The Department has recently lost key senior and junior faculty members to retirement and to other institutions. Other such losses are on the horizon. Nonetheless, the careers of its remaining faculty represent a mix of striking accomplishment (e.g., Alex Stepick’s Robert E. Park and Anthony Leeds awards for best book in urban sociology and urban anthropology) and ascendant success (e.g., the innovative theoretical and empirical work of Sarah Mahler, Jean Rahier, and Laura Ogden). The Department’s research on local/transnational interplays fits tightly into the forefront of anthropological, sociological, and multidisciplinary scholarship. So, too, does its research engagement with South Florida’s challenges. These range from Cuban and Cuban-American controversies to racial-ethnic relations and the immense challenges of environmental sustainability.
The Department seeks to become the nation’s foremost social science program in research, education, and service on multicultural urban-regional issues in Latin American, Caribbean, and world perspective. Hence it will focus on strengthening its Ph.D. program, revolving around the specializations of transnational migration/race-ethnicity, environment and sustainability, and comparative social conflicts.
The expertise is in place, though the replacement of departed faculty—especially with a new generation of assistant professors—will be crucial. A new social sciences building, which is in the planning stages, promises to resolve the basic problems of departmental space and facilities. FIU needs to devote serious attention, however, to the quality of classroom facilities (including cleanliness and repairs). The University is currently revamping its informational technology administration as well as striving to improve it computer, computer lab, and classroom-IT facilities in general. It remains, however, far behind national standards for such facilities, as well as far behind in terms of institutional support for the widening array of essential quantitative and qualitative software.
Not only must the Department replace its departed faculty. It also must retain its current faculty, which is a serious challenge in view of FIU’s low salaries and woeful infrastructure and other research resources compared with other Ph.D.-granting universities. One basic ingredient is that FIU must routinely provide special summer research funds to assistant professors if the University seeks to compete nationally and to retain talented junior faculty as their careers mature. The University, in turn, must boost salary and research support for associate and full professors. The low salaries of staff members represent another serious problem. And graduate students need more out-of-state tuition waivers and enhanced assistantships, along with improved facilities and curricular improvements.
FIU is taking concerted actions that promise to mitigate the most basic space and facilities barriers to achieving the Department’s goals. Yet the principal barriers to achieving the department’s goals over the long run are likely to involve funding: public funding of the State University System and FIU, and national funding for basic research in the social sciences (including international research). The Department’s faculty has proved innovative and resolute in pursuit of such funding. The next stage in this pursuit will be the faculty’s energetic collaboration with the new Arts & Sciences initiatives in departmental and University fund raising.
At FIU’s G-51 Leadership & Management Institute meeting in August 2002, President Modesto A. Maidique observed that, according to Lattie F. Coor, the former president of Arizona State University, its impressive recent gains have hinged on its having “embraced Phoenix.” According to ASU’s current president, the distinguished environmentalist scholar Michael Crow, “We must emphasize the impact we have on our communities, enriching the lives of our citizens and improving our physical world.”10 At the G-51 meeting, President Maidique went on to assert that FIU must “embrace Miami.” FIU’s arms are indeed outstretched. Embracing Miami, and embracing it as part of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the world, is the work and the passion of FIU’s Department of Sociology & Anthropology.
1. The Department will emphasize the continued building of its doctoral program, focusing on the areas of transnational migration/race-ethnicity, environment and sustainability, and comparative social conflicts.
2. The Department will continue to promote multidisciplinary research and teaching, including its collaboration with FIU programs such as African-New World Studies, the Center for Transnational and Comparative Research (including Asian Studies), LACC, and Women’s Studies. Collaborations with the College of Law and the proposed new medical school with respect to multicultural, international, immigration, environmental, and gender issues are among the upcoming new possibilities.
3. The Department will seek to replace each departing faculty member. The new members will generally be junior faculty, many of whom will have established records of, or strong potential for, obtaining external research grants. The new members will fit into the above framework of specialization areas, and most of them will be faculty associates of LACC and/or the Center for Transnational and Comparative Studies (including Asian Studies). As part of this expertise, many of them will also teach graduate and undergraduate courses in theory and/or research methods (including GIS) and social statistics.
