Friday, September 16, 2011

BOG committee postpones vote on dental school proposals

Yesterday, the Strategic Planning Committee of the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) decided to postpone making any recommendations on the three dental school proposals it reviewed.

FAMU and the University of Central Florida are requesting authorization to launch brand new Colleges of Dental Medicine. The University of Florida wants BOG support for its plan to expand its existing College of Dentistry.

As expected, the BOG reacted coolly toward the proposals. Its staffers have concluded that there are already enough dentists in the state.

“You didn't make your case on need and you didn't make your case on solutions to a need,” Chancellor Frank Brogan told FAMU, UCF, and UF officials.

FAMU’s proposal did specifically address the need for more dentists to serve rural citizens and Medicaid patients, facts which are backed up by data from a recent study by the Florida Department of Health.

BOG members also said they are worried that there is not enough money available to start new, expensive dental programs. Even though Florida’s higher education budget has been shrinking since 2007, it did not stop the BOG from approving a new pharmacy school for the University of South Florida in 2008 and a new medical school for Florida Atlantic University in 2010.

UCF’s dental school proposal attracted particularly strong criticism from the BOG committee for its high projected tuition price tag and failure to include a plan for collaborating with the nearby UF. UCF President John C. Hitt said UCF representatives will meet with UF officials in the coming weeks to talk about a possible partnership.

The BOG will take up the dental school proposals once again at its November meeting.

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