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TO:          The Faculty of Florida International University
FROM:        Mark B. Rosenberg, Provost & Executive Vice President
SUBJECT:     The New Academic Year
DATE:        September 3, 2002

The new academic year is upon us: our thirtieth year of offering classes! Many
faculty and staff are among our founders. I want to congratulate those who have led
the way for over 30 years at FIU. You have built the institution! What a milestone.

This is likely to be our most momentous year yet. As a consequence of your efforts,
we will graduate nearly 6,000 students in the 2002-2003 year and teach over 900,000
student credit hours.

During the summer, we have had numerous gatherings to prepare for the operational
and philosophical challenges that we face this coming year. At one workshop (August
12, 2002), leaders from our student government and graduate student association
exchanged views with our department chairs and school directors about changing
student dynamics on our evolving campuses. There was a thoughtful exchange about
student academic misconduct that will lead to some follow-up initiatives. A
weeklong orientation for the inaugural class of our new College of Law was capped by
a Saturday (August 24, 2002) session on ethics and professional responsibility. The
highlight of this session? New law students took an oath of professional responsibility
emphasizing the College of Law Student Code of Conduct. The oath was
administered by Circuit Judge Cecilia Altonaga, who graduated from FIU in 1982. We
have also had countless new student orientations, and a very effective two-day
teaching academy for new graduate students, adjuncts and laboratory managers. As a
result, we are better prepared than ever for this year’s challenges.

Issues remain to be addressed and I want to share with you as much information as
possible about them, below.

The Research University and the Community

At the same August 12 workshop, I presented this year’s workplan to academic chairs
and directors and asked for comments/critiques. (Usually of course in our culture, the
former are always the latter!) A telling response reinforced something that we know
but need to underline. A colleague suggested that I really needed to have a lot more
information about what we intend to do in the community this year. Indeed! FIU is
aggressively engaged in our community—from thousands of hours of undergraduate

and graduate student field placements and internships to more direct involvement in
brownfields remediation, Everglades restoration, public policy options papers, and
public discussions of the issues of the day. We dedicate countless hours to pre-
collegiate training in nationally recognized programs to prepare high school students
for the sciences, and we are working directly with numerous public schools
throughout the county to help raise their performance on state tests. We should be
proud of our ability to have a direct impact on our urban area as a consequence of our
research-based approach to community improvement. You will likely hear more
about this over the coming months.

On Faculty Roles and Responsibilities

During the past few years, we have been engaged in a conversation about the
changing roles and responsibilities of the faculty. The Faculty Senate has advocated
the notion that faculty can play a larger role in the full range of academic decisions
and activities at FIU. During the 2002-2003 academic year, I hope that we can advance
the discussion, particularly as it relates to faculty governance, the respective roles of
the deans, chairs/directors and Vice Presidents in decision-making, faculty
engagement in campus life (see below), student academic misconduct, professional
responsibility, and student recruitment. We have been working closely with Howard
Rock, chair of the Faculty Senate, on these matters, but he will need assistance from
fellow Senators as well as others if we are to make progress!

Our Students

For 2002-2003, we expect nearly 3,800 freshmen (first time in college). Nearly 1,600
enrolled for summer term B, another 1,600 will be with us for this fall term, and we
expect nearly 600 for the spring term, 2003. Our summer students had an average SAT
of nearly 990 and an average GPA of 3.5. Only 203 of these students were required to
take a college prep course. Our Fall cohort high school GPA is over 3.5, with an
average SAT of over 1140—the best ever for the fall semester. I am very pleased that
we have four National Achievement Schools, and a record number of Valedictorians
and Salutatorians.

Our graduate enrollment is likely to exceed 4600 students. We expect to see continued
strong growth in the College of Arts and Sciences, in the College of Health and Urban
Affairs, and in the College of Engineering. The new Presidential Fellowships and
expanded Presidential Enhanced Assistantships attracted an outstanding group of
entering doctoral students. The GRE scores of the recipients of these awards averaged
over 250 points higher (verbal and quantitative combined) than the prior three-year
average of GRE scores for Ph.D. students to whom regular assistantship offers had
been made.

