Dean's Newsletter - Fall 2012
Welcome back! I hope the summer was relaxing and provided a much-deserved break.
When I meet with groups of students, I often ask them what they most appreciate about UNF. The answer is always the same: the faculty. I hear from students how devoted and inspiring our faculty are and how you make yourselves available both professionally and personally to help our students expand their worlds and succeed. The TLO experiences are life changing for our students, and they credit it not just to being able to learn outside the university but also to the perspectives you share with them. The students see you as mentors and guides. Their success is directly attributable to you, and that success is impressive. Just to share a few examples…
In Fall 2011, at the National Model United Nations conference in Washington, DC, the UNF team won "Outstanding Delegation" (first place) for representing Turkey. This was followed in Spring 2012 with UNF’s Model United Nations Team winning “Distinguished Delegation” (second place) at the National Model United Nations (MUN) conference held at the United Nations in New York. The conference attracted 399 college and university teams, totaling over 5,000 participants from around the world. The UNF team represented the country of Mongolia and was made up of the following students: Joy Bagwell, Kate Beardall, Catherine Byerly, Chase Grant, Michael Kingsley, Julia Ondruska, Jordan Pic, Alex Roth, Philip Sabado, and Stephan Skora. (All but one of these students are COAS majors).
Mercedes Beckman was selected from every college in America to the one and only Baritone Sax position in Disneyland's "Disneyland All-American College Band," presented by Yamaha Musical Instrumental Instruments in Anaheim California for the Summer 2012. Erik Loefgrin was selected, in a national search, to be the resident pianist for the All American College Band at Disneyland. Hannah Hoffman, a cellist who just completed her freshman year at UNF, was named the Florida American String Teachers Associations Young Artist of the Year for 2011. She and another of our students, Andre Washington, were also admitted to the prestigious Meadowmount School of Music elite string camp, a camp previously attended by Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell and Itzhak Perlman.
As we look toward our new academic year, more good things are happening!
New Faculty: As you may recall, our recruiting efforts for new tenure track faculty were limited in spring by budget uncertainties. Yet, we were able to complete thirteen of our searches. Please welcome our new faculty members:
Brian Knuckley joins the Chemistry Department, Daniel Santavicca is our newest Physics faculty member, and Jose Franco and Malgorzata Czerwinska join the Mathematics/Statistics department. Jim Broomall was hired by the History Department, Jenny Lieberman joins the English Department, and Bryan Bannon is the newest member of the Philosophy Department. Criminology and Criminal Justice is joined by Michelle Covington, the Psychology Department by Heather Truelove and Jody Nicholson, and Sociology/Anthropology by Ross McDonough. The Music Department hired Todd DelGiudice and Steven Gosden.
In the coming year we anticipate that we will be able to search on only a few of our most critical open positions because the budget, while improving, is anticipated to still be of concern and the university needs to approach the situation conservatively.
Administrative Changes: As you may know, Marnie Jones, who served as our COAS Associate Dean for the past six years, returned to the Department of English. She will be on leave during the fall semester and return to teaching full time in spring. A search was conducted for her replacement and Sam Kimball was hired as our new Associate Dean. Please welcome Sam to his new position. His responsibilities will include curricular issues, program review, assessment, and general education. We are fortunate to have someone with his talent to assist our departments. We are in the process of determining who will lead the Department of English now that Sam has left that post.
With Michael Francis leaving UNF for USF-St. Petersburg, Charles Closmann was selected to chair the Department of History. We are grateful that Charles was willing to take on this leadership role for his department.
After over a decade of service as the chair of the Department of Music, Gordon Brock has stepped down and will now devote his time to teaching and scholarship. Under Gordon, the Wind Symphony was formed and the department of Music received a flagship designation by our university. Randy Tinnin has agreed to lead the Department of Music and continue the development of the Music Flagship program.
Courtney Hackney has returned to his role as Director of the Coastal Biology Flagship program. Courtney advanced the department and helped us to realize a new state-of-the-art building for that growing department. Dan Moon moved into the chairship of Biology and will provide quality leadership.
Retirements: This past year our longest serving faculty member, Dale Clifford, retired. She will return in spring to present her Lasting Lecture. Dale has served UNF with distinction as a trusted colleague, long-time Chair of the Department of History, Interim Dean of COAS, Chair of Chairs, and her service extends well beyond these and would be too lengthy to mention. This past year saw the retirement of Pat Plumlee also. Pat has served in many capacities as well -- Chair of Political Science and Public Administration, Director of the Masters in Public Administration program, and most recently as President of Faculty Association and member of the UNF Board of Trustees. Anne Hopkins also ended her long years of service to UNF. As a former President of UNF, her impact on UNF was substantial and she continued to contribute to our university up until her spring retirement.
Leadership Development: As you know, in 2010-2011, COAS hosted four outside speakers to provide professional development for our chairs. Last spring, Academic Affairs hosted George Mahaffey from the American Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities to discuss new teaching models and approaches. He shared with us some of the strategies being employed at other universities and stimulated considerable discussion. In the coming year, we intend to continue similar discussions with our chairs in hopes that any novel approaches that seem feasible may then be introduced to departments for consideration.
Retention and Graduation Rates: This summer the dean’s office developed an agenda of ideas to enhance retention and graduation rates. We will be discussing these ideas with you and with our COAS chairs throughout the year; we’ll also be asking for help in identifying additional approaches we can add to our working agenda.
Space Changes: With the move of Biology into new space, Buildings 3 and 4 became open to help with some of our space issues. Since funding is not available for renovation of the space, it could only be used in pretty much its current condition. Chemistry and Physics will use some of the laboratory space in Building 4 for teaching and for research to create sufficient research space in Building 50 for the new faculty hired in recent years. Psychology will move its animal-based teaching from Building 10 to Building 4 as well. Building 4 will provide additional space for CCEC on the first floor and laboratory space for BCOH on the second floor as well. Building 3 hopefully will house a large computer lab for the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as part of the Math Emporium course redesign advocated by the National Council on Academic Transformation (NCAT). The second floor of Building 3 will provide additional office space for Math/Stats and for Soc/Anthro departments.
Pre Law Lecture Series: After a highly successful series of talks during the 2011-2012 academic year that included Linda Greenhouse and Jeffrey Toobin, in the coming year the series will continue. Several speakers have been invited. We are particularly looking forward to a visit on March 5th by Kenneth Staar.
Best Wishes for 2012-13. Please know that we in the dean's office -- Sam, David, or I -- are available and happy to meet about any concerns you have at any time. I hope the coming year will be productive and fulfilling for you.