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UFF slams Rick Scott’s Degrees to Jobs Summit

Florida’s college faculty union is taking a jab at Gov. Rick Scott’s “Degrees to Jobs” Summit.

The United Faculty of Florida wasn’t invited to the event, which takes place Wednesday and Thursday in Orlando. It issued a statement on Tuesday.

The mission of the summit is to “bring together Florida business leaders and education officials to better connect Florida students with meaningful jobs when they graduate.”

But the UFF called the summit “problematic” because “the mission of higher education is much more than just jobs.”

Higher education “is about developing educated, well-rounded citizens and future leaders who are able to communicate and write effectively, think critically, and solve problems — skills that are also important criteria for those who do the hiring,” the union’s statement said.

“If Gov. Scott is serious about improving higher education, then he would have a real summit that includes our faculty members, who are critical stakeholders in any discussion of higher education and higher education curriculum,” it added.

“Unfortunately, no faculty members are listed in the agenda for the summit, which is incredibly problematic as we are in the classrooms and in the labs teaching these future leaders the skills necessary to succeed, and we serve as mentors and as references for our students when they apply for jobs,” the statement said.

In response, Scott’s office released a statement that the summit “is bringing together hundreds of stakeholders, including board of trustees and college and university presidents, to discuss how Florida’s higher education system can ready students for success.”

The governor “believes our higher education system must be solely focused on preparing grads to get jobs in high-demand fields when they graduate,” said McKinley P. Lewis, Scott’s deputy communications director.

Eight college or university presidents are expected to attend, as will the dean of the University of Florida’s College of Engineering, so faculty will be well represented, he added.

UFF says it represents more than 22,000 faculty members at 21 of Florida’s universities and colleges.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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