Trustees Unable to Attend 

Dr. Floyd Willis.


Call to Order 

Chair Thompson called the meeting to order. She welcomed and introduced the phone participants and Mr. Jerry Baker, consultant for the search firm of Baker and Parker. The Chair thanked the Trustees for adjusting their schedules to conform with the new meeting time in order to meet with Mr. Baker. She said that she would delay her report until just before Mr. Baker’s discussion.


Educational Policy Committee Report 

Trustee Hicks, Chair of the Educational Policy Committee, asked Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez to lead the discussion on the student code of conduct review. Dr. Gonzalez gave a brief history of the code, stating that the entire code had been reviewed, revised and approved last year by a committee of faculty, staff, and students under President Hopkins. He said that after one full year of implementation, there had been no student challenges so only minor adjustments had been made to the code (indicated in blue) consisting of additional definitions and more precise language. The Educational Policy Committee had reviewed the policy and the changes and was requesting that the Board approve the indicated changes.


Trustee Hicks stated that she wished to have only one motion for approval of all of the policies at the end of her report, but asked if there were any questions regarding this policy. Trustee Gonzalez asked if students were required to sign a statement of receipt of the code and whether parents were also given a copy of the code. Dr. Gonzalez answered that all students received a copy in their student handbooks but that no signature was required. He indicated that the information was also available on the web. Chair Thompson asked Trustee Rogers if he had reviewed the policy and had any comments or objections. Trustee Rogers answered that he had no objections to the policy.


Trustee Hicks asked that Mary O’Neal speak to the policy on limited access. Ms. O’Neal stated that the limited access to records rule was proscribed by Florida statute to clarify which records would generally not be considered open access. An open forum was held for comment on the rule. No changes to the rule resulted. 


Trustee Hicks asked Julie Sheppard to report to the Board regarding the faculty assignments rule. Ms. Sheppard indicated that other rules such as these would be forthcoming due to devolution of powers. University staff planned to word rules concisely, saving more detailed descriptions of implementation for policies. The committee requested that the Board approve the current policy so it could be put into rule form. The Trustees had no questions or comments on this rule.


Dr. Mauricio Gonzalez spoke regarding the antihazing rule and the disruptive behavior rule, stating that a development workshop had been held on the rules on November 15, allowing an opportunity for comment. The antihazing rule stated that hazing was against the law and was written in the same format as the code of conduct. Trustee Twomey asked if hazing was illegal throughout the United States and if it was also illegal for military schools. Dr. Gonzalez replied that it was, stating that there was a federal mandate against hazing. Dr. Gonzalez stated that the purpose of the disruptive behavior rule was to outline the types of behavior the University would consider disruptive. The committee was seeking approval for both rules.


Trustee Hicks moved that the Board approve the five rules. No second was required as the motions had been forwarded by the committee. The motions were unanimously approved by the Board.


Finance and Audit Committee Report 

Chair Thompson informed the Board that President Kline would not be in attendance at the meeting and that Dr. Serwatka was available to answer any questions. She asked Trustee Halverson if the Finance and Audit Committee wanted to have motions approved individually or together at the conclusion of his report. He responded that he would like to address the motions individually.


Trustee Halverson thanked Trustee Douglas for chairing the last committee meeting in his absence. He said that the first item the committee would like to address was fees for activity and service. The committee’s recommendation was to keep fees the same as the fees for the previous year. No increase was possible due to the fact that rates were capped. He moved to accept the fees as stated. Chair Thompson asked if there were any questions then called the motion to a vote. All were in favor.


The second item addressed by the Finance and Audit Committee’s report was child care fees, readdressed each year to determine if adjustments were necessary. Trustee Halverson indicated the attached list of recommended fee increases; the increases ranged from 0 to more than 17%. He moved to approve the proposed fee schedule as prepared.


