Scott requests details on job placement, program costs from state universities

By | 10.20.11 | 8:23 am

The University of Florida campus (Pic by Random McRandomhead, via Flickr)

New reports indicate that Gov. Rick Scott is in the early stages of forming his policy to change higher education in the state of Florida.

In a three-page letter sent to state universities last week (obtained by the News Service of Florida), Scott asks for detailed information about how much graduates and professors earn, and which types of classes are included in their core curriculums.

From the News Service:

Some requests are easy such as what core subjects undergraduates must complete prior to graduation.

But other requests strike right at the heart of Scott’s interest in higher education reforms, with detailed questions about job placement successes and other measurable goals. He asks, for instance, for more information about the salaries and number of courses taught by each university’s highest-paid employees for the last three years.

Scott’s plans to overhaul the state’s university system are nothing new. The businessman-turned-governor has been espousing the need for educational change for months — even specifically referencing Texas’ own controversial reforms as what he might use as a template for Florida.

He has put most of his emphasis on the importance of business, science and math degrees, and told a Texas business group that he wants to emphasize “degrees in things where you can get jobs.”

Scott recently caught heat for going after liberal arts students, saying that Florida doesn’t need any more anthropology majors. After reports surfaced that his daughter has a degree in anthropology from the College of William & Mary, Scott changed his tune, telling a Bay area crowd, “I love anthropology degrees, just so you know.”

More from the News Service, about the specific questions raised by Scott to Florida university heads:

-What studies has your university done in the last three years to ensure your graduates are meeting the needs of employers?

-Do you have measurable goals for the number of graduates who remain in Florida post-graduation? If so, please send me the goals and the results for the last five to ten years.

-What is your process for determining which programs to terminate and which programs to initiate? In the last ten years, what programs were terminated and what programs began?

-What programs do you have to educate students regarding job opportunities? What are your measurable goals for each program?

-How do you measure the university’s cost and revenue per program? If so, please send me reports for the last five to ten years.

Scott also asked for information about how each university plans to graduate more students from the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, an issue he has emphasized lately and one that is important to businesses. The state is not graduating enough students in these science and math fields to meet demand.

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