A special message from Michael Preston, Ed. D., Executive Director of the Florida Consortium of Metropolitan Research Universities

Every year over 70% of Americans commit themselves to a New Year’s Resolution. Unfortunately, only 8% of those Americans actually keep them (Forbes, 2013). However,  the Florida Consortium likes a good challenge, so we are going to take on a series of goals and plan to be part of that 8%. We are certain that 2018 is going to be a big year for us. However, the key to any good goal/resolution is two-fold according to resolution expert Dr. Roberta Anding of the Baylor College of Medicine. The first is to start by laying the proper groundwork for success. For example, if you want to clean up your diet. it is always better to clean out your cupboards and restock them with healthy foods before you begin.  This primes the brain for change. The second is accountability. For many that may mean having an accountability partner, for others it may mean making public statements . With this in mind, the Florida Consortium has four major goals this year:

  1. We will embark on, complete, and launch our strategic plan.
  2. We will engage faculty where they are, the classroom. In doing so,  we will help them provide career development resources for their students
  3. We will respond to the professional development needs of higher education professionals in Florida
  4. We will reinforce the importance of higher education through storytelling, blogging, webinars, and speeches

We have laid that solid groundwork to help us achieve these goals. We have a number of initiatives mapped out to meet our goals. Here are a few examples:

  • We are partnering with the University of South Florida on the National Student Success Conference. This three day conference will take place on February 21- 23 in Tampa and is focused on innovation and creativity in student success. We will be joined by some of the most progressive voices in higher education. For example, Paul Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation will lead a discussion with education leaders on the Central Florida Data Ecosystem. This discussion will provide an insider view on a partnership that may lead the way in cradle to career strategies leveraging predictive analytics. And it gets better, Dr. Daniel Greenstein from the Gates Foundation will discuss how universities can lead the way in economic prosperity in the cities they serve.
  • Also exciting, arm and arm, with Thomas P. Miller and Associates, we’ll be hard at work on our strategic plan. Thanks to a generous grant from the Helios Education Foundation, the Florida Consortium will be meeting with leaders from all of our member universities as well as change agents in education, business, and philanthropy in Miami, Tampa, and Orlando to discover the best ways to support student success, career readiness, and employability.
  • Finally, our College to Career Continuum project funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust will wrap later this year. For the past twelve months faculty from Florida International University, University of Central Florida and University of South Florida have been digging deep to figure out ways that faculty can influence student success with transfer students. They’ve also looked into ways to engage students in the classroom around career readiness. Ultimately, this collaborative work will showcase ways faculty can create innovative ideas and apply them.

In closing, student success is not proprietary. Ideas that help students succeed in the classroom, graduate on time, and start careers with purpose is good for everyone. We need to share those ideas as broadly. We know our goals are ambitious but that is the only way we can ensure that the Florida Consortium lives up to its creed of Sharing Ideas, Designing Solutions, and Ensuring Success in 2018 and beyond.

Happy New Year!


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