Chair Thompson asked for questions or comments. Trustee Gonzalez said that he had spoken with some child development centers in the area and that the fee schedule seemed higher than what he’d found at other centers. He asked if this was due to student subsidization. Dr. Gonzalez asked Ms. Pam Bell to answer.  Ms. Bell reported that the center’s rates were about mid-range. A survey had been conducted to determine the approximate range; the highest fees were around $162 and the lowest were about $99. Some of the difference in fees was due to the quality of the centers, also some centers were subsidized by churches or other groups. Trustee Douglas remarked that the University child care center was now required to absorb its own expenses.


Trustee Gonzalez said that he wanted to make sure that some of the more diverse segments of the community were not excluded by the rates. Ms. Bell stated that the center had applied for and received a grant of $35,000, which would go toward subsidizing underprivileged students. Trustee Harper asked for clarification, stating that she understood that the quality of the center was superior and that there was a waiting list for enrollment in the center. Ms. Bell agreed, reporting that the center was accredited, which was considerably more expensive, but held standards for the center that were much higher. Chair Thompson called the motion to a vote and it was approved unanimously.


Trustee Halverson thanked everyone for their pertinent questions, then moved to the next item of business, the audits of the direct service organizations. He indicated that the audits appeared to be in order and moved acceptance of them. He asked Trustee Douglas if there was anything he would like to add. Trustee Douglas indicated that there was one more item of concern and asked Mr. Rob Labinski, an auditor from KPMG-Pete Marwick, to comment. Mr. Labinski said that a complete audit of athletics had also been done and that Foundation had approved it, but the item was not included in the Trustees’ packets, as the audit materials had just been received. Trustee Halverson stated that the item on athletics would wait until the written materials were received. The Trustees approved audits of the Foundation and the Training and Service Institute.


The next item discussed related to continuation of the rule making process in regard to direct service organizations. Trustee Halverson asked counsel to comment. Ms. Karen Stone stated that the University was required by statute to have a rule outlining some of the fundamental terms and conditions for direct service organizations. In addition to the rule, operating procedures would provide for oversight of the organizations. Ms. Stone also brought up a point of information discussed at the Finance and Audit Committee meeting, the Board Chair has the right to appoint a trustee to both support organizations; this option was exercised by the Board of Regents during their tenure. Chair Thompson remarked that it was an excellent suggestion. She noted that the University had intended to provide reports on the direct service organizations at the last full Board meeting, however, due to time constraints, the reports were postponed until January. The motion to approve the DSO rule was called to a vote and approved unanimously.


The last item addressed by the Finance and Audit committee was the pre-tax benefits plan. Trustee Halverson stated that as of January, the University would no longer be considered a state agency and as such, employees of the University would no longer be state employees. In an effort to continue benefits seamlessly, the committee wished to adopt the same plan used by the State. Trustee Harper asked if there was a cost difference to the University. Dr. Serwatka answered that there would not be a difference in cost. Chair Thompson asked if employees would still have access to the state retirement plan and health benefits. The response was affirmative to both questions. Trustee Halverson moved to approve the plan. The Board voted unanimously in favor.


Trustee Halverson asked Trustee Douglas if there were any other significant issues from the last Finance and Audit meeting. Trustee Douglas responded that there was one issue, the committee was unable to meet quorum at the last meeting. Chair Thompson thanked Trustee Douglas for attending the meeting and representing the Board, stating that while such circumstances were to be avoided when possible, the meeting date had been changed several times and the Trustees’ availability was currently extremely limited. She said that she knew the lower attendance was due to circumstances and not to a lack of interest.


Legislative Update 

Janet Owen reported that the Florida Board of Education met on December 10 in Tallahassee and introduced the proposed K-20 budget allocations, which would be forwarded to the Governor’s office and the Legislature for consideration; the final budget outcome would probably not be forthcoming until the end of the legislative session in May. Several increases were requested, including monies for enrollment growth, new space, student financial aid, and strategic imperatives for K-20.


