Thankful for our Faculty on Thanksgiving

The time of year has come when Florida State University students travel home to spend time with their families, giving thanks for the opportunities that they are granted. The Florida State community has much to be thankful for this year: the safety of our Panama City Campus students and faculty; our recent jump in the College News Rankings to 26th best public university in the country; welcoming a brand new Football coach; the outstanding commitment to research and pedagogical excellence that Florida State faculty have exhibited during these past few months.

Here are a few of the many faculty members that the FSU community is thankful for.

Okwui Okpokwasili, a two-time choreographic fellow of Florida State University’s Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), was named a recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, for her innovation in performance pieces highlighting the stories of African and African-American women. Born and raised in the Bronx, Okpokwasili’s highly experimental art is celebrated throughout the country. Thank you for sharing your expertise with our students during your fellowships at FSU.

Michael Holmes, FSU’s Jim Moran Associate Professor of Strategic Management, and Gang Wang, Assistant Professor of Management, conducted widely-celebrated research about the disadvantages that women face in the world of business. The findings were published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Dr. Wang and Dr. Holmes outline the issues that women battle in the workplace, and note that only 5.4 percent of Fortune 500 companies had female CEOs in 2017. Thank you for shining a light on the inequities that we face daily.

Heather Flynn, FSU College of Medicine professor and Vice Chair for Research, along with the FSU College of Medicine, partnered with the Florida Department of Health to receive a $3.25 million dollar grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to improve care for pregnant women battling depression and other pregnancy-related effects. Dr. Flynn focuses on developing sustainable screening and treatment models to protect maternal health. Thank you for your unwavering persistence in protecting women from hidden illnesses.

Tarek Abichou, professor of civil and environmental engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, dedicated his summer break to Tunisia-AID, a not-for-profit aiding an elementary school library in a small town in Southern Tunisia. Dr. Abichou’s dedication to education is expressed through his community service work in regions where children may have fewer opportunities for educational resources. Thank you for your commitment to aiding those in need.

Robert Spencer, an associate professor in EOAS, directed a study with a team of scientists from FSU’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science (EOAS) about why Wakulla Springs water is turning brown and the effect this change has on the surrounding community. The paper was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, along with the help of Former FSU postdoctoral researcher Francois Guillemette and current FSU postdoctoral researcher Anne Kellerman. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida. Thank you for your dedication to saving our natural resources.

We are thankful for the hard work, thoughtful questioning, and outstanding creativity that informs FSU faculty teaching and research. As leaders on and off campus, we appreciate your mentorship, and sharing your life’s work with us.

The Office of Faculty Development and Advancement wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

-Zoe Zirlin


Studying Rhetoric During the Civil Rights: An Interview with Dr. Davis Houck

Walking into Dr. Davis Houck’s office is like walking into your favorite coffee shop. There’s a couch on the left wall that you sink into as you sit down, framed images scattered across all the walls of the office, and books littering every possible inch of space. The hallway it sits in is a large U, and because it sits in the corner of the U, the office has two large windows that let in plenty of light no matter what time of day it is. As I sat down with Dr. Houck, he explained the significance of the images hanging on his wall. The photo was donated to Dr. Houck by the Sims family after some of his students created an award-winning documentary in 2016 called 641 Muriel Court.  The family donated that picture so that Dr. Houck and the students involved so that they could know the faces and names of the people that they did the documentary on. But woven into the family’s story is a rather surprising person who Dr. Houck told me a little more about.

“If you stand up, I’ll show it to you. That picture on the wall right there, that family, that is the Sims family. Three of them were murdered shortly after that picture was taken, and the first suspect was C.A. Roberts.”

Roberts was a pastor in Tallahassee at the First Baptist Church, and how Dr. Houck came to find out about Roberts is an interesting story.

“When I was doing research in archives around the country, one of the archives I went to was the Southern Baptist Archive in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a huge archive, and sure enough, they had a folder on civil rights.  So I’m going through it and behold there’s this sermon from Tallahassee. I just grabbed it even though I had no idea who the pastor was or any idea about it. It turned out that it was a sermon by C.A. Roberts Jr., the minister at First Baptist Church here in Tallahassee. He gave a really interesting speech on the split in his church over integration. It was an all-white church of about 4,000 members. He ended up doing the right thing at one point, but this sermon is this long story about the integration of First Baptist Church.”

