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USF Sarasota-Manatee Launches 40th Anniversary Celebration

40thimageSARASOTA, Fla. (June 26, 2015) – Come help us celebrate!

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee is marking 40 years of service to the community, and to celebrate the occasion we’re inviting alumni, supporters and the Sarasota and Manatee communities to join us in a series of events throughout the summer and academic year.

“Our campus has had a busy and successful year, so this anniversary offers us an opportunity to celebrate our past while also acknowledging all of our successes still to come,” Dr. Sandra Stone, USFSM regional chancellor, said.

Starting today, as we look back at four decades of quality education and ahead to an even brighter future, we unveil a 40th Anniversary web page, USFSM.edu/40, packed with historical information, including a timeline, historical photos, an events calendar and a comment section for alumni and supporters to post special remembrances, greetings, pictures and anniversary wishes.

As the celebration moves forward, we’ll also recall those who most influenced, and continue to influence, our cherished institution by posting snapshots and biographies of these movers and shakers. Expect to see a mix of alumni, faculty, staff, administrators, community leaders and USF System dignitaries. All told, we plan to honor 40 such prominent people throughout the year.

Later, the university will let its hair down for two special, signature events: our 40th Anniversary Kickoff celebration (Sept. 15) and a 40th Anniversary Gala celebration (March 4).

The Kickoff will be a relaxed, casual affair featuring food, drinks, music and campus tours. The Gala will be upscale and elegant, designed to thank those who have so generously supported us over the years.

“These events will be a great way for USFSM supporters from four decades to get together to celebrate how far the campus has come over the past 40 years,” Dennis Stover, regional vice chancellor for university advancement, said.

“The celebration will extend through each of our events throughout the year, but the Kickoff and the Gala will be a spectacular way to showcase all of our achievements and to recognize the people that made them happen,” he said.

In addition to the Kickoff and Gala, regularly scheduled events, such as USFSM’s annual Brunch on the Bay, set for Nov. 1, will feature the 40th Anniversary theme. Expect to see many supporters and others who have influenced USFSM over the years.

USF Sarasota-Manatee urges all alumni, faculty, staff, students and supporters to get involved by sharing your stories at our webpage and joining us in our yearlong celebration.

USF Sarasota-Manatee Bulls notebook; Homecoming Arrives

_DSC_0296#A153SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 25, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee will hold an Open House for prospective freshmen, transfer students and graduate students on Thursday, Oct. 1, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The event on the USFSM campus at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, will include campus tours, free food and presentations by representatives from Admissions and Financial Aid. Help will be available for admission applicants.

The Open House, one of two held each semester, comes amid rising attendance at the university. Enrollment this past fall hit a 7-year high with 2,038 “home” students – those who identify the Sarasota-Manatee campus as their home USF System campus.

Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Andrew Telatovich said he expects a mix of prospective undergraduate and graduate students seeking admission for the spring or fall 2016 semesters.

For more information about the Open House, contact Allyson Hanson at (941) 359-4465 or allysonh@sar.usf.edu.

Another Open House is set for Saturday, Nov. 14, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Spanish instructor Roberto Jimenez-Arroyo wins award

¡Felicidades! USF Sarasota-Manatee Spanish instructor Roberto Jimenez-Arroyo has won the prestigious 2015 Hispanic Pathways Award.

Jimenez-Arroyo teaches Beginning Spanish, Intermediate Spanish and Latin American Studies (culture and society). He was notified of the award Thursday.

“My reaction first was one of excitement, then one of gratitude, gratitude to USFSM, to my college and to my dean,” Jimenez-Arroyo said Friday. “This award really is a reflection of all the support I have received. It also speaks to where we are heading at USFSM.”

Jimenez-Arroyo, who joined USFSM two years ago, helped start the Latin American Student Association and, in general, has worked to increase the visibility of Latino students at USFSM.

Also important, he helped launch a Spanish and Latin American studies program that’s “the first program of its kind at USFSM,” he said. Students can now minor in Spanish and Latin American studies.

Dr. Jane Rose, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, urged faculty and staff Thursday to congratulate Jimenez-Arroyo on this “much deserved recognition.”

“We are so fortunate to have Roberto representing USFSM in all that he does,” she said.

