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Upcoming Master’s Degree Information Sessions

Information Session

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will hold informational open houses for prospective master’s degree students in January 2014.

Attendees will receive a brief overview of the university, information about specific master’s degree programs, the admissions process, financial aid and other services. There will be complimentary food and beverages in addition to a campus tour. There will also be an opportunity to meet in small groups with the appropriate academic advisors to discuss prerequisites, transcripts and other details pertaining to individual programs of interest, and to meet faculty and graduates.

January 9, 2014                                                         
Master’s in Social Work*                                         
4:00-5:30 p.m.                                                           
Selby Auditorium

January 25, 2014
All Master’s Degrees
9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
Selby Auditorium

Master’s degree programs include:

  • Business Administration
  • Criminal Justice Administration
  • Education (Human Resource Education or Online Teaching and Learning)
  • Educational Leadership
  • English Education
  • Exceptional Student Education
  • Hospitality Management
  • Social Work
  • Teaching

Note: The Master of Social Work degree program has a February 15, 2014 application deadline. It is a cohort, taught as a group over eight consecutive semesters and hosted at USF Sarasota-Manatee. A fall 2014 cohort start date is contingent upon a minimum number of qualified acceptances; without the minimum number, the start date would be delayed to January 2015. Website: www.usfsm.edu.

MBA Helps USFSM Alumna Take a Career Jump

Kim MullinsAt the age of 42, Kim Mullins proves that higher education is an important component to achieving career advancement. After finishing USF Sarasota-Manatee’s MBA program this summer, she also began the next step in her career as the client experience director at GravityFree, a Florida web agency, where she will be managing projects and resources, developing relationships with current and potential clients, developing and implementing brand marketing for the firm and providing support for its customers.

“I felt strongly that I needed the MBA to be competitive in the job market,” said Mullins. “While I had almost 20 years of work experience at the point I decided to go back to school, I felt that having the educational credentials to complement that experience would make me much more marketable.”

Mullins began as a secretary at the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee in 1996 and worked her way through the ranks for almost 18 years until being appointed director of operations. “I was extremely fortunate to work at The Jewish Federation, as the leadership of the organization never held me back from earning promotions due to a lack of an advanced degree,” said Mullins. “The leadership of the Federation saw that I had talents that could be fostered and I was also lucky to have mentors that encouraged me throughout my entire tenure.”

In 2012, Mullins graduated with a B.A. from USFSM’s undergraduate management program. She applied to the MBA program because of her desire to expand her business skills and earn an advanced degree in a classroom setting, where she looked forward to reconnecting with the professors she had met during her time as an undergraduate. That positive experience at USFSM gave Mullins faith in her own abilities, as well as high expectations for the caliber of the education she would receive at the graduate level.

“I can’t say enough about the confidence I gained during my years at USFSM,” said Mullins. “I feel that having an increased confidence in my skills and abilities definitely played a role in my securing my position at GravityFree.” Mullins says she will use what she’s learned at USFSM to make business operations more efficient and effective.

“I feel that good business experience and education go hand in hand,” said Mullins. “With much of my education based in theory and best practices, I was able to employ these theories and best practices in the real world at the Jewish Federation…and now I’m excited to apply them to my new career at GravityFree.”

Tuesday Talks: Dr. Jody Lynn McBrien, Education

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Dr. Jody Lynn McBrien.

Jody L. McBrien is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. She received her doctorate in Educational Studies from Emory University in May, 2005, where she was the 2004 recipient of the university’s Humanitarian Award, given to students who demonstrate exemplary service in social justice. She received the 2011 Faculty Research Award from USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy for her ongoing work in the formerly war-torn town of Lira in Uganda, Africa, the 2012 Community Engaged Researcher Award from the Florida Campus Compact, and a 2014 Ian Axford (New Zealand) Fellowship in Public Policy, where she conducted research on policies regarding resettled refugee children and youth for the Ministries of Business, Innovation, and Employment and the Ministry of Education.

Dr. McBrien’s service and much of her research focuses on children affected by war, whether they are resettled refugee students and their families in the United State/New Zealand, or children and families who have returned to their home communities following war. She has explored the connection between discrimination and academic motivation in adolescent refugee girls and evaluated refugee agency programs working to create bridges between new refugees to the U.S., social services, and schools. She has conducted longitudinal work in Lira, Uganda on youth purpose and the use of arts in healing and education, and currently she has a book submitted to Fountain Publishing in Kampala, Uganda, co-written with women leaders and educators in Lira.

