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UNC's Blouin To Meet FSU Faculty, Staff And Students In Bid To Become President

A giant statue is shown depicting a Seminole man riding a horse. The man raises a long feathered spear high above his head. The horse stands on its back legs. The statue rests on a cylindrical platform with the words, "unconquered" engraved on it. The sky is blanketed with clouds.
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University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Provost Robert Blouin is interviewing with faculty, staff and students Wednesday.

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Provost Robert Blouin is interviewing with faculty, staff and students Wednesday. Blouin is one of three finalists for the presidency at Florida State University.

Florida State is trying to break into the elite of the elite of universities. It’s made gains in recent years, climbing in national rankings to become one of the top 20 schools in the country. But to go higher, the school will have to do even more, says University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Provost Robert Blouin.

“To be a top 10 university you have to be great at a lot of things… and that’s hard. There are a lot of great universities that this university is going to have to climb over to become a top 10 university," he told FSU's Presidential Search Committee in a recent interview.

The only Florida school ranked higher than FSU is the University of Florida. UF is also the only Florida School that’s a member of the elite Association of American Universities, which include UNC-Chapel Hill and Harvard among more than 60 others. To get there, says Blouin, FSU will have to grow its research budgets. And that will take faculty who know how to work with others.

“So much of what we’re doing right now…it requires team effort. It requires more than one individual. So if you want to write a competitive grant today, you’re at a disadvantage if you’re writing it alone. You’re advantaged if you’re identifying other people who are world-class in other disciplines and share that particular problem and they all bring their intellect to bear on the solution to that problem. That’s how you get a competitive score. And that’s how you get funded.”

Blouin says a school has to have the aspiration and the plan to be great. That may require a cultural shift.

"There are many things I would have to learn about this university in terms of…what is at the core, the fiber of it? Because you don’t want to do harm to that. I look at the various metrics involved in university rankings, and affordability and access. What a great gift to give the people of Florida.”

FSU is one of the most affordable schools in the nation. Blouin will participate in a day of interviews with faculty, staff and students. The interviews take place at the Turnbull center and are open.

To hear more from Robert Blouin, go to presidentialsearch.fsu.edu

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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