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2003 - 2004
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University of Florida - Purpose and Mission
Institutional Purpose | Mission | Commitment to Diversity | History | Government of the University | Students | Faculty | Programs | Semester System | Facilities | Standard of Ethical Conduct | Campus Safety and Security | Academic Honesty | Alcohol and Drugs | Relations Between People and Groups | Service to Others

Institutional Purpose
The University of Florida is a public, land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant research university, one of the most comprehensive in the United States, encompassing virtually all academic and professional disciplines. It is the largest and one of the oldest of Florida's 11 universities and is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU). Its faculty and staff are dedicated to the common pursuit of the university's threefold mission: teaching, research and service.

Teaching-undergraduate and graduate through the doctorate-is the fundamental purpose of the university. Research and scholarship are integral to the education process and to expanding humankind's understanding of the natural world, the mind and the senses. Service is the university's obligation to share the benefits of its knowledge for the public good.

The University of Florida faculty renews its commitment to serve the citizens of Florida and educate students so they are prepared to make significant contributions within an increasingly global community. In affirming the university's academic mission, we honor the human component of our mission: our students, faculty, staff and administrators; and recognize the importance of these human resources to the university's success. Towards this affirmation, the University of Florida faculty specifically encourages a campus-wide culture of caring.
It is the mission of the University of Florida to offer broad-based, exclusive public education, leading-edge research and service to the citizens of Florida, the nation and the world. The fusion of these three endeavors stimulates a remarkable intellectual vitality and generates a synthesis that promises to be the university's greatest strength.

The university maintains its dedication to excellent teaching and researching by creating a strong and flexible foundation for higher education in the 21st century. While the faculty remains committed to key aspects of the university's original mission, changing times will require that we continually expand and evaluate our academic aspiration. We do this in order to assure that quality education at the University of Florida remains the highest goal and most valued contribution to society.

The University of Florida belongs to a tradition of great universities. The faculty and staff of the university are dedicated to the common pursuit of its mission of education, research and service. Together with our undergraduate and graduate students we participate in an educational process that links the history of Western Europe with the traditions and cultures of all societies, that explores the physical and biological universes, and that nurtures generations of young people from diverse backgrounds to address the needs of our societies. The university welcomes the full exploration of our intellectual boundaries and supports our faculty and students in the creation of new knowledge and the pursuit of new ideas.

Teaching is a fundamental purpose of this university at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Research and scholarship are integral to the education process and to the expansion of our understanding of the natural world, the intellect and the senses. Service reflects the university's obligation to share the benefits of its research and knowledge for the public good.

These three interlocking elements span all of the university's academic disciplines and represent the university's commitment to lead and serve the State of Florida, the nation, and the world by pursuing and disseminating new knowledge while building upon the experiences of the past. The University of Florida aspires to advance the state, nation and the international community by strengthening the human condition and improving the quality of life.

Commitment to Diversity
The University of Florida is committed to creating a community that reflects the rich racial, cultural and ethnic diversity of the state and nation. No challenge that exists in higher education has greater importance than the challenge of enrolling students and hiring faculty and staff who are members of diverse racial, cultural or ethnic minority groups. This pluralism enriches the university community, offers opportunity for robust academic dialogue and contributes to better teaching and research. The university and its components benefit from the richness of a multicultural student body, faculty and staff who can learn from one another. Such diversity will empower and inspire respect and understanding among us. The university does not tolerate the actions of anyone who violates the rights of another.

The university will strive to embody, through policy and practice, a diverse community. Our collective efforts will lead to a university that is truly diverse and reflects the state and nation.

The University of Florida traces its beginnings to 1853 when the state-funded East Florida Seminary acquired the private Kingsbury Academy in Ocala. After the Civil War, the seminary was moved to Gainesville. It was consolidated with the state's land-grant Florida Agricultural College, then in Lake City, to become the University of Florida in 1906. Until 1947, UF enrolled men only and was one of only three state universities. The others were Florida State College for Women (now FSU) and Florida A&M. In 1947, the student body numbered 8,177 men and 601 women.

UF, the sixth largest university in the nation, celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary (150th) in 2003. Visit www.ufl.edu/150 for a list of the many activities planned to mark this event.

