PANAMA CITY – Former attorney and interim dean Randy Hanna has been appointed as dean of Florida State University (FSU) Panama City.

Hanna, the former chancellor of the Florida College System and research faculty member with the university’s Learning Systems Institute, is excited to take on the responsibility and his colleagues are anxious to get started. 

“Dr. Hanna brings to the dean’s office a rich experience in higher education in the state of Florida, and has already established himself as a leader in the local community,” Dr. George Bishop, associate dean at FSU Panama City told the Florida Record.

During his time at the Learning Systems Institute, Hanna directed a program that provided opportunities to academic professionals and government officials. These professionals developed higher education programs around the world, including in India, the Ukraine and Central America.

Bishop has been associate dean at FSU Panama City since January and has served in higher education prior to the position. 

“His understanding of the importance of providing real pathways for students will steer our efforts to enhance opportunities for those students, now and out into the future,” Bishop said.

Hanna took over as interim dean in August following the resignation of previous dean Carol Edwards. Edwards left to take a new position at an institution. Leading up to her departure from the school, she had been on medical leave caring for her mother.

Hanna plans on continuing to cultivate and create a space for the FSU Panama City student body—which includes better programs, mental health resources and safe spaces with student counselors. 

“We are particularly excited about plans for the development of student housing on the Panama City campus,” Bishop said. “When complete, the presence of resident students will transform campus life for everyone here.”

According to Bishop, other initiatives at the FSU Panama City campus include creating new academic programs and continuing to remind others that the Panama City campus has always been committed to serving the community and remains steadfast in that mission. 

“We bring our local community the high quality of education that is Florida State University,” Bishop said.

Since its inception in 1983, FSU Panama City has been dedicated to building a brand of its own. According to the school’s website, the master plan for the development of the campus in the next several years include continued construction of facilities—like dormitories—student life and academic development.

Hanna has highlighted his plans to alter the image of the school, noting that he wants people to recognize FSU Panama City as a university, not just a branch campus.

Hanna earned his doctorate degree in higher education management in 2014 from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a law degree from FSU in 1983.

Hanna previously served on governing boards for Florida A&M University, the University of West Florida and Tallahassee Community College. He also served as chairman of the State Board of Community Colleges. Before his work in higher education, he was a practicing attorney.

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