As performance-based funding gains traction in Florida, with USF receiving the largest chunk of the state’s $20 million pool for performance-based funding this year, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution on a conference call Wednesday afternoon that will change one of the ways in which the university will measure its performance.
This year, USF received $2.6 million in performance-based funding from the state based on three metrics selected by the Florida Legislature.
The metrics included bachelor degree graduation rates, full-time wages of employed undergraduates and the average cost of undergraduate degrees at the university.
But next year, $50 million will be at stake for the performance-based funding pool, and the Board of Governors is set to approve a new 10-part metric system for the next fiscal year, which will include a provision that one metric must be chosen by each university to measure its own performance and one specific to each institution that the BOG will select.
At its last meeting, the BOG chose its choice metric for USF to be the percentage of bachelor’s degrees awarded without excess hours.
“For most students, this means anything over 132 hours,” USF Provost Ralph Wilcox said. “Any student graduating beyond 132 will, frankly, count against the university and will also be penalized with higher tuition rates.”
USF opted to use the number of postdoctoral appointees as its choice metric.
“We wanted to choose a metric that recognized the fact that USF is the No. 1 research university in the state,” Wilcox said.
While the BOT unanimously approved the choice metric proposal, trustee Brian Lamb requested the BOT’s Academic and Campus Environment committee come back to the board with a report on how the proceeds from the 2013 funds from the state will be used.
“I would like them to make some recommendations on how we are going to reinvest these funds because I want to make sure the proceeds that come from our performance to be reinvested in these metrics and drive sustainable performance around student success,” he said.
The three metrics set by the Florida Legislature last year will continue to be used in the new 10-metric system, but the BOG will add five new metrics.
These metrics include graduation rates, freshman retention rates, number of bachelors and masters degrees awarded in “areas of strategic emphasis” still being discussed and the percentage of Pell Grant recipients.
“While the funds are recurring, it must be competed for every year by the university,” BOT chairman John Ramil said. “We did great last year, but we all know that one thing that comes with good performance is an expectation that we need to maintain a good performance. There are some changes we need to make to meet these new metrics requirements.”
The BOT also passed a resolution to start work on offering the online cyber security master’s program. It will be the only one of its kind in the state and will serve as an anchor program for the Florida Center for Cybersecurity to be built at USF.
Wilcox said because the program has not received funding from outside the university at this time, the budget model for delivering the program will be a full cost-recovery model.
“This means tuition and fees generated must cover the full cost of development, delivery and assessment for the program,” he said.