FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg sent the following message to the university community on Friday, November 2, 2012.
For images of many of the accomplishments, please scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Dear FIU family,
As we near the waning weeks of this first semester of the 2012-13 academic year, there is much to share about your amazing work. Here is just a small slice of your accomplishments so far this term.
Have you seen all the GSI T-shirts on students around campus? Our Graduation Success Initiative is now fully operational, with 95% of the entering Freshman Class having declared a major. Why is this important? Because we know that early identification of a major aids in timely graduation. Our students are now using Major Maps and e-advisors for semester by semester tracking and feedback on progress to a degree.
Homecoming unites the past with the present and builds memorable moments for our community. Our Homecoming 2012 turned out to be our biggest and best ever. The highlight for me? To see so many FIU parents connected to celebrating our institution with their children and other family members.
Events throughout the week—the comedy show; the talent show; the step show; the Silver Pride Luncheon; the proliferation of special office decorations; the special gathering of our Golden-Golden Panthers; the crowning of the Homecoming Court; the largest parade ever (accompanied by three marching bands – FIU, Miami Norland Senior High, Miami Coral Park Senior High); parade floats for the first time sponsored by our residence halls; special delegations of our proud flag-waving international students and our Chinese students; proud FIU parents walking with their children and waving to onlookers; our kids and their families from the Children’s Learning Center, among others in the parade, all contributed to a galvanizing experience in celebration of our university.
Pride in place and association with FIU coupled with spectacular weather made for a wonderful celebration of who we are and what we aspire to. Special appreciation to all those in and out of the university who tirelessly worked to bring thousands of us together for Homecoming. I want to thank Breny DaParre Garcia in my office and a tireless troop of her peers for their unrelenting commitment to expand and improve our Homecoming.
Twenty–four faculty colleagues were recognized for excellence in teaching, research, service, engagement, librarianship, mentorship, and advising at Faculty Convocation on September 27, 2012. Professor Arindam Chowdhury won the President’s Council Worlds Ahead Faculty Award. Dr. Ira Harkavy, founding director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania, gave the keynote address titled “University Community Engagement, Advancing Knowledge and Realizing Americas Democratic Promise in the 21st Century.” He reminded us that “higher educational institutions, particularly urban universities, would better fulfill their core academic functions, including advancing knowledge and learning if they increasingly focused on improving conditions in their cities and local communities.”
The next day, Harkavy and over 50 faculty gathered for a workshop and roundtable discussions on service learning. Our School of Music added a final touch through student and faculty performances at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center later that afternoon. This year’s convocation activities were spearheaded by Robert Dundas, who is director of Vocal Studies and Founding Director of the Opera Theater.
This year student tuition dollars account for nearly 60% of our academic operating budget. Mindful of this, I would like to point to key initiatives that would not be possible without direct student investment:
- At the beginning of the fall semester we opened the-state-of-the-art Mastery Math Lab in the Green Library, a key component of the university’s five-year Title V project “Opening the Gateways.” The student-supported technology fee underwrites this new facility, geared to improving student performance in college algebra courses, traditionally a major bottleneck to student progression. This could not have happened as well without a willingness of our Math faculty to make major changes to the design and teaching of their courses, and without a major effort from the professional staff both in and out of Arts & Sciences to cobble the state-of-the-art labor together.
- We welcomed 147 new faculty members, 85 of them filling newly created positions.
- Twelve additional advisors were hired for this new academic year. All have master’s degrees and experience in working with students.
Have you noticed the clusters of construction cranes around the Maidique campus? We are experiencing a mini-boomlet of adding long-awaited learning and residential space to our university. Construction crews are completing our new Science Classroom Complex/Academic Health Center 4, which is slated to open in February 2013. This impressive and welcoming temple is just part of our continued expansion and renewal of our STEM-related facilities. Right next door to the east—our Academic Health Center 5, which will be home to the Stempel College of Public Health, the Extreme Events Institute, and the Department of Earth and Environment. Expect it to open in January 2014.
Other projects in the works include the MANGO (Management and New Growth Opportunities) building—to the west of the Ryder Business Building, the Stocker Astrophysics Center and Observatory—now slowly coming out of the ground just east of Physics and Chemistry (credit Professor James Webb’s persuasive efforts with donor Carl Stocker for this landmark facility), the Satellite Chiller Plan just west of SW 10th Ave, and our imposing and impressive new residence hall (Parkview, but the name could change) just north of Alfonso Field. Dozens of faculty, professional staff, and even students have invested hundreds of hours of time to design and redesign these additions to FIU. Special appreciation to them!
