Florida Atlantic University

 
 

2010 State of the University Address

FAU 2010: Engaging Students, Preserving the Vision, Pursuing New Goals


Good morning, and thank you for that wonderful introduction, Trustee Plymale.

On behalf of the entire FAU community, I’d like to thank you and all the members of our Board of Trustees for providing such effective leadership to our University.

What a great pleasure it is for me to be here today.

This is a special moment for me, because it provides the first opportunity for me to address the entire University community directly and tell you that I am totally committed to the success of this exciting young institution and that I deeply believe in the power of collaboration.

I want to listen to all voices and hear all viewpoints as we work together to take Florida Atlantic University into a future that’s overflowing with promise.

Please know that I respect the personal investment that each of you has in this University, and I welcome your ideas about how we should move forward together.

Our University family is growing, and right now I’d like to introduce one of our newest members, Dr. Gitanjali Kaul, who’s recently come on board as our Vice President for Strategic Planning and Information Technology.

Dr. Kaul came to us from Cleveland State University, where she was Vice Provost for Planning, Assessment and Information Resource Management.

Here at FAU she’ll lead the process of revisiting our Strategic Plan in response to the University’s changing landscape of opportunity.

Once again, this will be a broadly inclusive process, and Dr. Kaul will be seeking input from people throughout the University community. She’ll also direct our SACS reaccreditation process, which will get under way in the near future.

Our Strategic Plan served this University well over the past four years, and we remain deeply grateful to Dr. Kristen Murtaugh and Trustee Nancy Blosser for their leadership in creating this road map to FAU’s future.

Dr. Murtaugh recently retired after 18 years of exemplary service to the University, and we all hope that she’s enjoying this new chapter in her life.

Another talented administrator who’s widely known and respected has been named Senior Vice President for Financial Affairs. Mr. Dennis Crudele has been serving in that position in an interim capacity for the past year, and we’re grateful for his valuable contributions to the overall management of the University.

From the day Chancellor Brogan left FAU until the day I arrived from Cleveland, the University moved forward on a steady course, thanks to Interim President John Pritchett.

John is currently taking a period of personal leave and then will help us get ready for our upcoming SACS reaccreditation before returning to the faculty.  We thank Dr. Pritchett for all that he’s done and continues to do for FAU. 

For the second time in two years, Dr. Diane Alperin has graciously agreed to serve the University as Interim Provost. We’re very fortunate to have someone of her experience and skill to lead our academic enterprise, and we all appreciate her service to the University.

And finally I’d like to express sincere thanks and the thanks of the University community to Chancellor Frank Brogan for his inspired leadership of FAU during his six years as President.

When I visited Tallahassee shortly after my appointment, he took two full days out of his busy schedule to introduce me to legislators, familiarize me with the issues facing higher education in Florida and just generally show me the ropes. He remains committed to this University – his beloved alma mater.

I’d like to begin my report this morning by telling you a little bit about what I’m all about and why I sought the presidency of Florida Atlantic University.

I am, first and foremost, about student success – about giving students the tools they need to succeed, first here at the University and later out in the world.

I consider public education democracy’s greatest gift and its greatest responsibility.

In my view, there is no more important mission for our society than the one that calls upon you and me to do everything in our power to put a degree within the reach of every student who’s willing to work hard for it. That’s the ultimate goal for all of us, no matter what our individual job descriptions might say, and that’s what defines OUR success as higher education professionals.

So far, this University has awarded 131,995 degrees, many of them to students who were the first in their families to attend college and who wouldn’t have been able to pursue their academic goals if FAU didn’t exist.

Likewise, many of them would have been shut out if they lived in a state where public education is very costly.  Despite the recent tuition increases, the state of Florida still absorbs about 75 percent of the educational costs of in-state students.  This plays a huge role in making access something that’s very REAL to people. That’s a big part of the reason that I wanted to return to Florida to become President of this great University. I knew from my experience at the University of South Florida that this state has a long history of keeping higher education affordable.

The first academic title I had was Assistant Professor at Louisiana State University, and I’ve taught and conducted research at every university that’s employed me. Here at FAU I may have the title of President, but my other title – one in which I take great pride - is Professor in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. 

University presidents are, in many ways, the first and most visible members of the faculty, and I wear that mantle with pride here at FAU. We are, above all else, a community of scholars.

Faculty and the hard-working staff who support them are the people who bring a university to life.

