Future of Florida Public Policy Summit

The First Annual Robert A. Bryan

Future of Florida Public Policy Summit

Hosted by the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida

Friday, May 16 to Sunday, May 18

For the first time the brightest young minds in Florida will gather in one place to discuss public policy issues facing the future of our state. By coming together for a weekend of meaningful discussion and deliberation, we plan to develop viable solutions for the issues most pressing to our generation. Join the most able students in the state as we come together to empower the collegiate demographic and develop real answers for Florida’s future!

This year’s topic is higher education policy in Florida.  Participants will focus on the following topics:

  • The Cost of Education: tuition, financial aid, Bright Futures
  • Technology: the online campus, effects on learning
  • Campus Safety: sexual assault, guns on campus
  • Student Preparedness and Success: reducing the number of students coming to college unprepared; raising graduation rates in Florida for minorities, adults.
    ***Scroll below for background policy papers on each of these topics. These papers are intended to be a foundation for discussion but they by no means speak to the variety of issues that might be raised.


Event Info:
The conference is currently scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 16, 2014 and conclude around noon on Sunday, May 18. The event will be located in the Pugh Hall Ocora on UF’s main campus. Event check-in will begin at 4:00 p.m. in Pugh Hall. The Center is centrally located and easily accessible by car and foot.

Participants being housed will arrive and check into Hume Hall on campus from 3:00 p.m on May 16. Visiting students will be guided by staff volunteers to and from the event site at Pugh Hall, a 15 minute walk. Students will check out of Hume Hall on Sunday morning by 9 a.m. and will arrive with their luggage at Pugh Hall. All bags will be stored upstairs until adjournment.


Student Organizing Committee:

  • Nathan Harvey
  • Priya Kamath
  • Natalie Martinez
  • Lauren Nickoloff
  • Jayce Victor

Participants selected to attend the Robert A. Bryan Future of Florida Public Policy Summit are accomplished, civically engaged undergraduate students with an interest in Florida politics.  Students chosen are also expected to be in their junior year or above and have distinguished themselves in leadership positions. Additionally, selected students must have working knowledge of basic statistics, and a deep desire to make a positive impact on the state’s future.

For the duration of the Summit, students must arrive on time to each session and/or event, as well as conduct themselves in a professional manner.  Summit attendees are expected to actively participate in a weekend filled with meaningful discussion and deliberation on select topics.

All events are held at Pugh Hall unless otherwise mentioned. Meals will be served in the Pugh Hall Ocora.

Friday, May 16

Check-In: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Political Civility Workshop: 5:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Speaker Jade Williams from the Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication will share advice about negotiation and encourage students to engage in conversation that will lead to consensus.

Introduction to Discussion Groups: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Dinner and Event: Future of Higher Education in Florida, Panel Discussion: 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 17

Breakfast: 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Policy Proposal Workshop: 10:00 to 10:30 a.m.
This workshop, led by Dr Lynn Leverty, will share with students the basics of drafting a public policy proposal, including the document formatting, substance and clarity, research tactics, and citing sources.

Small Group Discussion 2: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lunch: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

Small Group Discussion 3 (Break as needed) - 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker: 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Belle Wheelan, “Top Ten Challenges Facing Higher Education Today.”

Dinner: 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Wrap Up Small Group Discussion (Solutions due by 10 p.m.) - 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Campus Tour (optional): 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 18

Breakfast: 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.

Presentation of Each Table’s Issues and Proposals: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

“Now What?” Creating an Action Plan: 11:30 to Noon

Feedback Session: 12:00 to 12:30 p.m.

Lunch and Departure: 12:30 p.m.

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Dr. Wheelan currently serves as President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity.  Her career spans 40 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president and Secretary of Education.  In several of those roles she was the first African American and/or woman to serve in those capacities.

Dr. Wheelan received her Bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in Texas  (1972) with a double major in Psychology and Sociology; her Master’s from Louisiana State University (1974) in Developmental Educational Psychology; and her Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin (1984) in Educational Administration with a special concentration in community college leadership.

She has received numerous awards and recognition including four honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from Trinity University (2002), and from the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin (1992); Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC (2001); the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award (2002); the Suanne Davis Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Distinguished Lecturer Award (2007); the John E. Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s International Leadership Award (2010); and the AACC Leadership Award (2011).

She holds and has held membership in numerous local, state and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc., Board of Directors; American Association of Community Colleges, Board of Directors; the Lumina Foundation for Education, Board of Directors; the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs; the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame, Board of Directors; Excelencia in Education, Board of Directors; National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Community College Honorary Board; Next Generation Learning Challenges, Advisory Panel; Project GOALS (Gaining Online Accessible Learning Through Self-Study); and the National Student Clearinghouse, Board of Directors.

Dr. Wheelan attributes her success to hard work, endurance, tenacity, and being in the right place at the right time. She recognizes that prayer and support from family and friends make anything possible.

