President, university leaders address pressing issues in Town Hall

President talks new appointments, strategic plan, finances at Town Hall

Proclaiming “these are times that demand clarity and a sense of urgency,” President Mark B. Rosenberg hosted a Town Hall meeting April 2 that addressed key academic appointments, the university’s strategic plans and finances, and the Board of Governor’s mandated performance funding paradigm.

Rosenberg opened the meeting by announcing that College of Arts & Sciences Dean Kenneth Furton has been named FIU’s provost and executive vice president effective July 1, 2014. He replaces current Provost Douglas Wartzok, who is stepping down at the end of June after a highly successful tenure. The president also announced that Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Bejar will become vice president of Academic Affairs effective July 1, 2014.

The meeting was a collaborative effort, with Rosenberg, Wartzok, Furton, Bejar and Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Jessell making presentations. Here is the PowerPoint from the meeting:

Key takeaways from the meeting include:

2010-15 Strategic Plan

Wartzok said the university has met or exceeded most of the 2013-14 goals set out in the 2010-1015 strategic plan. The only goals that are likely not to be met this year are those that deal with international students, AA transfer student four-year graduation rates and external federal funding.


In a presentation about university finances, Jessell said he and his team are committed to making sure the university has enough resources to meet the objectives of the strategic plan and performance funding indicators, despite the fact that state funding is not expected to increase (outside of the dollars received as a result of FIU’s score on the performance funding paradigm).

“This group – this family – has done more with less and has done it at a very high level,” said Jessell. “We have to do it on our own, and we will.

“Trying to develop a [funding] model with non-recurring dollars is not a sustainable model for this university,” he continued. “We will continue to provide resources to invest in strategic choices, but it will involve a redirection of resources.”

Jessell said senior leadership will be developing a “collegial process” to determine what those strategic investments should be.

Performance Funding Model

Rosenberg addressed the new Board of Governor’s Performance Funding Model, which tracks 10 performance goals and awards dollars based upon each university’s ability to do well in those areas.

“The only new state funding we will get in the next couple of years is going to come from our performance funding,” said Rosenberg. FIU came in third among the State University System (SUS) universities and is in line to receive $7.2 million this year based upon its score on the Performance Funding Model.

“In the old days, we got funded by how many kids showed up. Today it’s different. Students are increasingly carrying the burden of their education, so there is a laser-like focus on student success,” said Rosenberg. “We understand that, and we can’t afford to be tone deaf in this new era of higher education.”