One of the most striking things that I’ve found out about FAU is that our students and graduates consistently say that what they value most about their experience here are their relationships with faculty members. To me, this says volumes about the quality of the education they’re getting here.

As President, I’m focused on keeping FAU moving along the same upward trajectory it’s been on since day one, when President Lyndon Johnson stood on a platform on a lawn due east of where we’re now sitting and spoke of the need for “a new revolution in education.” He said the time had come to open the doors of America’s colleges and universities “not just to the rich, but to all who could qualify.”

The distributed campus model pioneered by FAU has been successful in bringing higher education within the reach of tens of thousands of students of all backgrounds.  Our six regional campuses and sites continue to fulfill their individual missions under the energetic supervision of Vice President Joyanne Stephens.

You may already be aware of the big news that FAU is now the home of a major new national research center, based in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, with cross-cutting research and technology being conducted by participating faculty researchers at SeaTech in Dania Beach, as well on the Boca Raton and Jupiter campuses and at our Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.

Last month the U.S. Department of Energy announced the selection of our Center for Ocean Energy Technology as the third national center that’s focused on the development of ways to tap the power of oceans as a source of clean, affordable energy. Our center, now designated as the Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center, joins research facilities in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii that are working together toward the same goal.

Congratulations to Dean Karl Stevens, Executive Director Sue Skemp and all of her colleagues at this distinguished new national center at FAU. 

The Colleges of Education, Nursing and Engineering and Computer Science continue to offer important academic programming on our Treasure Coast campus. The recently introduced Geomatics Engineering program is based there.

This unique program prepares students to work in the surveying and mapping profession of the 21st century.  We expect it to produce its first bachelor’s degree graduates this coming spring.

Farther north, in Fort Pierce, research scientists at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute captured the national media spotlight in July when NBC reporter Kerry Sanders joined them to report on their work in the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill. His reports aired on “The Today Show,” “The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” and “Dateline NBC” as well as on MSNBC, and the story was reported worldwide by other reporters on CNN and the BBC.

This widespread exposure for FAU was just one of the successes achieved by the Division of University Communications and Marketing, which reacted proactively to the disaster by disseminating the names of faculty experts to the local and national news media and highlighting their work through the University’s website, Facebook, Twitter pages and beyond.

FAU has responded to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in other meaningful ways.

Shortly after the emergency began, Chancellor Brogan established Florida’s Oil Spill Academic Task Force to provide assistance to public agencies addressing the many problems associated with the disaster, and an FAU team signed on immediately. The FAU group includes faculty members with expertise in a broad range of disciplines, including oceanography, ocean engineering, marine science and the geosciences. 

We learned just last week that FAU is among the Florida universities that have been selected to receive part of a $10 million block grant from British Petroleum to conduct research on the effects of the oil spill.

The research projects are:

• Molecular Diagnoses of Coral Exposed to Oil and Dispersants: a Holobiont Approach to Investigate Potential Effects on Corals – Dr. Sara Elizabeth Edge and Dr. Joshua D. Voss

• The Impact of Crude Oil and the Dispersant Corexit®  on Three Key Gulf of Mexico Invertebrate Species – Dr. Susan Laramore and Ms. Amber Garr

• The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Assessing Impacts on a Critical Habitat, Oyster Reefs and Associated Species in Florida Gulf Estuaries – Dr. Edward Proffitt

• Baseline and Oil Spill Impacted Marine Sponge Microbial Communities and Gene Expression Analysis with Metagenomics – Dr. Peter McCarthy

Congratulations and thank you to those teams.

This is a time in FAU’s history that calls for preserving our collective goals, maintaining the momentum of innovation and setting new goals.

A few months ago, we took a step in the direction of setting important new goals when, for the first time, we identified three Research Priority Areas through a competitive internal grant submission process.

This is a strategic move that’s designed to focus our efforts in areas that have the potential to elevate FAU to a position of national leadership in the research arena. It’s not aimed at excluding research in other areas or discouraging people from seeking funding for projects that don’t happen to fall within the boundaries of the three selected areas. The objective was to support projects that show immediate promise in order to move them to the next level.

The three proposals that were selected are all interdisciplinary initiatives that bring together faculty researchers from a broad cross-section of our colleges.

The PIs and Co-PIs of these highly promising projects deserve our congratulations.

• From the project titled “Climate Change: Research, Engineering and Adaptation to a Changing Climate” – Dr. Leonard Berry and Dr. Marguerite Koch.