Dr. Wheelan is the mother of an adult son named Reginald.

Future of Higher Education in Florida Panelists:
Dr. David Colburn, Director of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service
Dr. David R. Colburn is formerly provost and senior vice president at the University of Florida from 1999 to 2005. A member of the UF history faculty since 1972, he chaired the department from 1981 to 1989. From 1997-1999 he served  as Vice Provost and Dean of the International Center at the University of Florida. Colburn’s teaching and research have focused on politics, race and ethnicity in Twentieth Century America. He was named teacher-of-the-year on three occasions and has authored or edited fourteen books, including most recently: From Yellow Dog Democrats to Red State Republicans (2007) and Florida’s Megatrends with Lance deHaven-Smith (2010).

He has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, a professional organization of over 8,000 members, and as a Road Scholar for the Florida Humanities Council, speaking internationally, nationally and statewide on history and politics. He has appeared on many news programs to discuss civil rights, race relations, state and national politics, and international political developments. Colburn served as a regular contributor to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper for twenty years and more recently has written for the St. Petersburg Times, the Florida Times Union, the Miami Herald, the Gainesville Sun, and the Ocala Star-Banner. He has written over 250 essays on state, national and international politics.

He is a Vietnam Veteran and also served as a Fellow in the United States Senate from 1993 to 1997 where he worked on national and international issues. He currently directs the Bob Graham Center for Public Service at UF.

Dr. Bob Bradley, Vice President for Planning and Programs, FSU (retired)
Dr. Robert B. Bradley (Bob) is a consultant with Evergreen Solutions in Tallahassee, Florida, an educational consulting firm.  Formerly he served as Vice President for Planning and Programs at Florida State University.  He administered the university's Quality Enhancement Review process and had broad responsibilities for academic planning and effectiveness. He also served as Director of the Institute of Science and Public Affairs (ISPA) at Florida State University and supervised a variety of units at the university.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree in physics with High Honors, and his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida.

Dr. Bradley’s areas of interest include higher educational administration, state and local government, public policy and management, budgeting and administration, data analysis and strategic planning.  Dr. Bradley has published numerous reports and articles on intergovernmental relations, state policy, budget issues and been involved in many areas of higher education administration. His latest published works focus on state budgeting and state intergovernmental relations. He has served as a member of the Board of the State and Local Government Review.

He has chaired The National Conference on State Legislatures State-Local Relation Staff Committee, the Florida Growth Management Data Network Coordinating Board, The Florida State Technology Council, The Florida Year 2000 Task Force, The Florida Geographic Information Board, The Florida Legislative Analysis System/Planning Budgeting System Steering Committee, The Florida Technology Resource Workgroup, The Florida Special Disability Trust Fund Privatization Committee, and the FSU Strategic Planning Committee. He served for more than 4 years as Florida's state Budget Director in the Governor's Office and was Director of the first Constitutional Taxation and Budgeting Reform Commission.  He was director of the Florida Legislative Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Affairs and served on national committees of the Council of State Governments (CSG) and National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).  At FSU he served as interim Provost in 2010 and 2011 and on the Medical School Implementation Committee, Consensus Center Policy Board and Auxiliary Service Board among other responsibilities.

Dr. Joseph Glover, Provost and Senior Vice-President for Academic Affairs, UF
Dr. Joseph Glover has been the UF Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs since July 2008. Dr. Glover arrived at UF in 1983 as an assistant professor in mathematics. He chaired the Mathematics Department from 1993 to 1998 and served as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1998 to 2001. Beginning in 2001, Dr. Glover served as Associate Provost for Academic Affairs for six years and as Interim Provost for nine months. Dr. Glover chaired the Task Force on the Future of the University of Florida, helped develop the university's strategic plan, and represented the university on the executive board of the New World School of the Arts. He served as Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 2007-2008.

Dr. Glover received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Cornell University and his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from the University of California, San Diego. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Rochester before joining the University of Florida faculty. He held a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at UCSD in 1982. His awards include an NSF-CNRS fellowship held at the Universite de Grenoble II, a CLAS Teaching Award and a mentoring award from the McKnight Foundation. His research in probability theory, stochastic processes, and potential theory has been supported by the NSF, the AFOSR, and the NSA.

Political Civility Workshop Speaker:
Jade Williams
Jade Williams received her B. S. and M. S. degrees from the University of Florida before earning her Ph. D. in Human Communication from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at the Arizona State University. She joined the University of Florida faculty in 2011 where she conducts research and teaches Communication Studies courses in the Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication. Some of the courses she offers include Interpersonal Conflict Management, Negotiation in the Professions, Resilience and Communication, and Communication and Leadership. Dr. Williams also serves as Faculty Advisor and program developer for the Dial Center Ambassador Leadership Program.

