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USF seeing positive results from its AAU membership

Madison DeVore

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June 1, 2023: University of South Florida President Rhea Law announces the college's acceptance into the Association of American Universities. Image: Screengrab, USF video.

Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida is now considered one of the country’s leading research universities. One year ago, the college was invited into the Association of American Universities, opening doors to funding, research and more.

With just 71 members globally, and three percent of U.S. four-year colleges making up the organization, being invited into the AAU is a prestigious honor. The university had been working towards becoming a member for 15 years, as AAU membership criteria aligns with USF’s vision of positively shaping society’s future and transforming lives through education, research and innovation.

“Having this recognition provided a mantle of credibility that just kind of flowed over the entirety of the university and our community,” said USF President Rhea Law in a prepared statement.

Assistant professor of medical engineering Neda Latifi. Photo: LinkedIn.

USF is the first public university in Florida to be invited to join in nearly 40 years, and this impressed new faculty member Neda Latifi, who became assistant professor of medical engineering in August 2023.

As Latifi interviewed for positions at several institutions, USF became an AAU member; this was critical in her decision-making, she told the Catalyst.

“The AAU membership will enhance our partnership with other AAU schools, our success in funding applications, and our resources, and definitely researchers who are now even more encouraged to join our institution,” explained Latifi.

Conducting her research at USF has been a great experience for several reasons, she explained, such as the collegial atmosphere of her department, where she is supported to grow while helping others grow intellectually too. The translational tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research Latifi conducts is interdisciplinary and collaborative and USF helps connect researchers with other departments – even Tampa General Hospital.

The AAU membership will draw in world-class faculty candidates, high-caliber undergraduate and graduate students and researchers to the Tampa Bay area, Latifi said. As they share their research, teaching and experiences with USF and the young generation in the region, this will aid the greater community.

Current students are also benefiting from the college’s membership. As more faculty and researchers are drawn to USF, more connections between them and students will be possible. Students have the ability to tell potential employers that they graduated from an AAU member university.

“Being graduated from an AAU institution will give them credit for the high quality education and research experience at USF, and thus enhance their chance in nationwide competitions,” Latifi said.

Though USF has always had a drive to research and provide opportunities, she added, becoming an AAU member has enhanced the university’s overall encouragement and motivation to progress.

“Because we have been recognized at a higher level of academic achievement, that’s really the watchword of moving forward. We need to look at how we can do things better every day,” Law remarked. “There is no reason we cannot be successful moving forward.”

 

 

1 Comment

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    Melmcclell

    May 30, 2024at8:28 pm

    I sure hope so. Since, it caused their athletics teams to miss-out on being invited to the “Power-4 (or soon to be ‘3’) Party!” Now, they’ve missed their chance and they’re being left behind. They will never be able to recover from that… It’s too large of a money discrepancy to ever make up. You’re talking 100’s of MILLIONS of DOLLARS, & a much bigger sense of school pride for alumni, all lost.

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