Heart of the Gator Nation
While many outstanding units at the University of Florida contribute to our excellence as an institution of higher education, perhaps
none has quite the impact on students as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
As the university's largest college, we are home to the humanities, the social and behavioral sciences, and the physical, natural
and mathematical sciences housing key disciplines such as English, history, mathematics, philosophy, chemistry, sociology and
political science. We are therefore charged with the responsibility of teaching the majority of the university's core curriculum to more
than 35,000 students each year.
Nearly every UF undergraduate takes at least one class in our college. We also have more than 14,000 undergraduate and gradu-
ate students pursuing their degrees from among 42 disciplines. From astronomy to women's studies, we offer the largest selection of
majors on campus. Our alumni, in turn, come from all walks of life and are making an impact in diverse fields, including literature, pol-
itics, journalism, education and science.
But educating tomorrow's leaders is not the only task keeping our 800 faculty busy. Whether discovering new planets, serving on
presidential taskforces or writing bestselling novels, they have achieved international acclaim for their contributions to society.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is, in short, the heart of the University of Florida and the Gator Nation. As UF continues its
rise to become one of the top public institutions in the nation, it is more important than ever to invest in its core.
When you reflect on your time as a student whether in college or high school remember the impact your science, social science and
humanities courses had on your educational development. The university is only as strong as its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The Promise of Tomorrow
The University of Florida holds the promise of the future:
Florida Tomorrow a place, a belief, a day. Florida Tomorrow is
filled with possibilities. Florida Tomorrow is for dreamers and
doers, for optimists and pragmatists, for scholars and entrepre-
neurs, all of whom are nurtured at Florida's flagship university:
the University of Florida, the foundation of the Gator Nation.
What is Florida Tomorrow? Here at the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences, we believe it's an opportunity, one filled with prom-
ise and hope. It's that belief that feeds the university's capital
campaign to raise $1.5 billion.
The Florida Tomorrow campaign will shape the university, cer-
tainly. But its ripple effect will also touch the state of Florida,
the nation and the entire world. Florida Tomorrow is pioneering
research and spirited academic programs. It's a fertile envi-
ronment for inquiry, teaching and learning. It's being at the
forefront to address the challenges facing all of us, both today
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Florida Tomorrow Campaign Goals
TOTAL $65 million
TOTAL $65 million
Florida Tomorrow is a place
where students begin their exploration of the world.
To Build a Better Writer
As co-director of the Creative Writing Program at the
University of Florida, David Leavitt has fielded the question
before: "Can writing be t.-i ullir
The answer is complicated, both "yes" and "no."
"That's the question we wrestle with all the time," Leavitt says.
"Can you take someone with no capacity for writing and teach
that person how to write? Only a little bit. But if someone has tal-
ent, can you teach the craft? Yes."
The supply of talent for the UF program is overflowing.
Leavitt says 220 students submitted the writing samples required
for admission to the fiction writing program in 2006. Only nine
were offered a slot. The program's professors, all prominent
poets and writers, evaluate the samples and go on a gut feeling
in accepting students.
"It's very intuitive," Leavitt says. "We're looking for a sense not
just of their abilities but of a connection. We're looking for people
we think we can teach."
Once students are enrolled, professors work on creating a
community of writers, almost like a writer's colony on campus.
Unlike some creative writing programs, UF supports all its stu-
dents, which contributes to the sense of community, Leavitt says.
Community spirit also grows out of the regular workshops
designed to coax the best writing out of each student. The work-
shops formalize the counsel writers like Ernest Hemingway
received from fellow writers like Gertrude Stein or Ezra Pound.
Leavitt says the workshop is the step between the private and pub-
lic moments in writing, and while students are encouraged to offer
criticism, they learn to do so constructively and diplomatically.
The program is one of the oldest in the nation, dating back to
1948. In 2006, it added a literary magazine, Subtropics, which has
been able to attract stories and poems from renowned writers.
"We felt there was a shortfall of literary magazines, and most
MFA programs have magazines attached to them because this
enhances their reputation nationally and internationally," says
Leavitt, who edits Subtropics.
The magazine does not publish current students, but students
gain experience reading manuscripts, editing, working with dis-
tributors, handling subscriptions and helping on the business side.
The long-term goal, Leavitt says, is an endowment that makes
the Creative Writing Program and Subtropics self-supporting.
"A literary magazine is fairly inexpensive compared to starting
up a laboratory," he says. "But the UF support has been key."
Florida Tomorrow is a day
when we advance our understanding of the universe and our
place within it.
A Truly Fantastic Voyage
When a miniaturized medical team was sent into a comatose
scientist's bloodstream in the 1966 film "Fantastic Voyage," the
concept of impossibly tiny, life-saving particles was science fiction.
Today, in work at UF's Center for Research at the Bio/Nano
Interface, development of smart, nanoscopic particles is on the
frontier of science.
Director Charles Martin formed the center in 2000 to bring
together scientists at UF's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,
doctors at the College of Medicine and researchers in the College
of Engineering. The interdisciplinary team is investigating new
ways to detect and treat disease.
"It would have been difficult to do nanoscience 30 years ago,"
Martin says, "because critical ultramodern microscopy tools had
not yet been invented."
A nanometer is incredibly small one-millionth of a millimeter.
That's 50,000 times smaller in diameter than a human hair. Much
of the basic biochemistry of life is done at the nanoscopic scale,
offering the promise of new ways to deliver medical treatment.
UF researchers are working on developing biosensors that
would radically change disease detection methods. Patients who
get blood tests today could wait weeks for results. Biosensors
being developed at UF would deliver results the same day and
detect biomarkers for disease more quickly, Martin says.
