Board of Governors votes to approve Florida State’s pre-eminent status

Florida State University was officially designated as one of two pre-eminent research universities in the state of Florida by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) on June 10, resulting in the launch of FSU’s plan to escalate its standing in the national rankings.

With this decision, Florida State has begun to implement its comprehensive Top 25 Plan to move the university up in the national rankings through targeted investments.

“The official pre-eminence designation by the Florida Board of Governors is the equivalent of an ignition switch on three years of planning to move Florida State into the top tier of public universities,” said President Eric J. Barron. “We are confident that our plan will get us where we need to go in a relatively short period of time for the benefit of our students and all Florida residents.”

Florida State will begin a targeted hiring of faculty in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Current plans call for an investment in truly innovative areas of importance to the state of Florida and the nation. These include energy and materials research designed to tackle the major design and cost limitations of renewable energy; a focus on the human brain as a part of the university’s successful longevity initiative; and integrated research on Florida’s coastal and marine environment, as well as other areas that leverage FSU’s strengths and connect our students to cutting-edge science and technology. Florida State also will make a significant investment in scholarships for STEM-ready students.

Eric J. Barron, president of Florida State University.
Eric J. Barron, president of Florida State University.

Florida State is already the top STEM university in the state, ranking first in five of the nine fields of study identified by the National Science Foundation in STEM subjects. The university ranked No. 1 in computer science, mathematics, physical science (chemistry and physics), social science (economics and political science) and psychology. FSU is No. 2 in the state in environmental sciences.

In addition, the university will advance its initiative as an entrepreneurial university by hiring “entrepreneurs-in-residence” in its many colleges. Florida State is working to ensure that students of every major have access to foundation courses in business, and have the opportunity to be taught by faculty that have been successful entrepreneurs and business leaders in their disciplines. This is a key aspect of a much broader expansion of programs that also will promote career readiness and career placement — involving the Career Center, Academic Affairs and the Alumni Association.

Florida State also will continue to focus on improving its already strong record of retention and graduation performance. “The number one way to save families and taxpayers money is to retain students and to graduate them in a timely fashion,” Barron said.

“Our intention is to move up in the national rankings of public universities, but more importantly to ensure that Florida State students are some of the most employable graduates in the nation,” Barron said.

The BOG decision followed passage of the Career and Professional Education Act by the Florida Legislature earlier this spring that defined pre-eminence for state universities and set specific performance parameters for schools to earn this status. Florida State will receive $15 million in additional state funding as a result of its pre-eminent status with additional funding associated with meeting key benchmarks.