With a raise of hands and then a standing ovation, University of Florida’s Board of Trustees unanimously affirmed Friday its commitment to the goal of elevating the stature of the university to be among the nation’s very best public research institutions and endorsed the administration’s plan for achieving these goals.
“We are really off and running toward top-10 stature—we know what it takes to get there—and the Board is ready and able to do its part to secure the resources needed and to support President Fuchs, his administration and the entire University community in our efforts to advance,” Vice Chairman Mori Hosseini said at the close of the quarterly meeting.
A series of initiatives targeting specific areas for investment and improvement, both on campus and in the Gainesville community, were discussed at strategic sessions on Thursday and Friday.
UF Provost Joe Glover focused on university performance, providing a detailed assessment of where UF is already ranked in the top 10 nationally, where UF needs to focus (on faculty, research and students), and how UF measures in comparison to its peers and the related national ranking systems.
He also shared some data and graphics that will enable the Board and administration to easily track progress on various metrics that impact UF’s national standing and state performance measures.
UF’s legislative agenda reflects its goals to rise in the national rankings. UF is asking for additional funding from the Legislature to recruit 200 new faculty members in an effort to reduce the faculty-student ratio, bolster the research capability in five key areas and bridge the salary gap between UF and peer universities.
“We are dedicated to supporting President Kent Fuchs and the senior administration to achieve these priorities,” Hosseini said.
UF Senior Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Charlie Lane presented the university’s Strategic Development Plan, called “One Gainesville.” Developed over the past 10 months from intensive research led by a national consulting firm and one-on-one interviews with stakeholders, the plan will prepare the university and the community for the future and create an exceptional college town experience.
“This plan will help UF and the surrounding community identify the optimal initiatives related to growth, intensity/density, economic viability and livability—which are needed to build the relationships, talent, and environment to support preeminence,” Hosseini said.