College Governance

CLAS Assembly Minutes

November 16, 2005

  1. Dr. Scott McCullough, 2005-06 President Pro Tempore, called the Assembly to order shortly after 4pm. He turned the meeting over to Dean Neil S. Sullivan, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Professor of Physics.
  2. Dean Sullivan gave a presentation in which he summarized the state of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.
    1. There has been an enormous growth of student numbers, both undergraduate students (12,300 CLAS college majors) and graduate students (1,980), as well as a remarkable growth of faculty.
    2. As an international research institution, the University of Florida emphasizes departments, programs and other initiatives that focus on International Studies. Dean Sullivan highlighted the efforts of
      • National Resource Centers (US Department of Education) Paris Research Center
        France-Florida Research Institute
        Center for Latin American Studies
    3. Total undergraduate enrollment at the University of Florida grew from 25,000 in 1999 to 2005 in 34,000.
    4. Another positive development concerns the growth of CLAS research awards for faculty.
    5. With the increasing number of students, the University of Florida faces difficult space problems. They will be somewhat alleviated when the various construction projects on campus are finished in about two years. The Ustler Hall renovation should be complete by summer, 2006. The CLAS Life Sciences building is #4 on the PICO list. Among these, a new building which will house the Graham Center for Public Service is the most prominent one.
    6. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences established the nation’s first Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions in 2005.
    7. The two main concerns currently regard the issues related to (i) student growth, and (ii) training of K-12 teachers, in particular in sciences and foreign languages. In the past four years, the University of Florida has experienced a 4% undergraduate yearly growth, but no increase in budget.
  3. Dean Sullivan then opened the floor up to questions.

    Faculty Question: Can you explain why certain ongoing searches were cancelled?

    Dean Sullivan’s Answer: The cancellation were enforced by new budget constraints.
  4. Kenneth Gerhardt, Interim Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, then addressed issues related to Graduate Education.
    1. Issues in Graduate Education
      In the past ten years, there has been a tremendous growth in the number of graduate students, from 6,000 to 10,000. This growth mainly concerns the increase in MA students, the number of PhD students has not changed in any significant way. Given the overall goal of moving the University of Florida into the top 10 public universities in the nation, we are faced with significant challenges in improving the quality of our graduate programs. There should be more emphasis on PhD education, in certain targeted disciplines, with the goal of increasing the number of students in these programs. In order to achieve this goal, the graduate education at all levels must be given careful attention, focusing on the quality of graduate faculty, curricula and also mentoring of students (including their research and teaching experiences). Having successful graduate students also presupposes admitting diverse cohort of students. Currently, guidelines for assessment of programs are designed in CLAS: they emphasize research and graduate education, taking into consideration resources, students, and faculty. One of the questions concerns quality indicators: namely, the proper specification of input characteristics and outcome measurements.
    2. What does it mean to improve the quality of our PhD programs? The result should include improved completion rate, lowering of attrition rates and good job placement. This in turn presupposes focusing on four areas, which are also in the UF portion of the larger CGS grant: namely, the right people apply for doctoral study, the right applicants are admitted as doctoral students, productive working relationships between students and faculty, social support among fellow students.
    3. National Research Council (NRC) PhD assessment is currently undertaking an assessment survey of PhD programs. The taxonomy of PhD programs will be completed in January 2006. It is crucial for UF that its graduate programs be appropriately classified by NRC. The evaluation process involves an institutional questionnaire (institutional support, infrastructure), program questionnaire (graduate faculty, employment history, student demographics, attrition, funding, test scores, appointments, etc.), faculty questionnaire (citations, publications, grants, interdisciplinary participation, etc.), doctoral candidate questionnaire. The final reports of NRC should be ready by 2008.
    4. Exit survey of graduate students.
    5. Upcoming project: website for potential applicants listing features of our graduate programs
  5. Dean Gerhardt then opened the floor up to questions.

    Faculty Question: One of the problems that we face in recruiting and retaining high quality graduate students is the lack of sufficient funding throughout their graduate studies. How does the University of Florida intend to solve this problem?

    Dr. Gerhardt’s Answer: One of the solutions to this problem is to get outside funding, but the University of Florida will have to address this problem in a systematic way, as well.

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