Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Welcome back from President Bense
Dear University Community:
Welcome to spring semester 2012! I know it will be an exciting semester. Today, we welcome our students, and I’m pleased to report that our growth numbers are positive—a 2.7 percent increase in headcount over spring 2011. UWF is becoming a first-choice school, and our growth is a testament to our success. I am writing to share a few points of interest.
I am pleased to welcome Dr. David Marker, our new interim provost. He began in earnest last week and held a well attended Academic Visioning Forum this past Friday. He announced the next steps for Academic Visioning and made a commitment to move it forward. Stay tuned for exciting developments.
Tomorrow, the spring legislative session will convene. Once every 10 years, following the U.S. Census, the legislative session is held in January so that the voting lines can be redrawn. This redistricting process will be the primary focus of the legislature, which is scheduled to run from Jan. 10 through March 9. The other significant issue this session will be the state budget. The current numbers reflect a $2 billion shortfall for the state. That means that legislators will once again face the challenges of trimming the budget. It is too early to know how it may impact higher education, and specifically, the University of West Florida.
The Governor and Legislature have signaled an interest in higher education reform. In fact, in recent months, the governor and legislative members requested extensive information from universities. I hope this information will be useful in understanding the value that higher education brings to the State of Florida. Along with other state university presidents, I will participate in the dialogue about higher education reform, and we will seek appropriate reforms that better our students.
Our legislative website is now up and running, and I encourage you to visit it often to stay abreast of the legislative issues. The address is: http://uwf.edu/govrelations/.
Please know we will monitor the legislative activities closely and keep you apprised of developments. Foremost, the University of West Florida has a job to do in educating our students. Let's keep our focus on our students and on the many important and exciting projects that are ongoing on our campus.