Board of Trustees > Meeting Archives > January 26, 2007 Minutes

The Florida State University Board of Trustees
FSU Alumni Center
Tallahassee, Florida
January 26, 2007
8:30 AM – 11:30 AM


Members Present: Trustees Susie Busch-Transou, Jim Cobbe, June Duda, Christopher Evans, Manny Garcia, Andrew Haggard, Harold Knowles, Richard McFarlain, Ann McGee, Leslie Pantín and Jim Smith were present. Trustee Brooks participated by phone.

Members Absent: Trustee Garcia had an excused absence.

1.     Call to Order and Welcome

Chairman Jim Smith called the meeting to order. He welcomed Andy Haggard and announced that Susie Busch-Transou has also been reappointed. Chairman Smith indicated that there had been some significant academic accomplishments in the past months. First, FSU alumni Charlie Crist and Jeff Kottcamp have taken office as Florida’s governor and lieutenant governor. Second, the FSU doctoral faculty in five academic areas have been ranked among the top in the nation according to the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index:

Social Work — #4
Spanish — #4
Marketing — #5
Oceanography — #8
Atmospheric Sciences — #10

He thanked the faculty for their hard work on behalf of the University.

2.     Approval of Minutes

Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the minutes of the September 15, 2006 meeting. The motion was seconded by Trustee McGee and passed unanimously.

3.     Comments, Faculty Senate

Dr. Eric Walker provided remarks on behalf of the Faculty Senate. He indicated that the Faculty Senate Steering Committee was happy to meet with Dr. Hasselmo during his campus visit and they expressed a variety of faculty viewpoints concerning the AAU and Pathway initiatives. Dr. Walker said that Dr. Hasselmo provided a very frank and honest assessment. The University’s origins and history are very different from the typical AAU member and in order to fit the AAU model the size of the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Medicine) disciplines would have to be increased relative to other areas on campus. Dr. Walker said that this prospect is not uncontroversial. He indicated that, rather than dwelling on areas of potential disagreement, the Faculty Senate Steering Committee would like to spotlight another important sentence in Dr. Hasselmo’s report as follows:

Throughout my visit, I sensed a commitment to what one of the persons with whom I spoke termed “a culture of achievement.” It is my impression that this “culture of achievement” characterizes both the university as a whole and its central leadership and its colleges, departments, and various interdisciplinary programs and their administrative and faculty leadership.

Dr. Walker said that the Faculty Senate believes that this “culture of achievement” is the joint product of all our labors together. Of the many achievements, he emphasized two that are considered marks of special strength. First, Florida State University is well known for offering a remarkably nurturing environment for the spectacular diversity of talents assembled on campus, such as magnet scientists, novelists, trapeze artists, percussionists, three point shooters, and Rhodes scholars. A second special mark of the strength of the faculty is the “culture of achievement” prominent every year in the promotion and tenure materials which relate outstanding accomplishments in research, teaching and service. He thanked the Board and said that the Faculty Senate looks forward to continued cooperation and sustaining that culture of achievement, which is the hallmark of the University.

Chairman Smith asked what areas need to be enhanced to achieve AAU status and why they would be controversial. Dr. Walker indicated that Provost Abele would be able to address the question in detail during his presentation later on the agenda. According to the quantitative markers that the AAU uses in its evaluation of universities, the S.T.E.M. areas are central and require resources to meet those markers. He said that as a consequence, there is some anxiety on campus in other areas of traditional strength, such as performing arts and liberal arts. Dr. Walker said that it would be good if the University can maintain those levels of achievement at the same time that additional resources are devoted to those S.T.E.M. areas.

4.   Comments, Student Government Association
Mr. Kourtney Hahn made a presentation on behalf of the Student Government Association (SGA). He said that the Night Nole bus service has been a huge success. Mr. Hahn also indicated that they would be focusing on the upcoming Legislative Session because they are concerned about additional student fees.

