Florida State University


•  AUGUST 30, 2018 •

Dear Faculty,

Welcome back! The start of the fall semester is such an exciting time, and I know this will be another tremendous year for Florida State University!

I want to send out a special welcome to our new faculty. We’re happy to have you here, and it was great to see a full house at New Faculty Orientation last week.

Thanks to our faculty hiring initiative, there are 240 new faculty members joining the FSU family this year, including 125 newly created positions funded by the Florida Legislature in recognition of our preeminence.

While this addition of new faculty will boost our metrics and national profile, our students will benefit the most. It will help reduce class size and create more opportunities for students to interact with you outside the classroom.

You — our top-notch faculty — are a big reason why it has become increasingly more competitive to gain acceptance to FSU. We received a record 51,098 applications for admittance to the 2018 summer and fall semesters — a 17 percent jump over last year.

We have about 6,400 freshmen starting classes this week, and they are an extremely talented group. In fact, the average high school GPA of the freshmen we accepted this summer and fall was 4.2. 

In addition, our students are graduating at the highest rate of any public university in Florida. FSU’s four-year graduation rate is 68.4 percent, nearly three points higher than the previous year’s cohort. Plus, it’s the best four-year graduation rate in the State University System’s history. That’s pretty impressive!

While we are focused on helping students graduate in a timely way, we also want to enhance the entire student experience. This fall, we launched Engage 100, an initiative that connects, engages and challenges students from the moment they first arrive on campus.

The goal is to get 100 percent of our students involved in programs such as Undergraduate Research, Freshman Interest Groups (FIG) and Living-Learning Communities (LLCs). Many of you are working with these groups around campus and can see the positive results first-hand — students who feel connected are more likely to thrive in the classroom, stay in college and graduate.

This semester, FSU opened its new Entrepreneurship and Innovation Learning Community, designed to immerse first-year students in entrepreneurship and innovation at FSU. It’s yet another way we are deepening our commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, while offering an avenue for students to engage with each other and the greater campus community at the same time.

We’ve also launched the Student Resilience Project to help students adjust to campus life and develop healthy coping skills. We know that some students struggle with stress, relationship issues and even unresolved childhood trauma that can get in the way of academic success, and this online program developed by the College of Social Work provides tools to help them. To learn more, visit http://strong.fsu.edu.

This past academic year was extremely productive for our faculty. We generated $226 million in research funding and produced a record number of NSF CAREER Award winners and Fulbright Scholars.

Congratulations to Daniel Hallinan, Ken Hanson, Chen Huang, Justin Kennemur and Mainak Mookherjee on receiving the National Science Foundation’s prestigious CAREER award for researchers in the early stages of their careers. It’s a well-deserved honor!

Our Fulbright Scholars will broaden Florida State’s global footprint as they head out to teach and conduct research across the world, from Ireland to Malawi. Kudos to Igor Alabugin, Iris Junglas, Katarzyna (Kasia) Bugaj, Christopher Coutts, Joseph Schlenoff, Anne Barrett and Miles Taylor on this wonderful opportunity!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize the retirement of two longtime campus deans, Marcy Driscoll and Julia Zimmerman. They did an outstanding job at the College of Education and University Libraries, respectively, and we will miss them.

Dean Damon Andrew, an FSU alumnus, arrived in August to head up the College of Education, while Gale Etschmaier will take the reins as dean of University Libraries in September. Thanks to all who served on the search committees for these positions. Welcome, Damon and Gale!

September will be a busy month. We’ll host a Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, and I will visit New College in Sarasota for a Board of Governors meeting Sept. 12-13.

As the new chairman of the ACC Presidents Committee, I will welcome several of my colleagues to campus in September. I’m thrilled to host a major policy meeting here and have the opportunity to show off our spectacular campus and share news about the achievements of our faculty and students.

I love hearing about your research and accomplishments, so please email me with your good news. Also, I have included some media clips featuring your work below. 

I hope you have a terrific fall semester! I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.

FSU Faculty in the News

Florida State University

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