FAU seeks increase in 2022-23 legislative budget request for AI and big data advancements

To be considered a university of distinction, FAU requests finances to grow artificial intelligence and data analysis research programs.


Photo by Eston Parker III

Kayla Ortiz, Political Reporter

On Sept. 13., FAU’s Board of Trustees annual retreat meeting was called to order by current chair Abdol Moabery to discuss legislative budget requests and past semester spending reports

The Board of Trustees is comprised of 13 members, who are responsible for making policy decisions that maintain high-quality education programs, performance rates, state policy, budgeting, and overall standards of education.

The board holds a minimum of five meetings per year, occasionally meeting extra if there is a time-sensitive matter that needs to be quickly addressed.  

The last meeting was a special full board meeting held on Aug. 27. In which the board approved naming the FAU head football coach’s position the “Hagerty Family Head Football Coach” after Michelle and Michael Hagerty donated $2.5 million to support the FAU football program.

As of August 2019, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) created new guidelines for evaluating universities’ legislative budget requests (LBRs) that still prioritize performance-based funding, preeminent universities, and universities of distinction. 

LBRs are affected by Senate Bill 72, which was signed on June 29, 2020, by Gov. Ron Desantis, creating the “state universities of distinction” category within the State University System of Florida and permitting the Florida board of governors to create education standards for universities to adhere to. 

Due to this, the BOG asked the schools to resubmit a proposal for their 2022-23 universities of distinction legislative budget request.

FAU continues to focus on artificial intelligence and data-related sciences when creating the 2022-2023 LBR, as they have done for the past two legislative cycles.

The university resubmitted the LBR on July 9, with no changes except the request of an additional $5.3 million increasing the amount from $12.8 million to $18.1 million. 

The increase in budget is aimed at leveraging FAU’s Applied Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics programs, to allow the school to continuously grow as a university of distinction through its research projects. 

The goal for the funding is to improve academic programs as well as raise the reputation of FAU as a research-driven university.

The AI/Data Pillar at FAU aims to continue building upon its previous success and establish a more diverse workforce within the data analyst field, while also expanding the number of degrees, concentrations, and certificates offered at FAU.

In accordance with the State University System of Florida Board of Governors, each university is required to create a Fixed Capital Outlay (FCO) Budget to be approved by the board of trustees. Guidelines for these budgets are provided in Board Regulations 9.007 and 14.003.

Within the FCO budget categories include, projects for education and general operating as well as both minor (under $2 million) and major (exceeding $2 million) carryforward projects.

These funds are allocated towards maintenance, repair, renovation, remodeling, and new campus infrastructure.

Also presented at the retreat was FAU’s 2021-22 proposed carryforward spending plan which supports the University’s expenditures during the year. 

The total amount from the current year’s education and general carryforward balance as of July 1, 2021: $70,025,604. 

Vice President of Administraive Affairs Stacy Volnick presented the equity report, a required annual report.

This regulation outlines that discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, marital status, veteran status at any university is prohibited.

In the equity report, FAU’s has made progress with creating equal access between sex equity in athletics, as well as representation of different race and sex in student enrollment. 

“We must continue to ensure that our campus promotes the principles of equity and inclusion,” John Kelly’s Presidential statement in the report states, “and that we place FAU in a position to leverage the rich diversity on our campus.” 

Once approved this report is submitted to the Board of Governors of Florida.

After discussing the equity report for 2019-2020, provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bret Danilowicz presented a request for the approval of the Textbook and Instructional Materials Affordability Annual Report.

Outlined in the textbook affordability report are the university’s efforts to minimize costs for students. 

Including the textbooks on reserve, book loaner, and the inclusive access programs are designed to reduce the cost of texts and source materials for attendees. 

The spring 2020 inclusive access program aided 3,767 students in collectively saving $202,878 on textbooks, a 115% increase from spring 2019. 

For FAU to adhere to the BOG regulation 8.003, textbooks should be adopted no later than 60 days before the first day of classes to allow the bookstore to request sufficient materials. 


Kayla Ortiz is a Political Reporter for the University Press. For information regarding this story, email her at [email protected] or DM her @kayla.ortiz1 on Instagram.