Harborwalk Extension Complete!

Harborwalk extension is complete. The extension, south of USC construction, faces the pond and includes benches for public enjoyment.

USF St. Petersburg Receives Accreditation Reaffirmation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (December 6, 2011) – The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmed the accreditation of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. No follow up is required. The action was taken at the annual meeting held in Orlando Dec. 3-6.

The reaffirmation comes following a review from an on-site visiting team that came to the university in February 2011. The team reviewed documentation of the university’s adherence to 89 accreditation standards and the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan.

“The faculty, staff and students of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg should be congratulated for their outstanding work,” said Margaret Sullivan, regional chancellor of USFSP. “We are grateful for the thorough review by the external committee of distinguished peers.”

SACS is the recognized regional accrediting body for educational institutions in the eleven U.S. Southern states. The Commission on Colleges (COC), which accredits colleges and universities, granted USF St. Petersburg its initial accreditation in 2006. The next reaffirmation visit for USFSP is scheduled for 2021.

Accreditation represents the judgment of peers that an institution meets all SACS standards related to academic quality, student support, financial stability and integrity.

Gazelle Lab Demo Day Showcased Work of Start-Ups and Students

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (November 18, 2011) – With the work of USF St. Petersburg entrepreneurship students assisting them along the way, the 14 entrepreneurs selected for the inaugural Gazelle Lab capped their mentor-driven program on Thursday, Nov. 17 by presenting funding pitches to investors from around the country.

View a news story on Gazelle Lab broadcast on WTSP Channel 10.

Presented by Gray Robinson and the Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation Alliance in the USFSP College of Business, the Gazelle Lab Demo Day took place in the Progress Energy Center for the Arts – Mahaffey Theater. The entrepreneurs took turns in the spotlight on stage and had eight minutes to pitch their business.

The entrepreneurs had three months to fulfill their charge – absorb all the training, guidance and support provided by USFSP students and more than 60 community mentors to then successfully pitch an expansion plan for their recently launched businesses. The program continued in the afternoon with a student pitch competition where students from USFSP and other universities in the region pitched for investment from a distinguished panel of entrepreneurs.

“The students involved that are truly motivated toward self-venturing develop skills that will give them more than a leg up in starting their own venture,” said Bill Jackson, the Gazelle Lab director and professor of entrepreneurship and innovation in the College of Business at USFSP. “This works because the students and community mentors are committed to the concept underlying Gazelle Lab – to advance sustainable entrepreneurship in the Tampa Bay area.”

Part of the national TechStars Network, the Gazelle Lab is an initiative of the Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Innovation (SEI) Alliance in the College of Business at USFSP. The term “gazelle” refers to the entrepreneurial companies creating most of the private-sector jobs and revenue growth in the U.S. economy. In Gazelle Lab, local investors provide early-stage seed money and undergraduate students review the investor documentation and models developed by the business founders.

“We’re raising capital and generating jobs without any cost to anybody and with great benefit to the university’s students,” said Daniel James Scott, another Gazelle Lab founder and assistant director of the SEI Alliance. “The company founders put everything on the line for their business ideas and the students have a say in the future of those companies.”

Demo Day took place during St. Petersburg’s Entrepreneurship Month and the Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Governor Appoints Knab to Statewide Commission

Jordan Knab, principal investigator on several research grants headquartered at USF St. Petersburg, was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities. Knab is one of 13 new appointments made by the governor.

Knab has worked extensively on the development of policies and programs for students with disabilities at all levels. He is the principal investigator for Project 10: Transition Education Network; the Florida Consortium on Postsecondary Education and Intellectual Disabilities; and the SEDNET Statewide Administration Project.

In his new role on the commission, he will work with the other commissioners to identify barriers in state and local programs that hinder employment for persons with disabilities. The commission will then recommend changes to Florida laws, policies and procedures that can help remove those barriers and increase employment and job opportunities for persons with disabilities.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, people with disabilities have been disproportionately affected by the recent downturn in the economy. Between October 2008 and June 2011, the rate of job loss among workers with disabilities exceeded that of workers without disabilities by nine percent. The commission will identify strategies to close this gap.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to represent transition age individuals with disabilities throughout Florida in their quest for gainful, competitive employment and independent living,” Knab said. “We have learned a great deal through our projects and research here at USF St. Petersburg, and I look forward to sharing that information with the Commission.”

Knab leads federal and state grants with a current annual operating budget of more than $2.2 million.  One of the projects directly assists Florida’s school districts in serving students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Another project addresses the social, academic, and employment needs of students with intellectual disabilities transitioning out of high school with a special diploma.

University Student Center Reaching New Heights

“Topping out” of UniversityStudent Center – the roof is complete and the building has reached its height limit!

Aerial view of Multipurpose Student Center

Construction - December 1, 2011 | Photo: Aerial Innovations Inc