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It is under the guise of UF's search or a new president and is nothing but another shameless promotion piece for UF. 

"The Gators’ storied athletic accomplishments aside, UF is the only institution in Florida belonging to the prestigious Association of American Universities, a group of 61 pre-eminent research universities. For Floridians, that means their flagship school is among the best universities in North America, those at the forefront of innovation and scholarship."

UF is not the flagship school for the State of Florida.  How many times does it need to be said, especially in Tallahassee?

Yes, decades ago UF supporters won political battles in the State Legislature that granted UF a virtual monopoly on graduate medical programs in the State of Florida, along with the state taxpayer dollars that go along with it, which means that UF eventually received an invite into the AAU, due mainly to the amount of medical research conducted at UF.  And UF supporters have been effective at preventing other universities like FSU from tapping to their apparent neverending well of state taxpayer appropriations (with the limited mission of the FSU College of Medicine being a good example of this).  The AAU is about research dollars only.  Notre Dame, for example, is not a member of the AAU.

But research dollars by a medical school does not mean that UF necessarily provides a quality education.  FSU has every bit of a claim on flagship status as UF.

Do other schools go through this much trouble to make themselves feel important?

This post was edited on 10/19 3:14 PM by NoleOne

10/19 3:00 PM | IP: Logged
I get upset about a lot, but this doesn't bother me that much. This is an opinion piece from a UF Trustee. Their alumni are delusional, so I am not at all shocked that their trustees would be. Where FSU would be smart is to have someone looking for pieces like this and every time UF puts out a lie or distortion like this, we have someone sending in an opinion piece to correct the record.

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This post was edited on 10/22 12:28 PM by Democratic Nole

10/20 12:11 AM | IP: Logged
I think the author thought he was sending this promo piece to the cheerleader newspaper for UF in Gainesville.  Instead, he sent it to the cheerleader newspaper for Florida's oldest flagship university in Tallahassee. 

How embarrassing for him! 
10/20 10:08 AM | IP: Logged "Do other schools go through this much trouble to make themselves feel important?"

In my experience as a career academic, no. None of them.

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Posted on 10/21 7:07 PM | IP: Logged

Brick, given your perspective why do you think UF tries again and again to award themselves this title?

I can cite at least two formal attempts in state law where UF tried to have themselves declared "flagship".  I am sure there are subtle efforts as well - it would be great if we could have the forthright perspective of a state politician on this.

This post was edited on 10/23 11:14 PM by Mac_Nole

10/22 11:15 PM | IP: Logged

Originally posted by Mac_Nole:
Brick, given your perspective why do you think UF tries again and again to award themselves this title?

I'll brush in broad strokes, since there are clearly exceptions to my statements. That said, such generalizations can be useful to understanding the collective behavior of a group.

Academics are motivated by prestige, status, and reputation. Money is secondary to most academics. Being affiliated with a more prestigious institution begets more status for individuals. Thus, academics want to bolster the reputation of the institution of which they are affiliated.

Where UF is different, IMHO, is that there is a culture bred there that encourages shameless self-promotion. This culture tends to be off-putting to many people that are annoyed by such behavior, while attracting (and retaining) those that find it agreeable. Birds of a feather flock together, as the saying goes. This norm at UF has been part of its culture for a long time, so far as I can tell, and is not likely to change. It is consistent with who they are as an organization, and part of what makes UF different from other places. Most academics tend to be a bit modest and tend to hedge any self-serving statements.

Why cultures develop at places the way they do is beyond my understanding or field of study. So, in that sense, I have only vague ideas about why that culture is there...but I've seen too much data to think that the behavior of pushing towards flagship status isn't reflective of the type of people that they tend to attract, retain, and promote.
10/23 3:22 PM | IP: Logged
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