The Pathways Award was created in 2004 by the USF Latin Community Advisory Committee to recognize USF tenured and non-tenured faculty for outstanding research and/or outreach that creates pathways to better the lives of Hispanics in our community, state or nation.

The award will be presented noon Sept. 29 at the Marshall Student Center ballroom at the USF Tampa campus.

Entrepreneurship class to feature local business leaders

Adjunct business management instructor Jon Stuart is bringing 11 business leaders to his class next week for a unique learning and networking opportunity.

The 41 students in Stuart’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management class will hear from CEOs, presidents and business owners during the 2½-hour class set for Tuesday, Sept. 29.

“It’s a chance for the students to interact and make connections for possible employment opportunities,” he said.

Stuart, an adjunct instructor for the past three years, said the discussion is one of the highlights of his class each fall. In addition to the networking opportunity, the students will hear the executives’ often compelling stories of how they launched and grew their businesses.

“These are folks that in most cases started businesses from scratch or have risen through the ranks with local companies to become CEOs,” he said. “They have inspiring messages for the students.”

The event is sponsored by the Gulf Coast CEO Forum and Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast (BIG).

Homecoming offers a herd of Bulls-related events 

This year’s Homecoming seemingly offers something for everyone, from NFL football to a Homecoming Parade and Concert. Check out what’s on tap for Homecoming starting next Sunday, Oct. 4:

Oct. 4

Event: Bucs vs. Panthers Time:

Game Time: 1 – 4 p.m.

Location: Raymond James Stadium.

Brief Description: USFSM has partnered with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Homecoming to give out a limited number of free game tickets with meal vouchers to students. The Bucs will send a bus to pick up the students on campus to bring them back after the game.

Oct. 5

Event: Official Homecoming Kick-Off

Time: 2 – 3 p.m.

Location: Main Rotunda

Brief Description: An event to kick off various on-campus events for Homecoming. Come watch the crowning of the USFSM King and Queen of Homecoming and announcement for the office decorating contest winners.

Oct. 6

Event: Crazy Craft Blowout

Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Location: Courtyard

Brief Description: Come to the courtyard where vendors will offer various take-home novelties.

Oct. 7

Event: Get Your Game On

Time: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Location: Courtyard

Brief Description: Tournaments will be held at the basketball court, volleyball court and pool tables. Look for fun inflatables around the courtyard. Win prizes all day!

Oct. 7

Event: Bulls in Biz

Time: 5 – 7 p.m.

Location: Courtyard

Brief Description: Join us at USF Sarasota-Manatee to network with fellow alumni, students and friends. Food will be provided and local business representatives will be on hand for networking.

Oct. 7

Event: Movie on the Lawn

Time: 7:30 – 10 p.m.

Location: Courtyard

Brief Description: Come out and join your Box Office Bulls in watching “It Follows” on the lawn. Don’t forget to bring blankets, chairs and pillows! Food and drinks will be provided.

Oct. 8

Event: Study Abroad Fair

Time: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Location: Main Rotunda

Brief Description: Come learn about available study abroad programs, application deadlines, scholarships and more.

Oct. 8

Event: International Food Festival

Time: 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Location: Courtyard

Brief Description: Come out and taste the world while learning about different cultures.

Oct. 8

Event: The Yellow Dress Stage Show

Time: 5 – 8 p.m.

Location: Selby Auditorium

Brief Description: This short stage play is being shown on all three USF campuses and is popular among audiences. Past showings have sold out, so the University is thrilled to bring back this beloved production, which delivers a poignant message about domestic violence.

Oct. 8

Event: Tampa Bay Lightning Home Opener

Game Time: 7:30 – 10 p.m.

Location: Amalie Arena

Brief Description: USFSM has partnered with the Tampa Bay Lightning during Homecoming to give out a limited number of free game tickets to students. The Lightning will send a bus to pick up students on campus to bring them to the game and drop off afterwards. The bus leaves by 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 9

Event: Bus to Parade and Concert

Location: Tampa

Time: Parade Starts at 6:45 p.m.

Brief Description: A bus will take students who want to attend the parade and concert to Tampa and bring them back.

USF Sarasota-Manatee welcomes Fulbright scholar from Taiwan

Dr. Rong-Da Liang of Taiwan will conduct research at USFSM over the next academic year.