Additional FTE had been proposed for all eleven institutions, to be funded by a mandated 7.5% across-the-board tuition increase, with a discretionary 5% tuition increase available to the boards of trustees. According to recommendations from the Higher Education Funding Advisory Council, boards would also be given flexibility for tuition rates for different programs or peak/off-peak course times.


The FBOE proposed budget would continue to phase in the medical school for Florida State University and two new law schools. The strategic imperative project for universities would fund an initiative entitled “Programs of Prominence.” The FBOE budget request also included funds for implementing the constitutional amendment to reduce class size.


Ms. Owen stated that the current PECO revenue estimate for available allocations in 2004-2005 fell under $230 million, substantially lower than the $596 million available for 2003-2004. According to the FBOE’s budget request, the eleven universities would receive $20 million next year for remodeling, renovation, maintenance, and repairs. Approximately $146 million would be requested to fund university building projects, although Ms. Owen stated that it was possible that all of the PECO funds would go to K-12, without having any of the funds designated for the universities.


Ms. Owen updated the Trustees on the status of CEPRI’s study on equity in funding among the state universities. Ms. Owen ended her report by announcing the appointments to the House and Senate committees.


Chair’s Report 

Chair Thompson moved the discussion toward the presidential search process, reminding the group that a search firm, Baker-Parker, had been selected. Chair Thompson stated that, although she realized many faculty were absent due to the approaching holiday, the Board felt it was important to begin discussion on the presidential search so as not to delay the process any longer than was necessary. 


Chair Thompson announced that Dr. Floyd Willis had decided to resign from his position on the Board. She said that Dr. Willis was very sensitive to the need for participation from Trustees and had decided that he was unable to carry out the responsibilities of both his family practice and his position on the Board. However, he remained very committed to UNF.


A question was posed regarding the impact on Board appointments from the new Board of Governors. Janet Owen answered, stating that it was her understanding that Governor Bush would make all of the appointments to the Board of Governors by December 31 and that the Board of Governors would probably meet as close to January 7 as possible. The Board of Governors would then appoint five members to each of the boards of trustees, Governor Bush would appoint 6 members to each board, and the remaining members would consist of the student body and faculty association presidents. Chair Thompson added that this was a good time for Trustees to consider whether or not they wished to be reappointed. She announced that Dr. Terry Bowen would be the faculty representative for the new Board of Trustees while Hank Rogers would remain the student representative. More information regarding appointments to the Board would be available after the appointment of the Board of Governors.


Trustee Crawford asked if the Board of Governors could rescind the rules recently voted upon by the Trustees. Ms. Owen answered that they could but it was unlikely. Trustee Hicks asked if the FBOE would still be in place after the Board of Governors was appointed. Chair Thompson responded that the FBOE would continue, but would probably have little to do with higher education. Ms. Owen added that the FBOE would lose jurisdiction over state universities January 7. Efforts were being made to determine the new staff structure, and personnel would probably be shared as much as possible in order to preserve as much of the K through 20 system as possible. Trustee Coggin and Trustee Douglas observed that one of the reasons the Board did not expedite the search process was to allow for changes as a result of Amendment 11.  The Board also wished to make sure there had been adequate input from constituents.


Discussion on Presidential Search Criteria and Process

Chair Thompson introduced Jerry Baker, the consultant from the firm chosen to conduct a search for the next President of UNF.  Mr. Baker expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work with the Board. He felt it was important to continue conversation regarding necessary qualifications for the new President into January and to identify a search committee. He said he would arrange for another visit after classes began to allow more interaction with faculty, staff, and the student body. He asked the Trustees to speak with him about the direction they would like the search to take, and to list for him and prioritize what they would consider the most pertinent qualities for their next President.