5.    Legal Update

Ms. Betty Steffens, University General Counsel, presented three items in a legal update to the Board. First, she provided an update on the MDS lawsuit. Ms. Steffens said that the plaintiffs filed a motion for final judgment on one part of their case, which was the MDS Foundation. Professor Holton still has the right to bring back his personal claims, but the case has been dismissed and the University is currently out of court. So that lawsuit does not exist but it could come back. Second, Ms Steffens said that the Darling Claims Bill was scheduled to be heard by an administrative law judge on behalf of the Florida Senate January 2, 2007. She said that the plaintiffs canceled the hearing. So that’s still an outstanding issue but the University has fulfilled obligations to date in that matter. Third, Ms. Steffens said that several months ago, the FSU Board of Trustees authorized the Chair and General Counsel to work towards obtaining permission from the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Florida Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund, to sublease part of the University property for the construction and operation of a biomass facility. That was accomplished on October 17, 2006. At about the same time, the City of Tallahassee entered into an agreement with a biomass company to construct and operate the biomass plant, with the FSU property as the primary site. The sublease had not been executed pending the development of an agreement between FSU and the City of Tallahassee, the University’s utility supplier. On January 24, 2007, the City Commission voted to accept a partnership agreement between the City and FSU which provides each party mutual benefits. Given the partnership agreement with the City, the sublease of the University’s property to the biomass company is appropriate.

Chairman Smith thanked Ms. Steffens and the staff who worked on the agreement. He instructed staff to deliver the signed partnership to the City with the University’s appreciation and pledge to work together with them in the alternative energy project and the research that will be undertaken. He also indicated that he would immediately execute the sublease to the biomass company so that the project can begin.

6.     Consent Items

Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the consent items. Trustee Haggard seconded the motion, which passed unanimously. The following items were approved:

  1. 2007 Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement
  2. Affirmative Action Plan - 2007
  3. Supplier Diversity Plan
  4. Building Naming - Panama City Campus - Alfred and Mamie Holley
  5. Student Government Bills for Fall 2006


7.   University Relations Update
Ms. Lee Hinkle, Vice President for University Relations, updated the Board on University legislative priorities. She also announced that the News and Public Affairs office won three (of five) Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awards. Ms. Hinkle indicated that University Communications is continuing to work on the branding and strategic communication plan. Additionally, Barry Adams and the Alumni Association are exploring the creation of an Alumni magazine. Further, Charles Rasberry, the new FSU Foundation President, is preparing for the next Capital Campaign. Finally, she said that the Seminole Boosters, are working closely with the Alumni Association to avoid duplication of fundraising efforts. They will be converting to a new software system that will assist in this effort.

8.  Committee Reports:

Academic Affairs

Dr. Lawrence G. Abele, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, presented the Academic Affairs action items.

Request for Implementation of an Athletic Training Degree

Dr. Abele said that new accreditation rules require the University to have it as a stand alone Athletic Training degree rather than an Athletic Training major. Trustee Cobbe made a motion to approve the switch to an Athletic Training degree. The motion was seconded by Trustee Duda and passed unanimously.

Approval of change to FSU's Policy Governing Classified Research, appoint an Executive Committee for Classified Research and adopt a Resolution to Implement the Policy Change

Dr. Abele asked Dr. Kirby Kemper, Vice President for Research, to explain the Classified Research agenda item. Dr. Kemper provided background on the issue. He said that there is a campus committee called the Council on Research and Creativity. It is composed of about forty faculty members and they provide advice on research policies and also oversee internal grant programs. In 1979 they adopted what is called a “red book,” which contains the policies that govern the Office of Research. They passed a rule prohibiting Florida State University from conducting classified research. In 2000 the Office of Research formed the Center for Advanced Power Systems (CAPS), a center located at Innovation Park that is funded by the Office of Naval Research. The Center for Advanced Power Systems works very closely with an industrial advisory board composed of twenty very large companies. The industrial advisory board asked the Office of Research if FSU would consider conducting classified research at the CAPS facility as part of the research efforts there because they would like to make use of its unique facilities. This past fall the Council on Research and Creativity unanimously passed a change to the old policy by allowing classified research. Dr. Kemper asked the Board to do three things; first, to change the policy at Florida State University to allow the conduct of classified research, second, to adopt a resolution that delegates the oversight of the classified facility from the Board of Trustees to an Executive Committee that is composed of the President, Provost and Vice President for Research, and third, to appoint the Board of Oversight to be the President, Provost and Vice President for Research.

