University of West Florida Board of Trustees Approve Planning Initiatives
On June 14, the University of West Florida Board of Trustees approved hallmark planning initiatives, including a new five year Strategic Plan 2012-17, an annual workplan and an updated Campus Master Plan.
“These initiatives set the stage for UWF’s transformation to a more vibrant and community-connected institution. We are building on our academic successes and will become more widely recognized as a model of excellence and relevance,” said UWF President Judy Bense.
UWF’s Strategic Plan 2012-17 includes an updated mission, vision and values for UWF and strategic priorities including enhanced student access, progression, learning and development; distinctive teaching, scholarship, research, and professional contributions; valued partnerships with community engagement and service; and sustainable institutional excellence. The plan is the culmination of 18 months of work including studies, discussion, data gathering, surveying the community and faculty, staff, student and trustee input.
The annual workplan highlights the accountability metrics for UWF and focuses on academic quality, operational efficiency and return on investment. The workplan will be presented to the Florida Board of Governors in Orlando next week for final adoption.
The visionary updated Campus Master Plan 2011-2016 plans for the growth needs of UWF for the next 10-15 years. When implemented, it will transform the campus to a more residential and traditional experience, while building a true sense of space for students, alumni and the community. A subset of the plan, the Athletics facilities master plan which includes a new student commons facility; mixed use spaces for student housing; retail, and academic space; 5,000 seat arena; football stadium, and significant green space won a design award from the Tallahassee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in December 2011.
The trustees also approved a vote to increase tuition by 15%, which will now advance to the Florida Board of Governors for final approval. The increase amounts to $18.71 per credit hour for in-state undergraduate students. Even after the increase, Florida’s tuition is among the lowest in the nation, ranking 45th out of 51 states (includes District of Columbia). The University of West Florida state operating budget has been reduced by 30% or $21 million dollars in the past five years. It will be reduced by an additional $11.9 million in fiscal year 2012-2013 for an overall reduction of nearly 47%. The tuition dollars will be used to hire 21 of the 47 new faculty for Fall 2012 and enhance student support services.
Chairman General Horner said, “We’ve been asked to grow and contribute to the state goals. We’ve implemented five years of efficiencies, we can’t continue to do more with less, instead we must raise tuition and find other sources of revenue so that we can continue to provide a high quality education to our students.”
Also approved was the request of debt for Business Enterprise, Inc., a direct support organization of UWF. BEI’s board previously approved the purchase of Scenic Hills Golf Course and Country Club, pending due diligence. If all due diligence remains satisfactory BEI is expected to close on the purchase by July 1. No state or tuition dollars will be used for the purchase.
Other items approved include tenure for 10 UWF faculty members, the annual 2012/13 operating budget, annual audit reports, and numerous regulations.