Campus Notes: FSU No. 8 for student veterans

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By: Doug Blackburn

FSU moved up two spots to No. 8 in the latest “Best Colleges for Vets” rankings, which are published annually by Military Times magazine. Military Times surveyed hundreds of schools with a detailed questionnaire on issues crucial to student veterans. Survey responses were then compared to data from the U.S. Department of Education, including academic success measures.

Military Times evaluated schools in five main categories — university culture, academic quality, student support, academic policies and financial aid — although the editors also considered other factors in developing the rankings.

FSU received high marks for its veteran-centered activities, which took into account groups such as the Collegiate Veterans Association and events like FSU’s annual Student Veteran Film Festival.

3 FSU faculty named Fulbright Scholars

Three FSU professors will spend the academic year conducting research abroad, thanks to grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. One of the professors — John Corrigan in religion department — has been awarded one of 40 Fulbright Distinguished Research Chairs, the most prestigious appointment in the Fulbright Scholar Program.

In addition to Corrigan, two professors have been named Fulbright Scholars. They are Jonathan Adams, in communication in, and Anuj Srivastava, in the department of statistics. The accomplishments of the faculty Fulbright winners also will help FSU to meet its annual preeminence metrics established by the Legislature in 2013.

Study of birds’ evolution from dinosaurs continues

A new review by a team of paleontologists and biologists, including an FSU professor, gives a modern look at where birds come from and how they evolved from dinosaurs.

Professor Gregory Erickson, an acclaimed researcher at FSU, is co-author on the paper. Once the topic of science fiction movies, the ancestry of birds has become ripe for scientific exploration and researchers have been able to trace their lineage. Erickson and an international team outline the state of scientific research and what we know today about birds’ origins in the journal Science.

Erickson and his colleagues have been studying the evolution of these creatures for the last decade. In that time, scientists discovered that dinosaurs predated birds in having feathers and wings for gliding and that birds grew physiologically more like dinosaurs.

Greenhouse gas increase tied to rainfall

New research by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and FSU has found that an increase in greenhouse gas concentrations thousands of years ago was a key factor in higher amounts of rainfall in two major regions of Africa. That information could be critical, researchers say, as scientists try to predict how the Earth may react to continued heating due to climate change. Sharon Nicholson, a professor of meteorology at FSU, was a co-author on the study, published in the journal Science.

Researchers used computer simulations and analysis of fossil pollen, evidence of former lake levels and other geological records. Nicholson’s role was to evaluate how realistically the model represented East African climate and to help interpret the results.

Kiplinger’s gives FSU high marks for ‘best value’

FSU was named one of the best values in the nation by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, including a No. 15 ranking among large colleges on the 2015 list.

The ranking cites four-year schools that combine outstanding academics with affordable cost. FSU also was ranked the No. 22 best value among public colleges for in-state students and No. 19 for out-of-state students. Kiplinger’s assesses quality according to measurable standards, including the admission rate, the percentage of students who return for their sophomore year, the student-faculty ratio and the four-year graduation rate.

Cost criteria include sticker prices, financial aid and average debt at graduation. The rankings will also appear in the February 2015 issue of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, on newsstands Jan. 6, 2015.

TCC received favorable marks for its commitment to educating current and former members of the armed forces in Military Advanced Education magazine’s 2015 Guide to Colleges and Universities. The magazine specifically ranked TCC among the top schools in the country for military culture. The college also showed well in flexibility and general, online, and on-campus support in comparison with the more than 600 schools that participated in the survey.

Military Advanced Education’s school guide, which is available in print or online, specifically lauds the college’s VetSuccess program for its efforts in counseling, job placement and other vital endeavors for student veterans. TCC serves about 500 student veterans a semester. For information, contact Alice Maxwell at (850) 201-6049 or [email protected]

Campus notes is a weekly roundup that appears on Monday. To submit information, email senior writer Doug Blackburn at [email protected]

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