Travis named interim dean of FSU’s largest college

Joseph Travis, a Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor and director of the School of Computational Science and Information Technology, has been named interim dean of the Florida State University College of Arts and Sciences.

Travis succeeds Donald Foss, who stepped down to become the chief academic officer for the University of Houston System.

Provost and Executive Vice President Lawrence G. Abele said Travis, who has served on the faculty of FSU’s biological sciences department since 1980, was the obvious choice to lead the university’s largest college until a permanent dean is hired.

"Dr. Travis is an extraordinary teacher, a renowned scholar and a real academic leader," Abele said. "We are fortunate to have someone with his talent and experience to oversee the College of Arts and Sciences."

As interim dean, Travis said he will work to ensure an effective transition.

"It’s an honor to be asked to serve," he said. "I want to help the College of Arts and Sciences continue to grow and prosper and make sure that we maintain the spirit that has built so many superb programs for our students."

Travis, who specializes in the fields of evolution and ecology, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1991. At FSU, he was recognized as a Lawton Professsor, the university’s highest faculty honor, in 1996. He also has received a University Teaching Award and a Developing Scholar Award.

Travis earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 and a doctorate in zoology from Duke University in 1980.

The College of Arts and Sciences comprises 19 departments, 17 institutes and 10 interdisciplinary programs. The college annually awards the largest number of bachelor’s degrees and the largest number of doctoral degrees at FSU.