Florida International University
Florida International University - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||21|
|Avg years at University||2.8|
|Research Quality||B (7.1)|
|Research Availability||B (6.9)|
|Research Funding||C+ (5.7)|
|Graduate Politics||B- (6.4)|
|Not Errand Runners||B- (6.1)|
|Degree Completion||B (6.7)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||B+ (7.8)|
|Sufficient Pay||B- (6.4)|
|Education Quality||B (6.7)|
|Faculty Accessibility||B+ (7.5)|
|Useful Research||B+ (7.8)|
|"Individual" treatment||C+ (5.5)|
|Campus Beauty||B+ (7.3)|
|Campus Maintenance||B+ (7.5)|
|University Spending||B (7.0)|
|Scholastic Success||B (7.1)|
|Surrounding City||B+ (8.1)|
|Social Life/ Environment||B (7.0)|
The undersigned law firm has been retained by Mr. Jose J. Garcia (Panther ID 1390133) to assist in ascertaining the propriety of his dismissal from Florida International University?s (?FIU?) College of Engineering and Design Graduate Program (?Graduate Engineering Program). Pursuant to FIU?s Academic Grievance Procedure, we are submitting this Informal Grievance Letter on behalf of Mr. Garcia. Mr. Garcia?s grievance is as follows:
In November 2000, Mr. Garcia was accepted into FIU?s Graduate Engineering Program, where he received his Master?s Degree. Thereafter, in July 2002, Mr. Garcia was accepted to FIU?s Graduate Engineering Program for pursuit of his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering.
In January 2004, Mr. Garcia submitted the required form for the Appointment of Dissertation Committee (?Form D-1?) with ?Networking? identified as the subject of his dissertation. Mr. Garcia?s dissertation committee consisted of the following professors: Dr. Kia Makki (Major Professor), Dr. Shih-Ming Lee, Dr. Subbarao Wunnava, Dr. Tadeusz Babij, Dr. Jean Andrian, and Dr. Syed Ahmed. Thereafter, in November 2004, Mr. Garcia submitted the form for the Program for Doctoral Degree and Application for Candidacy (?Form D-2?) and he was advanced a candidate for the Ph.D.
In November 2007, Dr. Makki advised Mr. Garcia that he ?did not understand? what Mr. Garcia was trying to do in his dissertation and that another committee member should be identified as Major Professor. The other committee members declined and one member advised Mr. Garcia that his project would be very difficult to implement. Dr. Makki identified a new Major Professor, Dr. Jian Wang, and on Dr. Wang?s recommendation, Mr. Garcia changed his dissertation topic to ?Optical Routers.?
When Mr. Garcia attempted to submit the form for the Appointment of Revised Dissertation Committee (?Form D-1r?) to reflect the changes, Dr. Makki advised him that Form D-1r was not necessary because he remained the Major Professor and would supervise the project. Notwithstanding these representations, Dr. Makki later advised Mr. Garcia that the dissertation subject would have to be changed a third time. On November 19, 2007, Mr. Garcia submitted Form D-1 identifying ?Wireless Telecommunications? identified as the new dissertation area. Per Dr. Makki?s instructions that same day, Mr. Garcia submitted the form for the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal (?Form D-3?), but Mr. Garcia?s proposal was returned by the Graduate School due to grammatical and language revisions.
On April 7, 2008, Mr. Garcia submitted Form D-1r, to reflect the new composition of his dissertation committee. Dr. Stavros Georgakopoulos replaced Dr. Kia Makki as the Major Professor, and Dr. Subbarao Wunnava would no longer be serving on the committee. No replacement was identified for Dr. Wunnava at that time. That same day, Mr. Garcia submitted Form D-3.
On November 7, 2008, Mr. Garcia received an email from Stephan Mintz, Ph.D., Associate Dean of the Graduate School, noting deficiencies in his dissertation proposal, and the need to have the proposal revised and reviewed by the dissertation committee prior to submission to the Graduate School. Dr. Mintz also acknowledged the need to have a Major Professor identified immediately. Mr. Garcia forwarded Dr. Mintz?s email to another FIU employee and acknowledged the changes to the committee?s composition and the need for revisions.
From Fall 2008 through August 2009, Mr. Garcia continuously emailed Dr. Georgakopoulos. The nature of these emails consisted primarily of updates on Mr. Garcia?s research and drafting of his dissertation. Furthermore, Mr. Garcia also advised Dr. Georgakopoulos of other publications being submitted to the Latin American & Caribbean Consortium of Engineering Institutions (?LACCEI?), to which seven (7) papers were submitted, published, and presented at LACCEI?s 9th Latin American and Caribbean Conference for Engineering and Technology during August 3-5, 2011, in Medellin, Colombia. Dr. Georgakopoulos stopped providing feedback to Mr. Garcia in November 2008.
On or about August 24, 2010, a meeting was held with Kevin O?Shea, then-Interim Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Victoria Castellanos, and Dr. Georgakopoulos, where Mr. Garcia was advised of the nine-year deadline for the completion of his Ph.D. According to Mr. Garcia, Dr. Georgakopoulos advised him that an external dissertation committee had been formed to evaluate his dissertation.
As a follow up to the August 24, 2010 meeting, on September 3, 2010, Dr. Amir Mirmiran, Dean of FIU?s College of Engineering and Computing, and Dr. O?Shea sent Mr. Garcia a letter summarizing his submissions of the requisite dissertation forms, advising him of missed deadlines, and providing an action plan for completion of his dissertation. The letter does not address the formation of any external committee.
