University President addresses critical issues

By Melhor Leonor / News Director

In the midst of an academic year challenged by Florida’s economy and with a student population crossing the 50,000 mark, University President Mark Rosenberg explains how the University plans to do more, with less.

Student Media sat down with the president to discuss what services he wants to improve, the University’s ongoing Strategic Plan and other university issues.

FIUSM: What are the plans to address the parking issues faced by the University?

Rosenberg: We could turn this entire campus and the Biscayne Bay Campus into a parking lot. We could pave over everything and there still wouldn’t be enough parking. We are very anxious to see public transportation expanding to the Modesto Maidique Campus and Biscayne Bay Campus. If we had been more agressive about public transportation years ago, we wouldn’t be having this problem today. The other thing about building parking garages is that every time we build a parking garage, students pay for it, so the fees will go up. We are not anxious to see student fees go up.

FIUSM: Some students note that most of the construction they see on campus is part of the Academic Health Center and the College of Medicine. Are there any plans in the future to fund the building and remodeling of other departments?

Rosenberg: Yes, there’s a lot of investment in the health side of the house, but there is huge demand from students in terms of enrollment and health is a major area of economic and social development for the community. I think it’s balanced. I don’t think we are overinvesting in one area or the other, but clearly we have to have a world class Academic Health Center and that is where some of the investment, but no all of the investment, is going right now.

FIUSM: Will students be seeing a tuition increase next year?

Rosenberg: The agreement that we have with the legislature and the Board of Governors is that we will raise tuition by up to 15 percent every year for about 7 years to get to the national average… It’s not that we want to raise tuition. The issue is, how can we continue to provide a quality education for our students?… The short answer is, I am cautiously optimistic that we won’t have to raise tuition by too much if we do at all.

FIUSM: During an address to the University community this summer, you highlighted the importance of graduating in four to five years. Yet, at the same time, many students are faced with the effects of higher tuition and the popular, “the class I needed to take wasn’t available.” What would you like to say to these students?

Rosenberg: My message is that it’s a shared responsibility. Students need to identify what they want to do and lay that out. We’ve got to guarantee that the courses will be available for students to take in a timely manner. And so, it’s a shared responsibility. We are going to work hard to do our part. We know we’ve got to do better.

 

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