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Byline: Melanie Yeager
Nov. 12--Despite the state's budget crunch, Florida State University plans to forge ahead with its program to hire super professors.
For the third year, FSU is luring extraordinary professors to campus by offering a carrot of up to $40,000 a year in research money on top of their negotiated salaries.
"Now is the time to press forward with that program, even though it involves fairly small numbers of faculty," FSU President Sandy D'Alemberte told faculty in his recent state-of-the-university address.
And faculty members interviewed agree.
"It's very important that we continue on with this program even though we are facing budget cutbacks," said Karen Laughlin, FSU Faculty Senate president. "Everybody wins at the university when we hire distinguished faculty like the people that we've already hired in these positions."
Lawmakers are dealing with an estimated $1.3 billion shortfall in this year's budget, which will likely result in big cuts in university budgets. But the cream on top of salaries for the Francis Eppes Professorships comes from interest generated by $10 million in private money set aside by the FSU Research Foundation.
The eight recruits already hired make up a tiny portion of the more than 1,500 full-time faculty at FSU, but administrators and faculty say they're already bolstering the university's prestige and helping to attract top graduate students and junior faculty.
"These are the type of …