Dr. Rong-Da Liang of Taiwan will conduct research at USFSM over the next year.             Photo by Charlie Terenzio

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 30, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee already hosts a Fulbright student, Nefike Günden, a Turkish-born scholarship recipient who’s pursuing a master’s degree at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

Now the campus is welcoming a Fulbright scholar: Dr. Rong-Da Liang of the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism in Taiwan, who arrived recently for a year-long study of marketing and tourism trends at theme parks.

“This is a great honor. I am very thankful,” said Dr. Liang, who also goes by “Austin,” a nickname he received as a teenager. “Very few are selected for the scholarship. I wasn’t going to apply for it but a friend encouraged me. I thought maybe I could apply and help my family.”

Arriving this past month, Dr. Liang, 39, plans to conduct his research at USFSM’s M3 Center for Hospitality Technology & Innovation. He is staying in St. Petersburg with his wife and two young children.

“My wife once worked at Disney World for six months and said Florida is a very good place and the weather is similar to Taiwan’s,” he said, explaining of his decision to study here.

Another reason is that USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership is renowned in Taiwan for its International Certificate Program.

Dr. Liang said he could have studied at a university chosen by the Fulbright program but knew he wanted to study here. He applied for the Fulbright award in August 2014 and was accepted into the program two months later.

Additionally, with 98.8 million visitors in 2014 (a record), Florida remains one of the world’s top tourism and travel destinations, according to the state’s tourism agency, Visit Florida. Tourism in Florida last year produced an $82 billion impact on the state’s economy.

“We are honored to have Dr. Liang as a Fulbright visiting scholar at USFSM,” Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone said. “He brings years of expertise and an impressive research record that will be an invaluable asset to our program. As we seek to expand our international studies program, we hope Dr. Liang will be the first of many international scholars who visit our campus and share their knowledge and skills with our faculty and students.”

Dr. James Curran, interim dean of USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, said he was impressed by Dr. Liang’s decision to study here.

“It is exciting to have someone with Dr. Liang’s talent come to work with us,” Dr. Curran said. “It’s a tribute to our college and faculty that he chose to come here over all of the other opportunities available to him as a Fulbright scholar. Having Austin here sharing his knowledge and perspectives with our students, our faculty and the M3 Center adds a valuable dimension to our college.”

Dr. Liang said that over the next year he’ll study the impact of brand integration within theme parks. His studies will examine the relationship between product branding and brand location, as well as the methodologies for marketing entertainment facilities and how marketing influences tourists’ decisions to visit those facilities.

Dr. Liang received his doctoral degree in business management from the National Dong Hwa University in Taiwan and his master’s degree in marketing and distribution management from the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism where he presides as an associate professor of leisure and recreation management.

Dr. Liang isn’t the first representative of the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism to be hosted by USFSM. In July, the campus welcomed 19 students including several from Dr. Liang’s home university as part of USFSM’s International Certificate Program.

The program was started in 2013 to broaden USFSM’s ties internationally. Since then, 21 Taiwanese students have participated, studying at the campus during the academic year and working in the area as interns. The Global Engagement Office coordinates the program in collaboration with USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

The Fulbright Program provides 8,000 grants yearly to allow U.S. students and scholars to study and conduct research abroad and for people of other countries to do the same here. It’s named for U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright, who founded the program to increase understanding between the people of the United States and other countries.

To learn more about USFSM’s Global Engagement Office, visit http://usfsm.edu/global-engagement-office/.

To learn more about the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, visit http://usfsm.edu/chtl/.

‘Bulls in Biz’ event to make return to USF Sarasota-Manatee campus

This year's Bulls in Biz Fair will the largest, with at least 27 companies represented.

This year’s Bulls in Biz networking event will the largest, with at least 27 companies represented.

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 29, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee’s “Bulls in Biz” networking event is already known for linking students with local employers and alumni, but this year’s event comes with a twist: It will be nearly twice as large as past fairs.

As of Tuesday, 27 companies had signed up for the annual event and more were expected to sign by the time the two-hour fair kicks off at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 in the USFSM courtyard, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Bulls in Biz debuted in 2011 with about 15 businesses signed up.

“We found there was a need for networking workshops for professional development that wasn’t being offered, and we were looking for an activity that would bring alumni back for Homecoming Week. Hence this concept was created,” Director of Alumni Affairs Jay Riley said.

