Furton appointed provost, Béjar VP of Academic Affairs

The following message was sent from President Mark B. Rosenberg to the university community on April 2, 2014:

(This is a two-part announcement!)


I am pleased to inform you that I have appointed Dr. Ken Furton as Provost and Executive Vice President effective July 1, 2014.  Dr. Furton has extensive experience and a distinct set of skills that will help us maintain and enhance our momentum in the face of new performance-related funding and growing budget uncertainties at the state and national level.  

Ken Furton

Ken Furton

Dr. Furton’s qualities make him uniquely suited to follow in the big footsteps of Provost Doug Wartzok and assume leadership as Provost immediately. A nationally and internationally recognized scholar in forensic chemistry, specializing in scent detection, he has authored over 700 publications and presentations and been awarded over $10 million for his own research over the past two decades. 

He is also an experienced academic leader and fundraiser.  Prior to assuming duties as Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences in 2007, he served as a member of the Faculty Senate, as Chair of the Department of Chemistry, and as Associate Dean of Budget, Facilities and Research. The College serves over 25,000 students with an annual budget of over $150 million and over 500 full-time faculty. The college awards more than 4,000 degrees every year. 

Under his leadership, the College was reorganized into three mission based interdisciplinary schools. As Dean, Dr. Furton raised over $40 million in philanthropic gifts and increased research grants from $27 million to $60 million annually.  He played key roles in developing faculty research clusters in areas such as child and adolescent mental health, cognitive neuroscience and bio-molecular science. 

In 1997, Dr. Furton founded FIU’s International Forensic Research Institute (IFRI), globally recognized as one of the premier research and teaching institutes on forensic science. As Dean, he led the effort to secure the Aquarius Reef Base and has raised substantial private support to secure its operation. He negotiated our partnership with the Jewish Museum of Florida, now the Jewish Museum of Florida—FIU; he helped to establish a partnership with the National Tropical Botanical Garden to build the International Center for Tropical Botany at The Kampong in Coconut Grove; and he successfully led the searches for FIU leadership positions including the Dean of Hospitality and Tourism Management, the Dean of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Executive Director of Alumni Relations and the Dean of Libraries.

He chaired the iREAL (integrating Research, Engagement, Assessment and Learning) Commission to develop the vision paper that will inform FIU’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.

His exemplary work ethic has enabled him to earn notable awards including the 2005 FIU President’s Council Outstanding University Professor Award and the 2008 Collegian Award from Wayne State University. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has served on numerous local, national and international professional organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Scientific Working Group on Dog and Orthogonal Detector Guidelines, of which he is currently chair.  He currently sits on the boards of the FIU Foundation, FIU Research Foundation and FIU Operations Committee and remains Director Emeritus at IFRI.

Dr. Furton earned a B.S. in Forensic Science at the University of Central Florida, a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at Wayne State University and completed post-doctoral studies in Nuclear Chemistry at the University of Wales, Swansea, U.K.

He and his wife Debby have two children who are both students at FIU! He knows and understands our community, has passion for our students, and will hit the ground running.  Please join me in welcoming our new Provost to his new responsibility! For his full resume, click here. We will immediately begin a search for the new Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and will announce an Interim Dean in the coming weeks.  


I am also pleased to inform you that I have asked Dr. Elizabeth Béjar to assume duties as Vice President for Academic Affairs effective July 1, 2014.  Dr. Béjar has ably served as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs since 2012. She received a BA in Psychology and Elementary Education from the University of Miami, an MS in International and Intercultural Development Education from FIU, and a PhD in Higher Education Administration from Boston College. In addition to teaching in the public school system, Dr. Béjar’s professional experience includes serving as Academic Policy Analyst for the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and as Assistant Dean/Director of Academic Support Services at FIU.

Elizabeth Béjar

Elizabeth Béjar

In 2009, Dr. Béjar was asked to serve as our first Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Accountability. In that role she was responsible for establishing the institutional assessment and evaluation plans and policies that led to FIU having no recommendations for improvement in these areas in the 2010 SACS reaffirmation of accreditation review.

Her research includes contributions to an encyclopedia on women in higher education and as Principal Investigator for a funded grant studying minority-serving institutions-models of success.

She is a member of the board of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, serves on the Florida Board of Governors Council of Academic Vice Presidents Work Group on Program Coordination and is an advisory board member to Excelencia in Education, an organization that aims to accelerate higher education success for Hispanics.

Join me in congratulating Dr. Elizabeth Béjar for this well-deserved promotion and recognition of her talents and leadership!

– President Mark B. Rosenberg

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