"There are biomarkers, for instance, for breast cancer, but they
are at such low concentrations in the blood that it is difficult to
detect them. With better sensing devices, we could detect these
biomarkers and diagnose diseases such as cancer or viral diseases
at an earlier stage," he says. "This has the potential to completely
revolutionize diagnosis of disease."
Researchers also are working on devices called nanotubes to
deliver medicine. For example, to treat a tumor, doctors might
one day use a nanotube filled with a drug, capped and sent into
the body. When the nanotube encountered the tumor, the tumor
cells would bind to the nanotube and take it in. Then the cap
would come off, the drug would spill out and the tumor would
be killed. The nanotubes offer more precision than current treat-
ments, like chemotherapy and radiation, which harm healthy and
Researchers already have "biofunctionalized" the tube, which
causes the tumor to recognize it and take it in. They are now
working on the chemistry that will cause the cap to come off.
"I've been doing research now for 30 years. I see this bio/nano
interface as technology that really could make a difference in peo-
ple's lives, more so than anything else in my career," Martin says.
"There's an opportunity to make an impact on human health and
expand fundamental knowledge that is amazing. This is literally
a 21st century technology."
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Florida Tomorrow is a belief
that we can solve humankind's greatest concerns through inquiry
and action to create a better society.
Crime and Punishment
Children who commit crimes present a prickly problem. Should
they be treated as children, befitting their age, or adults, befitting
their crime? Should they be sent to boot camps, or to treatment
programs? How can society punish them, yet turn them into law-
"Over the years, we've gone back and forth about how we
think about kids who commit crimes," UF researcher Lonn Lanza-
Kaduce says. "The 1990s saw every state broaden ways to bring
kids into the adult system in order to hold kids accountable for
their actions and deter other kids from crime. But this was done
As studies began to show popular get-tough policies
were backfiring, Lanza-Kaduce and his colleagues in UF's
Department of Criminology, Law and Society saw the need for
a larger, more detailed study. They matched 475 pairs of juve-
nile offenders precisely on several points gender, race, age
and seriousness of offense. For a subset, they used additional
details from court files, such as gang involvement, if the crime
was committed alone or with accomplices, use of weapon and
whether victims were injured.
For each pair, one child was selected from the juvenile jus-
tice system and the other from the adult system, and researchers
tracked their paths. A clear pattern emerged: Youths released
from the adult system re-offended more quickly, more often and
more violently after turning 18.
"Adolescence is a time of testing rules," Lanza-Kaduce says.
"Some kids engage in delinquency but mature out of it. If they are
still delinquent after 18, that's serious."
It was important to compare the matched pairs after the age of
18, Lanza-Kaduce says, because both sets of offenders entered the
adult system at that time, telling researchers more about whether
a criminal career might be developing. Children who had experi-
enced both the juvenile and adult justice systems remarked on the
brutalizing effects of being in the adult system.
Still, being "soft" on juvenile crime is not the answer, Lanza-
Kaduce says. "A slap on the wrist is not the way, either, because it
doesn't provide accountability."
Screening and assessment can help match the offender with
the appropriate treatment, although it's challenging and expen-
sive, he says, adding that Florida's juvenile justice system has
improved and is offering a better continuum of services that pro-
vide for both accountability and treatment.
"This is self-protective. We want them holding jobs and paying
taxes," Lanza-Kaduce says. "We need to get better at figuring out
how to intervene."
Our Vision of Tomorrow
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is unique among UF's
16 colleges. Through basic research in the humanities, social sci-
ences and the natural, physical and mathematical sciences, CLAS
advances our fundamental understanding of the universe and
of humankind's place in it. Through the multiple perspectives
afforded by these disciplines, we equip students with the com-
munication and critical thinking skills they need to resolve the
challenges of the 21st century.
The college is charged with guiding the intellectual growth
of virtually all UF undergraduates in their first two years.
Thousands of them continue on to pursue CLAS majors in their
upper division years. Graduate students pursuing advanced
degrees partner with some of the world's most accomplished fac-
ulty to address the fundamental questions facing society.
The college captures the brightest ideals of intellectual inquiry
and human values mirrored in society. We remain ever conscious
that we must represent and reflect all segments to maintain our
honored place as the heart of the Gator Nation.
Tomorrow's students will need to learn about new things in
new ways. Science and technology continue to advance and
humankind's social structures continue to evolve. We welcome
new opportunities and face new challenges.
Tomorrow's college will always bring students face-to-face
with a talented faculty that is actively engaged in meeting these
challenges. By designing innovative curricula, by using the lat-
est technology and teaching techniques to engage students in
individual learning experiences, through fundamental research
to advance our understanding of their disciplines, and through
their service to the community, the state and the nation, faculty
members will create an environment that fosters learning and
The focus of the college will shift to address evolv-
ing issues. These include the scientific, ethical, economic
and philosophical questions emerging from major
new insights into the structure of the human genome.
Questions about the availability of resources and the
changing nature of our environment will drive signifi-
cant scientific, social and economic concerns. We must
accelerate our investigations into the consequences of
climate change and the roles of renewable and nonre- L
newable energy sources. Nanotechnology promises a
new platform for technology innovation with substan-
tial economic and sociological implications. The age-old
problems of poverty, disease and social unrest have
developed new faces even as some former Third World
countries make large strides into the 21st century. Security
has become a major concern in many parts of the world.
Tomorrow's college will bring the nation's best minds
together to address these challenges using techniques
from a multiplicity of disciplines. Tomorrow's students
will be engaged in this research shoulder-to-shoulder
with faculty members. These experiences, along with the
broad exposure to many academic disciplines and the
CLAS challenge to understand the world, will prepare
students to meet the challenges of the world.
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