Legislative Priorities

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UF plan for increasing our national ranking – $75 million

For this request we are asking lawmakers to provide $75 million to accelerate and expand our rise to the top of the national rankings. This plan is broken down into four categories:

Faculty Investment in Targeted Disciplines – $20 million

Recruit 100 new faculty members to focus on five research areas including data analysis, human health security, infrastructure, and advance materials

Faculty Retention Support – $30 million

Bridge the faculty salary gap between UF and our Peers

Reducing Student/Faculty Ratio – $15 million

Reduce the ratio from 21:1 to 19:1 by hiring 225 faculty members

Increased Graduate Student Support – $10 million

Increase stipends to attract and retain the brightest graduate students to support important research

Utilities/Infrastructure/Maintenance – $30 million

The University of Florida - the oldest public university in the State with a 36 year average building age - has many buildings that require repairs and renovations. Due to declining PECO revenues and fluctuating appropriations, UF has not been able to keep pace with deteriorating facilities. Funds will help UF address its most serious building maintenance problems.

UF Engineering NEXUS: Renovation and Addition to Nuclear Science Building – $8.7 Million

Engineering Innovation Nexus is an 88,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art research and educational environment located in the heart of campus. UF will update the 50-year old Nuclear Science facility. Re-purposing existing space will provide for cutting-edge education and research opportunities and allow us to increase the number of students earning engineering degrees.

UF College of Education: Norman Hall Renovations – $10.4 Million

Listed on the National Historic Registry, the College of Education’s Norman Hall has not been updated in years and has critical maintenance needs. This project would renovate the building, transforming it into modern, efficient teaching space. It would also add space for research and training. 

UF Data Science and Information Tech Building – $25 Million

The Data Science and Information Technology Building will house faculty and researchers from the College of Medicine and the College of Engineering who specialize in analyzing massive amounts of data to tackle complicated problems. The facility will also consolidate faculty from the Departments of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer and Information Science, and Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. Both colleges will be able to recruit and retain outstanding faculty by offering them technically-advanced facilities and the chance to collaborate with other top researchers in these fields.

UF Music Building: Remodeling and Addition – $12.5 Million

UF will renovate 55,000 gross square feet in UF’s Music Building, originally constructed in 1970. The expansion of the Music Building by an additional 49,000 GSF will provide modern and efficient teaching labs and studio spaces. Improvements will include: a new recital hall, practice rooms and climate-controlled spaces to store and utilize very valuable musical instruments and equipment.

UF College of Pharmacy — Medical Marijuana: Efficacy and Safety Evaluation – $2.4 Million

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 requires physicians to submit quarterly treatment plans to the University of Florida’s College of Pharmacy for research on the safety and effectiveness of low-THC cannabis.  The College of Pharmacy has developed a website to accept physicians’ treatment plans but they cannot conduct research because the legislature has not provided any funding for that effort.

Enhance Zika Research & Education Capacity – $4 Million

The University of Florida has strong existing Zika expertise centered at the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute (EPI) and the Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory (FMEL). UF is home to one of three National Institutes of Health-funded Models of Infectious Disease Agents Study (MIDAS), which are currently tasked with the development of risk models for Zika. Through the UF Preeminence program, some of the top scientists in the country with expertise in work with this and similar viruses have been hired.

The FMEL has expertise and a proven track record of research on all aspects of the biology of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus and of the viruses that they transmit, including dengue chikungunya and now Zika. This LBR requests additional resources/funding that will allow UF investigators and staff to focus on Zika, moving quickly to develop both research and education programs for the optimal control of Zika-related illness in Florida. 

Florida Applied Research in Engineering (FLARE) – $2.5 Million 

The goal of this legislative budget request is to help Florida become a national leader in the high tech industry using the same model as was successful in agriculture – leveraging applied R&D and extension services to benefit Florida industry.  FLARE will secure significant federal research investment and will also focus on contract work for Florida’s industry.

Institute for Comparative Veterinary Diagnostic – $3 Million

A large portion of animal diagnostic testing is presently being sent out-of-state by veterinary medical practitioners in Florida, most of which goes to our peer institutions. This LBR seeks to create the first-of-its-kind Institute for Comparative Veterinary Diagnostics at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. The increased engagement that will naturally accompany the Institute will have positive impacts on animal health, public health, and the economy in Florida.