• From the project titled “Brain Function, Damage and Repair” – Dr. Janet Blanks and Dr. Rod Murphey.

• And from the project titled “Healthy Aging: Interdisciplinary Research to Improve Quality of Life and Quality of Care for Aging Americans” – Dr. Joseph Ouslander and Dr. Ruth Tappen.

Dr. Ouslander also received word just a few days ago that he’s been named a 2010-2011 Health and Aging Policy Fellow. This very selective program, based at Columbia University, is focused on creating a cadre of professionals who can help shape a healthy and productive future for older Americans. We congratulate Dr. Ouslander on this news as well!

Sincere thanks to Interim Vice President Michael Moriarty of the Division of Research and members of the Steering Committee who were charged with carrying out the very challenging process of selecting projects for internal funding.

During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, FAU recorded an impressive 13 percent increase in sponsored research awards, totaling $42 million. And over the past two years we’ve increased our sponsored research funding by more than 25 percent. This outstanding accomplishment is a testimony to our faculty researchers and their diligence in pursuing and receiving very competitive grants in these challenging economic times. 

We’re equally proud of the outstanding scholarship and creativity that are the hallmarks of our arts and humanities programs.

This year a member of our Visual Arts and Art History faculty has received the highest recognition attainable in the arts and humanities – a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Professor Blane de St. Croix was one of 180 artists, scholars and scientists selected from a field of more than 3,000 candidates for the coveted Guggenheim award. A 10-year member of the FAU faculty, he’s an artist and sculptor whose large-scale installations explore humankind’s desire to take command over the Earth.

The massive work that you see on the screen – which stands 40 feet tall – is titled “Mountain Strip.” It’s an upside-down view of the Appalachian Mountains, which for decades have been subjected to strip-mining practices. If you look at the very bottom of the rock surface, you’ll see a sprinkling of foliage – a powerful illustration of the artist’s statement that environmental interests are being subordinated to the profit motive. Congratulations, Blane.

And now let’s take a look at our growing FAU community.

This year we’re welcoming 69 new faculty members.  The majority of these new colleagues of ours have doctorates, some from exceptionally prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Cornell and Stanford. We’re very glad to welcome them aboard!

We also have quite a few newcomers to the student body. Ten days ago at the Freshman Convocation I had the great pleasure of meeting many members of the Class of 2014.

This year’s incoming class of 2,700 first-time-in-college students is about 150 students larger than last year’s freshman class, and their academic credentials are impressive. Their average high school GPA is 3.4. Their combined SAT score is 1620 – up 18 points over last year  –  and their composite ACT score is 24.

It’s apparent that we’re succeeding in our effort to attract high caliber students . We welcome them all to the FAU family.

The Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, under the leadership of Dean Jeffrey Buller, continues to attract students of high distinction. The incoming freshmen at the Honors College boast an average high school GPA of 4.0, a combined SAT score of 1950 and a composite ACT score of 28.

Included in their number are 13 International Baccalaureate graduates, four recipients of Cambridge University’s advanced international certificate in education, two National Merit Finalists, a valedictorian and a salutatorian.

No tally of the FAU family would be complete without inclusion of our more than 19,000 Lifelong Learners, whose love of learning is an inspiration to us all.

The Lifelong Learning Society has donated more than one million dollars to create endowed professorships, graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships at FAU – and, of course, the generosity of Barry and Florence Friedberg and many other LLS members gave us the beautiful facility we’re sitting in now. We congratulate Assistant Provost for Lifelong Learning Dr. Herb Shapiro and his hard-working staff as this year they celebrate the 30th anniversary of the most successful LLS program in America.

Demand for student housing remains high, and we had a long waiting list this year. Under the direction of Ms. Jill Eckardt, our Housing Department has continued to flourish as state-of-the-art residential facilities have opened. This year she’s playing a top leadership role in her profession by serving as president of the Association of College and University Housing Officers International – the preeminent professional organization in the field.

On Move-In Day last month I had the opportunity to see for myself just how much our housing component is doing to foster a true sense of community on both the Boca Raton and Jupiter campuses. It was wonderful to see how many students, faculty and staff turned out to lend a hand to our students as they moved into the residence halls.

Campus life continues to be enriched in many ways at FAU.

Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Charles Brown is especially proud of two recent developments. The Student Leadership Conference, which began two years ago with 45 participants attending a one-day seminar, has blossomed into a year-long initiative involving more than 500 students. The FAU Parents Association has undergone similar rapid growth, and now its membership has also topped 500.

This level of success is very gratifying and shows that our students and their parents are eager to play active roles as members of the FAU community.

Together our two residential campuses can accommodate just over 2,700 students, and that number will increase by more than 1,200 when the Innovation Village Apartments open next fall.

Like all new buildings at FAU, it must conform to one of the sustainability standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, achieving a LEED rating of silver, gold or platinum.

This apartment complex will be within easy walking distance of our newly expanded Recreation and Fitness Center. I’m very proud to tell you that this beautifully designed facility was selected as a Gold Medal Winner by the Building of America Network.

The centerpiece envisioned for the Innovation Village complex is our 30,000-seat stadium. In July, our Board of Trustees unanimously approved the stadium financing plan, and this month the Board of Governors will vote on that plan. If final approval is granted, we will be on our way to realizing the dream of cheering for the Owls right here on our home turf.

Moving the stadium much closer to reality took a sustained teamwork approach, and I’d like to thank everyone who played a part in that effort, especially Athletics Director Craig Angelos, University Architect and Vice President for Facilities Tom Donaudy, Senior Vice President for Strategic Relations and General Counsel David Kian, Senior Vice President for Financial Affairs Dennis Crudele and Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Charles Brown. They all pitched in to move this plan closer to reality.

On November 5th, we’ll cut the ribbon on one of the most environmentally efficient buildings in the state of Florida – the new headquarters of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

This is one of the most important structures ever built on any university campus in Florida because it’s a living laboratory of the highest and best sustainability practices. In fact, it’s the first academic building in Florida that’s designed to meet the highest Platinum LEED standard, and it includes such features as a rainwater recycling system, solar panels, and a garden of native plants on the roof.

I’ve toured the building five times now and I can attest to both its beauty and functionality.

Another special feature will be the Faculty/Staff Club, where colleagues can gather over lunch or coffee.  This is an important amenity on any university campus, and I suspect it will quickly become a favorite gathering place. We congratulate Dean Stevens and the faculty, staff and students of the College of Engineering and Computer Science on their imminent move into their new home.

Another exciting new multi-functional facility that will soon open is the Culture and Society Building in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. This unique addition to our skyline will make FAU the only university in the country to have a completely digital, four-screen motion picture theater complex available for both educational and entertainment uses.

By day this versatile facility will be used by film students to study their craft in a technologically advanced picture and sound setting, and by night it will host discriminating cinema fans.

Operated by a company called Living Room Theaters, whose donation of $1.5 million made its construction possible, the theater complex will present first-run independent, art and foreign films in a 100 percent digital format.

We share the sense of excitement that Dean Manju Pendakur and the faculty, staff and students of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters are feeling as this really wonderful addition to our campus life comes on line.

The first physical facility dedicated to the service of the growing student body of FAU High School opened on this campus a few weeks ago. As you may know, FAU High students are dual-enrolled as university undergraduates, earning college credits as they fulfill the requirements for their high school diplomas.  Until now, their high school has been the University itself, but now they now have a building to call their own.

Mr. Glenn Thomas, the executive director of all of FAU’s pre-kindergarten through 12th grade programs, reports that FAU High is serving 145 students this year.

The A.D. Henderson University School has 650 kindergarten through 8th grade students, the Karen Slattery Educational Research Center has an enrollment of 100 pre-schoolers, and the Palm Pointe Research School at Tradition, which is an FAU charter lab school, is serving 1,456 children, for a grand total of 2,351 students younger than college age.

FAU is truly a multi-generational university!

The expansion of our physical plant is bringing benefits to the entire community as well as to FAU. Over the past year, $240 million dollars worth of construction projects have been going up on our campuses, and these jobs have employed about 6,000 non-FAU workers either directly or indirectly – and that’s really good news for the local economy.

Believe it or not, despite the number of academic and housing facilities that are going up here on the Boca campus, we’ve gained 600 parking spaces this semester. The miracle workers in Facilities made this happen, and on behalf of all of us I’d like to thank University Architect and Vice President for Facilities Tom Donaudy and all the members of his division for making our lives a little easier.

In June the Max Planck Society broke ground on the Jupiter campus for its first research institute in America.

For decades, visionaries in South Florida have nurtured the dream of establishing a center of biomedical discovery here. Now, thanks to Max Planck, the Scripps Research Institute and the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, that vision is becoming reality.

