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USF Expands Career Resources, Hires New Faculty

A prominent new career resource center, several new positions dedicated to improving student retention and graduation rates, and additional support for students with disabilities are among the initiatives achieved with $22.2 million for the USF System.



TAMPA, Fla. (March 16, 2015) - Laser-focused on ensuring that USF System graduates are poised for success in today’s workforce, the University of South Florida System has embarked on several new initiatives using $22.2 million in new performance funds granted by Gov. Rick Scott and the 2014 Legislature.

The primary use of the funds will be to enhance the emphasis that each USF System institution places on student success, especially student career-readiness upon graduation. Among the most visible signs of this new investment will be the new Career Success Center at USF Sarasota-Manatee, which is four times the size of the previous career resource center. The new center is designed to connect students with academic major and career exploration tools through a series of online modules and prepare students to enter internships in their final years of undergraduate education. The goal is to increase student participation in internships or career readiness experiences by 25 percent in the 2014-2015 fiscal year. In addition, the center is developing an employer survey to determine how well prepared students are for their jobs upon graduation.

USF’s largest campus in Tampa has similarly revamped its career resource center and hired several new positions designed to prepare students for today’s workforce and expand relationships with local employers. These positions will focus on building additional internships for students and on integrating enhanced career-readiness initiatives into the traditional college experience. USF has also expanded services provided by the Office for Students with Disabilities Services to help ensure graduation for all students. The number of students requesting learning accommodations on the Tampa campus has more than doubled in the past three years. The additional funding will be used to hire staff to meet the increased demand to support all students’ academic success.

“Our approach to student success is multi-faceted,” said Tom Miller, USF Vice President for Student Affairs. “We want every single USF student to graduate with the skills and the experiences necessary to excel in tomorrow’s workforce.”

Performance funding dollars have also paved the way for a variety of new university positions designed to cultivate more opportunities for students in STEM and other high-wage, high-need areas. These include new faculty hired at USF St. Petersburg to teach additional classes in disciplines such as biology, math, accounting and education leadership. The institution is also using performance funds to enhance campus safety and to improve alumni interaction with current students.

The Governor has proposed to invest $400 million in university performance funding during 2015-2016, following a $200 million investment last year. Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature have showed strong support of the Board of Governors’ performance funding model, which rewards universities based on their excellence or improvement on 10 metrics--including graduation and retention rates. The model provides a financial incentive for universities to prioritize students and ensure they have access to the help they need, can finish their studies within a reasonable period of time, and are prepared for successful careers after graduation.

"Including incentive-based funding for our universities will help move us toward better outcomes for our students,” said Florida House Speaker Steve Crisafulli. “Their success in the workforce is the key predictor of our success as a state.”

“Florida’s higher education system is reaching new heights under performance funding, which encourages universities to make strategic investments aligned with the needs of students, families and taxpayers,” said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater. “I look forward to seeing these investments pay off for the USF System as well as for the state workforce.”

“Performance funding is designed to ensure that students have the maximum opportunity to get a high-quality higher education and transition into a successful career,” said Board of Governors Chair Mori Hosseini. “I congratulate our state universities for making strategic investments that will benefit students as well as the taxpayers and economy of our state.”

University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 50 research university among both public and private institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving nearly 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.5 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors

The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The system has 12 universities and more than 335,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the system’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the system’s chief executive. For more, visit www.flbog.edu or follow us on Facebook

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