Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2002

A Note from the Dean


Building on Our Strengths

SullivanGreetings from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to all our alumni, friends and supporters. The passage from the fall of 2001 to the beginning of 2002 has been a turbulent one for the college and the university following the tragic events of last September and the effects they have had on all of us. We are now looking forward to the future with a sharpened awareness of our place in a global society and the need to engage our students in the situations they will face interacting with people of diverse heritages, traditions and systems of belief. The liberal arts and sciences education we offer our students plays an unparalleled role, among other programs, in developing the broad skills necessary to succeed in the international workplace and to build the cooperative world relations on which our future depends.

UF President Charles Young has charged the university to consider a restructuring plan that will identify and build on our strengths in order to propel the University of Florida into the top tier of public institutions. As the academic core of the university, CLAS has em-braced this challenge energetically as an opportunity to focus on those areas where we have unique assets and where we can emerge as national leaders.

One of the programs we have identified for this effort is the study of children and families. Few areas will have greater impact on the future of our state and the nation than our study and understanding of the issues facing this important segment of our population. CLAS faculty members and graduate students are collaborating with researchers in other colleges on a variety of research studies related to children and families. They are exploring issues and proposing solutions to the many problems facing families in our state, such as the sharp reduction of traditional parenting, the geographic mobility of the population, the increase in teenage and domestic violence and the rising gap between the rich and the poor. Understanding the economic and cultural factors that are responsible for these problems is the central goal of the proposed UF Institute on Children and Families. This interdisciplinary effort is an investment in our future, and one in which our college must play a central role.

The college has identified other key areas that are critical for future growth. No university in the US can emerge among the top-ranked academic institutions without a nationally recognized humanities center. We plan to establish a Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, which will build on our rich heritage of writers, historians and filmmakers to create a national center of excellence. Several recent and future faculty hires in genetics are moving the college and the university forward through the UF Genetics Institute, which involves geneticists, biologists, mathematicians, statisticians and chemists working closely with our agriculture and medical researchers. Our programs in astronomy, astrophysics and physics include a partnership with Spain to build the world's largest telescope and participation in the international physics network, which allows leading institutions to share data and information on projects exploring the fundamental forces of nature and the origin of the universe.

CLAS has focused on selecting areas of research and education where we have unique strengths to build programs of national and international prominence. The chosen areas carry a UF mark of distinction, for which the college will be recognized as the institution of choice for scholars and students from across the nation and the world specializing in these fields. These projects are ambitious, but with the continued support of our alumni and friends, the talent of our faculty and collaborations with colleagues across the university, they are achievable.

 

Neil Sullivan, Dean
sullivan@phys.ufl.edu


Photo:
Jane Dominguez

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Thursday, 30-Jul-2009 11:55:16 EDT