For more than four decades, the students and scientists who comprise the University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science (CMS) have sought to solve the mysteries of the deep. Since its inception in 1967, the primary mission of the college has been to conduct basic and applied research in marine science. Graduate student education, ocean sensor development and educational outreach to society at large are also integral to the college’s mission. The USF: Unstoppable Campaign will bolster that mission in remarkable ways.
CMS, already a national leader in creating and integrating sophisticated ocean sensor technology to advance oceanographic and climate change research, now seeks to become one of the top oceanographic institutions in the world. Our vision involves taking the next steps in our journey, becoming a global leader in applying science to society’s needs through research, service and training of future scientists. The college will focus on areas of interdisciplinary research that draw connections between the atmosphere, ocean and land, while addressing the fragile nature of the earth’s ecosystem.
CMS believes that for marine scientists to be truly effective, they must expand their focus beyond brackish and saltwater. We further believe that earth systems scientists require new paths of inquiry. Our research, therefore, will focus on four broad areas of interdisciplinary study: the global climate, land and ocean interactions, living marine resources and the earth’s past in order to better predict its future.
True scientific advances are solely dependent upon the fertile imaginations of research scientists, engineers, their students and technicians. New ideas and approaches can come from anywhere at any time. However, a climate of creative thinking, of interaction between experts of different disciplines, and the ability to translate an idea into a well-defined research program require both human capital and appropriate infrastructure. Without these critical elements, scientific research will stagnate.
While the college currently has many of the basic components in place for achieving preeminence among oceanographic institutions, it seeks to create critical masses of intellectual capital in specific areas necessary to ensure advancement into the next level of national and international prominence. To reach its true potential, to become truly unstoppable, the college is now seeking private support in the following areas:
Endowed Chairs and Professorships
To further enhance its ability to undertake its primary mission, CMS seeks to attract and retain key faculty to create a cohesive, interdisciplinary group of scientists operating on the frontiers of their respective fields. The college’s plan is to fill new faculty positions with world-class scientists and seek parity among the many disciplines within CMS.
Through this approach, the College of Marine Science will expand its expertise in environmental issues of global importance. New chairs filled in this manner will allow it to dovetail its three missions of teaching, research and public outreach. CMS will recruit leading thinkers, whose work will enhance the lives of people throughout the Tampa Bay region and around the globe.
This important component requires that CMS have sufficient and stable resources available to make competitive salary offers to qualified candidates as well as to retain those individuals with opportunities elsewhere. The most secure method for doing this is through the use of endowed chairs and professorships. Three endowed chairs are essential to accomplishing the college’s long-term goals.
Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Postdoctoral research fellow programs are a long-standing tradition at the nation’s best research universities and oceanographic institutes. Postdoctoral fellows are accomplished, knowledgeable and thought-provoking and serve as inspirational role models to graduate students. These fellows work with faculty on new initiatives and mentor graduate students on research topics and career choices. Implementation of a successful postdoctoral research program is pivotal to the success of the college.
The program should consist of four postdoctoral positions, each having a 24-month duration. CMS will seek postdoctoral fellows as a balance between synergy with existing programs and expansion into new areas.
The college aspires to accelerate its graduate programs with the goal of being the marine science program of choice for graduate students. Graduate education is integral to USF’s research mission. Interactions between faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students routinely result in advances that are highlighted in peer-reviewed journals, speaking roles at symposia and financial awards of research support. Graduate research and education programs are the building blocks for attaining national academic distinction as a Research I university.
The College of Marine Science strives to attract and retain the best and brightest graduate students, while also ensuring that its educational programs are available to all qualified students without regard to financial circumstances. The market for highly qualified students is extremely competitive, with many top scholars making decisions based not simply upon the merits of the school, but upon a school’s ability to support their educational experiences. The college seeks to establish a financial assistance fund to make CMS more competitive among the nation’s top marine science colleges and “the school of choice” for the best student leaders seeking graduate degrees in marine science. An endowment of $5 million will provide CMS with the ability to offer full fellowship support (tuition, research, travel, equipment, supplies and living expenses) to 10 graduate students pursuing advanced degrees in marine science.
By reaching these goals with the support of friends and alumni like you, the College of Marine Science will reach even greater heights during its fifth decade.
With your help, the College of Marine Science will be unstoppable.