New to this year’s event – one of several campus events scheduled as part of Homecoming Week – sports-themed inflatables will be set up in the courtyard and food trucks will provide refreshment. Rocky the USF mascot is set to make an appearance as well.

“The whole event will have a homecoming feel,” Riley said.

“This isn’t just for business majors,” he added. “When you look at the list of employers signed up to attend you can see we’re appealing to all of our majors here on campus.”

Employers registered for the event will set up tents, tables and chairs to meet one-on-one with USFSM students eyeing job and internship opportunities. The local alumni chapter will send representatives as well.

“This is a great way for employers to keep their name out there and build a talent pipeline,” Toni Ripo, coordinator of Career Services, said of the fair. “For the students, they can learn about career opportunities and begin cultivating relationships with employers.”

The 27 businesses and professional organizations signed up are:

Bealls, Inc.

CareerSource Suncoast


Dealers United

Enterprise Holdings

FCCI Insurance Group

Fidelity Investments

Global Financial Private Capital

Hyatt Regency Sarasota

IMG Academy

Kerkering Barberio & Co.

Manatee County Government

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Nathan Benderson Park

S-One Holdings Inc.

Sarasota County Government

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

Sarasota Modern Pentathlon Organizing Committee

School District of Manatee County

Shinn & Co.

State Farm Insurance

Tech House

The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Tropics Software

U.S. Probation & Parole Office

UTC Venture Group

Wells Fargo

USFSM’s Science of Beer class draws culinary, science-minded students

Left to right, USFSM students Markos Perez, Edgar Bischoff and Alexis Brodil question Brew Master Jorge Rosabal during a tour of the Darwin Brewing Co. Photo by Krista Schrock

Left to right, USFSM students Markos Perez, Edgar Bischoff and Alexis Brodil question Brew Master Jorge Rosabal during a tour of the Darwin Brewing Co.                                                                                       Photo by Krista Schrock

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 28, 2015) – The glass beakers, 18 stainless steel fermenters and canning device at the building’s far end left little doubt as to the science at the heart of Chef Joe Askren and Dr. Ken Caswell’s increasingly popular class, Introduction to Beer Science.

Last Thursday, 23 students enrolled in the class got first-hand glimpses as to how that science comes together – from the early moments when “mash” is stewed, forming a kind of sweet slurry, to the weeks-long fermentation process that causes beer’s typical sudsy characteristic – during a special tour of the Bradenton-based Darwin Brewing Co.

The brew house and tap room, which sits within foul ball distance of McKechnie Field and the spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, opened its doors to USFSM students for nearly two hours, allowing them to poke around and pose questions, such as what is the optimal temperature for fermenting lagers?

(Below 50 degrees, it turns out. And since lagers ferment at lower temperatures than ales, they require a longer fermentation – at least 10 days longer, Darwin co-owner and Brew Master Jorge Rosabal said.)

Askren, an instructor and director at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab, and Dr. Caswell, a chemistry instructor, say beer making is the perfect venue for combining culinary arts with headier chemistry and biology subjects. And given the surge in popularity of craft beers and microbrew houses, the class couldn’t be more perfectly timed.

When introduced last spring, about 12 students had enrolled in the class. Now, it boasts nearly twice that number. “We were hoping for 15 and got well over that,” Askren said, adding that about a third of this semester’s students are biology majors, making for an interdisciplinary experience.

In addition to learning beer basics, brew operations and touring local breweries, the students will work in teams to develop their own batch of beer to be paired with food at a special event Dec. 3 at the main campus. This semester marks the first time the class is offered both to hospitality and biology majors. A second beer-related course, the Chemistry and Microbiology of Beer, is also offered.

“Microbreweries can thank our younger generation for having a more curious palate when it comes to beer,” Askren said of rise of brew houses. “They see beer as more of an experience and appreciate the multitude of flavors given to them. All of the successful microbreweries have a legitimate story to tell about how they came to be, which their audience enjoys.”

After touring the brewing plant, the students crowded around Darwin’s ample, rectangular bar to take turns sampling some of the dozen flavors. Some students swirled their beers, giving a sniff before downing them quickly. Others took light sips, seeming to savor the foamy concoctions.

Hunched over sheets of paper, each made tasting notes, such as “smokiness,” or “hints of chocolate,” as they tried to coax out subtle and sometimes pronounced differences between the extensive menu of lagers and ales.