The September 3, 2010 letter goes on to state that in order for Mr. Garcia to graduate by the summer of 2011 (in accordance with FIU?s 9-year limit policy), he would have been required to submit his Form D-3 by July 1, 2010. The September 3, 2010 letter emphasizes that Mr. Garcia should not pursue a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, but rather receive a Master?s Degree, however instructions for the completion of the dissertation were given. Specifically, Mr. Garcia was advised of the following:
1. The dissertation committee would need to be reconstituted, and Form D-1r would need to be submitted by October 1, 2010. Committee members were identified, along with the designation of Dr. Kang Yen as Major Professor.
2. The development and approval of a Dissertation Research Proposal (?Form D-3?) by the dissertation committee. The defense of the proposal in front of the dissertation committee and the approval of Form D-3 must occur by December 13, 2010.
3. Completion of dissertation research. Having the approved Form D-3 on file with FIU would allow a one year extension to the 9-year time limit to complete the dissertation.
4. Submission of the form for the Preliminary Approval of Dissertation and Request for Oral Defense (?Form D-5?) by October 24, 2011; submission of the form for the Dissertation Defense Report (?Form D-6?) by November 14, 2011; and submission of the form for the Final Approval of Dissertation (?Form D-7?) by December 9, 2011.
On November 23, 2011, Dr. Mirmiran and Dr. Reddi, Dean of the Graduate School, sent another letter in follow up to a meeting held with Mr. Garcia regarding the conclusion of his doctoral degree studies at FIU. The November 23, 2011 letter mentions that Mr. Garcia appeared on two (2) occasions in front of the dissertation committee and received feedback and guidance. The letter goes on to state that Mr. Garcia?s dissertation draft does not consist of quantity and quality of original research necessary to compile an acceptable dissertation draft and submission of Form D-5 and that Mr. Garcia did not adhere to the November 14, 2011, deadline for the successful defense of his dissertation.
Mr. Garcia?s dissertation theme has changed several times on the advice of faculty prior to September 2010, due in part to Mr. Garcia?s lack of substantive mentorship from both Dr. Makki and Dr. Georgakopoulos. As a result, we are submitting this Informal Grievance letter pursuant to FIU?s Grievance Procedure within ten (10) university days after classes began for the Spring 2012 semester. We believe that FIU?s Grievance Procedure covers Mr. Garcia?s dismissal, because said dismissal is the result of:
(1) ?unprofessional conduct by a professor which adversely affects either a student?s ability to satisfy academic expectations, . . . or the student?s actual performance;? and
(2) ?improper counseling by an adviser.?
The failure by Dr. Makki and Dr. Georgakopoulos to properly serve as Major Professors to Mr. Garcia adversely affected his ability to meet expectations associated with the dissertation component. Moreover, the multiple changes to the dissertation theme on the recommendation of Dr. Makki constituted improper counseling that resulted in a large portion of the 9-year window period to be wasted on fruitless research and drafting. Such time could have been dedicated to editing and refining language and grammatical issues faced by Mr. Garcia, which is considered common among extremely intelligent individuals that speak multiple languages? five (5) languages in the case of Mr. Garcia.
Based on the foregoing, we kindly request, at your earliest convenience and per FIU?s Informal Grievance Procedure, a meeting with Dr. Reddi, Dr. Mirmiran, and Dr. Yen, to address how the sub-standard mentorship and counsel provided to Mr. Garcia effectively prevented him from completing the Ph.D. program in time.
I look forward to your timely cooperation.
ESPINOSA | JOMARRON
By: Jesmany Jomarron, Esq.
cc: Via Email only
Dr. Amir Mirmiran, Dean,
Dr. Kevin O?Shea, Associate Dean,
Dr. Victoria Castellanos, Associate Dean,
Dr. Stavros Georgakopoulos, Professor,
Dr. Kia Makki, Professor,
On the departmental level, one of the central professors gives exams that contain invalid questions. Some questions require knowledge that was not made available in the course. Others were so poorly written that it was difficult to understand what was being asked. This professor assigned no other work than 3 exams per course. If you receive a grade below B (including B-) you have to pay and retake the course. If that happens twice, it is grounds for your termination from the program, which means all your tuition money, study efforts, and time in practica will be lost. This professor never changed his exams, so students had been able to obtain them previously when the courses were given online. Students were studying from the exams, and knew that was the only way they could pass. Those who "cheated" passed, and those who didn't cheat failed. I tried to communicate with this professor, but he was intransigent and would not admit that anything was wrong.I was appalled by the lack of professional ethics at FIU.
You will find a whole lot of people from everywhere in this university (this is actually the reason why I came here for my MBA). You get to meet people from every continent. The diversity is quite impressive.I honestly recomment this university. They might be a bit picky when hiring people, requiring them to be bi-lingual and such, but thing is, they need to. Most of their students have English as a second language. Great thing is! you will most likely graduate knowing a second language as well :)
It has lost it's funding from government, well first of all the management doesn't knows to budget with the enough funding (some university funded student organizations are worthless and more than 70% of books in library are useless for students and public, when researched, internal peoples said, it is done just to show the expenditures, wow!). They waste money on unnecessary things than in useful ways that will improve their quality of education.
I'm not trying to be racist (I myself belong to a particular race), but the university is biased to Hispanic community. It is tough to get an on-campus job if you are not a Hispanic or Bilingual. Non-teaching staffs are sincere but again the Human Resource Management is biased to Bilinguals and prefer hiring people having connections and qualification becomes secondary.
Complaints apart, Faculties are nice, helpful and qualified. Students are friendly too but Campus safety has to be improved, since there have been some incidences, some even fatal.
Not so worth to join if you are an out state student or an international student. You may receive a better education else where for the money that you spend here. Needs lots of improvements, but for now it is still developing.
thank you elisabeth weiss