Florida Polytechnic Chairman Robert Gidel and C.O.O. Ava Parker update Board of Governors on university progress

7:56 PM, Mar 29, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Florida Polytechnic University's trustees chairman, Robert Gidel, and Chief Operating Officer, Ava Parker updated the state's Board of Governors Thursday on progress at Florida's 12th university.

Among the topics: the importance of creating a polytechnic university in Florida, student recruitment, and developing partnerships.

It was the first time Gidel and Parker met with the Board since the COO was hired in December. Gidel gave a presentation to the group and stressed that in order for Florida to compete in a globally connected market, there was a need to "future-proof" the economy.

Gidel emphasized that Florida Poly "provides an educational response to the challenges Florida industries are facing in the globally competitive marketplace." He also acknowledged it will take time, but explained that Florida Poly can be executed, funded, and monitored in phases, in order to assure all stakeholders that a "justifiable result on investment is being achieved before commencing the subsequent phases."

"Chair Gidel gave an informative presentation to the Board of Governors and addressed many of their concerns. This was a great opportunity for us to meet with the group in person and discuss the vital need to create a polytechnic university in Florida," said Parker.

While Gidel talked about the importance of establishing the university, Parker discussed the importance of attracting top students and faculty.

She said she plans to start with 500 students in August 2014 and achieve SACS accreditation in 2016. In order to recruit students, Parker is looking at forming partnerships with STEM charter and magnet schools, along with schools in the Florida State College System. Additionally, she is researching partnerships with international schools in South America and the Far East and is interested in creating a summer program modeled after the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP).

Last week the Strategic Planning Committee approved two colleges for the university; the College of Innovation and Technology and the College of Engineering. Five degree programs offering bachelor's and master's degrees were also approved. Parker discussed the curriculum during the presentation to the Board of Governors and further advised that leadership, finance and management training will be incorporated into all of the programs.

Parker is working closely with Dr. Ghazi Darkazalli, Vice President of Academic Affairs, to implement a plan to recruit top faculty. Currently, the Board of Trustees is looking at non-tenured faculty employment models with incentive based contracts. There will be an emphasis on teaching as well as interdisciplinary research at Florida Poly.

"We have an aggressive timeline, but we are implementing a plan to reach the benchmarks established in Florida Statutes. We will continue to work on our strategies, and I look forward to presenting a more detailed enrollment and tuition plan as part of our work plan presentation to the Board of Governors in June," said Parker.

SOURCE: Fla. Polytechnic Press Release

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