FSU appoints new dean of undergraduate studies

Effective May 20, Assistant Provost Joe O'Shea will takeover as Florida State University's dean...
Effective May 20, Assistant Provost Joe O'Shea will takeover as Florida State University's dean of undergraduate studies. (Photo: FSU)(WCTV)
Published: May. 18, 2020 at 12:26 PM EDT
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By: WCTV Eyewitness News

May 18, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Florida State University says it has appointed a new dean of undergraduate studies.

Effective May 20, Assistant Provost Joe O'Shea will takeover the role.

O'Shea succeeds Dean Karen Laughlin,


O'Shea is an FSU alumnus and has served as assistant provost since 2016, where he helped guide the school's nationally recognized student success initiatives. With his new duties as dean, he will continue to focus on student centered challenges and opportunities, the university said.

“I’ve known Joe O’Shea since he was a freshman here, representing students on a big committee I chaired as a dean,” FSU Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie said. “From the first meeting, it was crystal clear that he was highly intelligent, innovative and open, and most of all, a staunch spokesperson for our undergrads. He’s only gotten better in the intervening years! When my friend Karen [Laughlin] and I spoke of our retirements in the future, she always said she hoped that Joe would follow in her role. She would be most pleased to know that our undergraduate students will continue to be in great hands.”

As dean, O'Shea will be the academic dean for most freshmen and sophomores until they are accepted to an upper-division major program. The university says he will oversee more than a dozen departments and programs, including the Presidential Scholars and Honors programs, which work with FSU's best students, and the Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement, which serves traditionally underrepresented students.

O'Shea said he looks forward to following in his mentor's footsteps.

“Like many others in our community, I am still deeply saddened by the loss of my mentor and colleague Karen Laughlin,” O’Shea said. “The best way I know to honor Karen is to champion the cause that motivated much of her career: excellent undergraduate education at FSU, for every student. I’m excited to work with the exceptional team in Undergraduate Studies and with colleagues across the university to ensure that FSU continues to provide a preeminent education.”

During his time as assistant provost, O'Shea helped start FSU's experiential learning graduation requirement of undergraduates, creating the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, which focuses on improving teaching across the FSU campus. He also established the Graduation Planning and Strategies Office, which seeks to increase student graduation rates.

O'Shea also serves as a higher education expert for the U.S. Department of Education. He also had seats on the boards of the Council on Undergraduate Research and the Gap Year Association.

According to FSU, he is a Truman and Rhodes Scholar with a master's degree in comparative social policy and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Oxford.

O'Shea graduated from FSU with a bachelor's degree in 2008. FSU says he was elected Student Body President in 2007 and served as a member of the FSU Board of Trustees for the 2007-2008 academic year.

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