Dr. McBrien worked in the corporate world in education-related jobs prior to returning to academia. She is the former Senior Education Editor of CNN’s education website, and served as the Project Manager and Senior Editor of a high-school curriculum entitled Media Matters: Critical Thinking in the Information Age. She has also been Director of Communications at the National Reading Styles Institute in Long Island and Editor-in-Chief at the Family Education Network in Boston.

Dr. McBrien received her B.S. in Secondary Education and English from Clarion University and her M.A. in English from Purdue University. She was a Rotary International Fellow, during which time she received a post-graduate diploma in Anglo-Irish Literature at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. For 12 years, she taught GED courses in the Berwick, Maine school district while teaching as an adjunct English instructor at the University of Southern Maine.

Full Slate of Open Houses Scheduled for Fall Semester


The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will hold one information session and three open houses for prospective students during the fall 2014 semester.

Info Session:
September 20, 2014
Masters Degree Info Session from 9:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. located at 8350 N Tamiami Trail, in Selby Auditorium.

Attendees will receive a brief overview of the university, information about specific master’s degree programs, the admissions process, financial aid and other services. There will be complimentary food and beverages in addition to a campus tours and an interactive alumni panel. There will also be an opportunity to meet in small groups with the appropriate staff members to discuss prerequisites, transcripts and other details pertaining to individual programs of interest, and to meet faculty and graduates. To RSVP for this info session, click here.

Open Houses:

October 2, 2014
USFSM Open House @ North Port at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. located at 5920 Pan American Blvd, North Port, FL 34287.

October 18, 2014
USFSM Open House at 9:00 p.m. – 12:00 p.m. located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243 in USFSM Rotunda.

November 13, 2014
USFSM Open House at 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. located at 8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243 in USFSM Rotunda.

At all three open houses, attendees will receive a brief overview of USFSM, academic programs for freshmen, transfers and graduate students, as well as the admissions process, financial aid and other services. All three open houses will also feature instant decision opportunities for freshmen with qualified students receiving on-the-spot acceptance to USFSM.  In order to participate in instant decision, freshmen should apply for admission online at usfsm.edu and bring an officially sealed transcript and copies of their ACT or SAT test scores.  There will be complimentary food and beverages and campus tours. There will also be an opportunity to meet with academic advisors to discuss prerequisites, transcripts and other details pertaining to individual programs of interest. To RSVP for these open houses, click here.

View a full list of upcoming Admissions Events


To RSVP for the Master’s Degree Information Session on September 20, click here. To register for any of the other Open Houses, please fill out the form below:

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Tuesday Talks: Dr. Jean Kabongo, Strategic Management & Entrepreneurship

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Dr. Jean Kabongo.

Dr. Jean D. Kabongo is an associate professor of strategic management and entrepreneurship at the College of Business at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee campus, USA. Prior to joining USF Sarasota-Manatee in the fall of 2010, Dr. Kabongo was an assistant professor at Millersville University of Pennsylvania. He also taught at Virginia State University. His current research focuses on the analysis and promotion of sustainable practices in organizations, sustainable entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurship education in developing economies. His recent papers have been published in Journal of Business Ethics, Business Strategy & the Environment, International Journal of Sustainable Strategic Management, Journal of the World Business, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research and Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. He holds a Ph.D. in management from Université Laval, Canada.

Tuesday Talks: Chef Joe Askren, Hospitality

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Chef Joe Askren.

Joe Askren is an instructor at the College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee campus. Joe was a former Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts from 2007-2012. While teaching at Le Cordon Bleu, he was voted Teacher of the Year twice in 2008 & 2011 by the school’s graduates. Chef Askren received his BSBA from the University of Florida and an MBA in Hospitality Management from Colorado Technical University. He is also a culinary graduate of Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida.

His culinary and management experience has taken place in some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the United States. He started his professional career at one of the finest country clubs in the southeast. At Ponte Vedra Inn & Club he worked under Chef Donald Pleau. After graduating from culinary school in Jacksonville he moved out west to work for Chef Anton Brunbauer at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Scottsdale Arizona.

Under Chef Askren, the Golden Swan at the Hyatt Regency was awarded a 4-Star rating by Mobil Travel Guide, named one of the “Top Nine Restaurants in Phoenix/Scottsdale” by Gourmet magazine and listed as one of the “Top Five Restaurants in America’s Southwest” by Condé Nast Traveler.

Chef Askren then became the Executive Chef at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel & Resort in Flagstaff. Here he ran one of the largest banquet facilities in Northern Arizona along with two successful restaurants; most notably, Sakura Restaurant, a James Beard Award winning teppanyaki/sushi bar.