Chairman Smith asked that the question of whether certain research is exempt from the public records laws be explored. Trustee Haggard made a motion to change the policy, adopt the resolution and appoint the Board of Oversight. Trustee Duda seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Amendment of Regulation 6C2R-4.071, Faculty Practice Plan

Dr. Abele explained the modification of the College of Medicine’s Pensacola campus Sacred Heart Hospital faculty practice plan. It allows the establishment of a reimbursement program so that when faculty and students are working with a patient, the other hospitals can also be reimbursed. Trustee Knowles made a motion to approve the Amendment of Regulation 6C2R-4.071, Faculty Practice Plan. Trustee Ford seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Collective Bargaining Update

Ms. Joyce Ingram, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, presented a Collective Bargaining update to the Board. She discussed the status of various union activities on campus. She said that on United Faculty of Florida (UFF) negotiations there has been a change of leadership on the University management team. In an effort to restrain costs, the chief negotiator role was brought in-house. Previously Mike Mattimore, an outside attorney, served as the chief negotiator for negotiating the first three-year collective bargaining agreement. Ms. Ingram indicated that she now serves as the chief negotiator for 2006-2007 re-opener negotiations, and Susannah Miller, Associate Director of Human Resources for the Office of the Dean of the Faculties, serves as the chief negotiator on behalf of the University. Robert Henley, in addition to serving as chief negotiator for the USPS units, will also serve as chief negotiator for the new agreements with AFSCME for the other professional and administrative clerical units.

The Nils Hasselmo Report

Dr. Abele provided a summary of the report from Dr. Nils Hasselmo. He thanked Professor Eric Walker for doing a great job of summarizing the report and emphasizing the culture of achievement and the great strengths that the University faculty already have in many areas. Dr. Abele said that Professor Walker is correct in saying that improvements should be made in the S.T.E.M. areas. He said that progress is being made in those areas through cluster hiring, and through the College of Medicine as it matures and expands. Clear benchmarks have been established for every unit, including expectations about activities and there is a group that assesses exactly how the benchmarks will be achieved. With the cluster hires, there is accountability, and the idea that they will receive funds if they produce, and there are very detailed contracts for faculty members involved in these programs.

Dr. Abele said that there are approximately nine benchmarks that the AAU membership committee uses. The University is meeting the benchmarks within the AAU cluster. Once the University is above the lower third on all of the benchmarks, then the University can present a folder and begin a discussion, but it is still by invitation.

Dr. Abele also provided an update on recent Board of Governors’ activities. He summarized the Board of Governors two-day meeting, which primarily focused on the Pappas Consulting Group report.

Report on Tenure

Dr. Abele said that he had been reading promotion and tenure files for twelve years, and the first four or five years he was very unhappy about them, turned some down, and sent them back. He said that this year the 82 folders that were reviewed were the strongest in twelve years. The faculty teaching, interactions with students, evaluation of teaching, were all rated excellent and very good.

NCAA Recertification Update

Finally, Dr. Abele described the NCAA reaccreditation visit to the Board. It went very well and there were a lot of positive comments from the group and only one area that needed to be addressed. The peer review team asked that greater fiscal control be placed over the Seminole Boosters. That is a technical adjustment, so the Boosters are rewriting their bylaws to be in compliance with NCAA standards on control.