In all, we expect nearly 10,000 new students at FIU this Fall, with a total enrollment of
nearly 34,000 students.

Our New Faculty

We expect some 44 new faculty (including full time instructors) at FIU this academic
year in both new and replacement positions. Given the state budget cutbacks last year
and our conservative approach to budgeting given continuing concerns about state
finances, we are very pleased to welcome so many new colleagues to our two
campuses. Among our hires this year are two eminent scholars (Lisa Delpit—
Education, and Ron Lee--Business). For further information on our new colleagues,
please refer to —Provost’s web page.

The Budget

Last year, FIU took permanent cuts to our budget totaling nearly $15 million dollars.
For the 2002-2003 academic year, the legislature did provide additional new funding
to address “equity” issues that have become President Maidique’s primary statewide
budget issue, new funding to cover mandated enrollment growth, and cost-to-
continue funding for on-going efforts—albeit at the reduced level. (Last year’s budget
cuts were permanent and funding has not been restored to many of the units that were
disproportionately cut). We are very concerned that there could be further budget
cuts after the November election and are cautioning unit directors to be mindful of this
likelihood. Budget priorities this year were focused on enhancing faculty salaries;
facilitating enrollment growth at the undergraduate level with emphasis on the
recruitment of high performance students; the Honors College; on building the
financial packages available to graduate students; on implementing the first phase of
the new PantherSoft student and financial system; on the reorganization of the
divisions of University Advancement, and Human Resources so that they are more
responsive to institutional directions and needs. We have worked with the Student
Government to ensure that additional funding generated through tuition increases be
invested in enhancing student-oriented advising and counseling services, augmenting
financial aid, and refreshing student computer labs.

Salary Issues

As a consequence of President Maidique’s successful campaign for equity funding,
FIU received over $2 million from the legislature. We are committed to a two-year
process of raising salaries to the system average of disciplines, by rank, of Florida’s
three public research universities. We are now completing discussions with the UFF
over the process that will be used to manage the salary enhancements that President
Maidique has mandated to reward the majority of faculty on the basis of meritorious

performance and “R-1” market competitiveness. Barring another budgetary crisis, we
expect to repeat this enhancement program next academic year (2003-2004).

Tenure and Promotion

Last year’s tenure and promotion process resulted in 22 new faculty being tenured out
of 26; additionally, three faculty were promoted to full professor. Two colleagues
withdrew their applications for promotion. A highlight last year relating to tenure
and promotion came at the UFF Workshop on Tenure and Promotion which featured a
very frank discussion among faculty colleagues about the kind of career development
effort that is necessary to navigate the tenure and promotion terrain. We also asked
units to be more attentive to three -year reviews for tenure earning faculty. I am
pleased that this essential mid-term assessment is now being taken more seriously.

Collective Bargaining

The statewide contract with the United Faculty of Florida expires on January 7, 2003.
With the dissolution of the Board of Regents and the reorganization of higher
education to provide for local governing Boards of Trustees, our expectation has been
that any bargaining would be local—as a consequence of either recognition of the UFF
by the FIU Board of Trustees or a recertification election. However, there is a great
deal of additional uncertainty given the placement on the November statewide ballot
of the constitutional amendment (the Graham initiative) to reorganize higher
education. If approved by the voters, this amendment could likely make bargaining
statewide once again, depending upon the subsequent action of the Florida Legislature.
What is not yet clear however is whether in this scenario the UFF would need to be
recertified through a statewide election. Clarification on these matters is pending.
Under any circumstance, it is business as usual with the UFF and the contract is in
force until the first week of the new year.

The Millennium Strategic Plan

Two components of this plan are important at this point.

