College of Arts and Sciences, USF

Dean's Annual Report on the State of the College
2011

Greetings! I want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your contributions to the successes of this past academic year. There are so many exciting things happening in the College of Arts and Sciences, and despite the financial challenges we have had to endure we continue to advance our reputation as a first-rate research university dedicated to global impact and student success.

Our faculty continue to be highly productive in their research and creative activity.  Three of our faculty members were awarded the competitive Board of Governor’s New Florida grants, which partner us with other universities in the SUS. A number of our researchers responded to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, providing important data that led to better beach clean up techniques. We co-hosted a press conference for international, national and local media about a prototype solar window that uses technology developed by a USF physicist. Our faculty are especially focused on conducting interdisciplinary research, an example of which being a $1.2 million NSF grant that pairs CAS and the College of Education to train local math and science teachers.  And there is so much more. The word is getting out about the great work our faculty are doing, resulting in positive news coverage in media outlets such as the New York Times, National Geographic online, MSNBC, Time.com, New York Magazine, National Geographic TV, Sun Sports TV and Bloomberg, as well as many local media outlets. Finally, last summer our research and scholarship office hosted the Summer Grant Writing Workshops, which generated $1.4 million in grant contracts and awards. If you haven’t participated in these workshops before, I encourage you to attend this summer.

Student success continues to be a top priority of the College.  We have hired additional professional advisers to track student progress and guide them toward majors where they will be successful. In addition, we created a special section of our website just for incoming freshmen to help them prepare for orientation and to begin their USF career on the right foot. We continue to look for unique degree programs to offer our students. In the fall, the School of Information began offering a bachelor’s degree in information studies, and the Department of Economics began offering a Ph.D. with a specialization in health economics. Our Ph.D. student enrollment has also been on the rise thanks to additional stipends made available.

This year we were able to hire 12 tenure-line faculty this year, 3 research assistant professors, 5 postdoctoral fellows, 8 permanent instructors and 33 visiting instructors. This is quite an accomplishment in a year when many of our peer institutions eliminated faculty positions or implemented hiring freezes. We were also proud to provide performance bonuses to 10 highly deserving staff members at our annual staff appreciation event in November.

One thing we all know about USF is that when people visit the campus, they invariably walk away surprised and impressed. Aware of this fact, many of our faculty have hosted national and international conferences this year. This year alone we have hosted two conferences about Middle East politics that featured prominent speakers. We also hosted an international mathematics conference in December that was very successful. The Humanities Institute organized numerous conferences and speakers in specialized areas in the liberal arts. And we have been very involved in the community by hosting educational events such as the Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Lecture Series and the ever-popular Lunch with a Scholar series.

I am pleased to report that all three schools have completed and approved their school governance documents. I know this was a long process, but am very thankful to all of you, but especially to the Chairs and the CAS Faculty Council for accomplishing this task.

This past year, we have begun telling our college’s story in as many ways possible. We now have a section of our website dedicated to news about our college. We’re also sharing our news through social media such as Facebook (“like” us), Twitter (follow us), YouTube (watch us) and foursquare (find us). In August we launched the Bullhorn, a monthly e-newsletter just for our faculty and staff that shares the many exciting news and events taking place in our college.

Our website has been going through a lot of changes as well. Last fall we introduced our Bloggin’ Bulls, which features the “globull” adventures of our students and faculty. If you or your students are traveling to do some exciting research this summer, please let us knowabout it so we can feature you. We also worked with the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to develop Imagine, a booklet that touts the accomplishments of SNSM. These booklets were given to USF administration, USF Board of Trustees and some members of the Florida Legislature. We hope to work with the other schools to produce booklets to help communicate the importance of what they do.

As I look to the year ahead, I will continue to do all that I can to position our college to be successful. I am confident that we will continue to build on our momentum and get closer to our vision of becoming a great global research university. A strong College of Arts and Sciences is critical to us achieving this bold aspiration.

 

Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.
Dean