Student Affairs

Dr. Mary Coburn, Vice President for Student Affairs, provided an update on student activities. First, she presented each trustee with a copy of the book by Ron Suskind, entitled A Hope for The Unseen. She said that the book has been adopted for the first ever common reading program for freshmen. All freshman students will be given the book during orientation and asked to read it before they return in the Fall. It will be used for discussions, classroom assignments, freshman compositions and the author will be coming for a special event to meet with students. Dr. Coburn said the book is well written and full of topics that are pertinent to students. It is the story of a young man who grew up in inner city D.C. and went to one of the worst high schools in the country and ended up attending Brown University. It is a wonderful success story but certainly not out of touch with reality.

Student Conduct Code Revision

Second, Dr. Coburn presented the Student Conduct Code Revision for consideration by the Board. She said there were two significant changes. There is a modification of the appeals process. The current code has no provision for a paper appeal, but there are many routine appeals especially for the most frequent charge of underage possession of alcohol. The new code allows a paper review of an appeal of a very minor infraction.  It provides more flexibility in how those appeals are handled. The second significant change is called “immediate disciplinary action.” There is an option called “immediate suspension pending a hearing,” and when there is a very egregious charge--usually it is an act of violence or a serious drug-dealing charge or something like that—sometimes it is decided that a student has lost the opportunity to stay involved with the University while they wait for their hearing. Instead of suspending them from everything, this immediate disciplinary action provides lesser options, which might be more appropriate. This immediate disciplinary action allows the University the flexibility to implement steps toward a suspension. Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the Student Conduct Code Revision. Trustee Haggard seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Student Affairs Update

Dr. Coburn said that there has been progress in the student health insurance commitment. The University signed a contract with United Health Care and the Chickering Group. The price is a little less than the current price for a student that is under 25. A student that is over 25 could save up to $200 to $800 on a policy. That will be a great benefit for graduate students in particular. Dr. Coburn said that there was also Board of Governors interest and the health center director, Lesley Sacher, went to their meeting and made a presentation on this topic. There are other institutions that are interested in joining in this agreement on a consortium basis and if this occurs there will be even more savings on the price.

Trustee Knowles mentioned that he originally voted against mandatory student health insurance because of concern that it was an additional required expenditure. Dr. Coburn indicated that the requirement would be calculated into the cost to attend the University, so it is part of the financial aid calculation, and for example, the new first-generation scholarship money may be used to supplement students’ funds to cover health insurance. She also said that the logistics of how the mandatory student health insurance requirement is managed is still being devised, but a student’s fall term registration would not be halted. However, if they have not registered and satisfied that requirement for Spring term, then there would be a conversation asking them to comply with the requirement. But there would be a grace period and there would be glitches this first year because it may be a very complicated process.

Finally, Dr. Coburn said that a new alcohol education assessment program was instituted this year. is an online assessment that all freshmen are required to complete before their fall semester.


Finance and Business

Mr. John Carnaghi, Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, introduced the action items from the Finance and Business Committee.

Approval of Local Fees 2007-2008 (Activity and Service Fees, Athletic Fees, Health/Counseling Fees)

Liz Maryanski, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, discussed the proposed increase in local fees. Trustee Duda made a motion to approve the increase in local fees for 2007-2008. Trustee Busch-Transou seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of Material and Supplies Fee 2007-2008

Mr. Carnaghi explained the proposed increase in material and supplies fees for 2007-2008. Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the increase in material and supplies fees for 2007-2008. Trustee Ford seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of the University Debt Policy

Mr. Ralph Alvarez, Associate Vice President for Budget/Planning & Financial Services, discussed the new debt service policy and two financing projects. He said the new policy from the Board of Governors “The Board of Governors’ Debt Management Guidelines” establishes certain requirements for universities. Trustee Duda made a motion to adopt the new debt service policy. Trustee Haggard seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of Parking Fee Increase

Mr. Carnaghi asked the Board to approve a transportation access fee increase. Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the parking fee increase. Trustee McGee seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of Equipment Use Fee for the College of Motion Picture, Television & Recording Arts

