Celebrating a Successful 2018-2019 Academic Year

As we move into the calmer summer semester – when students are scarce and parking on campus isn’t as tough – many friends and colleagues express pleasure at the slower pace and how quiet things are in the halls of Bellamy.

Before I look ahead to the summer in a separate blog, I’d be remiss if we didn’t celebrate some of the great college successes of the past year, which include continued rise in the national rankings for FSU and for our Public Administration program.

  • Last year, COSSPP graduated another 1,700+ students, including over 900 in the spring semester. The college continues to generate 1 in every 6 degrees granted by FSU.
  • Several COSSPP faculty traveled abroad to work on their Fulbright Award projects (Anne Barret, Chris Coutts, and Miles Taylor), with COSSPP having the highest percentage of awardees at any college at FSU.
  • In February, the college’s African-American Studies program co-hosted an event with the Black Student Union and FSU Sustainable Campus to bring Dr. Robert Bullard, esteemed scholar and Father of Environmental Justice, to Ruby Diamond for a signature talk and panel at the BSU House.
  • Our students also continued to impress and lead the university, with the new Student Government leadership (Evan Steinberg, Stephanie Lee, and Caleb Dawkins) made up of COSSPP majors. It is worth noting that Lee and Dawkins are current Social Science Scholars.
  • In March we celebrated one of the most significant naming gifts in the college’s history with the creation of the Mark and Marianne Barnebey Planning and Development Lab (aka “The Barn”) in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning.
  • We recently saw COSSPP faculty receive University Teaching Awards (Miranda Waggoner and Bruce Manciagli) and Graduate Faculty Mentor Awards (Jim Elsner and Carl Kitchens). Shantel Buggs was also honored with the FSU Pride Student Union Faculty of the Year award.
  • Finally, at several end of the year events, COSSPP students and faculty were honored for their contributions to the university at the FSU Leadership Banquet and their excellence in the Honors program at the Senior Scholar Awards.

These are but a few of the many honors and accomplishments of our world-class faculty and students over the academic year. I routinely describe COSSPP as a “Leadership College,” and these successes help to showcase just that.

Beyond the awards and accolades, another key initiative for the college centers upon work that blurs the boundaries between education, research, and service. COSSPP is blessed to have faculty that bring their research into the classroom, understanding that scholarship and education go hand in hand.

Many of our faculty also ensure their work goes beyond academia to be used for the betterment of communities and citizens throughout the globe. One example, among many, of this transformative research, comes from our Emergency Management faculty and students, who were on the ground immediately after Hurricane Michael to assist in assessing and documenting storm damage.

Another excellent example comes from Professor David Berlan in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy. He and his students have been working with Panhandle communities to assess their resilience and volunteerism efforts and needs post-Hurricane Michael. In Spring 2019, he designed and led an applied-research and service-learning course, one where students undertook field visits to various Panhandle counties to engage with the affected communities. This work will help these storm-ravaged places compete for and make the best use of federal and state resources as they recover.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t detail some of the major successes we have had with our Get More Than a Degree initiative, which centers upon increasing the quality of the undergraduate experience for our students. We have created a wonderful, brief YouTube video that highlights the power of Get More Than a Degree to transform the experiences of our students.

Throughout the year I work with my excellent fundraising team to secure $400,000 in spendable funds to provide programming that includes service learning activities, international study, on-campus meet-and-greets, lectures, and participation and presentations at regional and national conferences. These activities typically cannot be funded by state dollars, and gifts from donors are required to support these activities.

In sum, the 2018-2019 academic year was a great one for the college. COSSPP’s 150+ faculty, 60+ staff, 4,700+ students, and almost 40,000 graduates remain committed to our mission of Engaging Today’s World, Producing Tomorrow’s Leaders.

Dr. Tim Chapin is the Dean for the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and a Professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning.

The feature image is from the COSSPP’s website.

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