Written by Philippe Buteau/Staff Writer
The University will be hosting the next meeting of the Board of Governors of the State University System and all of the trustees of the 12 Florida public colleges.
During the meetings, the governors and trustees, who collectively serve about 338,000 college students, will discuss and plan the future of academics in the state.
The governors have the primary responsibility for governance of the State University System, said University President Mark Rosenberg.
He said the BoG’s responsibility is particularly for financing the University’s education and the strategy of program and course development.
Among the topics for the meeting is online education. According to Brittany Davis, communications director for the SUS, the BOG will introduce its strategic plan, which will lay out goals for online education throughout the next 10 years.
“As far as we know, Florida is the first state in the country to have a plan for online education,” Davis said to Student Media.
Davis said other schools around the country have their own plans for online education, but Florida so far is the only state whose colleges are working together to determine where online education will be by 2025 and how they will get there.
“Getting an entire system on the same page is a big accomplishment that will help the system grow by leaps and bounds in this area,” Davis said.
The University’s plan is to increase classes taught online by 15 percent, from 25 to 40, according to its strategic plan, “FIUBeyondPossible2020.” Hybrid courses, which comprise of 8 percent of the types of courses offered, will make up 30 percent by 2020.
The BOG meets every other month and rotates which university will host them; The last meeting hosted at FIU was in November 2013.
In addition to the BOG meetings, Davis said the University will also host a trustee’s summit, which will be a learning opportunity for the decision makers of the state’s universities.
“It’ll be more of an informal environment from the normal meetings,” Davis said.
She said the theme of the summit is “excellence through innovation.” Its emphasis is bold leadership and will feature “an all-star cast of speakers from around the country.”
The featured speakers are Benno Schmidt, the chairman of the largest public university system in the world, the City University of New York; Dr. Ken Ford, founder and chief executive officer of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, a non-profit institute in Pensacola; and Albert Manero, a founder of Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit that brings 3D printed bionic limbs to children at no cost to their families.
Alexis Calatayud, the president of the Student Government Council at the Modesto Maidique Campus, said it is important for students to be engaged with their higher education system and the people who run it.
“Our desires are aligned with what the BOG does, but may not always match their prescriptions as to the way to do it,” said Calatayud, the first SGC-MMC president to serve two terms in 15 years.
Calatayud, who was the lectures coordinator when the BOG last met at the University, also said students should be aware of the decisions that the governors and trustees make.
“If not, we’re letting other people make decisions for us without any input,” Calatayud said.
Rosenberg said he sees the University’s hosting of the BOG meeting and the trustees as a “double honor.”
“When they choose to come to FIU really, it’s an honor,” Rosenberg said. “They bring the 12 boards together — What an incredible opportunity to tell our story.”
Rosenberg, who the BOG reappointed through 2019 during their last meeting at the University, said the attention that will be on the University during those days is more than a plus, regardless of the extra work that will be needed.
“I’ll take that every time because we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished in a short period of time,” Rosenberg said. “We’re very proud of our students. We want to show off the institution and show our students off to people.”
“It’s a very intense engagement because everybody is converging on our FIU for a couple of days and all eyes in the state for educators are on FIU, but I love that because I think we do pretty well in those circumstances,” he said.
The Board of Governors meeting will take place Wednesday, Nov. 4 to Thursday, Nov. 5.
Additional reporting by Camila Fernandez