UNF professor appointed to Board of Governors, plans to represent students

Blake Middleton


Dr. Katherine Robinson, associate nursing professor at UNF and the chair of the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates, has been appointed to serve on the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) until July 31, 2016.

The board is made up of 17 people in charge of overseeing the state university system, wherein the Governor of Florida appoints fourteen of them, and the other three members are the chair of the Florida Student Association, the Commissioner of Education, and the chair of the Advisory Council of Faculty Senates, who is now Robinson.

Robinson said she has a different agenda than the other board members because she lives in the university system everyday.

“Rather than the agenda of pushing this item or that item, I think that the agenda is really about bringing the voice of the faculty and the student to the conversation,” she said. “I think we help bring a very valuable voice and perspective.”

Robinson said she has attended previous board meetings with Judy Silano, a retired UNF faculty member who also served on the BOG.

Robinson said, during the meetings, she observed the dynamics and the importance of the university faculty board member and decided she wanted to serve on the board.

Robinson
Robinson

“I’ve been observing all board of governor’s meetings for the last two years,” she said.

She said there’s a few things she would like to change.

“I think it’s important to help all the governors to understand that, while online learning is certainly part of the solution, it is not the 100 percent entire solution to the challenges facing higher education,” she said.

The board is responsible for funding Florida’s state universities, and Robinson is critical of certain aspects of the performance funding model.

Performance funding uses 10 metrics to allocate funds to the 12 public state universities. The universities receive a score of one through five for each metric. Funding is based on how many total points the university receives.

She said there’s nothing in the performance-based funding metrics about learning outcomes, and she would like to see that added.

She said looking at student salaries two or more years after graduation might be better than looking at salaries after only one year. She said salary is important, but she doesn’t want to lose sight of some well-prepared people working good jobs, such as teachers, that do not necessarily have high salaries. She said she doesn’t want to discourage universities from preparing teachers.

Robinson said she thinks public Florida universities shouldn’t just be compared to other Florida universities, but also to schools outside of the state.

She said, “[The board members] are very proud of the system as it is right now.”

Robinson said she doubts any major changes are going to be made this year, but she said the board is open to listening to new ideas.

Joe Pessolano, a coastal biology junior, said he thinks it’s a good thing UNF is being represented by a faculty member in the BOG.

Computer science senior Karthik Sundaresan said, “[The] more publicity about UNF, the bigger it is, the stronger the campus is going to be.”

Sundaresan said he also thinks it’s a good thing. “UNF has more representation now,” Sundaresan said.

Email Blake Middleton at [email protected]

*10/03/14 at 12:10 p.m. – Updated with more interviews and more details on Robinson’s appointment.