The new facility on our Jupiter campus will include 10,000 square feet for FAU classrooms, laboratories and offices, placing FAU faculty members and students in the very heart of Max Planck’s operations.

On the Davie campus, the FAU/UF Joint Use Facility is rapidly approaching its October completion date. This 75,000-square-foot laboratory and classroom complex will be the site of critically important research on South Florida’s unique ecosystem, with special focus on the restoration of the Everglades.

At Harbor Branch in Fort Pierce, two major facilities projects are under way. A new “green” laboratory and office building will replace lab space lost during the 2004 hurricane season. And a comprehensive renovation of the Edwin A. Link Engineering Building will create library, lab and office space.

We all know that a university is much more than bricks and mortar, and I’d like to spend a little time this morning talking about the kind of outreach that weaves an educational institution into the fabric of the communities it serves.

While many members of the FAU community are involved in very important and meaningful outreach work, two people deserve special recognition.

Ms. Nori Carter is the director of FAU’s Weppner Center for Civic Engagement and Service, a unit of the Division of Student Affairs. This slide shows her with others from FAU on a day when volunteers painted a residence for abused, abandoned and neglected boys called Home Safe.  As a lasting reminder of their “hands on” commitment to community service, everyone from FAU who took part in this project left their handprints on an outside wall of the shelter.

The Weppner Center was recently named to the Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service, the highest national recognition a volunteer organization can attain.  Ms. Carter is quick to credit her dedicated staff for the key role they played in bringing this recognition to FAU.

Often working beside Ms. Carter is a long-time FAU faculty member she likes to call “the Energizer bunny” for her boundless energy. In addition to her long history of encouraging faculty to incorporate service-learning into their curricula, Professor Lorraine Cross of the College of Education is the leader of the 2010-11 Faculty Service-Learning Community. She’s also one of the few people in the state who’s earned certification as a scholar in academic service-learning.

I’m very proud to announce they’ve won a grant from Florida Campus Compact to host a day institute on the subject of “Exploring Civic Engagement through the Lens of STEM” – science, technology, engineering and math. On the statewide level, STEM has been identified as the engine that’s driving Florida’s future, and we’re very glad that FAU is taking the lead in linking it to community engagement.

As we begin this fall semester, we have a record-high enrollment of 28,333 undergraduate and graduate students – a 1.4 percent increase over last year’s total enrollment.

With 46 percent of our students classified as African-American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian and international, FAU continues to rank as the most diverse university in the State University System and has been repeatedly recognized in recent years by national publications for conferring degrees upon minority students.

More and more of our students are taking advantage of eLearning opportunities. Last year, 898 course sections were offered utilizing all types of eLearning venues. More than 15 thousand students were enrolled in these courses, and that’s a number that’s going to go up by quantum leaps in the near future.

eLearning has tremendous potential, not only from the point of view of responding to students’ need for ease of accessibility, but also as an evolving educational pedagogy in its own right.

I commissioned an eLearning task force to examine our current offerings and suggest ways that they can be expanded to serve our students. That group has submitted their report, and I extend many, many thanks to the faculty and staff for their thoughtful recommendations which we will be implementing soon.

And now I’d like to do a little bit of bragging about some of our students.

I’ve heard so many success stories that I couldn’t possibly include all of them one speech, but I’d like to share a few with you that I find especially inspiring.

Sport Management MBA student Justin Zook is a champion in more ways than one. Born with a leg that didn’t grow, he began undergoing corrective surgeries in childhood. That’s also when he began swimming, as an alternative to daily physical therapy.

He swam in his first Paralympic World Championships when he was 12 and today Justin is a two-time Gold Medalist and he set a new world record along the way. He’s also an athlete ambassador for the U.S. Olympic Committee. We congratulate Justin on his athletic achievements and academic accomplishments as a graduate student at FAU!

Nina Gail Wills, a multimedia journalism student in our College of Arts and Letters, is better known as “The Muck Girl,” thanks to a blog by that name that she started to write as an assignment in a class taught by Professor Bonnie Gross. Its original purpose was to serve as a news source for communities in the ‘Glades, which are often overlooked by the mainstream media, and later Nina began to include her personal thoughts and observations.