The importance of rhetoric in the civil rights movement is something that Dr. Houck has been passionate about since his first years in college.

IMG_1176“When I was a first-semester freshman at the College of Wooster and was looking to fill out my schedule, a friend recommended that I take Dr. Yvonne Williams’ Introduction to Black Studies course.  I’m so glad I did as that course opened my eyes to an entirely new world of American history—a history that I’d grown up in but had never been taught.  From those small seeds that Dr. Williams planted in 1985 grew an interest in a subject that hardly seemed real at times, such were the countless injustices visited upon black children, women, and men in our country. I got to say a long-delayed “thank you” to Dr. Williams in 2009, dedicating my book on women and the civil rights movement to her.

Much of my initial interest derived from the fact of the constant injustices that were never addressed or addressed so many years later.  Of course, as a rhetorician, I was also fascinated by the amazing oratory that propelled the movement.  We’ve all heard Dr. King and Malcolm X at the dais, but there were countless activists doing the hard rhetorical work of the movement in communities across the country, not just the Deep South.”

After doing so much research for his books, you would think that Dr. Houck might have had enough of the stories of injustices that plague the civil rights movement and those that fought for freedom, but to him, it’s quite the opposite. Finding and telling those little-known stories are in fact what keeps him interested in a topic he’s been focused on for quite some time now.

“Professionally, finding those speeches by local activists has been a major passion of mine for the past 10 years, searching in archives, libraries, newspapers, and out-of-print publications that fill out our very incomplete understanding of how the movement really moved.  I’m involved just now in telling the story of Fannie Lou Hamer to public school teachers in Mississippi in order to make her part of the K-12 school curriculum.  Our team is also working on an hour-long documentary, funded principally by the Kellogg Foundation, in which Mrs. Hamer tells her story entirely in her own words.  So much of our civil rights history disappeared upon utterance decades ago simply because many activists didn’t have local or national media following them; as such, reconstructing what they said is really difficult.

Personally, I’ve been involved with our local Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Bend and know what difference volunteering makes.  Watching a young child flourish, gain confidence, learn their local history, and become a citizen is so important—and so rewarding.  My personal and professional lives are beginning to merge with the Fannie Lou Hamer project in ways I’d never given much thought to teaching often disadvantaged children about a person in their own community from whom they can draw great strength and courage has been a real joy, and one that we’ll continue in 2019 and beyond.  Check us out at”

I did just that after our initial interview and found a captivating video celebrating what would have been Ms. Hamer’s 100th birthday. The message is moving, but if you look closely enough you’ll notice both past and present images intertwined to tell a visual story to accompany the speech Ms. Hamer is giving in the background.

“[Fannie Lou Hamer] spoke as a prophetic voice in the 60’s, and you can kind of overlay her voice with a lot of the stuff that’s going on today. Just in terms of the generalities though, not the specifics. She’s talking to a very specific issue in the 60s, but her whole thing was that until she got her freedom nobody else was going to have theirs. In other words, either we rise altogether or we don’t rise at all. She would probably look at us today and say we’re really fracturing and losing too much of what we have in common.”

Along with the documentary of Ms. Hamer, Dr. Houck has published several books about the stories of other individuals during the civil rights period. One of these books is about Emmett Till, a young man who was tragically murdered at the age of 14 after being accused of offending a white woman in a grocery store. Published in 2008, “Emmett Till and the Mississippi Press” analyzes the media’s reaction to the lynching of young Till.

“I found Emmett Till’s story early in my academic career.  I’d heard his name whispered enough, with knowing looks, that my curiosity was piqued.  As a white American growing up in Reagan’s America, you simply didn’t know Till’s name or his story.  And so I knew nothing of his awful story for far too long.  Once I did learn a bit of it, of course, I was left with more questions than answers: what happened to the men who murdered and kidnapped him?  Why weren’t they convicted? What happened to Emmett’s mom, Mamie Till?  What became of the people and places instrumental to his story?  Once I began taking my students there, and meeting men and women in the Mississippi Delta involved in the case, at that point I was hooked—my students, too!”

