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State Priorities


2017 State Legislative Priorities

Campus Expansion & Facilities Funding

PECO dollars, or Public Education Capital Outlay, are traditionally the primary source of funding for Florida's educational facilities and infrastructure.  Historically the state has bonded the PECO revenue to leverage an average of over $1 billion each year in funding.  PECO dollars are also used to meet critical deferred maintenance needs. FIU’s request in PECO and General Revenue funds are as follows:

Campus Expansion: $20 million

Since 2010, FIU has been working with Miami-Dade County and the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition to find a suitable location to relocate the Fair and gain access to 64 acres adjacent to FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus. FIU asks for support of its advocacy efforts in seeking $20 million in state funds for the relocation of the Fair and FIU’s expansion. Currently serving 54,000 students, FIU has maximized use of its existing space and needs to expand its footprint in order to continue meeting the needs of the South Florida community, spur economic activity and serve a greater public purpose.

It is estimated that FIU’s expansion will:

  • Bring an investment of $900 million in construction – with an impact of $1.8 billion. Create thousands of jobs and nurture entrepreneurship.
  • Have an annual recurring economic impact of $541 million.

The space will allow FIU to:

  • Expand academic and research space with an emphasis in the STEM fields, including classrooms, labs and office space.
  • Create partnership space to promote the academic and research mission of the university with a focus on community economic development, entrepreneurship and commercialization of scientific and research findings.
  • Expansion of research capacity within the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the Robert Stempel School of Public Health & Social Work (Academic Health Center).

Facilities Funding: $18.5 million

  • $15 million for the School of International and Public Affairs Phase II
  • $3.5 Million for Engineering Center Expansion

Startup FIU

Request: $6.1 million of which $1,355,000 is non-recurring

Startup FIU is a new initiative aimed at harnessing, encouraging and supporting the multitude of entrepreneurial activities at FIU. This initiative reflects a university, regional and state, emphasis on job creation, workforce development and post degree employment. The student body at FIU reflects Miami’s diverse community and is a representation of the future of American public universities. As a federally designated minority serving institution of 54,000 students, the impact on Miami and Florida’s economy is significant.

Startup FIU is an effort to encourage students, faculty, staff, or other members of the FIU community to develop and commercialize innovative products or services.  It will also create an infrastructure to facilitate multidisciplinary interactions among internal and external constituents. With this support, FIU Startup will be able to:

  1. Support traditional and social entrepreneurship programming at the MMC, BBC and the West End Innovation Center locations for students, faculty, alumni and the South Florida community. Execute its programming, workshops and other initiatives to focus on social inclusion to facilitate the participation of the widest possible audience in entrepreneurial activities and new startup origination
  2. Support entrepreneurs at the University and in the South Florida community from the idea stage and “proof of concept” to company formation and assistance with funding from banks and investors
  3. Support staffing, including a director, for the StartUP FIU initiative and directors at each of the three hubs.
  4. Create and deliver regular educational workshops on the technology transfer process, lean startup concepts, and other entrepreneurial programming to support FIU students, faculty and staff in the commercialization of their research-based ventures.
  5. Student competitions to encourage and reward innovation. Competitions will vary from best invention to best new business idea to best solution to real industry issue.
  6. Develop a web presence and database to efficiently connect entrepreneurs and companies to students, faculty and staff for potential investment, partnership, internship and/or sponsored research/product or service testing.
  7. Identify, promote and coordinate FIU entrepreneurial activities to develop synergies, provide economies of scale, organizational support and visibility to the external community.
  8. Provide support to the local community through workshops and lectures regarding innovation and commercialization.
  9. Develop mentorship program to support new companies.
  10. Create and grow companies that support or create higher wage jobs.
  11. Attract venture capital and increase investment in Florida startups and economic development, particularly in the Miami area.
  12. Work with city officials, companies and economic development experts to create startup initiatives in targeted areas, like the West End Innovation District.
  13. Work with existing food entrepreneurs from low to moderate income communities to scale their businesses and obtain growth capital through loans and equity, thereby creating more jobs and economic development for their partners and suppliers.
  14. Work directly with faculty who have patents to find avenues for commercialization (i.e., licensing of technology to industry partners, create new companies, obtain SBIR/STTR funding for companies, obtain NSF I-Corps grants). 
  15. Assist faculty and Deans in the individual colleges at FIU to develop and introduce additional entrepreneurship and innovation content, courses and programs in their curriculums.
  16. To offer multiple, free 13-week formal accelerator programs throughout the year at MMC, BBC and West End for FIU students, faculty, alumni and the community, such programs to prepare companies to be ready to pitch to investors at “graduation”.

