With today’s passage of HB 7135 by the Florida Senate, the State University System is on the cusp of having its first systemwide industrial policy.
The bill includes language authorizing a fiscal incentive program to reward the universities that graduate and place the most information technologists. The program can involve as much as $15 million that can be distributed at most to five universities. The bill language attempts to ensure that the money goes straight to the departments that educate the IT grads. While the incentive funds provide one-time money and therefore cannot be used to support new faculty positions, they can be used for classroom renovation and the purchase of new computing equipment – a big plus for cash-strapped departments in computer science, information sciences and management information systems.
As such, the bill language, if signed by Governor Scott (and there is no reason to think he will not), will amount to an SUS-wide industrial policy in support of information technology.
This is a far cry from the system’s former FTE-driven policy, which was articulated by SUS Chancellor Frank Brogan in an article published by the News Service of Florida in September:
State University System Chancellor Frank Brogan said universities have to be responsive to student demand.
“Often times we offer more of what is in demand and if psychology degrees are in greater demand (with students), or if Fine Arts are in greater demand than STEM education, we offer more of them,” Brogan said.
After passing the House by a 115-0 vote earlier this week, HB 7135 passed the Senate today by a 40-0 after being substituted for SB 1366.