Chef Askren then moved back to Scottsdale to work for Chef Anton Brunbauer again at the newly built AAA Four Diamond Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Chef Askren was in charge of three outlets on property. Brittlebush Bar & Grill, for example, featured innovative, contemporary cuisine, and in 2006 was named one of the top lunch spots in Arizona by Arizona Life magazine.

In 2011, Chef Askren was the culinary creator of the Good Life Cuisine brand that has been instituted in BlueStar Resort & Golf properties in Washington, California, and Arizona. Good Life Cuisine concentrates on healthy, sustainable, and responsibly sourced ingredients. Joe is also a recent contributor to Dr. John Walker’s upcoming text: The Restaurant: from Concept to Operation 6th Ed, John Wiley & Sons. (2013).

A member of the American Culinary Federation, he is a Certified Executive Chef as well as a Certified Chef Educator.

Class Project Turns Into Successful Business for USFSM Alumna

Beth Lukens Cloud 9 Confections USF Sarasota-Manatee USFSM Hospitality Alumni Alumna

Beth Lukens’s idea for a confection business began during her senior year at USF Sarasota-Manatee disguised as a sweet classroom project. She created a business plan for a fictitious food service establishment complete with menus, interviews with real world businesses and a cost analysis. “I created Cloud 9 Confections and told myself someday it’d be more than just a school project,” said the hospitality management graduate.

 Learn more about the College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership

Today, Cloud 9 Confections is a custom “bake to order” enterprise in South Tampa, where Lukens fulfills special requests from customers through her website: www.cloud-9-confections.com.Beth Lukens Cloud 9 Confections USF Sarasota-Manatee USFSM Hospitality Alumni Alumna

Lukens always had a passion for food and hoped she could one day incorporate her baking skills into her professional life. After seeing one too many shows on the Food Network and thinking “I could do that,” she decided to make her dream a reality. Cloud 9 Confections offers not only cupcakes, but cookies, toffee, chocolate bark, chocolate dipped pretzels and other seasonal items. Lukens prides herself on making confections in small batches to guarantee quality every time, catering mainly to holiday parties, baby and bridal showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, teacher gifts, corporate give-a-ways, tailgate parties and lunch box treats.

Learn more about Cloud 9 Confections

In addition to catering and selling an assortment of confections, she offers classes at The Epicurean Hotel in Tampa as well as hosting themed parties for her clients. “I not only sell cupcakes, I show others how to make them for themselves,” Lukens commented.  These parties are derived from the show Cupcake Wars which airs on the Food Network.  Party attendees are divided into teams that compete to make and display themed cupcakes. “Everyone has lots of fun and learns about baking in the process,” said Lukens.

Beth Lukens Cloud 9 Confections USF Sarasota-Manatee USFSM Hospitality Alumni AlumnaBut when it comes to the success of her small business, Lukens credits USFSM for its fundamental education and real-world benefits. “I use skills learned at USFSM every day,” said Lukens. “From the basics like accounting and cost control to the less tangible ones like people skills and marketing.”  She believes her experience with the university’s professors helped shape who she is today and the smaller classes helped cultivate an ideal environment for learning.

“USFSM is a great environment to learn and foster a passion for hospitality, while being immersed in a community that truly embraces the culture,” said Lukens.

The entrepreneur also appreciated having small classes and “many opportunities to visit various hospitality operations in the community.”  She considers Sarasota a perfect location for a degree based in tourism.  “There are endless resources and the community support is great.”

Tuesday Talks: Dr. Wilma Davidson, Professional & Technical Communication

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Dr. Wilma Davidson.

Wilma Davidson, Ed.D., Professional & Technical Communication, has enjoyed a notable career in both academic and corporate classrooms, teaching oral and written communication skills in the USA and abroad.  She holds an undergraduate and two graduate degrees in English and Journalism and earned her doctorate from Rutgers University, with an emphasis on Business Communications.

While at Rutgers she also served as a facilitator for a national writing project, instructing hundreds of educators to teach writing more effectively across the curriculum.  Besides teaching, she ghostwrites and edits technical and business material, and she coaches high-level executives in presentation skills.  Dr. Davidson has written more than 75 articles; and her work has been featured and reviewed in prominent publications including The New York TimesFortune, and Business Week.  Besides her published articles, she has authored several books on the art of writing and communicating.

E-Learning Blog: Canvas App for All iPhone Users

by Carlos Montoya, M.Ed

Note: this post was updated on 09/08/14 to take into account changes that were made to the Canvas interface after publishing.

