USF Poly faculty not pleased with new plan to go indie immediately

Being an accredited college is huge in terms of issuing degrees that employers and recruiters recognize. The regional body that would accredit USF Poly is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

Kragler writes in her letter to Senator Lynn that USF Poly faculty and staff have been meeting every other week toward the goal of getting accreditation from SACS, and she says the school is on track to receive separate accreditation by 2014. "If you know of a faster way for the new university to achieve separate accreditation, we would appreciate the information," she asks, adding that "it is our understanding that the soonest a new university could hope for accreditation would be five years from startup. In the meantime, without accreditation, how would such a university attract new students or competent faculty?"

The mad rush led by Alexander to separate Poly from USF has been an exercise in legislative bullying. His request late last year for records from the Board of Governors and all the universities, including records of all travel, foundation spending and gifts from companies that do business with the universities, ended up costing massive hours of effort by officials at USF to satisfy him.

An editorial in the Tampa Bay Times last Friday bashed Lynn and Alexander's 38 other colleagues in the state Senate for standing around and watching this power play transpire with little to no stated opposition, apparently because of Alexander's power as chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

We look forward to hearing the responses of Senators Lynn and Alexander today about the Senate Faculty letter regarding accreditation.

  • J.D. Alexander

Last week the Florida Senate Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee sent a seven-page conforming bill sponsored by Senator Evelyn Lynn to the full Budget Committee re separating USF Polytechnic from USF Tampa. That move had been pushed for months by Lake Wales Republican state Senator J.D. Alexander, until the Board of Governors agreed last year to a gradual transition, monitored by USF.

But that arrangement never seemed to mollify Alexander, and last Wednesday the bill calling on the Polk County campus to acquire its independence immediately was slipped in at the last minute — bypassing the specific requirements that the Board of Governors listed as necessary.

There's now a new development in the ongoing drama: a letter sent by the Faculty Senate at USF-Poly on Saturday that expresses "great dismay" over Lynn's proposal, specifically for assuming that separate accreditation for the campus is now going to happen.

"This measure seems to have been introduced based on two primary assumptions," USF Polytechnic Faculty Senate President Sherry Kragler writes in a letter to Lynn and other members of the Florida Senate.
"1) that USF Polytechnic faculty and staff are NOT currently working toward separate accreditation and independence in a timely manner; 2) that achieving accreditation for the new university through Valencia College/University of Florida will be faster/easier than the current process for USF Polytechnic's separate accreditation. While we cannot speak definitively to the second assumption, we, as engaged faculty members, can attest that the first assumption is erroneous."


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