1. Enrollment & Graduation Trends The Department of Sociology & Anthropology’s total FTE’s rose by 25.5% from 1997-98 to 2002-03 (Table 8 and Figures 2-4; see Appendices D and I). The Department’s annual number of undergraduate majors has remained flat since 1997-98 (as majors in International Relations, Political Science, and Psychology have grown), but its overall undergraduate FTE’s have climbed by 21%. While the Department’s FTIC retention rate (71%) is 3% lower than the College of Arts & Sciences average, its AA Transfer retention rate (63%) is, strikingly, 23% higher than the College average. Continued improvements in the Department’s curriculum, including its nexus with South Florida’s communities, promise to boost undergraduate enrollment, major, and retention figures in coming years in proportion to increases in FIU’s institutional support of the Department.
Although the Department’s graduate FTE’s have dropped since the late 1990s and its number of graduate majors has dropped since 2000-01 (Table 8, Figures 2-4; see Appendices D and I), these trends are entangled with its outstanding success in awarding M.A.’s and Ph.D.’s: 15 M.A.’s in 2002-03; a yearly average of 7.3 M.A.’s in 2000-03; nine Ph.D.’s in 2000-01; and a yearly average of 5.5 Ph.D.’s in 2000-03.9 The Department’s focus on educating doctoral students is evident in two other measures of outstanding success: its doctoral graduation rate (52%) is some 27%
higher than the Arts & Sciences norm, while its doctoral retention rate (71%) is 28% higher than the College standard. This record is remarkable in that it coincides with pronounced attrition in the Department’s number of faculty members. It also coincides with the fact that several faculty members hold FIU administrative appointments, and that several faculty members are likely to be on leave during any academic year.
The graduate record stands to improve with the replacement of departed faculty members; the addition of 12 new graduate assistantships, some of which should involve enhanced funding; increased faculty and staff salaries to the national average for Research I universities (see XII.B concerning faculty salaries); substantial upgrades in departmental space and in departmental as well as university infrastructure; revisions in the graduate curriculum; and external fund raising to support these aspirations. The Department’s production of M.A.’s and Ph.D’s. will rise in direct proportion to the extent of implementation of such improvements, including the initiation of GIS courses, the possible implementation of a master’s evaluation research track, and expanded faculty and offerings in the area of environment and sustainability.