In addition to Darwin’s, the students have already made or will make tours of the Sarasota-based Big Top Brewing Co., St. Petersburg-based Green Bench Brewing Co. and Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing Co. Askren said he wants the students – even those not necessarily huge fans of beer – to at least gain an appreciation for the business, art and science of beer-making, which can be tricky to master.

The process, which can take weeks, starts with “malting,” or the boiling down of barley to release its sugars. The resulting sweet liquid, called wort, is combined with yeast, hops and sometimes other flavors as the weeks-long fermentation is started. Hops, a balancing agent, introduce bitterness to counteract the wort. Ingredients, timing and temperature all play a role in developing the complex layers of flavor. Even the type of bottle can be significant, Askren said.

Breweries introduced colored bottles not so much as a marketing ploy but to block light, which can trigger oxidation leading a sour or “skunky” beer taste, he said. Some beer aficionados insist cans are the way to go because they both block light and provide a tight seal.

The brewing process isn’t just tricky, Rosabal said. It requires long hours of boiling, fermenting, testing and cleaning – a lot of cleaning.

“I would say I spend 20 percent of my time brewing and 80 percent cleaning,” said Rosabal, who studied for years under German brew masters. “There’s a lot of cleaning involved.”

Alexis Brodil, 21, a marketing major with a minor in hospitality management, said she’s not “a big beer drinker,” but she appreciates the technical side of beer-making, which piqued her interest to register for the class.

“I liked looking at the different operations. I’m more interested in the making of it,” she said. “This (place) has a kind of homey, warm feel. It’s smaller, but very organized.”

Another student, Edgar Bischoff, 38, a biology major, said he was lured by beer-making’s chemical and biological side, plus it provided something that online classes can’t offer: direct in-person participation. After mastering the basics, the students will create their own specialty beers, working in teams elbow-to-elbow with local brewers to put to test what they’ve learned in the classroom.

“It’s a hands-on class and I like that,” Bischoff said.

To learn more about USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Arts & Sciences, visit http://usfsm.edu/college-of-arts-sciences/. To learn more about the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, visit http://usfsm.edu/chtl/.

Ranking: USF Sarasota-Manatee among America’s safest universities

_DSC_0649#172ASARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 28, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee is one of the nation’s safest universities, according to a ranking by home security company ADT.

ADTsecurity.com ranked USFSM No. 18 on a list of America’s 32 safest colleges and universities, http://www.adtsecurity.com/safest-colleges-in-america/.

“At USF Sarasota-Manatee our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff,” USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone said. “This ranking shows that we are an excellent option for high-quality higher education in a personal, safe learning environment.”

Michael Kessie, chief of campus police, said, “This survey shows that the cooperation and communication between the USFSM community and its police department is effective in keeping the campus safe.”

The ranking, which includes four other Florida colleges, is based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education. All postsecondary institutions that participate in federal student aid programs are required to provide information to the office’s database.

To calculate its so-called “Danger Scores,” ADTsecurity.com used a weighted system that assigns higher values to violent crimes compared with non-violent property crimes. Enrollment size also helped determine the scores.

Other Florida colleges making the list were Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Miami Dade College in Miami, Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth and Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne.

USFSM’s Dr. McBrien, Ashley Metelus visit Uganda for book tour

Dr. Jody McBrien, third from left, and Ashley Metelus, third from right, visit some of the women who contributed to McBrien's recent book, "Cold Water: Women and Girls of Lira, Uganda."

Dr. Jody McBrien, third from left, and Ashley Metelus, third from right, visit some of the women who contributed to McBrien’s recent book, “Cold Water: Women and Girls of Lira, Uganda.”

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 24, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee Associate Professor Dr. Jody McBrien has made multiple trips to Uganda over the past six years, but she was wowed by the reaction this past August when visiting Lira, a dusty city 220 miles north of the capital, Kampala.

On tour to promote a book she co-edited with Dr. Julia Byers of Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., she learned that a friend, who also collaborated on the publication, had organized a book launch at Dr. McBrien’s hotel. More than 200 showed up, plus community leaders, reporters and a group of child singers.

“It was exhausting,” Dr. McBrien said of the event, which stretched into the late afternoon. “It made me realize how glad I am I’m not a celebrity.”