Mobile learning is enhancing the way students and instructors interact with each other and with the course content. Canvas contribution to enhance online learning is the Canvas 3.0 App. This app works with iOS and Android mobile devices. On this post you will find the tutorial for iPhone users.

  • Go to the App Store and download the Canvas Application
  • Two ways to log in:
    • Enter your canvas URL: usflearn.instructure.com
      Canvas URL
    • Connect to Canvas Network: learn.canvas.net
  • Log in with your NetID and password
  • You can also access Canvas using a mobile browser on youriOS device (to interact as you would on the regular web version of Canvas):
    • Use Safari or Chrome
    • Enter URL: usflearn.instructure.com

Canvas App Navigation


Dashboard (1) View your Course and Groups.
(2) View Conversations messages.
(3) View your To-Do list.
(4) View Course Notifications.
(5) View your Profile.
(6) Get Help with the Canvas App.

Conversations, Messages, Inbox

Messages It displays all messages you received and is organized from newest to oldest.
New messages are bold.
A number and group icon will indicate group conversations.
Refresh as you would any other app.
You can view the inbox, unread and archives messages.
Tap the message you want to see and it will take you to the conversation.
To return, tap on “Messages.”
To compose a message, tap on the pencil icon.
Tap on the + sign to find recipient by name or course.
You can select multiple names and add attachments.

To Do List

To Do Instructors will see To Do notifications about grading assignments.
Grading within the App is not available yet.
Grading on mobile devices can be done by using a Mobile browser (except in Android tablet).
SpeedGrader is available only on the iPad. Download the SpeedGrader App.

My Files

Profile My Files
You can view or add your personal files.
Click on profile, then tap on “My files.”
Tap on the file folder you want to view.
Tap on the gear icon on the top right corner, to add a folder, upload a file or edit any items.
If “upload a file” is selected you have the choice to select from the iPhone camera or from Dropbox (slide to the right).
To add files from another app like Google drive. Just go to the app, select the file and when tap on open select the Canvas app. It will automatically send it to your files. Then click upload.

 View Course Navigation

Course Navigation 1 When you log in to your Canvas App …
Select the course you want to view.
Course Navigation Menu You will be taken to the course’s navigation menu.
The course menu will vary among courses, depending on what is enabled and disabled by the instructor.

How to View Announcements

Announcements Selected Select the course, and then select Announcements.
You will be taken to the course’s navigation menu.
Select “Announcements.”
Select Announcement Select the announcement you want to view.
If enabled by the professor, students can reply.


Writing Assignment Selected Select Assignments from the course navigation menu, and then select the desired assignment.
Assignment Windows View the details or direction of the assignments (students only). View the due date (students only).
Submission Tab Add comment (text, video or audio) (students only).
Submission Types Select “Turn in” to open submission type window (students only).
Grade Tab View the rubric (if one was assigned). View your grade or possible grade.

How to View Discussions

Discussions Select Discussions from the Course menu, and then select the discussion you want to view.
You can reply to any discussion if enable by instructor.
The number of replies within the reply is indicated by a gray notification (1), the blue indicator shows the unread replies (2).
To expand a threaded discussion, tap the heading of the threaded reply.
Add a Discussion Icon If enabled by the instructor, students can create discussions. To create a discussion, tap the “+” icon.
Add a Discussion Window (1) Title. (2) Text field. (3) Allow threaded discussion. (4) Add an attachment. (5) Post it.


Syllabus Tab Selected The app lists all assignments for the course. Assignments are grouped by past due, next 7 days, future, and no date.
Syllabus Window (1) Syllabus description. (2) Tap to open the assignment.

Visit the Canvas guides for more information.

— Carlos

Tuesday Talks: Dr. Marie Byrd, Elementary Education

Each Tuesday, we sit down with members of the faculty to discuss their expertise, recent research and some of their accomplishments.  This week, USFSM takes a closer look at Dr. Marie Byrd.

Marie Byrd is an associate professor in the Department of Childhood Education and Literacy Studies at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee. A native Floridian, she received her BS and MS in Elementary Education from Florida State University and Florida International University, respectively and her EdD in Educational Administration and Supervision with a minor in Curriculum and Instruction from Florida International University. Marie has a strong background in urban school education with 15 years of service in the Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami, Florida as a teacher, Title One Curriculum Specialist, and Assistant Principal. Prior to arriving at USF Sarasota Manatee in fall 2007, Marie held the title of assistant professor in Educational Administration at the University of Memphis and at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.