UF looking to tilt scale in its favor for performance funds


Published: Monday, November 18, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 18, 2013 at 5:48 p.m.

The University of Florida wants the state to consider its total annual research expenditures when deciding how much of the performance-funding pie to give out — something that might give the university a competitive edge next time around.

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The Board of Governors Budget and Finance Committee will discuss the performance metrics at its meeting Wednesday at Florida International University in Miami.

For the past two years, the state has distributed performance-funding bonuses based on how well universities score in several categories. Up until now, the Board of Governors chose all the performance standards or metrics for each of the system’s 12 universities, which has resulted in UF ranking behind several other universities in overall points.

For next year, the board decided, it would have eight common criteria and select a specific criteria for each university. For both UF and Florida State University, the institution-specific metric is the number of faculty awards received.

The board also gave each university’s Board of Trustees authority to choose a performance measure so it could “customize the model with a metric that best suits the individual goals and challenges of each institution.”

Most of the eight common metrics all universities are judged by “aligned well with UF’s goals,” Provost Joe Glover told the Board of Trustees during a conference call earlier this month.

But some of the metrics pose difficulties for UF because of the data sources, he said. For example, he said, the percentage of graduates employed after a year looks only at those hired in state. “Many leave the state after graduation, and there is no good data for that,” Glover said.

He proposed that UF’s research expenditures be measured against other universities in the 62-member Association of American Universities, of which UF is a member. UF would get one point for being in the bottom third of research expenditures, two points for being in the middle third and three points for being in the top third.

UF spent $640 million in research for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

Common metrics will continue to include such things as the percentage of graduates employed or continuing their education one year later, their average wages, the average cost per undergraduate degree to each institution, retention rate and the six-year graduation rate.

Each metric is ranked according to a three-tiered point scale — the top level getting three points and the lowest getting one point. Those points are added up to determine how much of the performance pie each university gets.

UF received $1.7 million out of a $20 million bonus pool approved by the Legislature last session, tying for third with Florida Atlantic University. The University of Central Florida and University of South Florida tied for first and received $2.6 million each. Florida State, Florida International and Florida Gulf Coast universities ranked second and received $2.2 million each.

UCF and USF outperformed UF in the percentage of students employed a year after graduation. UF grads also paid more for their education and received lower salaries than graduates of UCF and USF.

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