I want to thank presidents John Thrasher (Florida State University) and Kent Fuchs (University of Florida) for their thoughtful April 21 oped, “Invest in Florida’s universities — the state’s future is at stake.”
Florida’s universities certainly need more state funds to conduct research, and attract the best faculty in the world.
Collectively, Florida’s universities feature the highest student-to-faculty ratio in the nation. A more generous state commitment to funding our public research universities is the only way to reduce that troubling ratio.
However, I wish to add another priority to presidents Thrasher and Fuchs’ ideas. State universities should strive not only to attract the country’s best faculty, but also its best students.
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One of the principal functions of a public university is to be its community’s flypaper for young talent. Serving that aim requires a focus on faculty quality and research output.
It also demands state funding schemes that allow for competitive admissions and scholarship policies.
Florida’s universities best fulfill their mission when they are both developing in-state talent and attracting new talent from around the country and across the world.
Implementing this vision requires further investment in our public universities, and that investment must be adjusted to the respective missions of individual institutions, including the large public research universities in our state’s major metropolitan areas: the University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, and Florida International University.
Modesto A. Maidique, president emeritus, Florida International University, Alvah H. Chapman, Jr., Eminent Scholar Chair in Leadership, Miami