Trustee Coggin questioned Mr. Baker, asking if, during his years of experience in conducting presidential searches, he had found that any one candidate could effectively and efficiently meet the needs for higher education, individual requirements for each university, necessary people skills, adequate representation of various entities, and the ability to raise funds. Mr. Baker replied that one individual could not equally meet all of those requirements. He recommended that Trustees decide what qualities would be the most important to the University at this point in the University’s history.  He asked which advisory groups the Trustees would like to employ in the search process.


Chair Thompson stated that the Board would like an open search, incorporating feedback from all constituent groups. She noted, however, that while the Trustees wished for an open search process, they did not want an unwieldy and dysfunctional committee. She commented upon the involvement of the Trustees in the presidential search process, stating that all of the Board members had attended the transition committee meetings when possible and that all of the Trustees, aware that it was their duty and privilege to select the next President, were interested in participating in the search process. She, and several of the Trustees, suggested that the search committee consist of the entire Board of Trustees, including the student and faculty representatives.


Trustee Hicks proposed one way to keep the search committee from becoming too unwieldy, suggesting that Mr. Baker could solicit information from the community through open forums. Chair Thompson concurred, remarking that input could be solicited in a number of ways, for instance, in order to expedite the process but still allow for full expression, the Board could arrange for meetings between Mr. Baker and community leaders. Trustee Crawford added that a member of the Foundation should be included in the search committee or one of the focus groups. Mr. Baker said that an ideal search committee would consist of approximately 7-9 members. Trustee Harper spoke of an advisory group consisting of community leaders and faculty who had identified a short list of candidates early on in the search process; she thought that group should be included in the process as well. Chair Thompson observed that the Board was somewhat unique in make-up as there were four Trustees who were members of the Foundation, in addition to the student and faculty members.

Mr. Baker spoke of narrowing the list for consideration, and said that he would probably enlist the committee and the Board in conducting reference checks for the short list of candidates. Financial and full background checks would be done on the final candidates, which may require that the Trustees visit the candidates’ current places of employment. Chair Thompson recommended postponing the final decision regarding search committee selection until after January 7.


Trustee Coggin suggested that the Trustees discuss the various qualities they would consider important for the next President of the University. Dr. Terry Bowen stated that from a faculty perspective, he would be interested in a candidate’s values; for instance, would that candidate value academic freedom, promotion and tenure, personnel policies currently in place, intellectual freedom – those were the qualities faculty would consider important for candidates to demonstrate.


Trustee Hicks listed some of the characteristics she felt would be have the most significance, such as fundraising ability, someone who would be recognized and supported by the Jacksonville community, a candidate with stature, dignity, and a high energy level who was well spoken and could adequately articulate the needs of the University to the community. Trustee Newton agreed with Trustee Hicks, as did Dr. Bowen, who said that he also felt fundraising ability was instrumental and that the characteristics mentioned by Trustees Hicks and Newton could be congruent with those he had listed previously. Trustee Harper affirmed that it would be necessary to look for someone with the ability to motivate, who could also earn the respect of faculty during times of decreased funding.


Trustee Twomey agreed, he suggested an examination of where the University was now in relation to funding and growth. He pointed out that funding was a substantial consideration, and spoke of the University’s importance to the community and to the community’s growth. He identified current and upcoming vacancies such as the Dean of Business, the Dean of Continuing Education, the Director of the Library, and the Vice President of Administration and Finance. He indicated that the next President would have to be able to fill those positions competently. He stated that while UNF had many wonderful people, there was not much depth to the University; it was not an old University with many established layers.


He particularly agreed with Dr. Bowen’s areas of concern. Beyond that, he felt the search should be informed not only by the environment as the Trustees knew it to be now, but also by what Trustees envisioned that the University could become, considering that the President would have to oversee operation of the University in an increasingly public and unusually complex environment. He pointed out that UNF was a relatively large institution that was continuing to increase in size. The candidate for President would have to be someone used to working with large institutions.