The crowd worked through an interpreter, who translated between English and the native Luo during a lengthy question-and-answer session with the editors and authors. Ashley Metelus, a USFSM undergraduate student who previous traveled to Uganda with Dr. McBrien, accompanied her to field some questions as well.

The book, Cold Water: Women and Girls of Lira, Uganda, is a first-person telling by seven women from Lira who had rebuilt their lives after the country’s bloody 20-year civil war. The conflict saw the abduction of thousands of children by the Lord’s Resistance Army, which forced the teens and pre-teens to engage in violent atrocities under the penalty of death.

Beyond the horrific recollections, the book emphasizes stories of hope as the women move forward with their lives, helping others along the way and lifting a community. The 150-page book is told by the women themselves, making it all the more powerful, Dr. McBrien said.

“I always feel so privileged to work with these women,” she said. “They’ve done so much more for me than I could ever do for them. They’ve helped me to learn about forgiveness and love and humility. The things they’ve been through are unspeakable. They’re remarkable women.”

Cold Water, three years in the making, came out about six weeks ago by Fountain Publishers in Kampala. Printed in English, it’s available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com for $26.

In addition to promoting the book, Drs. McBrien and Byers, along with Metelus, visited the King Solomon School about 45 minutes outside the city center. Launched two years ago as a one-building, K-2 school, it has since expanded to a pre-K-6 school spread over multiple buildings.

Dr. McBrien credits its tenacious founder, a teacher named Betty Okwir, for erecting the first building on the flat grassy plain. The school now draws more than 100 children, the sons and daughters of farmers, from across the region.

“Betty started it brick by brick,” Dr. McBrien said.

When Dr. McBrien and her party arrived for their visit, “they literally rolled out the red carpet for us,” she said. “It was very humbling. I probably cried. I tear up a lot while I’m there.”

A tent was erected. Children sang songs while teachers and others laid out a banquet. Dr. McBrien said she was astonished at the outpouring. Even more surprising, the organizers had affixed brass plaques with Dr. McBrien and Dr. Byers’ names to two school buildings.

She called the honor “far more than I would ever expect. Of course, I was very moved.”

The pre-school wing will be named for Metelus, who visited Lira two years ago to interview child survivors of the war at a high school.

Metelus said Uganda felt like home to her, which is why she wanted to return. She saved up during an internship at the University of Virginia to pay for the trip. While in Lira, she was interviewed by a local radio station about life in Florida, including at USF Sarasota-Manatee, and how it contrasts to life in Uganda. Although the African nation lacks wealth and technology, it’s rich in other ways, she said.

“The warmth of the people, they’re very inviting,” Metelus said. “They feed you. They genuinely care about you. I just felt very comfortable while I was there.”

The group also visited important war sites, as well as “Psychoaid,” Lira’s only mental health care facility. It was founded by Emma Aceng, who also organized the book launch. Aceng is set to visit USFSM and the USF Tampa campus in February to visit classes and make public presentations.

Starting in November, Dr. McBrien will make copies of her book directly available for $16, plus $2 for shipping within the United States. Proceeds from sales benefit girls’ education in Lira. To obtain a copy, write to jlmcbrien@sar.usf.edu.

To learn more about USFSM’s College of Education, where Dr. McBrien works, visit www.usfsm.edu/college-of-education/.

USF Sarasota-Manatee students give back for Service Saturday

Dr. Sandra Stone surrounded by USFSM student volunteers.

Dr. Sandra Stone surrounded by USFSM student volunteers at Family Promise.

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee students got a lesson in community service on Saturday, volunteering at a food bank and a shelter.

The group met at the campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, about 9 a.m. to catch rides to Family Promise Sarasota and the Sarasota-based All Faiths Food Bank as part of “Service Saturday.”

“This is our chance to give back to the community,” Campus Activities Board President Katerina Pluhacek said of the once-monthly, four-hour volunteer program. “We love our community. It was definitely worth it.”

Students stocked shelves and filled boxes at the food bank while at Family Promise another 10 rolled up their sleeves to dust, sweep and scrub the shelter, which houses up to three families at a time for 90 days each.

“We did a lot of deep cleaning, moving furniture and getting into corners,” Pluhacek said. “We cleaned the whole house.”