4. The Department will work with the College of Arts & Sciences and the University to raise faculty and staff salaries across the board to the national average for Research I universities.
5. The Department will work with the College of Arts & Sciences and the Dean of the Graduate School to increase out-of-state tuition waivers from five to 10 per year and the annual number of assistantships by a net 12 (to a total of 30, based on an average of 5 Ph.D.’s awarded per year and six years to degree). Some of these should be enhanced assistantships.
5. The Department will seek external funds to provide extra travel funds for graduate students.
6. The Department will seek external funds to provide additional support to its junior faculty in the form of two years of summer research funds at half summer pay.
7. The Department will seek external funds to finance extra travel money and mini-research grants for tenured faculty.
8. The Department will systematically advise undergraduate majors who intend to pursue graduate studies in anthropology or sociology to take additional courses that typify mainstream disciplinary majors.
9. The Department will continue to reform its undergraduate and graduate curricula, including the development of an accelerated M.A. program for qualified undergraduate majors and the development of an evaluation research track in its M.A. program. Both regular faculty and selected adjunct faculty will teach in this track.
10. The Department will seek external funds in order to establish a colloquium series of outside scholarly speakers.
11. The Department will seek improved office, seminar, and research space and facilities for faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. This will include adequate office space for visiting faculty, adjunct faculty, and teaching assistants, as well as a GIS lab (see recommendations 14 and 15).
12. The Department will work with the College of Arts & Sciences and with University Technology Services to upgrade its computer hardware and software for faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students.
13. The Department will seek external funding to establish an urban-regional-transnational research laboratory, focusing on South Florida in Latin American/Caribbean and world context, as part of a collaborative effort with other units of the University. The laboratory will serve as infrastructure for multidisciplinary programs for graduate and advanced undergraduate students. The programs will combine theoretical perspectives with research tools such as GIS, community statistical databases, virtual reality modeling (which is increasingly relevant to issues of urban-regional and community planning), survey research, and qualitative research.
14. The Department will endeavor to increase its research ties with agencies and other such institutions in South Florida, such as the South Florida Workforce Board, and beyond, and to integrate graduate students and, where possible, undergraduate students into such activities.
15. The Department will develop a “Where We Live” program of public lectures and events, possibly including ties with the local National Public Radio affiliate, to highlight its expertise on South Florida in Latin American, Caribbean, and world perspective. Faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and alumni will contribute to this program, which will also serve as a vehicle for external fund-raising.
16. The Department will make the position of Associate Chair a regular and adequately compensated part of its faculty. This is necessary due to the size of the department’s faculty and the growing vigor of its research activities. It is likewise necessary due to the need to make research activities and internships integral parts of the undergraduate major. The Associate Chair would have principal responsibility for the undergraduate program.
17. The Department will systematically track its undergraduate and graduate students after they have earned their degrees, and will develop an alumni newsletter, alumni web-site section, and other ways to maintain ties with its graduates.
18. The Department will collaborate actively with the College of Arts & Sciences on external fund-raising activities.
The Department of Sociology & Anthropology is situated to attain markedly higher levels of research, teaching, funding, and reputation in the coming years. The Department retains a talented and accomplished faculty, whose interests and energies are geared to understanding Greater Miami as part of the Latin America/Caribbean world-region. The theoretical and methodological perspectives of the Department’s faculty coincide with the multidisciplinary, local-transnational approaches that have risen to the scholarly forefront—and, in evolving forms, are likely to stay there in a world of rapidly shrinking space-time. Finally, the Department’s members are woven tightly into a web of diverse, extra-Departmental university programs.
The program fits squarely within FIU’s multicultural, international, and environmental themes. With adequate administrative support, the Department of Sociology & Anthropology will lead the way to an FIU-based, Miami School of urban-transnational studies.