Trustee Twomey said that while the University was clearly striving to grow stronger academically, the next President was likely to face almost a reinvention of the funding process. It was a reasonable assumption that the next President would face a funding crisis. It was important to consider that even more than the necessity than a single leader, was the necessity of seeking someone with the confidence, loyalty, energy, and charisma necessary to inspire other leaders.


Trustee Douglas said that he felt the town/gown combination mentioned by Trustee Hicks was of great significance; the town side of the University was of critical importance as funding was certain to be an issue in the upcoming years. He concurred that strong leadership abilities would be necessary, the new President would need the ability to pull programs together, lead by example, articulate clearly and be a strong mediator and negotiator. He felt that the next President should have an understanding of politics and be immediately recognizable to both the University and surrounding communities.


Trustee Gonzalez was in strong agreement with Trustee Douglas. He felt the ability to delegate was of great importance, as was the ability to nurture faculty and the student body to help them adjust to the current rate of growth. He agreed that the ability to navigate politically, winning, but not fighting, would be a strong asset. He did not feel that credentials were as important as the ability to think and respond quickly. He indicated that he would not want to see credentials used as a means for excluding a candidate, and suggested that the word preference be used as opposed to the word requirement. He also said that he understood that some degrees, such as a law degree or certain master’s degrees were considered terminal degrees, even though they were not doctoral degrees. Additionally, he would like to make sure that the new President would be sensitive to diversity issues in terms of faculty and staff as well as student body. He wished for a candidate who would be concerned with students’ abilities to obtain employment, not just an education. 


Dr. Bowen was in accord with the town and gown concept, stating that he believed that as a public institution, the University should be responsive to the town. Trustee Rogers believed the next President should be student centered and able to cope with the growing student population and an increasingly large campus. 


Chair Thompson reviewed the discussion, stating that while she understood faculty concerns about the academic qualifications of potential candidates, such as those of elected officials or politicians, the State economy has been in somewhat of a crisis situation, which may not get much better.  In order for the University to survive in the future, resources, and the ability to obtain them, would be an important consideration. She stated that both the University and the community had grown exponentially over the last few years, and that the business community held great respect for the University.


She gave an example of a leadership position not necessarily dependent upon credentials, noting that previously, in corporate health care, only physicians could be considered for the position of hospital CEO. Later, it was determined that administrators were often more effective CEOs, physicians frequently did not have the management skills necessary for the position. Currently more physicians were obtaining the training necessary to be successful CEOs, but credentials such as a doctoral degree were no longer considered necessary to hospital administration.


She acknowledged that much of the faculty felt strongly about academic credentials, but said that while the Trustees respected their opinion, they felt that the credentials might not be the most important aspect of a candidate. The Board believed that familiarity with the State of Florida, the city, and area businesses might be of more importance. Although the Trustees had received negative feedback regarding the possibility of considering local and regional candidates, they would not want to rule out such an option. 


Trustee Halverson agreed, stating that the Board should not negate viable candidates. He did not feel it would be wise to exclude candidates by establishing specific qualifications such as previous experience as a university president. Trustee Douglas concurred, responding that the qualifications should not be so restrictive that the Board would be too limited. 


Mr. Baker indicated that what he’d heard from the Trustees was in accordance with what he’d heard from faculty and staff. Chair Thompson observed that the transition committee had discussed the importance of being inclusive. She announced that the open forums with faculty, staff, and the community would be scheduled in January to begin the process. Mr. Baker informed the group that he would complete the written job description soon, and he expected to have a first sense of the prospective candidates by the end of February. He said he would need a lot of time from the search committee in March. He anticipated having a finalist in April with the search concluding in May, with the new presidency beginning around July or August. Dr. Bowen recommended holding separate meetings for faculty, staff, students, and community members to garner their input. It was suggested that Karen Stone arrange the meetings.



Chair Thompson asked that any suggestions for community contacts for Mr. Baker be forwarded to the Board. She apologized to those participating by phone for the length of the meeting and thanked everyone for their involvement, wishing them a happy holiday. The meeting was adjourned.