Florida State University


•  OCTOBER 31, 2018 •

Dear Faculty,

These past several weeks have been both a joyous and trying time for Florida State University. 

We’ve celebrated momentous achievements and experienced one of the most powerful natural disasters our area has ever seen.  

In both the good times and the bad, I’ve been extremely proud of how our entire FSU family has come together to support each other.  

Unfortunately, many of our colleagues and students in Tallahassee, Panama City and the Panhandle region are still recovering from Hurricane Michael. While we were excited to reopen the Panama City campus on Monday, I encourage you to continue lending support to those in need and working with your students to keep them on track toward a degree. 

The violent hate attacks around the country are also weighing heavy on my heart right now. We know this is a frightening time, and I would like to reaffirm that the safety of everyone in our campus community will always be my highest priority.

It’s times like these that make us even more grateful for the good news, and we’ve been blessed to have an abundance of that as well. 

In September, U.S. News & World Report  announced its Best Colleges 2019 rankings, and Florida State jumped seven spots to No. 26 among national public universities. That’s the biggest single-year improvement in university history! 

We’ve moved up 17 spots since 2016, which is incredible. So many people have played a part in FSU’s upward trajectory, and I want to thank you for your commitment and dedication as we continue our drive to the Top 25. Student success continues to be at the core of our rise in the rankings, and our first-rate faculty plays an integral role in attracting outstanding students. 

On Sept. 21, Florida State announced the grand total of its most ambitious fundraising campaign in university history. We raised nearly $1.16 billion in gifts and pledges from donors and supporters upon the campaign’s official closing June 30. Nearly 100 professorships were generated or supported as FSU continues to recruit and retain outstanding faculty. The philanthropic support will help Florida State continue to distinguish itself as a preeminent university and bolster its national profile. 

Earlier this month, we announced the results of FSU’s latest Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) survey. I’m pleased to tell you that as we’ve risen in the national rankings over the past four years, the satisfaction levels of our faculty have improved markedly during the same period.  

Some of our highest scoring areas were a shared sense of purpose, trust in university governance and positive views of senior leadership. I truly appreciate the guidance of Provost Sally McRorie, Vice President Janet Kistner and their teams for ensuring strong faculty support and success. 

I’m also thrilled that Florida State has been recognized as a “Diversity Champion” in higher education by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine for the third consecutive year. We are one of only 13 colleges and universities nationwide to receive the honor awarded by the nation’s largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education. As I’ve said before, diversity isn’t just a strategic goal, it truly enhances the richness of our academic community.

Internationalization is one facet of being a diverse campus, and we were excited to welcome His Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Republic of Botswana for a visit Sept. 20. President Masisi, who earned a master’s degree in social sciences education from Florida State, met with administrators, faculty and students during his visit to discuss FSU’s nationally recognized excellence in student success and possible collaboration with universities in Botswana.  

On Oct. 1, I enjoyed visiting with several students during the President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence and hearing about the interesting work they are doing under your guidance. The undergraduate research experience helps our students become more critical, capable thinkers who can identify problems and find ways to solve them, and I want to applaud all of you who devote your time to developing these young scholars. 

I’d like to welcome Julie Cheney to the FSU family. While she doesn’t start her new role as president and chief executive officer of the Florida State University Alumni Association until Nov. 1, we were happy to have Julie preside over Homecoming activities. Julie brings a wealth of experience in alumni relations to FSU, and I know she will pick up the torch and run with it!  

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve celebrated ribbon cuttings for two new buildings — FSU’s Childcare and Early Learning Program facility and the new home of the FSU Black Student Union, which also houses our African-American Studies program. It was a joy to take part in officially opening these two new important additions to our campus.

Also, this semester, I’ve joined Twitter! I love to share all the amazing moments that I enjoy as FSU’s president, and I hope you’ll follow me @FSUPresThrasher.

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to make a difference in young people’s lives, and I want to offer my sincere thanks for everything you do to make Florida State better every day. I enjoy reading the positive media attention you are generating for FSU, and I’ve included some of those clips below. 

Please remember, I always look forward to hearing your ideas and feedback. Feel free to email me any time.

FSU Faculty in the News

Florida State University

Office of the President
Florida State University
222 S. Copeland St.
Tallahassee, FL 32306