FIU UP:LIFT                                                                                                      

Request: $5 million of which $800,000 is non-recurring
FIU will create the UP:LIFT (University Paradigm: Learn, Interact, Facilitate, Transform) initiative to deploy state of the art evidence-based instruction, learning technologies, and advanced classroom assessment throughout critical Gateway and STEM courses. The critical Gateway courses are high enrollment, foundational courses that have been found to have high failure rates and/or are predictors of students leaving college. The State’s economic prosperity drives us to target both the foundational and STEM courses. The initiative integrates FIU’s two most impactful student success initiatives, the Graduation Success Initiative (GSI) and the STEM Transformation Institute, to create a new institution-wide paradigm for classroom instruction and student success.
UP:LIFT will prepare faculty to implement the best instructional and assessment practices in their Gateway and STEM courses to improve student success, graduation rates, and programmatic efficiencies so that FIU students develop real-world skills through timely, cost-effective programs. Research and assessment of the student learning impacts resulting from the course transformations will be a core innovation that provides continuous feedback on the implementation as well as spur expansion across FIU and Florida’s universities and colleges through an annual UP:LIFT Symposium. The initiative’s ultimate goal is to be a sustained producer of a highly skilled and highly adaptable workforce that will serve as a launch pad for innovation and startups as well as attract high-tech companies to South Florida.
The initiative capitalizes on the opportunities afforded by the breadth of effective evidence-based instructional techniques, wide availability of technological devices that can be utilized for learning, and FIU’s growing expertise in preparing faculty to implement evidence-based instruction in their classrooms. Effective active learning techniques are well established and understood, yet propagation of these techniques across the Gateway and STEM courses is often limited to faculty with expertise in evidence-based instruction. Faculty often teach as they were taught in college, using lectures as the primary method; thus the barrier to innovative instruction is sufficient, effective professional development. This initiative provides the resources, professional development, and assessment necessary for effective course transformation, thereby providing our students with the best instructional practices available in the nation.

Royal Caribbean partnership                                                                            

Request: $2.5 million non-recurring

In 2013, FIU entered into an innovative partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines after undergoing a competitive solicitation.  This partnership provides multiple benefits to FIU students and faculty, including:
  • 20 paid student internships annually
  • Programmatic access to a $30 million, 130,000 square foot state-of-the-art performance, production and rehearsal facility and technical equipment at our BBC campus, including back-of-the-house operations and participation in training programs
  • Customization of FIU program curricula in the Colleges of Architecture and the Arts, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Journalism and Mass Communication, and Business
  • Job fairs and career placement opportunities for students
  • Student engagement and interaction  with performers and artists
  • Access to RCL proprietary business and research data for use by FIU students and faculty in the development and analysis of entertainment programs, market trends, consumer behavior and market research
  • Guest lectures, technique workshops, and masters classes for students and faculty
  • RCL senior leadership participation on college advisory boards
As part of the partnership, RCL repurposed existing obsolete student housing at BBC that was scheduled for demolition for performer housing.  The existing housing had over $12 million in code and building deficiencies along with $2.5 million in required amenity improvements.  The repurposing required an investment of approximately $7 million by RCL and saved FIU over $2 million in demolition costs.  Because of the current condition of the BBC housing, FIU agreed to use commercially reasonable efforts to seek and obtain the necessary funding from the Florida Legislature to pay for the cost of any legally required remediation of hazardous substances or materials and/or the cure of any applicable laws as part of the housing license agreement with RCL.