The group also made time for a 16-passenger bus used by Family Promise and a storage shed so crammed with donations and other items that at first they weren’t sure how to tackle the job. The students started by removing nearly every item so it could be organized and put onto shelves later. Then they dusted and swept the place.

The group wasn’t alone. The students found help from an unlikely source: USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone stopped by to lend a hand, saying she was only too happy to oblige.

“I was so pleased to be a part of the Service Saturday event this week with our students,” Dr. Stone said. “Part of the mission of USF Sarasota-Manatee is to be community engaged and to have a significant positive impact on our local area. I am proud of the students for organizing this monthly event that shows their commitment to our hometown.”

Service Saturday launched last month with about 20 students but has since risen to 33 students. They volunteer at shelters, food banks and other charitable organizations on the third Saturday of the month.

“Service Saturday is one the first major outreach initiatives that we’ve undertaken this year,” Kati Hinds, coordinator of Student Organizations & Leadership, said. “I think people see that we have the resources to help the community and the students see this as an opportunity to give back. I’m just really proud of our students’ involvement in this.”

Considering grad school? USF Sarasota-Manatee to hold info session

Selby Auditorium

Selby Auditorium

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 21, 2015) – USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty, alumni and admissions officials are teaming up to offer an information session aimed at folks considering graduate school.

Prospective students are invited to ask about requirements for enrollment, programs, costs, even about specific classes in this engaging two-hour “Master’s Degree Information Session” set for Saturday at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. The session starts at 9 a.m. at the Selby Auditorium. Refreshments and campus tours will be offered.

Dr. G. Pat Wilson, interim dean of the College of Education, and Dr. James Curran, interim dean for the College of Business and College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, will available for questions about academic programs and classes.

Additionally, three alumni – Kelly Westover, an environmental manager at Sarasota County; Charlie Thorpe, a captain in the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office; and Joshua Bennett, principal at the William H. Bashaw Elementary School in Manatee County – will host a discussion about their USFSM experiences.

Westover, for example, returned to college in 2008 after earning a bachelor’s degree at USF Tampa. She won acceptance to USF Sarasota-Manatee and earned an MBA in 2 ½ years attending Saturday classes.

USFSM’s College of Business is specially accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the world’s business programs.

Also, this past year USFSM’s College of Education was awarded a special additional accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the nation’s foremost accrediting organization for teacher instruction.

Staff from Admissions, Academic Advising and Financial Aid will be available to answer questions about tuition, loans and grants. For more information, contact Sean Grosso at (941) 359-4264 or sgrosso@sar.usf.edu.

To attend the two-hour session, please register at http://usfsm.edu/event/masters-degree-information-session-6-2/.

USF Sarasota-Manatee professor to join education forum

Dr. G. Pat Wilson

Dr. G. Pat Wilson

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 18, 2015) – Dr. G. Pat Wilson, interim dean of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s College of Education, will join a panel of speakers Monday at a gathering of the League of Women Voters’ Manatee County chapter.

Dr. Wilson will join Cynthia Saunders, deputy superintendent for Instructional Services at the Manatee school district, and Manatee Educator Association President Pat Barber for a panel discussion entitled “Schools, Standards and Learning: Educating School Children in Florida.”

The 90-minute forum, which METV will tape, is set to start at 11:30 a.m. and be held at the Bradenton Woman’s Club, 1705 Manatee Ave. W.

Each panelist will make brief opening remarks before a question-and-answer session with audience members. Dr. Wilson said she plans to speak about the role of standards in education – or how educators use standards in planning instruction – as well as literacy development in children and educator preparation.

Dr. Wilson has addressed crowds previously but usually in settings that involved other academics, school boards or parents.

“I think this will be a little different,” she said. “I’m looking forward to this new experience.”

The discussion is part of the League’s “hot topic” series. The event is free and open to the public, however a $5 donation for lunch is requested. For more information, call (941) 729-9248.

For more information about USFSM’s College of Education, please visit http://usfsm.edu/college-of-education/.

USFSM student project looks at future – and futuristic – hotels

Dr. Katerina Berezina discusses how technology is affecting hotels. Photo by Krista Schrock

Dr. Katerina Berezina discusses how technology is affecting hotels.                                        Photo by Krista Schrock

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2015) – Imagine unlocking a hotel room with a smart phone, having room service delivered by a robot or perhaps checking-in with a “mobile concierge,” bypassing the traditional front desk.

