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BOG To Decide Whether To Keep, Split FAMU-FSU Engineering School

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state's 12 public universities, will have only two options to choose from when deciding the fate of the jointly-run Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering. As the Tampa Bay Times' Tia Mitchell reports, House and Senate budget negotiators revamped plans that call for the BOG to spend $500,000 to consider options for how the school should move forward.

From the Times:

It can keep the status quo, meaning the 32-year-old partnership between Florida State University and Florida A&M University will continue operating as it has. Or the board can decide to create differentiated programs at each university, meaning certain majors or degrees would be offered at FAMU and different ones would be available at FSU.

What is not an option: splitting the school in a way that leaves FAMU without an engineering program, something its advocates feared would happen under the Senate plan to funnel $13 million to FSU so it can begin creating its own engineering school.

"Slowing down was the best thing to do and this Legislature made the right decision in taking time to really evaluate the interests of both universities," said Sean Pittman, a lobbyist for FAMU.

The budget language allocates $500,000 to the Board of Governors to hire a non-Florida-based firm to conduct the study "with the goal of achieving world class engineering education opportunities for students in both universities." The study must be completed by January and a decision by the board no later than March 2015.

Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) raised the idea of diving the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering by steering $10 million to FSU to start its own school. Thrasher also managed to get another $2 million for the effort, but both plans were reversed in budget negotiations, with the $10 million going for the construction of another building at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering main campus.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/04/budget-language-on-engineering-school-study-protects-famu.html#storylink=cpy

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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