USF reviewed the fifth version of USF Polytechnic’s business plan for its possible transition to independence at the request of the Board of Governors (BOG).
Chief Operating Officer John Long added a new list of critiques to the initial plan that was released two weeks ago, which was sent in a letter to the BOG on Wednesday.
The new critiques targeted the plan’s goals, such as the one-time transfer opportunity for students to attend the USF Tampa campus, though “unfortunately, many USF Polytechnic students may not meet USF’s admission criteria.” It also notes that classes may be held in portables for at least a decade while its new campus near the Interstate-4 exit is being constructed and that “this does not give the impression of a ‘destination campus.'”
On Friday, USF President Judy Genshaft sent a letter to BOG Chancellor Frank Brogan to clarify governance and accreditation concerns in regards to the Lakeland’s campus’ possible separation from the USF System. Polytechnic’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation process was suspended in September pending the BOG’s Wednesday decision on whether the regional campus should become independent.
In Genshaft’s letter she wrote, “from an accreditation perspective, clear governance is a primary requirement. A university’s governing body must have authority, under the accreditation governance standards, over all aspects of the institution’s activities. Essentially, this means responsibility and authority must be joined.”
She said because of the requirement, there are two options the BOG can choose during its meeting. If USF Polytechnic were to become the 12th Florida public university, the state legislature and governor would recommend to create the university under its own Board of Trustees (BOT). However, if the BOG decides to keep Polytechnic under the USF umbrella, the USF BOT would continue to oversee the regional campus.
Genshaft also wrote, “if a third option is proposed by the BOG, it is imperative that USF’s SACS accreditation continued to be protected and not compromised.”
The BOG will make its decision on the split Wednesday at Florida Atlantic University.
-Reporting by Diedra Rodriguez