Dr. Houck even created an app around Till’s story, a sort of treasure map of over 50 different locations that all have some sort of relation to Till’s story.


“We wanted to reach the next generation of school kids—through the medium that they are most familiar with, in a word, their phones.  I’d seen on Facebook, of all places, that Google had a “field trip” app and it looked like the Till story would be a perfect home for it.  We reached out, they said yes, and off we went.  The challenge was finding 50 locations in the Delta related to the story—that took a bit of creativity, and some major sleuthing—since Google, later Niantic Labs, needed exact GPS coordinates for all the locations.  One of our major finds during the research was a 1955 phone book from Greenwood, MS!  We hope that when the major motion picture on Till drops in 2019, tourists will use our app to help make sense of the Delta landscape.”

So how did Dr. Houck, a young man from Ohio who got his B.A. at the College of Wooster, his M.A. at the University of California in Rhetoric and Communication, and then his Ph.D. at Penn State University in Speech Communication, land himself in Tallahassee? Well, his journey to teaching itself was largely by accident, if you ask him.

“I come from a family of engineers and artists, not teachers and professors.  But I had a very influential professor as an undergraduate at the College of Wooster (in Wooster, Ohio) who showed me the big wide world of rhetoric and convinced me that I had some talent for the subject.  Once I was in graduate school at U.C. Davis, and had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant, that experience in the classroom was really exhilarating and showed me the next steps.

I started my career at FAU in 1996, after finishing my Ph.D. at Penn State.  As much as I liked that first job and really loved the students in South Florida, living on top of people wasn’t my thing, long-term.  So when a job came open at FSU, I was fortunate to get the offer and immediately took to the area.  While it’s not Ohio, its rhythms and space are much more in keeping with what I grew up with and what I like.

I should also say how important Mark Zeigler and Marilyn Young were to my interview in April of 1999; they were great hosts and wonderful proponents for being a Seminole!”

And Dr. Houck’s favorite part of teaching at FSU?

“Teaching students is always the best part of my job, sharing my world with them, but also learning their stories, too.  A good teacher listens to a student’s story and folds it back into the subject under discussion. That’s challenging because it’s happening in real time, but so rewarding for everyone in that class.  Those experiences also encourage other students to share their stories, creating an electric teaching environment where we learn from each other—rather than from some dopey and inert PowerPoint slide.

Another favorite part of my job is getting to know so many other parts of the university, away from my home “silo” in the School of Communication.  I’ve been fortunate to work with our talented library staff in creating the Emmett Till Archive as well as the brand new Civil Rights Institute; with the team that evaluates our incredible undergraduates applying for the Truman Scholarship; I am even doing some work in media relations with the men’s basketball team—each of these experiences, and many others, makes my job so interesting and rewarding.”




Crime and Justice, a Sit-Down with Dr. Daniel P. Mears

downloadThe College of Criminology’s modern interior comes as a surprise to visitors; the building in which it resides, Eppes Hall, is an original landmark to Florida State’s campus. Climbing the stairs to Dr. Daniel P. Mears’ office was a workout in itself, but the group of offices at the top of the landing has a welcoming and scholarly ambiance, much like Dr. Mears himself. His spacious office is well organized, and the professor checks a large book of his appointments as we sit down for the interview. Dr. Mears, who hails from the East Coast, received his Bachelor’s from Haverford College, and went on to attain a Master’s and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. Recently named a 2018 Fellow of the American Society of Criminology (ASC), Dr. Mears takes a look back at what drew him to the study of criminology and Florida State’s nationally acclaimed College of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

“I’m originally from New Hampshire. After high school, I went to Haverford College and received a degree in sociology, then bounced around a bit. I served in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, then worked at a residential center with children who were delinquent and, at the same time, had significant histories of abuse. Eventually, I applied to several doctoral programs in sociology, and ultimately decided on the University of Texas at Austin. I met my wife, Emily, there. After she completed her Ph.D. and I wrapped up a post-doctoral fellowship, we transitioned to Washington, D.C. I worked at a nonpartisan “think tank,” the Urban Institute, and she worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). I continued my focus on applying and testing theory while also evaluating crime and justice programs and policies. Much of my work focused on juvenile justice reforms, prisoner reentry, and supermax prisons. After our son, Eli, was born, the opportunity to work at Florida State University arose and, at the same time, my wife had a chance to work at the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA), Florida’s counterpart to the GAO.”