Mr. Carnaghi asked the Board to approve the equipment use fee for the College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts, which is also referred to as “the Film School.” The Film School is requesting an annual fee for Film School majors of $175 a semester for the replacement of loss or damage of the equipment. In the Finance and Business Committee, he added the caveat that the Dean, with approval of the Provost, would have the authority to assess additional fees in cases where a student causes loss or damage to equipment due to excessive negligence. Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the equipment use fee for the College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts. Trustee McGee seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of Refunding Action for FSU Seminole Boosters Series 2002 Bond Issue for $34,885,000

Mr. Alvarez presented the refunding action for FSU Seminole Boosters Series 2002 Bond revenue issue for $34,885,000. The Seminole Boosters would like the authority to refinance their bonds at a lower interest rate. Trustee Pantín made a motion to approve the refunding action for the FSU Seminole Boosters Series 2002 Bond issue. Trustee Duda seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of Revised 2007-2008 Fixed Capital Outlay Budget Request

Mr. Carnaghi asked the Board to approve the revised 2007-2008 Fixed Capital Outlay Budget Request. Trustee Ford made a motion to approve the revised 2007-2008 Fixed Capital Outlay budget request. Trustee McGee seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Approval of FSU International Programs Awarding a Loan Contract to Bank of America for $5,000,000 in lieu of Existing Debt

Mr. Alvarez explained that the FSU International Programs is securing a permanent loan for $5 million to acquire and renovate property in Spain. Trustee Ford made a motion to approve FSU International Programs’ award of a loan contract to Bank of America for $5,000,000 in lieu of existing debt. Trustee Duda seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Creation of New Direct Support Organization--The Florida State University Magnet Research and Development, Inc.

Dr. Kirby Kemper, Vice President for Research, asked the Board to create a new direct support organization to be called the FSU Magnet Research and Development, Inc. Trustee Haggard made a motion to approve the new direct support organization—The Florida State University Magnet Research and Development, Inc. Trustee Duda seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Amended FSU Foundation Board of Trustee Bylaws

Ms. Lee Hinkle presented the revised FSU Foundation Bylaws to the Board for approval. Trustee Ford made a motion to approve the revised FSU Foundation bylaws. Trustee Duda seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

9. Open Forum for Board Member Discussion

Chairman Smith thanked Trustee Christopher Evans for his participation on the Board of Trustees for the past year. Trustee Cobbe indicated that the current meeting would be his last face-to-face meeting on the Board. First, he said that it had been a great privilege to serve on the Board and he thanked his fellow trustees for their love of the institution and their service to it. Second, Dr. Cobbe said that he was aware of the reason, for and the value of, celebrating achievements and successes, but it is important to be realists and pay attention to the environment and possible dangers. In public perception, FSU is usually paired with the University of Florida. It is important to preserve that perception and nurture it. He said that he was concerned that in the state of Florida, other institutions may be gaining on FSU from behind, and in the future that may cause harm. Structurally, FSU has serious disadvantages compared to the institutions in the large urban centers, several of which have or soon will have larger engineering, medical, and even in some cases some science programs. Dr. Cobbe said that it is very important to the future of the University to cultivate distinctiveness from the newer universities in the state. He said that good students are attracted by good programs, faculty members, and other good students. The public judges universities in part on the apparent quality of students and average SAT and GRE scores. Dr. Cobbe said that currently, the public probably views FSU as qualitatively better than any other school in the system except the University of Florida, but those other schools would like to change that perception, and they can produce some evidence to suggest that they should. If Florida State does not ensure that the facts support its status, this will hurt it. He urged the Trustees to remember that geography is against the University.

Trustee Busch-Transou thanked the Trustees who supported the United Way of the Big Bend initiative. The University succeeded in achieving a goal at $400,000 dollars.

10.  President’s Report

President Wetherell provided an update on lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., creation of a national center for alternative energy, the Pathways initiative, student government activities, Seven days of Opening Nights, the ACC basketball tournament, Heritage Day, the revised FSU website, Joe O’Shea as winner of  the USA Today academic All Americans, and graduation rates.

11. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 11:42 AM.


The Florida State University Board of Trustees approved the minutes on May 11, 2007.