Policy Proposal Workshop Speaker:
Lynn Leverty
Lynn Leverty received her MA from the University of Kansas and her Ph.D. from the School of International Service at American University. Before joining the political science faculty at the University of Florida, she worked in both the US Senate and House of Representatives, as a lobbyist in Washington, DC and for two governors in Texas. Some of the courses she offers are Women and Politics, Policy, Leadership and Ethics, the Politics of Immigration and a graduate seminar on Public Leadership and Ethics. She is also a member of the staff at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

Group Facilitators:
Brian Dassler
Mr. Brian Dassler, Chief Academic Officer for the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, is a recognized former teacher and principal. He is a graduate of the University of Florida (B.A. 2001, M.Ed. 2002) where he was named an Outstanding Young Alumnus twice and where he is currently a doctoral candidate. In 2006, while teaching at Stranahan High School, Brian was named teacher of the year in Broward County, Florida, the nation’s sixth largest school system. The youngest person ever to receive the award, Brian taught English for five years and was also a founding teacher of the Urban Teacher Academy Program. Most recently, Brian was the principal of KIPP Renaissance High School, a part of the nationally recognized KIPP network of public charter schools. A member of the Bywater Neighborhood Association board of directors, Brian is also a member of the boards for Breakthrough Collaborative, formerly Summerbridge, and A Shared Initiative,Inc, a non-profit dedicated to promoting community development and eliminating poverty in the neighborhood where he lives and works, the Ninth Ward. Brian is an alumnus of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.

Josh Funderburke
Josh Funderburke graduated from Oglethorpe University in 2000 with a B.A. in History. After three years of working in student affairs at Mercer University, Josh came to UF where he earned an M.Ed. in Student Personnel in Higher Education in 2005. As a graduate student, he worked in the Heavener School of Business in their Career & Leadership Programs, becoming Director of that area in 2011. He joined the UF Center for Leadership and Service, and is currently Executive Director, in 2012 to which he brings a wide variety of experience in diverse areas such as first year experience programming, career, academic, and student organization advising, event management, program development, leadership development, and program assessment and evaluation.

Xavier Monroe
Xavier J. Monroe is a master’s student studying Educational Leadership & Policy at the University of Michigan. This fall, he will pursue his PhD in Educational Policy at Stanford University. His interests converge between policy and practice to improve student achievement and outcomes in the areas of school turnaround, equity, access, STEM opportunities, and family and community partnerships with schools. He views these issues through interdisciplinary lenses based on historical implications and sociological implementations. Through qualitative and quantitative tools, Xavier has conducted research in Kano, Nigeria, Ann Arbor Public Schools, and Detroit Schools.

Xavier graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in Civil Engineering & History with minors in African Studies and Math Education. A lifelong resident of Gainesville, he has served as a U.S. House of Representatives Page, Alachua County Library District Trustee, Putnam-Alachua-Levy Library Cooperative Governor, and currently serves as a board fellow for the United Way of Washtenaw County.

Jamal Sowell
Jamal A. Sowell is Special Assistant to the President of the University of Florida (UF), and assistant corporate secretary to the UF Board of Trustees. He assists the President who oversees a $4.6 billion budget, 50,000 students, 16 colleges, two academic health centers and more than 150 research centers. In his role, he directs special projects and gives strategic advice to the President and the Board of Trustees.  He communicates with audiences on and off campus, act as the President’s liaison with government officials, mentor students and staff and helps the President address issues of immediate concern.

Mr. Sowell graduated from UF, where he served as student body president in 2004-05 to represent the 50,000-member student body.  He joined the President’s Office in 2011 after completing his active duty service in the United States Marine Corps, including combat operations in Afghanistan. 

Kimberly Martin
Dr. Martin currently serves as Assistant Director of Research at the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in Nashville, TN. Her responsibilities include analysis of higher education policy for the Tennessee legislature and Governor's office with a primary focus on lottery scholarship programs; the equivalent of Bright Futures in Florida.

Dr. Martin received her Ph.D. in public policy from the University of Florida in 2011 where she spent several excellent years working on academic programs at the Bob Graham Center. Before attending graduate school at UF, Dr. Martin was special assistant to then Secretary of Education Belle Wheelan in Virginia. Research interests include scholarship and grant aid evaluation, public policy development, and network analysis.

Kevin M. Baron
A graduate assistant in communications for the Bob Graham Center, Kevin Baron is a Ph.D candidate in American Politics at the University of Florida. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Sonoma State University, where he also received a bachelor’s degree in political science. Kevin's current research focuses on the power struggle within Congress and between Congress and the president during the long-term legislative process, and how that process leads towards institutional reform.

Prior to coming to the University of Florida, Kevin was the director of government affairs for the American Small Business League, an independent small business advocacy organization focused on oversight of federal contracting and procurement programs.

Background Policy Papers:

- Cost of Education

- Campus Safety - Guns on Campus

- Higher [Online] Education

- Campus Safety - Sexual Assault

- Student Preparedness and Success



This event is cosponsored by the University of Florida's Student Government