At BBC, the Hospitality Management dining and kitchen expansion will add 2,500 square feet of new dining and wine tower space, and upgrade the kitchen and culinary and beverage labs. The expansion is expected to open in February 2013 and reflects the growing interest in fine dining that characterizes the hospitality industry. The high ceiling and special design touches of this new “laboratory” will catch you by surprise!Fundraising
Private fundraising continues apace! We have received the largest gift to date for our College of Law on the occasion of its 10th anniversary celebration. The Judge Aaron B. Cohen Charitable Foundation is donating $500,000 for judicial externships, and we raised another $400,000 in general support—all announced at the September 29, 2012 anniversary gala celebrating the College.
We are so pleased that the Batchelor Foundation has pledged an additional $1 million in support of the Green Family Foundation NeighborhoodHELP program. A new partnership is beginning with the Kenan Charitable Trust—with a $2.5 million pledge to assist us in the creation of a World Center for Tropical Botany—an area where we excel.
We are on our way to our $500,000 annual goal for First Generation Scholarships: at our President’s Council luncheon just weeks ago, we raised nearly $150,000 to maintain momentum. Our very own grad and local celebrity, DJ Irie, moderated the event, highlighted by presentations from two FIU First-Gen scholars who told their story of how the scholarship funds made their college education possible. If you are interested in making a contribution, please visit firstgen.fiu.edu.
The College of Architecture + The Arts “Create * Innovate * Inspire” event was a tremendous success. We raised $134,000 in support of student scholarships. This was thanks to the hard work of CARTA faculty and staff. It also was a success thanks to the W South Beach, which was a community sponsor for the event and is a main sponsor of our School of Architecture lectures.
This semester we’ve welcomed Luisa M. Havens as Vice President for Enrollment Services and David R. Klock as Dean of the College of Business. Dr. Havens previously served as Executive Director for Enrollment Services and Director of Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). At UTEP she had responsibility for Admissions, Registrar, Financial Aid, Military Services, New Student Orientation, Student Testing and Assessment, and their One-Stop Office which she developed.
Dr. Klock served as Dean of Business at the University of Alabama Birmingham and as Dean of the College of Business Administration at Cal Poly Pomona. He has also held faculty positions at Virginia Tech, University of Florida, Texas Tech, and the University of Central Florida, and was professor and chair of the Department of Finance at UCF. Between his time as a faculty member and his tenure as a dean, he was for 15 years president, chief executive officer and then chairman of CompBenefits Corporation (sold to Humana in 2006). Under his tenure, the CompBenefits leadership team grew revenue from under $20 million to over $350 million.
Joyce Elam, who led the College of Business for 14 years, is continuing her role as Dean of University College, where she oversees FIU Online and the university’s market rate and continuing education program. We bid a bittersweet farewell to Vice President for Student Affairs Rosa Jones, who was one of our founding faculty. Larry Lunsford has assumed her responsibilities as the interim Vice President for Student Affairs.
We also officially welcomed the Jewish Museum of Florida located at 301 Washington Avenue in Miami Beach to the FIU Family with a reception at the museum on October15. The historical and cultural patrimony associated with this museum give our institution new connectedness to our community along a range of issues that are timeless and directly aligned to comparative teaching and research in SIPA and the College of Arts & Sciences. It also complements our focus on Global Learning. Kudos to the SIPA and colleagues in Advancement for their thoughtful efforts to make the partnership a reality.
We are strengthening our partnerships in China. We hosted a delegation from Shandong University of Finance and Economics (SUFE)—including their new leader President Liu— in mid-October. Shandong Province is one of China’s most populous states—with more than 92 million people. SUFE is a leading national university and places countless graduate students at FIU.
Given our historically strong relations with the port city of Tianjin, where our School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is located, we welcomed a senior-level delegation of educators and administrators from our partner, the Tianjin University of Commerce (TUC), in late October. The members of the delegation were participating in a two-week higher education program offered by the College of Business Administration’s Office of Executive and Professional Education in partnership with University College culminating in a graduation ceremony at the Frost Art Museum. We are appreciative to Lucy Liu, a Spring 2012 graduate of the Master of International Business program, who served as a translator to facilitate the daylong workshops. The partnership between FIU and TUC is now in its ninth year.
