UNF Board of Trustees approves 2019 accountability plan

Lianna Norman, News Editor

With President David Szymanski has come a wave of changes to UNF culture, but one phrase has been constantly repeated too many times to count by both Szymanski and his administration over the last year: student success. This wide-sweeping initiative reaches from student health to lowering the cost of education and improving student retention rates. Wow, that was a lot of jargon. Let’s break it down.

The UNF Board of Trustees is in charge of running the University alongside the President in order to facilitate efficiency in all aspects of student life. This efficiency spans from things like healthy food options on campus and the student wellness center to initiatives for instilling open access class materials to lower the cost of attendance. Every year, the Board of Trustees from every Florida university presents their plan in improving their scores on the metrics that measure this student success to the Florida Board of Governors. How well each university scores on each metric is determined by analytics involving topics like the percentage of graduates entering into jobs in their field, the average yearly wage of graduates post-graduation and the likeliness of a student to come back in their second year rather than transferring or dropping out (this is called student retention).

Each university can receive up to 10 points on each metric. The average points that each university receives collectively determine how much funding the BOG gives each university’s BOT. Each year, every BOT gives an accountability plan to the BOG specifying past numbers and projecting goals for the next year’s numbers. UNF has scored incredibly high in the past year for almost every category, except for one. Student retention. While rounding the corner to 10 excellence points on most metrics, UNF has scored zero points in student retention. The Szymanski administration has put an emphasis on this in several plans to roll out initiatives that they believe will bring students back in the second year.

On Wednesday, April 24, the UNF BOT met to review and approve their plan to improve UNF’s metrics scores in the 2019 school year. Naturally, most of the discussion revolved around retention rates and how to get a larger number of students to return in their second year of university. The plan includes features that will contribute to immersing students in University culture in their first year. These features relate to a multitude of other analytics within the university, like the cost of attendance and a 3-year undergraduate studies program with a graduate’s degree in the fourth (this initiative is called UNF plus). The administration also plans to eliminate the need for textbooks, by encouraging professors to instead use open access materials for their courses.

The BOT has seen improvement points in student retention but hopes to garner their first excellence point in the coming year through their application to student life.


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