Florida universities target academics after years of sporting fame

In January, the University of Georgia defeated the University of Alabama to win the United States College Football Championship.

It was no surprise to see both schools in the final game as they were among the best in the country. What is surprising, however, is that two other famous football teams from the neighboring state of Florida were so far from being the best.

The University of Florida is in the city of Gainesville and Florida State University is in Tallahassee. Both are in the northern part of the state, near Georgia and Alabama.

Teams have lost more times than they have won. It’s different from the recent past, when they were among the best in the country. The last year both schools had a strong year was 2016. This was around the same time that Florida and Florida State began to garner national attention for their academic programs.

A general view of Florida <a class=State University, in Tallahassee, Florida. Student graduation and investment in academics have recently boosted the school.” data-src=”https://gdb.voanews.com/09cd0000-0a00-0242-67af-08d9e731cfe0_w250_r1_s.jpg”/>

A general view of Florida State University, in Tallahassee, Florida. Student graduation and investment in academics have recently boosted the school.

Top Picks for Strong Students

Both schools are now considered top choices for students in the Southeastern United States.

US News and World Report recently ranked Florida fifth and Florida State 19and among public universities. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Florida, also known as UF, was ranked at around 50and among all American universities. The school is now listed at 28and.

Students walk on the University of Florida campus.

Other publications, including Forbes and the the wall street journalalso gave schools high marks on their lists.

How have schools raised the academic bar?

Chris Chouinard is someone who knows the University of Florida academic programs. He earned his graduate degree in chemistry there in 2016. He is now a professor at the Florida Institute of Technology.

Chouinard said when he was younger he had a different idea of ​​the big schools in Florida.

“I grew up thinking of a place like the University of Florida as a school that’s really good at football and probably really good at partying, but not necessarily the best in terms of academics. Well, come and find out that’s not the truth.

Tim Tebow was one of the well-known football players at the University of Florida during the first 10 years of the 2000s.

Tim Tebow was one of the well-known football players at the University of Florida during the first 10 years of the 2000s.

Chouinard said the rise of academic programs at the University of Florida has been “meteoric.He credited President Kent Fuchs with pushing the school to consider itself one of the nation’s top public universities, alongside the University of California-Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, and the University of Michigan.

Before coming to Florida, Fuchs was the top academic officer at Cornell University, an Ivy League university. Fuchs helped Florida raise funds, add more faculty, and increase attendance.

Kent Fuchs appears at a <a class=college football game in 2015. He helped the University of Florida gain national recognition for its college programs. (AP Photo/John Raoux)” data-src=”https://gdb.voanews.com/c2960000-0aff-0242-618d-08d9e74b96ca_w250_r0_s.jpg”/>

Kent Fuchs appears at a college football game in 2015. He helped the University of Florida gain national recognition for its college programs. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

In 2020, the university announced a partnership with technology company NVIDIA to create a artificial intelligence and Machine Learning Center. One of the founders of NVIDIA is Chris Malachowsky, a diploma from the University of Florida.

Chouinard said the university’s efforts to be a leader in machine learning would put it in a leadership position for science and technology education.

Acquire an international reputation

Ayobami Edun, a Nigerian, is working on a higher degree in electrical engineering at the University of Florida.

He said he heard about Florida schools because his Nigerian university had a relationship with Florida A&M University, another university in Tallahassee. Edun said he chose Florida because “I found UF to be the best in Florida.”

Ayobami Edun from Nigeria came to the University of Florida to study engineering.

Ayobami Edun from Nigeria came to the University of Florida to study engineering.

“There is a very intense level of research at UF,” he said. “And whether you go into academia or industry, the courses prepare you.”

Florida State History

In the state of Florida, former President John Thrasher launched an effort to raise $1 billion for the university when he took the job in 2015. Some of the money was used to hire more professors and to help students pay tuition fees.

The new president, Richard McCullough, came from Harvard and Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where he led programs in information science and biology. His arrival shows that the university will continue to support strong academic programs.

Charlie Ward played quarterback for the Florida State University football team in the 1990s.

Charlie Ward played quarterback for the Florida State University football team in the 1990s.

The school also focuses its efforts on retaining students and helping them graduate. Stephen McDowell is a college communications college leader at the university. He said, “FSU has achieved four-year graduation rate recognition. It’s good for students (who start their career earlier) and it also gets attention in national rankings.

Why did football teams struggle?

Between 1993 and 2013, Florida and Florida State combined to have the best college football team six times. But now schools are struggling in football, the most popular college sport in the United States

David Hale writes about college football for sports publication ESPN. He said when a school can select more top students, it is harder for people who are great athletes but not strong students to get into the school. Hale said university leaders have a tough choice.

“Are they more concerned with investing in academics and getting your US News and World Report higher ranking or are they more invested in making sure the athletics are successful and you are packaging a person of 80,000 Stadium every Saturday and you win championships? »

Hale said when investing in academics produces better results than money spent on football, it becomes easier to invest in school programs than new sports buildings or an expensive new coach.

Engineering students work at the University of Florida.

Engineering students work at the University of Florida.

Hale put it this way:

“You have more investment in your state. And you have better performing workers… And you can to attract large companies to set up their headquarters there to create jobs because you have this qualified workforce. And all that stuff is very real, importantmuch longer term effects positive than a winning football season.

I am Dan Friedell. And I’m Jill Robbins.

Dan Friedell wrote this story for Learning English.

Are you more interested in going to school in Florida after reading this story? How are you going to try to get there? Write to us in the comments section and visit our Facebook page.

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words in this story

academic adj. about schools and education

meteoric adj. very fast or sudden

artificial intelligence nm an area of ​​computer science that deals with the ability to give machines the ability to appear to have human intelligence

diploma nm a person who has completed work in a school or university and obtained a degree

pack v. to fill

Stadium nm a large square where sports competitions and other events such as concerts take place

coach nm the leader of a sports team

to attract v. to get someone interested in something

important adj. big enough to be noticed or have an effect

positive adj. good or useful

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