When asked about his decision to become a faculty member at FSU, he noted his peers and Dean of the College. Florida State University’s College of Criminology is recognized as one of the best in the nation. The College is comprised of acclaimed professors from around the country. To read more about their research, please click here.

“I interviewed at several places. Some were primarily interested in theory-driven research, not policy-focused work. The College’s Dean and the faculty, however, embraced a multidisciplinary and multi-method approach to research, including research with a strong theoretical and empirical foundation that could also be policy-focused. So, it was a natural fit.”

Dr. Mears recalls that his undergraduate journey was similar to those who struggle to find their path as young adults.

“I floundered as an undergraduate. When I arrived at graduate school, I realized that I needed to take charge of figuring out what interested me and that, whatever it was, that it would have ‘real-world’ implications. When I was in graduate school, violent crime rates were escalating. The country was coming off of over a decade of historically unprecedented growth in corrections. We had states like California and Texas that witnessed a tripling or quadrupling of their prison populations. In Texas, you had this weird phenomenon happening that made crime and justice really interesting; you had a Democrat running against a Republican on a tough-on-crime platform, which was not a traditional Democratic platform. It was in my backyard. And, nationally, there were parallels, including a tough-on-crime policy mindset. Crime was on the rise. Public opinion was shifting. For researchers, it created lots of interesting possibilities for exploring what drove these changes and identifying their consequences. On a related front, I had worked at the residential center with delinquent children, so I had an appreciation for some of the factors that go into delinquency. It helped shape my understanding of crime and how to respond to it. I saw that the kids were more than the crimes that they had committed. They had backgrounds of severe abuse and neglect. Some had been prostituted and separated from siblings. They all had experienced trauma. Yet, they also had done terrible things. So, on the one hand, you are extraordinarily sympathetic. On the other hand, they’ve broken laws and hurt people. How do you respond? How do you deal with someone who has experienced so much dysfunction? That experience and those questions came back to me when I was in graduate school and have stayed with me since when studying crime and justice.”

On November 14th in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Mears will be honored as a 2018 Fellow of the American Society of Criminology (ASC). The ASC, an organization that includes researchers whose contributions to the scholarly and scientific study of criminology merit international recognition, is honoring Dr. Mears for his work in policy research and the study of criminal systems. I asked him about why he believes he was honored.

“I believe that in part it is because of my work in a number of substantive areas, including the causes of crime, what shapes public opinion, the impacts of mass incarceration and reentry, and the effects of solitary confinement. At the same time, a lot of my work has cross-cutting themes, such as a focus on systems, theory and policy, and use of quantitative and qualitative data to answer questions. These themes inform most of what I’ve done, and are likely what help my work have relevance both for social science and for policy.”

Dr. Mears maintains that his favorite part about teaching here at Florida State University is his interaction with colleagues and the students. He teaches courses on criminological and criminal justice theory, juvenile justice, reentry, and corrections.

“I find teaching very challenging and very enjoyable. Part of the challenge is to tease out students’ interests. My job is to try to give them different tools to assess what they know and what they do not know. Just as importantly, it is to help them appreciate what kind of research is credible and allows for greater insight into crime and justice. Ultimately, I hope to instill a researcher sensibility that they can use to think about the world around them.”

Dr. Daniel Mears is the Mark C. Stafford Professor of Criminology at Florida State University. To learn more about his work, please click here.