1) We call your attention to the institutional values statement of the plan. For the first
   time in the institution’s history, we have a values statement that can guide
   philosophy and behavior. Deans and chairs have been asked to discuss this
   statement with faculty and professional staffs. It can be found at:

2) During the Fall semester, 15 planning teams will meet to outline an action-oriented
   agenda to give the plan life. One of the teams will focus its efforts on academic
   priorities. Together with other plans, these assessments will be presented to the

   deans and executive council in late January 2003. We would expect that all
   recommendations will be reviewed by President Maidique in advance of planning
   for the 2003-2004 academic year.

Campus Construction

We have opened or will be opening several new buildings and can expect serious new
construction disruptions during the coming months. On University Park, we recently
opened our second parking garage, and just to the west, the Management and
Advanced Research Center (MARC). The MARC has been built with the support of
the FIU Foundation Inc. and houses the Division of Sponsored Research and Training
and allied research initiatives, executive education programs of the College of
Business, the English Language Institute program, and the Division of University
Advancement. Funds generated through the external activities of each are paying off
the 10-year mortgage on this new facility. Our new Health and Life Sciences building
is also now almost fully operational. The School of Architecture and College of Health
and Urban Affairs are prepared to move into the new Cejas Architecture building in
December. Check out the Barnes and Noble bookstore expansion—complete with new
coffee shop. We also inaugurated a new 400-bed Everglades Hall—to house our
surging on-campus student enrollment.

Planning is almost completed for our new Frost Art Museum, Health and Life Sciences
II, a new student recreation center, and buildings to house the Chapman Graduate
School, and the College of Law. We also expect an expansion of the Graham Center to
complement the recent changes in the Graham Center cafeteria. At the Biscayne Bay
Campus, we are now completing the design for our Marine Sciences building, are
preparing for a major retrofit of the Wolfe Center to provide enhanced food and
meeting services, and hope to construct a gallery near the Library to host art

Campus Life

We expect that over 300 student clubs and organizations will register for recognition
on both campuses during the early part of this new semester and host nearly 2,200
students living on our two campuses The presence of this record number of residents
presents new challenges to all of us. Without a doubt, we must identify new strategies
to address the needs of these students. For instance, with the growth in the number of
residential learning communities, we should witness a rise in the need for periodic
faculty advising and guest presentations. As well, we can predict that there will be
more students who expect more from the faculty and staff in terms of advising,
mentoring, and simply being responsive. Further, there may be more students in
need of professional counseling and student support services. We must understand
that added responsiveness will be necessary from all of us as our campus moves away

from its purely commuter nature. We have initiated conversations with the Faculty
Senate on the development of a strategy to address the projected changes in university
community life.

The advent of intercollegiate football at FIU is another milestone. We believe that our
football initiative will serve as a mechanism to galvanize campus life, recharge alumni
and bring them back to the campus, and give us national visibility in--among other
national fora---the NCAA. We are pleased that Coach Don Strock is pledged to the
recruitment of student athletes who can play football and graduate from FIU. The
popularity of the sport nationally and locally guarantees that we will have many new
supporters of our University. However, to be successful we will still need a strong
FIU base and we hope that you will support this initiative by buying season tickets
and attending all the home games! Our Band of the Sun marching band, with over 100
student musicians, guarantees the price of admission will be more than returned in
entertainment and school spirit.

We know that this year will pose new challenges, beyond those addressed above.
However, I have found that the FIU community has an incredible determination to
persevere. We brush off adversity and move ahead. We are impatient and optimistic.
We will not let temporary setbacks deter us from our course. Thus our vision to build
a top urban public research university will be fulfilled.

On a personal note, my family and I took time this summer to travel through Eastern
Europe to reconfirm family roots. A short postscript about this trip can be temporarily
found at Finally, I am looking
forward to team-teaching again this Fall INR 3203—International Relations. Nothing
like the classroom to keep us grounded! And I hope to complete a second draft of a
book on Central America after the Cold War. This study has been several years in the
making and needs to get to the publisher!


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