On behalf of the faculty, students and staff, I welcome you to the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. At Stempel College, our students get firsthand, real-world experience as they work alongside researchers who positively impact communities here in South Florida and beyond.
As I reflect back to the beginning of my tenure six years ago, I was often asked why I came to Stempel College. The answer has always been simple: Florida International University, one of the leading minority-serving urban higher education institutions in the United States. Miami, one of the most dynamic, diverse, and rapidly growing cities in the nation and the gateway to Latin America and other parts of the world. Stempel College, we are small but mighty.
When I first visited Stempel College and met the faculty, students, and staff, I was delighted about the possibilities. As I have often said, Stempel College was a diamond in the rough, and if cut at the right angles, it would shine. AND SHINE IT HAS! Our success in the last five years has been extraordinary. From the teaching and research that our faculty and students achieve, we have quadrupled our research budget. We have also developed an impactful curriculum that has elevated our college to greater heights. Each year we are rising in the ranks – US News & World Report ranks our School of Public Health #39 among public universities. Our School of Social Work ranks #49 among public universities, and our online MPH, according to theBestSchools.org, is #2 in the country for best online program. In terms of research wins, we’ve hit $26.25 million in grant funding (FY 20-21)—the most funding Stempel College has been awarded in its history.
This leads me to our students. Our students are second to none, with a high success rate in graduation and employment. Equally impressive is the fact that 81% of our bachelor’s and master’s graduates are employed or continuing education within one year of graduation. For doctoral students, 93% of our graduates are employed. All of these achievements would not have been possible without the support of our dedicated and hard-working staff. They are the energy that keeps our engines humming.
At Stempel College, we embrace diversity and inclusion, and as of today, we’ve awarded 86% of our bachelor’s degrees to minorities. We also established a Diversity and Inclusion committee that is dedicated to developing a framework to produce a meaningful and long-lasting change to provide a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment in all of our endeavors.
Stempel College has also grown in programs and student enrollment. With the excellent work of our Office of Student and Alumni Affairs, advisors, and central recruiting staff, our student enrollment has grown quite significantly even under the most challenging and unprecedented circumstances that we are living in today.
These past two years have been met with tremendous challenges. This pandemic altered our lives in ways that are still yet to be defined. What we do know is that too many lives have been lost and too many are living in extreme social and economic conditions. Despite these challenges, Stempel College has risen as a community of aspiring health professionals, social workers, dietitians, nutritionists and first responders to alleviate the pain of many and to serve those that are in need.
I am in awe of the faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community partners who have stepped up to meet the needs of communities during so much uncertainty. Change is an inevitable part of our lives. At Stempel College, we embrace change as a force that can be shaped for an effective, constructive, and hopeful future. Only through a collective effort will we have the resilience, endurance, and wisdom to guide us during these dark times and emerge stronger and more unified.
I have never felt more gratified than when I say that I am a member of our Stempel family and our larger FIU community.
Tomás R Guilarte, PhD
Dean, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Florida International University