St. Augustine Historic Building Roofs – $250,000

In 2010, the University of Florida became the managing agency for several historic properties comprised of thirty-nine buildings in St. Augustine. Over the past six years, the University of Florida has expended approximately $20 million in state, direct-support organization, grant, and leveraged private funding for building preservation and delivery of public education programs including support for local economic development and tourism. However, the cost of these replacements is in excess of what the university can afford from its recurring funds to operate and maintain these thirty-nine buildings. This LBR proposes replacement of eight cedar shake roofs on state-owned historic buildings in the historic downtown. This project request enables the university to continue to meet its legislative commitment and utilize state recurring funds for other ongoing needs in St. Augustine.

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2017 Summer Update

2017 Special Session Legislative Recap

The 2017 Florida Legislative Special Session ended on Friday, June 9, 2017. The extended special session focused mainly on K-12 funding, the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund and Visit Florida funding. However, medical marijuana, Herbert Hoover Dike funding and higher education funding were also considered.

On June 26, 2017, Governor Scott signed HB1A into law, which went into effect on July 1 and revived $60 million of vetoes to higher education and the State University System. Of that, the University of Florida was re-appropriated:

$5.9 million for the music building renovation

$1.7 million to conduct medical marijuana research

We would like to extend a special thank you to Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron, House Speaker Richard Corcoran, the Gator Caucus Members and all those that showed support for the University of Florida during the legislative regular and special sessions. UF relies on Gators for Higher Ed (G4HE) advocates, like you, to help the University reach its goal of becoming a top-10 institution. With you by our side, we are well on our way to achieving this goal and so much more.

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2017 Board of Trustees Meeting Recap

UF’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution to hire 500 new faculty within five years to further enhance teaching and research, reduce class sizes and move UF into the top 5 of the nation’s very best public research universities. Funding for new faculty, as well as enhanced compensation for current outstanding faculty, comes in part from state allocations determined in the 2017 legislative sessions but will require continued investment.

The hiring plan was created by President Kent Fuchs and his leadership to address two primary university goals: reaching top-ranked status by strengthening various research disciplines and improving the university’s student-to-faculty ratio, a widely recognized metric in determining an institution’s excellence and stature. New faculty will be hired to enhance our already exceptional faculty and staff and will help boost research funding, now at an all-time high of nearly $800 million annually. The additional hires will represent a variety of fields, but priority will also be given to areas that focus on new business start-ups, tech transfer and economic development. UF’s current student-to-faculty ratio is 20 to 1; the 500 new hires ultimately will result in a student-to-faculty ratio of 16 to 1.

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University Highlights

The University of Florida in the rankings:

  • Forbes recently published its rankings of the Best Value College 2017: 300 Schools Worth the Investment, for this Forbes ranked UF #4 overall, and was the South’s only school in the top 10.
  • The New York Times has ranked the University of Florida as the #6 college/university doing the most for the American Dream by helping low- and middle-income students graduate.
  • Money magazine’s ranking of the “Best Colleges for Your Money” had the University of Florida #10 among public institutions and #18 overall.
  • The USA Today named the University of Florida as the #3 best U.S. college for studying natural resources and conservation.
  • The UF Warrington College of Business ranked as the #2 U.S. public program in The Economist's inaugural Master in Management rankings.
  • The UF Levin College of Law Tax Program is ranked #1 among public law schools and #3 among all law schools by the S. News & World Report

The University of Florida’s Women’s Tennis, Men’s Track and Field, and Baseball teams captured national championships – making the University of Florida one of four athletics programs to win at least one national team title in each of the last nine seasons.

With these wins, the University of Florida became the only school in history to win outright National Championships in Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball and Women's Soccer. Florida is also the only school to win National Championships in Football, Basketball and Baseball in a 10-year period. With 39 National Championships, Florida is the only program with National Championships in all of the following sports: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Women's Soccer, Men's Golf, Men's Indoor Track and Field, Women's Indoor Track and Field, Men's Outdoor Track and Field, Gymnastics, Women's Tennis, Men's Swimming and Diving and Women's Swimming and Diving.

Those three NCAA team titles to close the collegiate season lifted the University of Florida athletics program to third in the 2016-17 Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings. This is Florida's ninth consecutive top-five finish in the national all-sports rankings.

Florida is the only program to finish among the nation's top 10 in each of the last 34 national all-sports standings.
 
Thirteen Florida teams placed among the nation's top 10, marking the 10th consecutive season 12 or more Gator teams turned in top-10 national finishes. Ten Gator teams among the nation's final top-five equals the program record set in 2009-10 and matched in 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons.

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