Written by Zoe Zirlin, FSU Class of 2020

Faculty Readings and Book Signings


In 2013, FSU launched its first ever Faculty Reading and book signing. It all started on October 4 with Dr. Dennis Moore, Associate Professor from the FSU English Department, and his book “Letters From an American Farmer and Other Essays.” The “American Farmer” of the title is Crèvecoeur’s fictional persona Farmer James, a bumpkin from rural Pennsylvania. In his Introduction to this edition, Moore places this self-effacing pose in perspective and charts Crèvecoeur’s enterprising approach to self-promotion, which involved repackaging and adapting his writings for French and English audiences. Letters from an American Farmer was published in London in 1782, just as the idea of an “American” was becoming a reality. Dennis D. Moore’s convenient, up-to-date reader’s edition situates those twelve pieces from the 1782 Letters in the context of thirteen other essays representative of Crèvecoeur’s writings in English.

Since that year, every Parents Weekend (celebrated in the fall semester) and once each spring semester Florida State has done a Faculty Reading and book signing. Faculty members from different colleges such as the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Music, College of Social Science and Public Policy and the College of Fine Arts, have the opportunity to share their own work. Faculty from across campus and friends from the community have the chance to learn more about their peers’ writings and research as well as explore different topics and themes.

This Fall semester, on its 11th session during Parents Weekend (September 21st), Jen Atkins, Associate Professor of Dance, shared with us her new book New Orleans Carnival Balls. This book discusses how Mardi Gras festivities don’t end after the parades roll through the streets; rather, a large part of the celebration continues unseen by the general public. On her reading, those present had the opportunity to travel back in time to 1870, where we got to explore New Orleans and the Mardi Gras tradition (and its secrets!) from a whole new perspective.

These Faculty Readings have been and continue to be possible thanks to the ad hoc committee that stages them. The members of this committee are: Dr. Margaret Wright-Cleveland (Director of Faculty Development), Dr. Denise Von Glahn (Professor of Musicology), Dr. Lisa Liseno (Assistant Dean of the Graduate School), Dr. John Mayo (Retired Dean of College of Social Sciences), Bob Howard (Retired Director of the Askew Student Life Center), Abby Cazel (Student in FSU School of Law, former leader of the Student Organization within Ukirk), and Dr. Dennis Moore (Chair).

Those who organize these readings were intentionally selected to represent very diverse people from different fields. Each presentation is for a non-specialized audience including people attending Parent’s Weekend, faculty colleagues, undergraduates and graduate students, and people from the community and the series is crafted to present different disciplines, perspectives, and topics. All these elements make these readings a learning and sharing space open for everyone, so stay tuned for the 12th session on February 12, 2019, where Tanya Peres, Associate Professor of Anthropology, will share her book “Baking, Bourbon, and Black Drink.” If we are lucky, a bourbon tasting may follow.

Let’s Talk Emergency Managment With Professor Robert McDaniel

Robert “Rob” McDaniel

The first thing you notice about the Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) department is that it’s secluded. On the sixth floor of Bellamy, you have to walk past the Social Sciences department into a narrow, U-shaped hallway to come across the offices of EMHS professors and faculty. But that doesn’t stop them from making you feel right at home. All the office doors are open and laughter echoes down the hall as faculty chat with students in their offices. I had the opportunity to sit down with one of the founders of the EMHS program Professor Robert
“Rob” McDaniel, a veteran of the Cold and Gulf Wars turned Emergency Manager, to hear about his journey into the department.

“I had to retire from the Air Force. I had gotten hurt after the first Gulf War. So I was looking for what’s next and I came across an advertisement for what sounded like a military command post and it turned out to be a job at the state Emergency Operations Center. I looked at the job posting and it sounded similar to what we would call a battle staff in the military. I thought, well, I’ve done that and I could do that job but I really had no idea what Emergency Management was. I had no clue. It ended up being a really good fit for me. I was very lucky. A lot of military guys don’t get to take everything that comes out of their military career and almost directly apply it to the next part of their life and I was very fortunate to do that.”

Now an Associate Teaching Professor in the EMHS Program and Senior Fellow at the Center for Disaster Risk Policy (CDRP) at Florida State University, Professor McDaniel is a graduate of FSU’s prestigious Askew School of Public Administration, so coming back to FSU seemed like a good fit for him.

