Welcome to Spring 2020

Dean Michael R. Heithaus sent a memorandum to welcome faculty and staff back for Spring 2020 semester on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

We’ve rung in a new year and a new decade — and now, we’re at the start of a new semester!

Every day, you go above and beyond to pull together, do your part to help others and make an impact for our students and in your research and creative endeavors. You’ve heard me say it before, but we really are creating an inspiring future. 

As we look ahead, I believe it’s important to reflect on what we have accomplished. Its incredible how far we have come.  These strides should inspire us to keep leading our college — and our university — to new, even greater heights. 

Over the past several years, we’ve led a university-wide culture of change. Using a high-tech, high-touch approach, we’ve set a new standard for student learning and success. Efforts by our dedicated advising staff and our faculty have helped thousands of students stay on track and graduate on time. Our graduation rates continue their upward trajectory and our retention rate has improved to 89 percent.

This fall, the School of Education & Human Development received three grants from the U.S. Department of Education, totaling more than $9.75 million. With this funding, we’re creating programs to train more diverse doctoral students in special education, prepare for highly qualified rehabilitation counselors and also address critical shortages of school psychologists and special education teachers in Florida

Recently, we merged all of our environmental programs, centers and initiatives into one collaborative research center — the Institute of Environment. By unifying these programs under one institute, FIU now boasts one of the largest and most impactful environmental research centers in the country. This December, we also celebrated the groundbreaking of the International Center for Tropical Botany at the Kampong, which is a core component of the Institute of Environment. The new facility will support our graduate students and help advance our research efforts for sustainable plant use and conservation.

All of our incredible work hasn’t gone unrecognized by our peers. We continue to earn many important rankings. This year, seven of our research areas made the Top 100 of the NSF’s Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) rankings. Psychology was ranked No. 5! And was #1 in Florida. As we continue to grow our research and build on the strength of our preeminent programs, I know that more of our outstanding programs will break into the Top 100. For the programs that are already there, let’s aim for Top 50 – or Top 10!

We’re where we are today because of you. I want to thank you for your commitment and hard work. As we look forward to the next decade, I have no doubt the College of Arts, Sciences & Education will continue to be a leader. Together, we will demonstrate how a college can deliver high-quality education for students and also conduct groundbreaking research that addresses and solves major global problems. I’m inspired by the work you do and I’m excited for what is still to come.