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Dean's Report - Spring 2011

Dear Friends:

We are facing another year of budget cuts – our fifth in a row. As a result we have not replaced many of the faculty who have left the university due to retirement. We are also starting to experience a brain drain as faculty are receiving offers that contain substantially higher salaries from other universities. With rising enrollments and fewer faculty, class sizes have risen.

These pressures will surely continue through the next academic year. Belt tightening is hard, but it also provides us with an opportunity to carefully evaluate how our research programs serve to improve our academic reputation and provide meaningful insights into what some times appear to be intractable social, economic, and political problems. We will also need to evaluate our teaching programs to assure that the faculty we hire serve in the most productive programs within each department. Our commitment to excellence in teaching and providing extraordinary extracurricular learning opportunities for our best students will not be compromised.

Jill Quadagno, holder of the Claude and Mildred Pepper Eminent Scholar Chair, received the University Distinguished Teacher Award at the 2011 Faculty Awards Ceremony. This is the highest teaching award that can be conferred on a faculty member. Lora Holcomb (Economics) received an award for undergraduate teaching while Richard Feiock (Askew School of Public Administration and Policy) and Phillip Steinberg (Geography) received the Graduate Faculty Mentor Award. These award winning professors are among many terrific teachers in the College: over 80 percent of the undergraduates report that their professors are either excellent or very good. Graduate students place 84 percent of their instructors in these two categories.

I expect 2011-12 to be a year of transition for the College and the University. We are about to hire a new Provost who will help guide us through the rough waters ahead. The College will chart a course that emphasizes excellence in teaching and the areas of critically important research.

Alumni support is more important than ever for the continued development of the extracurricular educational opportunities that we offer our students. By supporting study abroad, leadership and professional development seminars, visiting speakers, and student organizations, you play a critical role in the excellent education our students receive at Florida State. Thank you.

With best regards,

David W. Rasmussen, Dea