BOT tightens focus on responsibilities

USF’s Board of Trustees governance committee wants to enhance the university’s research, scholarship and health sciences. In order to accomplish this, the BOT governance committee decided on Wednesday to approve a proposal to split the work group that combines those areas.

BOT member Margarita Cancio said having one work group for research and scholarship and another for health sciences would allow the responsibilities of each to be followed more closely by the trustees and faculty.

“Health sciences is such a large group because it has three colleges,” Cancio said. “We didn’t want to force such a group in one entity, so each group can have attention and support.”

Cancio said dividing the work group could help research at the university receive more funds from the state, but those funds might not be available until the next legislative session.

“It’s hard to tell right now. It’s a tough legislative year because the state is not doing so well,” Cancio said.

Faculty and staff in Health Sciences will have the opportunity, along with trustees, to participate in each work group’s responsibilities.

“The board is a policy maker, and what we do is help faculty here to support their interest in research and the Health Sciences,” Cancio said. “It’s their research and health sciences.”

Some of the work group responsibilities for research and scholarship include reviewing research integrity issues and working on general scholarship and creative endeavors. Whereas responsibilities for Health Sciences include reviewing hospital affiliations and program reviews for the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health.

Before the governance committee approved the proposal, Cancio conducted a conference call with trustees Patrick Swygert, Sen. Connie Mack, Bob Soran and Rhea Law to discuss comments and issues.

Swygert said it was important that the choice of words in the proposal be looked at carefully and consulted with Health Sciences.

Swygert suggested the word “monitor” in the responsibilities proposal be replaced with the word review to make it clear the board’s role is to establish policy not direct policy.

“When I see words like monitor I get concerned because the subsequent Board of Trustees may look at the word differently, and the professional staff may be concerned,” Swygert said.

In addition, Soran suggested that one of health sciences’ responsibilities be shared with the work group for research and scholarship. Assessing research strengths of the Health Science Center could be shared because the responsibilities overlap in each work group.

The changes to the proposal will be considered before it is passed to the entire Board of Trustees to decide on March 20.

Cancio said the proposal will allow the opportunity for trustees and faculty to focus on each group individually and better structure each one.

“The best result is to have research and scholarship throughout the university and Health Sciences on its own,” she said.

  • Contact Grace Agostinat