“A colleague of mine, her name is Dr. Janet Dilling, and I worked together at the Florida Division of Emergency Management many, many years ago. Janet had the opportunity to leave state government and come work directly for FSU. Because she had enough work, she said ‘hey, wanna come over?’ I grew up here in Tallahassee so I’ve always bled garnet and gold so the idea of my working at FSU was a no-brainer.

Our work with FSU’s Research Center for Disaster Response focused back on doing work for federal, state, and local governments that had difficult Emergency Management problems to solve. They would very often hire our center to come and help them do better, creative, and innovative things. And while we were doing that, Janet, Dr. Audrey Casserleigh and I thought, you know, we’re here so why don’t we teach a class? And that class became two and eventually grew into what you know now as the EMHS program.”

The EMHS program offers thirty-one different classes, all ranging from the history of Mega Disasters to learning about Mayhem Media. The program is made up of all different kinds of students, taking in both the more traditional graduate and undergraduate degree-seeking students as well as non-degree seeking students. There are three different certificates under the EMHS program: Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Application of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and U.S. Intelligence. Each certificate has different requirements, classes, and student population based on their interest and school level and the program is ever growing.

“It was a fairly straightforward process. In the beginning, we focused almost exclusively on Emergency Management because it is at least half of what has to be done in a national security situation like a terrorist attack. It became a question of why is this just an emergency management program? We have significant expertise in Homeland Security too, so why aren’t we teaching that? Audrey is a perfect example of this. She’s a nationally renowned expert in terrorism and teaches the program’s terrorism classes now. So it was a natural progression from that. We use our practitioner sensibilities to determine what we think students need to understand and know to be in public safety or Homeland Security. I would be lying to you if the practical experience we have doesn’t influence that a lot. There are a lot of National Security higher education programs out there but many don’t have practitioners running them. We like to think that not only because we did it but because we still have our hands in it that we bring a unique perspective with our classes and what we decide needs to be a part of the curriculum.

Interestingly, our intelligence certificate that we started around two years ago was one of those things that seemed like a really good fit to have. It started off as just an entry-level class on what National Intelligence is, but then we started looking at it and realized that I have a former military background and we have a faculty member, retired Colonel Robert Duggleby, who has extensive Global Security credentials. Colonel Duggleby, one of our graduate assistants Abby Kinch, and I realized that this needed to be a bigger thing. When we started talking to the National Intelligence Community about what we were doing and wanting to expand, it became obvious that there is a market for young people who have that sensibility, who want to become an intelligence analyst. They’re literally hiring hundreds every year and so it just seemed to be a good progression.”

With such a large market for graduates with a background knowledge in EMHS, I found it very interesting that the certificate also hosts non-degree seeking students. In Professor McDaniel’s Monday night Leadership and Communication in Emergency Management course, roughly half of the students are non-degree seeking. Some work in government in Tallahassee and their departments are looking to have someone certified in EMHS; some are retired veterans like Professor McDaniel; some want to go into government and are looking to expand their knowledge of emergency management in general.

“It used to be a lot more common than it is now. Only recently has the profession of Emergency Management progressed to the point where if you want to get an entry-level job, you’re going to need a degree or background knowledge of some kind. The interesting thing is we don’t see that there’s any benefit having very specialized knowledge in Emergency Management because systems across the nation are all slightly different. Florida does things slightly different than Georgia, Alabama, California, or even Texas for that matter. So a very specialized knowledge of Emergency Management is probably not going to benefit in entry-level jobs that our graduates are looking for. But what we have found is that a diversity of people, backgrounds, degrees, and knowledge are a real benefit to the profession of Emergency Management.

Someday, hopefully, we will end up being a degree program here, but right now it’s working out to where it’s okay to have a degree in economics and our certificate as a background in emergency management. Once students get into the business they’re going to learn the way things are done where they’re at so it works out pretty well. I’m very proud to say that the graduates from our certificate get their fair share of jobs in the field.”

