Dr. Steve Shapiro

How has college education changed over the last 35 years?  


What have you done during your time at UNF that you are proudest of? 

I ran the College Awareness Program (CAP) for three years — 1989,1990,1991. The program was for disadvantaged high school students. They took high school classes here on campus, worked in campus offices and lived in dorms. It was a very rewarding program for the students and for those of us involved with the project. Many of the participants went on to college and are leading productive lives. I believe that we had some influence on their successes.


I served as president of the Faculty Association in each of the four decades that UNF has existed. I believe my stewardship of the faculty has helped UNF [to be] what it is today.

Biggest changes in your personal life while you have been working at UNF? 

I have become a grandparent.

What have you learned from students over your years at UNF? 

That if you don’t know the answer, let them know it and let them help you find the answer.

What were you doing just prior to coming to UNF? 

I was teaching and working on my dissertation at the University of South Carolina.

How have students changed over the last 35 years? 

In the early years, we had only upper division and graduate students so by and large they were more mature and almost all working as well as going to school. They seemed more committed to the love of learning than now.

What was your favorite year at UNF and why? 

Every year has been a good year. I suppose if I was to pick out one year that brought about the greatest change to UNF was 1984 when our first freshman class arrived.

How would describe the physical growth on campus over the last 35 years? 

I hardly recognize the campus any longer. True, buildings 1,2,3 and 4 are still here, but all have been remodeled and 1 and 2 increased in size.

How will you keep UNF in your life and heart after you retire? 

I will continue to attend baseball games and look forward to some of the continuing education programs as well as some of the performances on campus.

What special relationships have you formed with students as a result of your tenure here?

Although I never had the opportunity to direct a dissertation, I do have three dedicated to me by former students. I also have one child of former MBA students, who chose to name their second son after me. What more could one ask.

What are the biggest challenges on campus today compared to the biggest challenges on opening day, Oct. 2, 1972? 

Lack of classrooms and faculty office space, as well as student spaces.

How has UNF impacted Jacksonville over the years, and how has Jacksonville impacted UNF? 

The economic impact of UNF is documented by my colleagues in the Department of Economics and Geography. A very large proportion of our graduates stay in the area, thus they are contributing to the well being of the community every day in every occupation.

How did you find out about the opening at UNF? 

I saw a calling card announcing the opening of a new university in Jacksonville so I wrote, and the rest is history.

What made you decide to come to UNF? 

The challenge of opening a new institution, not many faculty can say that.

What do you remember about the first day of classes? 

It was interesting and challenging not knowing what to expect.

What kept you at UNF for so many years? 

The continuing challenge in trying to keep the administration focused on what it is that we do here.

What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed at UNF? 

Growth of the student body, i.e. the shear numbers, growth of the administration. The move of our sports program to Division 1.

Is there one event that’s most memorable for you during your time at UNF?

The shooting on campus and resulting death of David Coleman. David had been a counselor for me in the CAP program.

What the best thing (or things) about working at UNF? 

It is a great place to work most of the time.

What people do you remember the most during your years, and why are they so memorable? 

For an institution of our age we have had a significant number of academic vice presidents, and sadly some of them were not very good for the institution.