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Plans reviewed for new sustainability school at USF

Final stages of a proposal for a new school at USF could soon be in sight.

Members of the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee (SEC) reviewed the revised draft for the School of Global Sustainability (SGS) at Wednesday’s meeting.

“This is likely to be, in my view, the final SEC review of the document,” Steve Permuth, professor at the USF College of Education, said in the meeting. “I think the administration has done a very good job responding to the questions and issues that we have raised, and there has been a good sense of closure.”

SGS will be a graduate school offering a Master of Arts degree in global sustainability.

The program would target working professionals in positions that already focus on sustainability issues, according to USF’s request to offer a new degree program that will be sent to the Florida Board of Governors.

“We hope to be able to provide them with some information about how to integrate and have a ballistic view of some of the issues about sustainability,” said Linda Whiteford, associate vice president for global strategies.

According to the proposal, the school’s budget is nearly $3 million made up of funds from several sources: $500,000 from 2009-10 tuition revenue; $300,000 in private funds; approximately $1.5 million in research contacts and grants; $200,000 in state funds; $383,130 in tuition revenue; $200,000 in special program fees; and $21,000 from distance learning fees.

Budget funds will also be used to employ faculty.

USF would hire a director with a salary of $195,000 and other departmental workers who would receive a combined salary of $175,500, according to the proposal.

“We want to search (for a director) across the globe, because we want somebody to come and bring with him or her a reputation in sustainability,” said Whiteford, who is also associate vice president for academic affairs and strategic initiatives. “We want a respected scholar … someone who has the ability to bring in grants and has a lot of experience.”

Courses would include classroom lectures, but the majority will be online courses, according to the proposal.

Other expenses include costs for operating, study abroad programs, marketing and course development for online delivery.