The field, Emergency Management and Homeland Security, covers a broad array of jobs with an even more vast array of responsibilities. At FSU’s Tallahassee campus, these responsibilities include being available when called on by state and local government as well as working with Florida State University Police Department (FSUPD) to help keep our campus and students safe.

“We have some real-world responsibilities that the State of Florida has asked us to step up and do for them. Our program director David Merrick is a nationally renowned expert in the use of social media and data mining, which helps us understand what’s going on out there during disasters. Because of that whenever the State of Florida activates for a hurricane or some other disaster or even significant special events like if one of the major political parties has a convention here, the state will actually ask us to set up a team to monitor social media.

We have also started a program of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), small drones. We have gained some expertise and recognition to the point where the state has now asked us to lead the State Emergency Response Team, the team that manages all of the different teams from state agencies that get together and manage disasters for the State of Florida. We have deployed into the field during disasters and in some cases, we’ve taken students with us, and that’s been a real learning process for us and them. I was really proud of the efforts of some of our students during Hurricane Irma this last season. When the state of Florida’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) needed extra hands and extra people they asked if some students could help out, and we had a couple of dozen young people volunteering in the state EOC doing some real-world things and really helping out.

We did participate most recently in a search for a missing student and I’m happy to say that along with our partner company that has scent discriminant dogs, tracking dogs, we found the young man. I don’t want to minimize the fact that there were literally hundreds of people out there looking for him along with Chief Perry and the FSUPD. It just so happens that we had the right tool at the right time and we found him. We have deployed to other things like that. The reason that FSUPD knew to call us and knew to call our partner at Scent Evidence K9, Paul Coley, was because we’ve worked and trained together before.

I have also conducted two different exercises here at FSU in past years. One was training for a terrorist type event here on campus and the other was a hurricane scenario.”

We ended on a fun note for the both of us, talking about Professor McDaniel’s favorite part about working here at FSU, given that he’s now back in his hometown of Tallahassee.

“If you ever talk to anybody who served in the military you will, almost to a person,  hear them talk about the reason that they serve and a lot of that has to do with the person right next to you. I had the great privilege of working with five other guys in a crew when I was flying in B-52s and I’m very close to all of them, to the point where I trusted my life with them. I can truly say that I have the same feeling with the people that I work with here at FSU. It also it’s great for me because I did grow up here, I remember when FSU wasn’t even a quarter of what you see now. I can remember football before Bobby Bowden, and it was horrible. I can remember when the stadium was like high school bleachers and the crowd because we were always losing, was so bored they would sway and the whole structure would sway too. They would have to condemn the stadium after every ball game until somebody came in and certified that it was okay for people to come back. I can I remember things about FSU back to the early sixties and to see what it’s become now is very gratifying.”

To learn more about Professor McDaniel as well as the entire Emergency Management and Homeland Security program, click here.


Faculty Affinity Groups

“To Promote Diversity and Inclusion, not Exclusion.”

Here at Florida State University, we are dedicated to celebrating the varying backgrounds of our esteemed faculty. Our professors and researchers come from around the world, speak different languages, and represent a multitude of cultural traditions. Our six Faculty Affinity groups on campus are the Latin@ Faculty Advocacy and Resource Group, Black Faculty and Staff Organization, LGBTQ+ Faculty Staff Network, the Veterans, Families and Friends Group, South Asian Noles Association, and the Association of Chinese Professors at Florida State University. Each group represents faculty within FSU who share similar interests and come together to promote diversity and inclusion. Amongst a host of challenges that face collegiate faculty today, underrepresentation of minority groups poses a serious problem to the university as a whole. This is where affinity groups come into play. A small, core number of faculty spearhead each Affinity program, and mentorship plays a huge part in the bonding and strengthening of members. FSU Affinity groups also serve to highlight the achievements of their affiliated faculty. Activities of Affinity groups include lunches with the Provost, peer mentoring across departments, speakers series, networking and recruitment opportunities, and fellowship.

For faculty looking to start new Affinity groups that align with your interests and community, you may begin to ask questions such as:

What are the core values of the group?

How is the group different from other groups at the University?

