President looks beyond the state and into the future

After the University found its coffers $50.4 million leaner from statewide budget cuts, President Judy Genshaft said USF faces a new challenge — looking outside of Florida to find sources of money.

The University will shy away from state funds and instead concentrate on raising revenue through other means, including private donations and research grants, Genshaft said in her 2008 presidential address.

“The next couple of years will be challenging,” she said. “We are reshaping USF in the face of budget cuts.”

Genshaft said she hopes more research opportunities and discoveries will bring more money to the University, as well as increase its national prestige and add to its chances of joining the Association of American Universities.

“We want our own huge discovery,” she told the Oracle. “Any way we can garner more resources for our students.”

One way the faculty can accomplish this is by obtaining federal research grants, said Laurence Branch, faculty senate president.

“The faculty’s point of view is that we need funding for our research,” he said. “If state funding is receding, we hope to pick it up in federal (money).”

Federal grants greatly influence the University because they give USF more money to support research, he said. Whenever a faculty member or team is given a state or federal research grant, the agency factors in extra money to help USF pay for the cost of the research, such as electric bills and lab equipment.

If the money comes from the state, the University will get an extra 5 percent in addition to the grant. If it comes from the federal government, USF gets about 47 percent more money added to the grant, said Provost Ralph Wilcox.

This means that if a faculty member receives a $100,000 research grant from the state, USF receives an extra $5,000 to support the research. If the money comes from the federal government, USF gets an extra $47,000.

“It’s what runs the research infrastructure,” Branch said.

Though these grants are more competitive than state grants, Wilcox said they are “what a mature university builds research ground on.”

In addition to funding the University in different ways, Genshaft said she wants USF’s practices to be more visible.

“I acknowledge that our system is not always transparent or sufficient,” she said. “We want all accountabilities and all our measures to be open.”

Genshaft said the University’s greatest goal for the future is to sustain “a culture where each of us owns the success of this University.”

USF is running quickly toward this goal, she said, and will remain dedicated and passionate during times of economic hardship “even if our shoelaces become untied.”