Note from the Dean

Looking Good

Greetings from Gainesville. Another academic year has opened amidst a very upbeat attitude, resulting from a number of success stories in CLAS. First, we are excited by the addition of 30 new faculty members who bring to us their new ideas, new scholarly programs, and creative approaches in teaching. Nothing stimulates a department and college more than adding new faculty, who are the life blood of the academic enterprise.

Besides new faculty, CLAS has lots of new students, about 1,000 more than last year. The enrollment gain overall at UF brought the university to the 42,000 level and our College total to over 12,000. We are responsible for teaching the equivalent of another 8,000 students, based on total student credit hours earned.

UF continues to draw the very best students in Florida, which means we are getting some of the finest students in the country. UF ranks fourth in the country in students earning Advanced Placement credit while in secondary school, and recent data show that UF is far and away first nationally in students earning International Baccalaureate degrees from their high schools. We also continue to be one of the top five or six institutions drawing National Merit scholars. If you interpret this to mean that we have an awesome group of Gators at UF, you are exactly correct.

The CLAS faculty have also been busy and successful. Over the past three years, they have attracted federal research funds totaling $16 million, $19 million, and $25 million, respectively, to UF. This is extraordinary, given the increasingly difficult funding at the national level. It is worth recalling that these are peer-reviewed awards, which means that our faculty are successfully winning research grant competitions against faculty from the most prestigious universities in the country. Having these research funds permits faculty to buy the latest equipment, attract the best graduate students, and establish their reputations on the national and international scene.

And finally, the kickoff of our $500 million capital campaign is exciting to the entire academic community. CLAS has many more needs and opportunities, as you will see elsewhere in this issue. We ask that you consider carefully how you can help us with your support, because it is your private gifts that provide the margin of excellence to help us go beyond the limitations of state dollars. We can use everything from a new PC to a renovated historic building.

Let me remind you again to visit with us electronically on our CLAS homepage http:// www.clas.ufl.edu. This opens up with a live digital camera view of the Turlington Plaza, with an updated image each 15 seconds. Tune in to check out the weather, the students, the noontime circus-like events, etc. Also investigate our other CLAS homepage options, including the new CLAS Journal, an electronic newsletter designed to bring you fast-breaking coverage of college activities.

We have a lot to be thankful for this year, including your support. Thank you for all you do to help us become even better each year.

Will Harrison, Dean

harrison@chem.ufl.edu