What steps need to be taken to achieve the group’s mission?

What are the group’s goals?

Can an existing group accomplish these goals?

Is there sufficient interest among current faculty and staff to support the new group?

Is this a viable short-term and/or long-term organization?

Does this organization offer value to the faculty and staff?


If you have any questions about FSU’s Affinity groups, please contact:


Latin@ Faculty Advocacy and Resource Group


John Ribo


Lara Perez-Felkner


Black Faculty and Staff Network (BFSN)

Human Resources staff headshots.

Michelle Douglass


LGBTQ+ Faculty Staff Network


Karin Brewster


Association of Chinese Professors at Florida State University (ASP-FSU)


Xufeng Niu


South Asian Noles Association(SANA)

Som Chatterjee


Veterans Friends and Family Group (VF2G)

William Lamb



As always, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for faculty updates!

Meet the Interns

The Office of Faculty Development and Advancement would like to welcome our faculty back to Florida State University! This semester, we have welcomed two new undergraduate interns to our office, seniors Fabiana Ferrante and Emily Campana, accompanied by our returning intern, junior Zoe Zirlin. Their goal for this year is simple: use multimedia platforms to inform, update and unite Florida State Faculty! Because FSU is an expansive research university that employs hundreds of influential leaders in the academic world, we believe that it is imperative for professors to have Faculty Development and Advancement updates at their fingertips, (more specifically, in their twitter feeds!) Those employed by Florida State can find information regarding faculty luncheons, writing workshops, research opportunities, award deadlines, and achievement recognition… all in one scroll. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Hi! My name is Zoe Zirlin, and I am a junior pursuing a double major in Advertising and Editing, Writing and Media. I am thrilled to return to the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement this semester. Last year14344358_1044290792344972_2755587022038926738_n.jpg, I enjoyed shaping our office’s media platforms into a more engaging, influential and informative stream of information. We also created videos highlighting faculty achievement, published a weekly blog about award and research opportunities, and interviewed staff from varying colleges about their pedagogical methodologies and published works. By collecting and analyzing data about our platform reach from the start of the year to the end, we found the best ways to connect with faculty utilizing a multimedia approach. Working in this office has taught me more than just the differences between assistant and associate professor; I learned how to work in a team, meet professional deadlines, and I developed a deeper love for my campus. This year, Emily, Fabiana and I are excited to embark on new projects, connect with a larger amount of faculty, and learn more about how our professors make Florida State the welcoming (and 26th best public!) university it is today.

Hello! My name is Emily Campana and I am a senior here at Florida State University majoring in Editing, Writing and Media. I was born and raised in Palm Beach County and graduated from Florida Atlantic University High School. I found my love of working with social media while interning for YouTube and Vine star Cody Johns. I’ve always loved 5D776C47-75E2-4EED-8604-B31D9F97AF3B.jpgsocial media and the platform it provides, and working for a specific client was a whole new experience. I learned how to manage multiple social media platforms with hundreds of thousands of followers based on Cody’s needs by promoting different applications he was working with and keeping his followers updated on what was happening. I also write for HerCampus, an online magazine aimed at college women, and participate in PeaceJam Southeast as a mentor.

Hi! My name is Fabiana Ferrante, I’m 22 years old and I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. I completed my freshman year of college back in Venezuela where I studied Social Communication at the Monteávila University. However, because of the crisis that the country was and still is going through, I decided to move to the Republic of PanUnknown.jpegama. I then continued my studies at Florida State University Republic of Panama campus with a major in Media/Communication Studies. Now, as a senior, I have moved (once again!) to Tallahassee, Florida to complete my undergraduate studies here in the United States. For the past 4 years, I have not only moved from one to place to another, but I have also had the chance to grow as a professional by working in an American worldwide consumer products company such as Colgate-Palmolive, non-profit organizations like the Panamanian Red Cross and RET International, among other institutions. Nowadays, as this new adventure of being one of the Social Media interns in the Office of Faculty Development and Advancement begins, I plan to introduce more visual elements into the office by developing video interviews and general videos, as well as more photography that show the great work that FSU faculty members do every day.