Florida Gulf Coast University announced a new initiative for student success Wednesday, which will be headed by a new vice-president. FGCU lost $8 million in extra funding this year after finishing in the bottom three among Florida's universities, which compete for the money based on student success factors such as graduation rates and salaries of recent graduates.
"FGCU has lagged a little bit in what we should have achieved earlier, and that has shown up in the performance funding," said university president Michael Martin, Ph.D. "We want to produce a kind of holistic student experience that will make them successful while they're on campus, and even more successful once they leave."
Mitchell Cordova, Ph.D. will be the vice-president for student success and enrollment management. He wants incoming freshmen to be able to focus on their field of study as quickly as possible.
"If they're passionate about their major....they're going to graduate in four years," Cordova said. "They're going to find employment or a grad school in their chosen profession and become competitive in the workforce. And to us, that's student success."
He said the new success initiative may include developing new programs or new offices to help students stay on track to graduate sooner and find rewarding careers.
The Florida House of Representatives is considering a bill to change the way colleges and universities are awarded money, like measuring a university's success against its own past peformance.
Martin said that since many of his students come from lower income backgrounds, they're aren't the same as those attending the University of Florida, for example.
"We should be measured against the value added we give to those students, not just their simple outcome," he said.
He added that while he hopes that lawmakers can change the performance-based funding system, he believes the university's new commitment to student success is the right direction to take in any case.