The new designation marks a significant milestone for USF, placing the institution in an elite new category of Florida universities and providing millions of new dollars for targeted research investments
TAMPA, Fla. (June 23, 2016) – Applauding the University of South Florida for its strong trajectory toward national prominence, the Florida Board of Governors on Thursday formally designated USF as the state’s first “emerging preeminent state research university.”
The designation comes with millions of dollars in additional funding and places USF squarely in a new class of elite Florida universities.
The Florida Preeminence program, written into state law three years ago, rewards high-performing state research institutions based on 12 metrics, including a high student admissions profile, at least two top 50 national rankings, at least six national academy members, extensive research expenditures and an endowment of $500 million or more, among others. (Find full details in Florida Statute 1001.7065.)
Meeting nine of 12 preeminence benchmarks, USF is well beyond the required six benchmarks for “emerging preeminent” status and only two metrics away from full preeminence – which requires 11 of 12 metrics met. Currently only two of Florida’s 12 public universities meet full preeminence standards.
During this week’s Board of Governors meeting, President Judy Genshaft has set the goal that USF would cross the full preeminence threshold in just two years, by 2018.
“Our progress toward Florida Preeminence and the investments that come along with it will feed into a virtuous cycle for other aspects of the institution – including student and faculty recruitment, community partnerships and external funding,” Genshaft said. “This endeavor, while important to USF in its own right, also supports innovation and economic development in the Tampa Bay region and the State of Florida.”
The new designation for USF comes with $5 million for targeted research investments this year. Genshaft said the money would be spent to enhance research in heart health and medical engineering – important areas particularly given the university’s planned move of its USF Health Heart Institute and Morsani College of Medicine to downtown Tampa.
It also supports USF’s ambition to climb in national university rankings and further positions the institution for eventual membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).
This quest was supported by the BOG’s approval on Thursday of two new PhD programs, in behavioral and community sciences and applied linguistics.
The USF System meanwhile also remains a leader in the Board of Governors’ performance-based funding program – receiving more than $30 million in state funds this year based on high marks key in measures of student success. The program represents the primary mechanism for awarding new funding to universities from the BOG and Legislature.
This year the Florida Legislature has proposed a $500 million investment to the State University System through the BOG’s performance funding model, with the universities contributing $275 million to match a $225 million new investment from the state.
USF System highlights this year include:
75% of baccalaureate graduates are employed full-time or continuing their education
3% increase in median wages of graduates employed full time in Florida
1st in the state in graduate degrees awarded in areas of strategic emphasis, including high-need and highly paid areas such as accounting, education, global initiatives, health, and STEM disciplines (2nd in the state in baccalaureate degrees awarded in those same fields)
Six-year graduation rate continues to rise, now at 67.8%
“Each year, our universities are demonstrating remarkable improvements, raising the bar on their commitments to student success and the success of our graduates,” said Board of Governors’ Chair Tom Kuntz, who was key in developing the metrics. “Thanks to the support from the Governor and Legislature, the service to our students, our employers, and our state is unprecedented.”
The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. USF is a Top 25 research university among public institutions nationwide in total research expenditures, according to the National Science Foundation. Serving over 48,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.