Over the summer, muckgirl.com caught the attention of the writers of a new A&E detective series called “The Glades,” and they invited Nina to appear in a cameo role, which she did. Congratulations to Nina on all she’s doing to raise awareness of the fascinating history and rich community life of her hometown of Pahokee and the surrounding area.

Georgia Paul graduated from high school at the age of 15 and entered FAU when she had just turned 16. The first member of her family to attend college, she was born in Delaware and grew up in Haiti, her parents’ native country.

A stand-out student from the beginning, Georgia is simultaneously pursuing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology, and she’s a teaching assistant in the anatomy and physiology labs in the College of Science. Georgia is an amazing young woman, and we’re proud to have her as a member of the FAU family!

Stephen Jones, a sophomore in the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, was one of only two students from the state of Florida to be awarded a National Security Education Program Boren Fellowship this year.  This major award is aimed at students who want to increase their proficiency in less commonly taught languages.

Stephen is spending this year in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, studying Swahili. These photos were taken over the summer when Stephen was visiting Kisantu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Stephen is pictured wearing a red-and-white striped shirt.

It’s wonderful that he’s having this very valuable study-abroad experience, and we send him our greetings via the webcast, which I believe he’s watching. We’re proud of you.

As I said earlier, it’s our job to help every student acquire the tools that he or she needs to move forward academically and graduate, and everyone in the Office of Undergraduate Studies is working very hard to make sure that happens.

Programs such as the Living Learning Communities and classes in Supplemental Instruction are having a marked effect on overall student success.

This fall our Living Learning Communities are the strongest ever, with more than two hundred students having joined these communities, which are under the guidance of more than 20 faculty members. Now in its tenth year, the Learning Community program has impacted more than 4,000 students and has helped to raise the freshman-to-sophomore retention rate by 10 percentage points.

This fall the Center for Learning and Student Success is offering Supplemental Instruction in 25 courses that are historically difficult for students to pass. SI has helped increase the success rate in College Algebra and Methods of Calculus to more than 75 percent, up from less than 50 percent just a few years ago.

These are impressive results, and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Ed Pratt and his very dedicated staff can take real pride in all they’re doing to help our students achieve their academic goals.

And now let’s take a look at what’s been going on over the past year in the colleges that I’ve not yet had an opportunity to discuss.

As you probably know, two of our colleges have changed their names.

The College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs is now the College for Design and Social Inquiry, a name that better reflects its unique configuration of professional programs addressing social justice, human service, design and public policy.

Dean Rosalyn Carter tells me that the College is preparing to host the 2011 International Subtropical Cities Conference, which will bring participants from around the world to our downtown Fort Lauderdale campus to discuss the effects of rapid urban development and climate change on these uniquely positioned metropolitan areas.

Last spring, after the Legislature and Governor Crist gave final authorization to the establishment of an independent medical education program at FAU, the name of the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science was changed to the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

Dean Michael Friedland and the faculty are proud of this new designation, particularly since the College will offer students the opportunity to study for both M.D. degrees and research Ph.D.s through a partnership with the Kellogg School of Science and Technology --the graduate school of The Scripps Research Institute.

Under the leadership of Dean Dennis Coates, the College of Business is moving forward on many fronts.

An undergraduate program in Management Entrepreneurship was recently added to the curriculum. The coursework is extremely timely and responsive to the needs of the local business community and the interests of students who want to start their own businesses. 

The College has also developed a new MBA specialization focusing on venture capital creation and innovative marketing strategies for start-up companies.

Both of these programs support the development of an innovation economy in South Florida.

Dean Valerie Bristor and her colleagues in the College of Education have a lot to brag about this year.

The College’s innovative Florida Institute for the Advancement of Teaching – otherwise known as FIAT – was named a Merit Finalist for the 2009 Mutual of America Community Partnership Award.

FIAT was recognized for its record of success in recruiting and retaining effective teachers to work in underperforming schools in economically disadvantaged areas.

Pine Jog Environmental Education Center, a long-time unit of the College of Education, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, marking a half-century of leadership in environmental education and stewardship. This past year Pine Jog Director of Education Susan Toth won a national education award, the Garden Club of America’s Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award, for her effectiveness in helping children connect to the environment.

Our nationally known and respected Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing recently received full accreditation for its Doctor of Nursing Practice program, and we congratulate Dean Anne Boykin and the College’s truly outstanding faculty on that high achievement.

Dr. Boykin plans on retiring next year after giving 32 years of exemplary leadership to FAU’s nursing faculty, staff and students.

