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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

$10 mil in fed stim bucks will allow UF to hire 100 faculty



The University of Florida has seen its faculty ranks shrink by about seven dozen professors during the past year, thanks to tens of millions in budget cuts, but president Bernie Machen is about to announce that he will use $10 million in federal stimulus dollars to fill that hole.

UF will hire 100 new professors during the year ahead, Machen is telling the faculty Senate during a meeting in Gainesville. The stimulus money will serve as a “bridge” until higher undergraduate tuition rates that went into effect this week for Florida residents generate enough revenue to cover the new professors’ salaries.

Other Florida colleges, including Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida International University, are using stimulus money to hire new faculty, but none on so large a scale as UF.

UF, the state’s flagship research institution, is hoping to lure professors from states like California with far more dire budget situations affecting public colleges and universities. Call it a reversal of the “brain drain” that has been happening in the past couple of years, with top professors leaving institutions like UF and Florida State University for jobs at colleges in South Carolina, Georgia and beyond.

“We face attrition every year due to retirement and normal turnover, but there is no question that we have had some departures because of our financial challenges. This has been portrayed as a 'brain drain' and can have serious impacts if left unchecked,” Machen said. “With other institutions struggling, we have a unique opportunity to hire excellent people – from both the California system and other systems.”

The ratio of students to tenured and tenure-track professors at UF is now 20:1. Machen said the ratio needs to be closer to 13:1 or 14:1 for UF to join the ranks of institutions like the University of Michigan or Berkeley.


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:15pm]


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