shrug-l: the future of geospatial programs at Florida State University

millakat millakat at
Tue May 12 20:12:03 EDT 2009

Dear Colleagues,



Many of you are probably aware of the immanent closing of 21degree programs
at Florida State University.  These closings  have some very troubling
implications for the GIS community in our region, as well as the whole state
of Florida and potentially other areas of the country. Among the programs
slated for closing are Geography (School of Social Sciences) and Geology
(School of Arts and Sciences), and possible reduction in other programs such
as Urban Planning.  These programs have been an important source of
university graduates trained in GIS and related fields of geography,
demographics, remote sensing, air photo interpretation and the environmental


Loss of these programs could produce a major regional shortage in
professionals in fields that utilize GIS/GPS and other geospatial
technologies.  Florida's legislators and the FSU Board of Trustees have to
make some very hard decisions regarding expenditures within the state
University budgets.  In making their decisions they need to be informed
about how their decisions may have a critical effect on the state's future


It is crucial that we continue to prepare the next generation of geoscience
professionals to meet the challenges we face in the near future.  I think it
is important that the GIS community impress upon our government and
education leaders the vital role that geospatial sciences and technologies
now play in nearly all areas of a functioning society.  I would like to
suggest that we as a community develop a white paper to educate our leaders
about how the knowledge and use of geospatial technologies operate in
responding to the challenges of climate change, public health threats,
disaster and emergency response and management, transportation,
environmental management, and safe food and water supply.  I think a white
paper would be especially effective if it were to be presented to the
legislature and trustees by the private professional community, thus
reflecting an advocacy beyond the University (i.e., the ones losing their


If you are interested in helping craft and deliver a white paper on behalf
of the geosciences community, please reply to this email.  As an individual,
you can voice your concern by contacting the legislative budget negotiators
using the e-mail and phone information, which can be found at:


If you are employed by a governmental agency you must use a personal phone
or personal e-mail account.  Individuals working in the private sector are
not under this restriction.  What would really help is to be able to relate
to legislators and trustees the importance of GIS and geospatial training to
the productivity of all levels of government and the private sector,
particularly in the issues that you are familiar with or deal with on a
regular basis.   If you know any legislator on a personal basis your help
would be especially important. 


Following the final vote by the House and Senate decisions still have to be
made on the University level.  Contacting the president of the University
(T. K. Wetherell) and especially the Board of Trustees of the University
will be critical to the final decisions regarding these critical programs. 


Contact information for T.K. Wetherell:


Dr. T.K. Wetherell
Office of the President
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL  32306



Wetherell at



The FSU Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet on June 17 and 18. It is
important to contact members of the Trustees well before this date. The
directory and contact information (phone numbers and mailing addresses and
limited e-mail addresses) for the Trustees members can be found at:




-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...

More information about the SHRUG-L mailing list