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News Clips 02/15/2013
FSU plans to reach Top 25 with $75M
Source: FSVIew, 02/13/13
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By Jasmine Spitier
As the U.S. News & World Report college rankings stand, Florida State is in the Top 50 public universities (currently No. 42), but the FSU administration has set their sights on a much higher goal—the Top 25.
The new plan to reach the Top 25 within the next five years garnered unanimous support, not only from 300,000 representing FSU alumni, but also from particular majors including science, technology, engineering and mathematics, all of which will receive a total of $75 million as a means to this end.
Per Gov. Rick Scott’s invitation to FSU to propose a plan to reach this goal, FSU has chosen a path that almost mirrors the “preeminence bill” passed last year by the Florida Legislature, simultaneously satisfying key objectives in the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Higher Education.
According to Florida State 24/7, President Eric Barron, is optimistic about the future due to the recent innovative planning and thinking.
“I have no doubt Florida State can reach the Top 25 within a fairly short period of time if our investments are strategic,” said Barron to Florida State 24/7. “We have momentum, our plan is realistic, and with our current rankings in both quality and efficiency, it is clear we know how to invest a dollar. We intend to be a national model for affordable and accessible excellence- this is a plan that delivers for the State of Florida.”
Garnett Stokes, provost & executive vice president for academic affairs, said she believes that this targeted investment plan intends to raise FSU’s overall ranking by strategically positioning the University as distinguished in developing student-leadership capabilities and driving career-focused individuals in the right direction.
“We have a number of parts we are proposing as objectives of the plan,” said Stokes.
“We need to tackle the issues from a number of perspectives. We need to build back the faculty, for example, across the subjects, from physics to computer science.
Another pivotal example of this is in our plan to broaden and expand the entrepreneurial university to students of all majors. Other objectives also include attracting National Academy members, integrating critical thinking into the curriculum across the boards, increasing graduation rates, and giving students the opportunity to seek a job after their four years here.”
Meteorology major Nikki Marie said she supports the initiative.
“I feel as though mathematics and science particularly result in huge impacts to the workforce in today’s time, and focusing more on those subjects to raise FSU’s public ranking can only benefit the students and the University,” said Marie.
Stokes said she is optimistic and believes that the plan will ultimately be a successful one—so long as everyone’s on board, that is.
“I am very optimistic; if we actually receive the funding and we’re not cut further,” said Stokes. “I think we can achieve all of our goals, get to the Top 25, and see our ranking rise in several disciplines on campus. The request for $15 million a year is from the Florida legislature. We will raise money that will match the funds received from the legislature.”
$15 million for each consecutive year until 2018 brings into question how that money will be allocated.
Barry Faulk, director of Undergraduate Studies from the English department said certain conflicts arise in regards to issues of associated costs in implementing these investments, sources of revenue, and determining what projects or programs will be the object of this targeted investment.
Faulk also wants to debate the effectiveness of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses and jobs.
“I don’t think there’s a connection between STEM classes and STEM jobs,” said Faulk. “Truth is, in an economy like ours, there isn’t an automatic correlation between training and jobs. There are two basic things I would want to question: the equation between training in the sciences and employment in the sciences and the zero-sum philosophy that is expressed by the attempt to target funding for a particular field. There’s this idea that you’re going to get great results by moving a great population of students from one field to another. There’s just not enough evidence to suggest that the new population is necessarily going to be employed. None of these things are certain; the whole thing is fairly shortsighted.”
Ryan Lazar, studying biological sciences, said he believes that despite the possible repercussions, FSU has more to gain than to lose from the plan.
“Even if money ends up being taken away from other majors in order to fund this, science, technology, engineering and mathematics are changing every second and they need much more money in terms of equipment and research, whereas majors like English and education don’t need machines and labs,” said Lazar. “I don’t really know how this will directly raise our ranking, but more money towards academics is always a good thing.”