Technology is changing how people interact, work and shop so it’s not a stretch to imagine high-tech trends affecting hotel services. Some innovations are happening now – reservation apps come to mind – but how far will technology go in shaping hotels of the future?

Two dozen students from USF Sarasota-Manatee and 11 more from the prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, recently tackled that question. Collaborating for two weeks over the summer, they examined how technology now impacts – and might soon impact – four areas of hotel operations: front desk check-in, concierge services, food & beverage and in-room technology.

In some cases, the students found mobile technologies already playing a role. Some establishments, for example, allow guests to unlock their room doors using smart phones, eliminating the need for keycards.

In others, they uncovered technologies on the cusp of making a splash, from voice-activated lighting and temperature controls to beds that adjust automatically to in-room sensors that shut off heating and air conditioning after the room is vacant for more than 20 minutes.

Assistant Professor Dr. Katerina Berezina who helped organize the project said her aim was for the students to “let their imaginations go” as they endeavored to create the “hotel of the future.”

Michael Wynperle, a senior I.T. student, said he appreciated the technical acumen brought to the project by his French counterparts.

“The French have a reputation for their artistry and presentation and they lived up to it,” he said. “They did an exceptional job in formatting and putting it all together to look not like a student project but like a professional one.”

The project ran the gamut touching on both conventional and far-flung technologies, such as a hotel run by robots.

Among some of the more grounded scenarios to emerge was a “mobile concierge” to confirm guests’ reservations on hand-held devices. This is happening in some places now. Another involved an electronic kiosk where guests check-in and pay their bill by swiping a credit card, avoiding human interaction altogether. This might play well with guests arriving late at night.

Dr. Berezina said hoteliers are eyeing several such alternatives, weighing costs and whether they resonate with the public. While some, say business travelers, might value expediency in their stay, others may prize customer service and personalized attention. The trick is finding a balance that fits the hotel’s aims, she said.

One change that might not be far off is equipping more rooms with high-speed internet and docking stations for multiple electronic devices.

“Think about how many devices we carry now,” Dr. Berezina said. “The average traveler might have a phone, a laptop and a tablet. But how many hotel rooms today are prepared to conveniently charge all these devices? You might have to plug in one device in the bedroom and another in the bathroom.”

The students created video presentations to report their findings. They worked in online groups over the course of the project, communicating through email and video conferencing. Each group examined a particular aspect of hotel operations. They had two weeks to research the topic, write a paper and prepare their presentations.

“Partnering with schools from around the world provides the students unique opportunities to consider perspectives to which they might not otherwise be exposed,” Dr. James Curran, interim dean of the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, said. “I am sure the students enjoyed speculating what the future might bring to the hotel business, but they also learned that people from other parts of the world might have different ideas of what that future might look like. That is a valuable lesson.”

Dr. Berezina said the idea to team up with Institut Paul Bocuse originated with Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu, director of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s M3 Center for Hospitality Technology & Innovation. Dr. Cobanoglu said he teaches a couple of weeks a year at Paul Bocuse, one of Europe’s premier culinary and hospitality management schools.

“Students usually do not like group projects. Everybody has different schedules. But these students loved working with each other,” he said. “I was very satisfied by the process and how they got together, the whole thing.”

The hospitality industry is still evaluating just how much technology to integrate into its operations. Dr. Cobanoglu expects cost-cutting ideas to grab the most support, such as sensors that adjust heating and air conditioning levels after guests leave. Other safe bets include technologies that interface with smart phones because they offer consumers more control over their stay.

However, he’s not so sure about some newer trends pushing the technology envelope, namely robotic butlers, concierges and desk clerks. This is showing up in a sprinkling of places. Among them, Aloft Hotel in Cupertino, Calif., last year introduced a wheeled robotic butler that whisks food and beverages to guests’ rooms. It interfaces with elevator controls and can trigger a phone call to guests upon its arrival.

Additionally, a robot-themed lodging dubbed the Henn-na Hotel opened a couple of months ago in Japan’s southern Nagasaki Prefecture. All of the check-in staff, porters, cloakroom personnel and concierges have been replaced by robots. A team of staff hovers in the background to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Dr. Cobanoglu remains doubtful the idea will generate wide support across the industry. Ultimately, “People still prefer quality customer service” from a person, he said.