Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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New directors, chair appointed for three academic programs

Dean Tim Chapin has named three faculty members to head their respective academic units within the college in the coming years.

Professor of Sociology Amy Burdette will take the reins of the interdisciplinary Public Health program beginning August 1, 2021, replacing outgoing Director William Weissert, who is retiring from the university this summer.

Dr. Amy Burdette

Burdette, who earned her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, has been on the faculty at FSU and the public health program since 2010. She has been director of the Bachelor of Science in Public Health since 2018.

“I am very pleased to see Dr. Burdette take on this role and know she shares the program’s commitment to excellence and strategic investment in the unit,” Chapin said, adding praise for Weissert’s accomplishments. “Dr. Weissert helped create the public health program at FSU, seeing it grow and achieve accreditation and leading it through economic times good and bad. He has always been an outstanding advocate for the program’s faculty, staff and students, and I wish him the very best in his retirement.”

Burdette’s appointment as program director is for three years.

Teaching Professor Lisa Turner de Vera has replaced retired Associate Dean and Professor of Political Science Robert Crew as director of the Interdisciplinary Social Science program beginning in January 2021. She has been associate director and teaching faculty for the program since 2014. Crew retired from the university in December 2020.

Dr. Lisa Turner de Vera

After earning her Master of Science in Planning in 2007 and her Ph.D. in urban and regional planning in 2013, both from FSU, Turner de Vera was part of the teaching faculty for that department for seven years.

“Dr. Turner de Vera’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and intellectual rigor, as well as to strengthening the program’s culture and supporting its faculty and students shines through,” Chapin said.

Professor Mark Horner will serve as the next chair of the Department of Geography. His three-year appointment begins July 1, 2021.

Horner earned his Ph.D. in geography in 2002 from Ohio State and has been on the FSU faculty since 2004. Since 2018, he has served as COSSPP Associate Dean for Research. He will continue in his associate dean role until a new one is named in the fall.

Dr. Mark Horner

In 2009, Horner received a Developing Scholar Award from the Florida State University Council on Research and Creativity. In 2014, he was appointed Associate Director of the Center for Accessibility and Safe Transportation for an Aging Population at FSU, a Tier I University Transportation Center funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In addition to praising Horner’s work as both faculty and head of the college’s research mission, Chapin noted his dedication to “engaged faculty governance and strategic investment.” Chapin also praised outgoing chair James Elsner.

“Dr. Elsner led the unit through tough economic times and was always an excellent advocate for the department’s faculty, staff and students,” Chapin said. “I wish him the very best in his return to the faculty and I look forward to working with him to see if we can get broad support and necessary university commitment to launch a world-class climate change program.”