New FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Dean talks goals

By: Mariel Carbone
July 28, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- A new school year begins soon, and with it, new leadership at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering.

J. Murray Gibson officially took over as Dean July 1.

Gibson has a highly intensive research background and served as the founding dean of Northeastern University’s College of Science and a professor at the University of Illinois.

He steps in at a time filled with tension after controversy over financial control and talks of splitting.

However, Gibson said the relationship between the two schools is a valuable one, and that he made sure when accepting the job that both sides are fully committed to making this partnership work. Gibson is a FAMU staff member, however as a dean of the joint school, he answers to both schools and is considered a dean at both schools.

His main goals for the college are to attract more funding and expand diversity. He said this can only be done through this unique partnership. FSU has a strong research program and FAMU holds the title of a Historically Black College, which brings diversity and a strong group of alumni. He said those are the selling points for success.

“If you’ve got a great idea for research, but you can add to it, not only will I do this research for the Navy, or for the National Science Foundation, but I’ll simultaneously address the problem of under representation, you’ve got a win-win situation,” said Gibson. "If you can do the same thing that they can do at MIT, but you have an additional dimension, you have an advantage. So that’s how you can be successful."

He also plans to invest time in recruiting and retaining FAMU students.

Right now, the school has roughly 2,200 undergraduate students, but only about three to four hundred are FAMU students. There are about 100 staff members, yet only about a third are FAMU faculty members.

He hopes to make sure every student and staff member feels, and are treated, equally. And, that everyone falls under one identity.

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