Dr. Boykin, please know that we admire you and stand in awe of the enormous contributions that you’ve made to the nursing profession and Florida Atlantic University.

Dr. Boykin is a strong proponent of outreach, and she takes special pride in the healthcare services that the College provides to people in the greater community and even beyond our shores.

Faculty member Dr. Rose Medina-Shepherd, doctoral student Ms. Eugenia Millender and alumna Ms. Anna Morrison went to Haiti after the earthquake to help the sick and injured. These photos show some of the work they were called upon to do in the wake of that enormous tragedy.

These three women personify the philosophy of Caring that underlies everything that goes on in our College of Nursing, and we’re proud to have them represent us both here and abroad.

Under the leadership of Dean Gary Perry, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science continues to engage in a wide variety of cutting-edge research initiatives that promise to make life better for all of us.

Dr. Steven Bressler of the Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences co-authored a journal article with Dr. Vinod Menon of Stanford University on large-scale brain networks that was featured on the cover of the June issue of Trends in Cognitive Sciences. This article has been recommended as a “must read” by the Faculty of 1000 Biology, a prestigious online service that highlights the most valuable papers published in the field.

The College is introducing two exciting new graduate programs – Professional Science Master’s Degrees in Medical Physics and Business Biotechnology.

Dean Barry Rosson, dean of the Graduate College, reports that over the past five years we’ve seen a 20 percent increase in graduate student enrollment and a 23 percent increase in graduate degrees awarded.

The essential support structure underpinning the intellectual life of the University is the FAU Library System, headed by Dr. Bill Miller. Despite the economic constraints of recent years, the FAU Libraries continue to provide comprehensive services on all campuses and to be responsive to the needs of their very large and diverse universe of patrons.

I’ve been a fan of intercollegiate athletics all my life, and I have the highest respect for the dedication that Mr. Craig Angelos and his coaches and staff members bring to the huge responsibility of managing the University’s Athletics Department.

During the 2010 spring semester, 49 percent of FAU’s more than 500 student-athletes earned GPAs of 3.0 or better. 

The volleyball team received the Outstanding Academic Team Award, with a team GPA of 3.42.  Under the energetic leadership of longtime head volleyball coach Jody Brown, the team has won this award 7 out of the last 8 semesters.

In May, the FAU baseball team captured the Sun Belt Conference Championship and secured a coveted NCAA Tournament berth. This marked the first time in FAU history that our baseball team has won the Sun Belt Conference Title. 

Coach John McCormack, who took the team from an eighth-place finish in 2009 to the number one spot in 2010, was named SBC Coach of the Year – a very well-deserved honor.

The football season is in full swing, and our first home game will be held on September 25th when the Owls face North Texas at Lockhart Stadium. Coach Schnellenberger and I hope to see you there.

And speaking of football, have you been following the career of our two-time college-bowl-winning quarterback, Rusty Smith, as he’s moved into the ranks of the professionals with the Tennessee Titans? He’s the first Owl player to be drafted by the NFL.

The theme of my report to you this morning is “Engaging Students, Preserving the Vision and Pursuing New Goals.”  I chose that title very deliberately because taken together these three concepts define the direction we’ll be taking in the years ahead.

We’ll continue to engage students in every possible way, from helping them achieve academic success to involving them in all aspects of the life of the University. We will preserve the carefully nurtured vision of this University as a center of distinguished scholarship, research and creative activity, as well as meaningful service to the greater community. And we’ll work together in the pursuit of important new goals, such as expanding eLearning capabilities, offering more opportunities to students, increasing partnerships with our community and refining our mission and collective vision.

What distinguishes universities from every other institution in society is the fact that expanding the world’s knowledge base lies at the very heart of our mission.

Florida Atlantic University has wholeheartedly embraced this high responsibility of scholarship over the course of nearly half a century and that dedication will continue to expand in the years ahead.

Before I close, I’d like to ask you to also mark the date of October 29th on your calendar, because that’s when I’ll have the great privilege of being inaugurated as the sixth President of this wonderful University.

And now I ask you to stand for the singing of the FAU Alma Mater and, following that, please join me next door in the Grand Palm Room for some refreshments.

Thank you very much and I look forward to working together with  you to make FAU an even better place.




Privacy Policy | University Regulations and Policies | Emergency Information | Get Help | Contact Us

An Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Institution
© Copyright 2014. Florida Atlantic University.

 Last Modified 8/30/12