Now, more than ever, wind and extreme weather assumes a prominent role in our public affairs. FIU’s research made a national splash in August with the unveiling of the new 12-fan Wall of Wind. News programs that carried stories about the Wall of Wind included NBC’s “Today” show and “NBC Evening News with Brian Williams;” “Wake Up With Al” on the Weather Channel; ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer;” CBS News; “CNN Newsroom;” MSNBC’s “Jansing and Co.” and “FOX and Friends.” External Relations staff worked long hours to support these national broadcasts of our work.
Our faculty and students are engaged in other Worlds Ahead research as well. The new grants we received in September included a five-year $4.8 million award for the RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) program. The goal of the RISE program, whose Principal Investigator is Charles Bigger, is to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups in biomedical and behavioral research who enter into and successfully complete Ph.D. programs in these fields.
Our Model United Nations team continues its tradition of success. In the recent Columbia Model United Nations session in New York in early October, FIU won “Best Small Delegation” and then repeated with a similar triumph in the Boston Area competition a week later.
Spearheaded by the Education Effect partnership in Liberty City, part of ACCESS (Achieving Community Collaboration in Education and Student Success), our groundbreaking partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, we had our first Golden Scholars summer bridge program, through which we support students making the transition from high school to university life. Thirty-nine Golden Scholars are now part of FIU’s freshman class and eight of them earned 4.0 GPAs over the summer.
Faculty Mentoring Program
We have started a mentoring program for our faculty. When junior faculty are mentored by more-seasoned colleagues, there is a direct and positive impact as measured by successful progress through tenure and promotion. Retention of junior faculty is also improved. With this in mind, I asked Provost Wartzok to work with our deans to develop mentoring plans for their colleges. These were completed in December of 2011, and we are now in the implementation phase. Every junior faculty member on the tenure track should be assigned a mentor, and both mentor and mentee should describe their mentoring-specific activities in their end-of-year reports to their departmental chair or school director.
Worlds Ahead Visitors
We have been blessed with excellent speakers this entire semester, including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, activist Gloria Steinem, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, and former Miami Herald Publisher and current early childhood education advocate David Lawrence Jr. who all came to campus to share their insight on important issues in our world.
FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus also was the location of campaign stops for both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns, with rallies featuring former President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, and Craig Romney.
We are looking forward to more participation than ever by our 50,000 students this presidential election. FIU’s Student Government Association—Modesto Maidique Campus, in conjunction with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Democracy Works, Inc., has adopted TurboVote, a new and innovative online tool to help students register to vote, sign up to receive text message reminders about elections, and receive a sample ballot detailing all individuals running for office and all election referenda.
Many of our students also participated in a debate watch party for the first presidential debate on October 3, organized by Communication Arts Professors Daniel Blaeuer and Nicholas Temple. The watch party and our students’ reactions were featured on Channel 10.
FIU teamed up with The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald for two national polls on the Latino vote led by Professor Eduardo Gamarra. Our professors gathered on October 15 to share their expertise on the results of the first poll in a panel discussion that was broadcast on Facebook and Ustream.
Fall commencement is just around the corner. To allow more family members to share our graduates’ special day, we are expanding to seven ceremonies over three days, from December 10-12. We expect more than 4,000 students to graduate this semester.
The Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at FIU and The Sculpture Park at Modesto A. Maidique Campus have welcomed 10 monumental sculptures for an unprecedented outdoor exhibition for the fall-winter season in its American Sculpture in the Tropics. Made from a variety of materials including steel, aluminum, cast fiberglass, copper, concrete, wood, and rubber tires, each work represents the best of contemporary sculpture through its most recognized artists (John Henry, Verina Baxter, Chakaia Booker, John Clement, Isaac Duncan, Terence Karpowicz, Peter Lundberg, Albert Paley, Bret Price and F. Douglass Schatz) and the diversity of styles, themes and technical approaches that characterize our times. This exhibition runs through May 20, 2013. One of the artists, John Henry, is a longtime friend of the Frost Art Museum and of FIU, who brought the exhibition to our attention, assisted with the installation, made all the transportation arrangements, and worked with our Sculpture Park manager and facilities to design the installation. John already has two other works on campus, on the lake near the Museum and in the Frost’s atrium, and we are proud to feature another of his works in the Sculpture Park. Credit former FIU Trustee Kirk Landon with support for installation of the works on campus.
I’m looking forward to more successes throughout the remainder of the fall and into next year. Thank you for the part you have played in making FIU Worlds Ahead!
Mark B. Rosenberg