Government of the University
A 13-member Board of Trustees governs the University of Florida. Six of the trustees are appointed by the governor, and five are appointed by the 17-member Florida Board of Governors, which governs the state university system as a whole. The university's student body president and faculty senate chair also serve on the Board of Trustees as ex officio members. Trustees are appointed for staggered five-year terms.
The University of Florida Board of Trustees is a public body corporate with all the powers and duties set forth by law and by the Board of Governors. The University of Florida president serves as the executive officer and corporate secretary of the Board of Trustees and is responsible to the board for all operations of the university. University affairs are administered by the president through the university administration, with the advice and assistance of the Faculty Senate, various committees appointed by the president, and other groups or individuals as requested by the president.

University of Florida students, numbering more than 47,373 in Fall 2002, come from more than 100 countries, all 50 states, and each of the 67 counties in Florida. The ratio of men to women is 48/52. Seventy-two percent of UF students are undergraduates (34,031), 21 percent are graduate students (9,931) and 7 percent (3,411) are in the professional programs of dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Approximately 3,498 African-American students, 4,717 Hispanic students and 3,087Asian-American students attend UF. More than 90 percent of entering freshmen rank above the national mean of scores on standard entrance exams taken by college-bound students. UF consistently ranks among the top five public universities in the nation in the number of enrolled National Merit Scholars, Achievement Scholars, International Baccalaureate graduates and Advance Placement score recipients.

The university has approximately 4,000 distinguished faculty members with outstanding reputations for teaching, research and service. The faculty attracted $437.2 million in research and training grants in 2001-02.

UF currently has 60 eminent scholar chairs, positions funded at more than $1 million each to attract nationally and internationally recognized scholars. A variety of other endowed professorships help attract prominent faculty. More than two dozen faculty are members of the National Academies of Science and/or Engineering, the Institute of Medicine or a counterpart in another nation. Also, in a national ranking of total Fulbright Awards for 2000-01, UF ranks 4th among AAU public universities, with five visiting scholars and 10 American scholars.

A very small sampling of honored faculty includes: a Nobel Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners in editorial writing and poetry, inventors of Gatorade and Bioglass (a man-made material that bonds with human tissue), one of the four charter members of the Solar Hall of Fame, and an art faculty with 80 percent of its members in Who's Who in American Art.

The University of Florida is among the nation's 151 leading research universities as categorized in 2000 by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. UF is one of 63 members of the Association of American Universities, the nation's most prestigious higher education organization. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097: Telephone number 404-679-4501) - Commission on Colleges to award the degrees of bachelor, master, specialist and engineer, as well as doctoral and professional degrees. It has 21 colleges and schools and more than 100 interdisciplinary research and education centers, bureaus, and institutes. Almost 100 undergraduate degree programs are offered. The Graduate School coordinates more than 200 graduate programs throughout the university's colleges and schools. Professional postbaccalaureate degrees are offered in dentistry, law, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

Last year, more than 32,000 people took advantage of the many university-sponsored opportunities made available through the Division of Continuing Education. More than 25,000 people participated in non-credit conferences, workshops, institutes, and seminars. More than 7,500 students are enrolled in Independent Study by Correspondence courses, both credit and non-credit.

Semester System
UF operates on a semester system. The academic year begins and ends in August. There are two semesters averaging 15 weeks of instruction, plus a week of final examinations and two six-week summer terms. Semesters begin in August, January, and May, with summer term offered as a whole as Term C, or in two sessions as half terms, with Term A beginning in May and Term B beginning in June.

On 2,000 acres, most of it within the limits of a 100,000-population urban area, the university operates out of 902 buildings, 176 of them equipped with classrooms and laboratories. Facilities are valued at approximately $982.7 million. Notable among these are the Brain Institute, the physics building, University Art Gallery, a microkelvin laboratory capable of producing some of the coldest temperatures in the universe, a 100-kilowatt training and research nuclear reactor, the second largest academic computing center in the South, and a self-contained intensive-care hyperbaric chamber for treating near-drowning victims.

The Florida Museum of Natural History is the largest natural history/anthropology museum in the Southeast, and one of the top 10 in the nation. Its research collections contain nearly 6.5 million specimens.

The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, with 18,000 square feet of exhibit space, is one of the largest museums in the Southeast. The Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts attracts world-class symphony orchestras, Broadway plays, operas, and large-scale ballet productions to Gainesville.

The Stephen C. O'Connell Center and the J. Wayne Reitz Union provide space for a myriad of student and faculty activities. One thousand persons can participate simultaneously in eight different recreational activities in the O'Connell Center, which is home to the Gator basketball, volleyball, swimming and gymnastics teams. More than 20,000 use the student union daily for dining, meeting, bowling, pool and other games, arts and crafts, music listening and TV viewing.

Campus Safety and Security
The University of Florida is an open campus and can rightly be considered a city within a city. As such, the campus is not immune to the same security issues that affect other parts of the Gainesville community.

