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Legislative Priorities For 2016

Each year, Florida State University administrators identify priorities determined to be vital to the operation and growth of the university. Below were the top priorities for the 2016 Legislative Session, which began on January 12th and ended on March 11th. Session outcomes are listed after each priority.

1.      Increase Preeminence $10 million

The legislature established criteria for state universities to meet in order to achieve preeminent status. FSU meets all 12 of the 12 metrics required for preeminence, which supplements the university’s annual base budget with $25 million in preeminence funding. This enhancement has, to date, allowed Florida State to hire 57 new faculty members in STEM fields and other disciplines, and take on 23 campus-based entrepreneurs, who teach students how to turn their ideas and innovations into practical enterprises. Boosting preeminence funding by an additional $10 million will allow FSU to stay nationally competitive in its efforts to attract top-tier faculty, particularly in STEM fields, and move into the Top 25 among public universities.

In addition, performance-based funding is allocated to state universities that exceed Board of Governors benchmarks and FSU anticipates again surpassing these standards, making performance-based funding an ongoing priority for 2016.

Outcome: The legislature appropriated an additional $10 million for preeminence to Florida State, for a total of $35 million in annual recurring preeminence funding. In addition, $500 million in performance funds, which are tied to a set of BOG metrics distinct from the legislature’s preeminence metrics, also passed this session. 

2.      Florida State University Facilities

A number of factors have negatively impacted state revenue sources dedicated to the construction, renovation and expansion of educational facilities. As such, facility priorities at Florida State include:

A.  Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science (EOAS) Building – This complex, which has been partially funded for construction, is designed to create an environment where earth-science disciplines can interact in a collaborative and interdisciplinary manner to provide instruction, conduct research, and expand public service. The EOAS facility will include classroom space, teaching labs, study space, research laboratories, and administrative and academic-support services. Also, by placing these three major divisions under one roof, Florida State will be able to eliminate three antiquated buildings (saving significant maintenance dollars), provide instructional innovation, increase research potential, and grow the number of STEM degrees. Construction completion request: $35 million Outcome: $12 million was appropriated for this project 

B.  Interdisciplinary Research and Commercialization Building (IRCB) – STEM faculty in the physical sciences and engineering typically share core facilities, such as research labs, since these arrangements facilitate collaborations across departments that can lead to unanticipated discoveries. Through construction of the IRCB, Florida State will take a significant step toward this new model of cooperative space that is open and flexible, and has the ability to grow and adapt to change. Additionally, the IRCB will provide incubator space for the development of startup companies based on university inventions and discoveries, and the commercialization of its intellectual property.  Construction phase request: $36 million – Outcome: Was not addressed  

C.  College of Business – The development of a new complex for the FSU College of Business will provide significant and necessary increases to the instructional, technology and collaborative-learning spaces required for robust commerce-focused and research-based instruction to future business leaders. This facility will house seven departments, including the Dedman School of Hospitality, along with entrepreneurial space to accommodate advanced networking and career development opportunities. Planning phase request: $2.5 million – Outcome: Was not addressed   

D.  Deferred maintenance/renewal of facilities – To keep timeworn classrooms and labs functional and supportive of the university's mission, Florida State requires substantial investments in capital maintenance/renewal projects just to address the existing backlog. According to the 2015 Sightlines Report, these investments will significantly reduce day-to-day repair and maintenance costs, provide greater reliability and efficiencies, and extend the life of existing buildings, systems and equipment. Current backlog: $30.7 million 

Outcome: $61,804,669 was appropriated for State University System projects, of which $8,825,475 will go to FSU. 

3.      Courtelis Facilities Matching Gift Program • $10.5 million 

In 2011, the Courtelis Matching Gift program was suspended and, consequently, no gifts from that point forward qualified for a state match. However, Florida State still had more than $10.5 million in prior gifts waiting to be matched before the suspension. These donations are critical to facilities construction and Florida State requests this program be reinstated and the prior-gift backlog be fully funded. Outcome: Was not addressed 

4.      College of Law Scholarships/Faculty • $1 million

FSU requests that last year’s $1 million non-recurring allocation be made recurring. This revenue will be divided between student scholarships (approximately $600,000) and two additional faculty hires (approximately $400,000) to enhance the Law School’s ability to attract and retain high-achieving students, improve its student-faculty ratio, and maintain the FSU College of Law’s Top 25 national standing among public law schools.
Outcome: The legislature funded this project.  

5.      FAMU-FSU College of Engineering • $6.6 million

To improve the academic quality, research rigor, efficiency and efficacy of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, critical investments are required. These funds will allow for the hiring of five additional faculty members in areas of strategic need, and address the cost of equipment, technology, labs, and other research essentials for all newly hired engineering faculty. Benefits to the state include marked increases in degree-holders in core engineering fields, levels of external-grant funding, number of patents filed, startup companies launched, and the commercialization of research products. Outcome: Was not addressed

Additional Outcomes:

Black Student Union RenovationThe legislature appropriated $1.5 million for this project.