XII. COST ESTIMATES, 2004-14
Add twelve new assistantships (@ $12,000), including five new out-of-
state tuition waivers, for an annual minimum of 30 assistantships (based on an average of five Ph.D.’s awarded per year at six years to degree): $144,000 per year
Provide graduate students with five $500 conference travel grants annually, based on external fund raising: $2,500 per year
Upgrade current half-time secretary to full-time (@ an additional $15,000): $15,000 per year
Establish a GIS/urban-regional-transnational lab (@18,500; includes GEO Server (Dell Poweredge 4600@ $7500; ArcGIS software licenses @ $1000 in accordance with FIU institutional license; two Manifold 5.50 Enterprise software licenses @ $600 each; GEO Workstation [Dell Precision 650] @ $4000; two printers @ $1500 each; Network switch hardware & cables @ $800; institutional support to set up SQL server @ $1000): $1,850 per year
Provide departmental assistant professors with two summers of special research funds at half summer pay (@ $9,500), based on external fund raising: $19,000 per year
Provide tenured faculty an annual pool of five $500 conference travel grants and two $5,000 research grants, based on external fund raising: $12,500 per year
Increase staff salaries across the board to Research I national
average (@ $5,000): $15,000 per year
Increase faculty salaries across the board to Research I national
average (@ $5,350 for eight assistant professors; $9,668 for 10 associate
professors; and $17,198 for 10 full professors [based on comparison
of current departmental salaries to most recent Oklahoma State
Establish an Associate Chair position, with principal responsibility for the undergraduate program (@ $3,000 plus full summer salary): $23,000 per year
Establish a scholarly colloquium series (four speakers per year @ $2,500 per event), based on external fund raising: $10,000 per year
Total: $537,310 per year
The Department of Sociology & Anthropology is poised to attain markedly higher levels of research, teaching, service, external funding, and reputation in the coming years. The Department retains a talented and accomplished faculty, whose interests and energies are geared to understanding Greater Miami as part of the Latin America/Caribbean world-region. The theoretical and methodological perspectives of the Department’s faculty coincide with the multidisciplinary, local-transnational approaches that have risen to the scholarly forefront—and, in evolving forms, are likely to stay there in a world of rapidly shrinking space-time. Finally, the Department’s members are woven tightly into a web of diverse, extra-departmental University programs.
The Department’s program buttress FIU’s missions as an urban public university committed to a sustainable environment in a multicultural, internationalized metropolitan area. With adequate administrative support, the Department of Sociology & Anthropology will lead the way to an FIU-based, Miami School of urban-transnational studies, encompassing the areas of international migration/race-ethnicity, environment and sustainability, and comparative social conflicts.
1 We use “South Florida” and “Greater Miami” interchangeably to refer to our region in its broadest geographic scope, encompassing the ever-changing dynamics of both its urban areas and their rural underpinnings.
2 This section’s demographic data are based on the U.S. Census (1980, 1990, 2000).
3 Data sources: for sociology, www.asanet.org (American Sociological Association); for anthropology, American Anthropological Association 2001-02 Guide.
4 Sources: American Anthropological Association, Guide (2002); American Sociological Association, Guide to Departments of Sociology (2002); and our search of university web sites.
5 The sources for our discussion of sociology and anthropology Departments are Guide to Departments of Sociology (American Sociological Association, 2002); Guide (American Anthropological Association, 2002); and our search of the ASA, AAA, and university web sites.
6 See, e.g., Immanuel Wallerstein, “Social Sciences in the Twenty-First Century,” in The World Social Sciences Report, eds. A. Kazancigil and D. Makimsen (Paris: UNESCO, 1999).
7 City on the Edge won the Robert E. Park Award, American Sociological Association; and the Anthony Leeds Award, Society for Applied Anthropology.
8 Given that the core requirements of FIU’s graduate program are anchored in sociology, the program is not at all comparable with anthropology curricula.
9 The average annual M.A. and Ph.D. figures include data up to Summer 2003 only.
10 Source: www.asu.edu/president (Arizona State University, Fall 2002).