The university recognizes that it must develop and maintain a safe and secure environment for its students, faculty and staff.
The university has the utmost concern for the safety of each student, and it strives to give each student maximum freedom. With this freedom, however, comes the responsibility to exercise personal safety.

No community's security plan can attain maximum effectiveness unless everyone in the community contributes to making it work. Safety and security are personal and shared responsibilities. Only by accepting this responsibility can members of the university community maintain a safe and secure campus environment.

The University Police Department has close to 100 sworn officers, with the addition of a dozen new officers since 1990. UF also has instituted a voluntary apartment safety program, in cooperation with local law enforcement, to advise students of those apartment complexes that have been inspected by police for safety.

Standard of Ethical Conduct
Honesty, integrity and caring are essential qualities of an educational institution, and the concern for values and ethics is important to the whole educational experience. Individual students, faculty and staff members, as well as the university's formal organizations, must assume responsibility for these qualities. The concern for values and ethics should be expressed in classes, seminars, laboratories and, in fact, in all aspects of university life. By definition, the university community includes members of the faculty, staff and administration as well as students.
Education at the University of Florida is not an ethically neutral experience. The university stands for, and seeks to inculcate, high standards. Moreover, the concern for values goes well beyond the observance of rules.

A university is a place where self-expression, voicing disagreement and challenging outmoded customs and beliefs are prized and honored. However, all such expressions need to be civil, manifesting respect for others.

As a major sector in the community, students are expected to follow the university's rules and regulations that, by design, promote an atmosphere of learning. Faculty, staff and administration are expected to provide encouragement, leadership and example.
While the university seeks to educate and encourage, it also must restrict behavior that adversely affects others. The Standard of Ethical Conduct summarizes what is expected of the members of the university community.

Academic Honesty
The university requires all members of its community to be honest in all endeavors. A fundamental principle is that the whole process of learning and pursuit of knowledge is diminished by cheating, plagiarism and other acts of academic dishonesty. In addition, every dishonest act in the academic environment affects other students adversely, from the skewing of the grading curve to giving unfair advantage for honors or for professional or graduate school admission. Therefore, the university will take severe action against dishonest students. Similarly, measures will be taken against faculty, staff and administrators who practice dishonest or demeaning behavior.
Student Responsibility. Students should report any condition that facilitates dishonesty to the instructor, department chair, college dean or Student Honor Court.

Faculty Responsibility. Faculty members have a duty to promote honest behavior and to avoid practices and environments that foster cheating in their classes. Teachers should encourage students to bring negative conditions or incidents of dishonesty to their attention. In their own work, teachers should practice the same high standards they expect from their students.
Administration Responsibility. As highly visible members of our academic community, administrators should be ever vigilant to promote academic honesty and conduct their lives in an ethically exemplary manner.

Alcohol and Drugs
The use of alcohol and other drugs can have a negative impact on judgments and reactions, health and safety, and may lead to legal complications as well.

  • The University's Role. The university's principal role is to engage in education that leads to high standards and respectful conduct. When those are compromised, it will take disciplinary action against organizations and individuals violating either the law or the unreasonable use of alcohol. It also must provide help for students who are alcohol-dependent. The university will deal severely with students convicted of the illegal possession, use, or sale of drugs.

  • What the University Community Can Do to Prevent Alcohol Abuse and Drug Use. Students can help control substance abuse by declining to use or condone the use of drugs and by insisting that organizations and individuals use alcohol within the bounds of the law and reasonable conduct. Students should make an effort to prevent persons who have abused alcohol or used drugs from harming themselves or others, especially in driving a motor vehicle. They should encourage those needing professional help to seek it. The same standards and regulations apply equally to faculty, staff and administration.

Relations Between People and Groups
One of the major benefits of higher education and membership in the university community is greater knowledge of and respect for other groups, religious, racial and cultural. Indeed, genuine appreciation for individual differences and cultural diversity is essential to the environment of learning.

Another major aspect of university life involves sexual relationships. Sexual attitudes or actions that are intimidating, harassing, coercive or abusive, or that invade the right to privacy of the individual are not acceptable. Organizations or individuals that adversely upset the balance of communal living are subject to university disciplinary action. Only in an atmosphere of equality and respect can all members of the university community grow.

Service to Others
An important outcome of a University of Florida education should be a commitment to serving other people. This sense of service should be encouraged throughout the institution by faculty, administration, staff and students. Through experience in helping individuals and the community, students can put into practice the values they learn in the classroom.

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