Message from Dean Michael Hartline

April 1, 2021

It’s hard to believe that I became the sixth dean of Florida State University’s College of Business five years ago today. I still recall the significance of that day when I came into the office for the first time as dean after serving as interim dean for the previous nine months. Since it was April 1, I half-expected the president or provost to come around the corner and surprise me with those famous words: April Fools! Thankfully, they did not, and I have had the pleasure of leading the amazing college that I have been a part of for 20 years. As I begin my sixth year as dean, I want to reflect on all we have accomplished together. 

Like the broader university, our college has been on a journey toward preeminence as we work to be recognized as one of the very best public business schools in the nation. While we still have much to do, I am confident that we have largely achieved that goal. In the last five years, our college has risen in the U.S. News & World Report rankings from No. 39 to No. 28 among public business schools. Most academic programs in the college are in the Top 30. Many programs are in the Top 20; some are in the Top 10, and two are in the Top 5. Here are some other significant achievements: 

  • We received the largest gift in university history: $100 million to expand the Jim Moran Institute and create the Jim Moran School (now College) of Entrepreneurship. 
  • We established the James M. Seneff Honors Program to provide enrichment opportunities for our most academically talented undergraduate students. 
  • We launched the state’s first master’s degree in business analytics at a public university to better support employers’ needs for graduates with advanced analytics training. 
  • Due to significant investments in faculty support, we have largely eliminated faculty turnover due to financial issues. 
  • Our college has significantly expanded outreach to alumni, employers and students to strategically engage our constituencies in highly synergistic ways. For example, we established new alumni/industry boards in analytics and finance, and created an executive committee within our college’s Board of Governors to help us think strategically about key initiatives. 
  • We established a Center for Professional Development to ensure students are better prepared for the rigors of business school as well as entry into their chosen careers. 
  • We have significantly enhanced activities related to diversity, equity and inclusion, such as creating Diversity in Leadership Week, which we are working to expand into a yearlong series of activities. 

Our college owes an immense debt of gratitude to so many who have supported our preeminence journey over the past five years. President John Thrasher and Provost Sally McRorie have been incredibly supportive of our efforts, and their leadership has allowed the university and college to thrive. We will all miss President Thrasher as he heads into retirement. Our faculty and staff members are exceptional, and their efforts reflect the preeminence we strive to achieve. Our alumni continue to be stalwart partners on our journey with their generous investments of time, talent and treasure. Employers have also played a significant role as our students’ success depends so much on their willingness to hire graduates into high-paying positions. Finally, our students also deserve much of the credit. They continue to enter FSU with ever-increasing credentials and shine once they get to the College of Business. Their resilience over the past year during a very difficult time has been remarkable. 

As we look forward to more normal operations this fall, we recognize that our best years are ahead of us. Even during these non-normal times, we can all be proud of our college and university. Our students, faculty and staff continue to excel, our reputation continues to grow, and our journey along the path of preeminence continues undiminished. 

And that’s the key message: Preeminence is a journey, not a destination. Thank you all for allowing me to come along for the ride! 

Michael D. Hartline, Dean