UF tops in STEM degrees in Florida
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
An accountability report released at Wednesday's Board of Governors meeting in Gainesville shows the University of Florida leads the state when it comes to producing graduates in so-called STEM majors emphasized by state leaders.
At the end of the 2011-2012 academic year, UF awarded STEM bachelor's degrees to 31 percent of its students, six percentage points ahead of the second-highest percentage at New College in Sarasota, according to the System Accountability Report. The report also noted that UF's four-year graduation rate for 2008 freshmen is 67 percent, well above the state average of 42 percent.
The Board of Governors emphasized areas of strategic interest to the state in its annual Accountability Report: STEM, globalization, security/emergency services and select disciplines within health professions and education. The statewide count of students graduating with these degrees was 38 percent; it was 46 percent at UF.
Joe Glover, provost and senior vice president of academic affairs at UF, said the university is always responsive to the state's need for filling STEM positions. UF can help to fill STEM jobs across Florida while still working toward becoming a top 10 public university nationally, Glover said.
Gov. Rick Scott has emphasized both of those goals, which he said is partly what led him to ask UF President Bernie Machen to remain in his position. Machen also has made raising UF's national profile a priority.
Glover cautioned that while UF provides the infrastructure that attracts STEM students, administrators aren't the people with the final say in these statistics.
"The students really select their own majors," he said.