Joint college needs help from Legislature, private sector for advancement
J. Murray Gibson, dean of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, says it has the right combination to become one of the country’s top schools in 10 years.
Gibson, addressing members of the college’s Management Council meeting Thursday, said the joint college also has the potential to supply engineers for future job demands in Florida, while also helping to fill the void of minority engineers nationwide.
“In five to 10 years, I could see this being a top 50 college, the best in the country for producing African-American engineers,” said Murray, who was appointed dean in June.
Getting there will require increased private fundraising, hiring top professors, branding the college and convincing the Legislature that the school needs more money.
Today, the college ranks 117th in national graduate rankings. It has 90 faculty members and generates $20 million in research funding. In comparison, the University of Florida ranks NO. 43 nationally. It has 200 faculty members and brings in $68 million in annual research.
State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser III, suggested the college form a collaboration with Florida’s business leaders in generating research money. He mentioned the success of The Georgia Research Association and its relationship with Georgia Tech and other Peach state universities.
FSU President John Thrasher said it was important to note the joint college’s improvements in the past two years. The next step is to get legislative approval for more funding.
The college’s legislative budget request for next year is a little more than $7 million. That includes $3 million in “start-up” money for new faculty and boosting research capabilities; an additional $625,000 for five new faculty members and $1 million to increase faculty salaries so they are more in line with colleagues nationally. It also would go toward making salaries between FAMU faculty and FSU faculty more equitable.
Murray said the joint college also could become a model for other universities serious about producing more minority graduates. His goal is to have it recognized as the “best engineering school in the nation” for educating black engineers.