President Rosenberg updates university community, answers questions at open forum

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg gave a university update, praised students, faculty and staff for their accomplishments and addressed some of the university community’s most pressing issues at his first open forum, held on Tuesday, Jan. 26 in the Graham Center Ballrooms. The forum was web cast and transmitted live to the Biscayne Bay Campus and the Pines Center.

Rosenberg gave an update on FIU’s efforts to provide relief in the wake of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, which have included a vigil and memorial events organized by students and a “teach-in” with FIU professors. Rosenberg also announced the creation of a university-wide task force that will coordinate FIU’s short and long-term efforts.

Among other university highlights Rosenberg mentioned:

  • Professor Michael McClain from the Department of Environmental Studies has received a multimillion dollar grant from USAID. The project he will be working on is meant to address the most pressing needs in Tanzania—water, sanitation and hygiene provisions for the rural poor.
  • A record number of students participated in fall commencement in 2009. Rosenberg also shared Spring 2010 enrollment and financial data. This semester, FIU has a total of 39,103 students and professors are teaching 5,568 classes. The total financial aid disbursement for 2009-10 was $235.8 million.
  • College of Law students placed first among the Southeastern States Regional American Bar Association negotiation competition, and are on their way to nationals.  Students also placed second in the Zehmer Mock Trial Competition and second on the brief at the Skadden Arps International FDI moot competition.
  • Physics Professor Laird Kramer and the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and  Education collaborated in hosting an Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) meeting on math and science education to push the boundaries on math and science education for teachers.
  • An interdisciplinary team of FIU architects, landscape architects, interior designers, mechanical engineers, civil/environmental engineers, construction managers, and journalists has advanced to the second phase of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2011, a highly competitive international challenge. The team is preparing design proposals for a fully solar-powered house.
  • FIU and Miami-Dade County collaborated on the Phoenix Project, a partnership to provide internships in county government for disabled students from FIU. Saran Stewart and Kathryn Trionfo from FIU’s Disability Resource Center were instrumental in forging the partnership.
  • Rosenberg recognized senior Yarimar Rosa of the women’s volleyball team. Rosa is the only four-time All-American athlete in FIU history. Rosenberg also recognized her teammates, Natalia Valentin and Jovana Bjelica, who joined Rosa in receiving American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America honors last year. He also commended women’s volleyball coach Danijela Tomic and women’s soccer coach Thomas Chestnutt for receiving Coach of the Year honors from the Sun Belt Conference.

During a question and answer session, Rosenberg addressed safety and facility concerns; cost-cutting measures and the university’s legislative priorities.

To watch the open forum click on  rtsp:// (Realplayer required)

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