USF St. Petersburg strategic planning process involves the community

USF St. Petersburg’s strategic planning process moved into a new phase Thursday during the quarterly luncheon meeting of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

Regional Chancellor Dr. Sophia Wisniewska was the featured speaker for the luncheon and took the opportunity to ask the 130 community members gathered there two important strategic planning questions: “What would it take for USFSP to be the partner of choice for local businesses? What would give USFSP a distinctive identity in the eyes of the community?”

The participants, divided roughly into groups of 10, offered a variety of responses that will be used to inform the strategic planning process, “Vision 20/20: Engaging Students and the Community to Transform the World.

Similar listening forums are planned at the USC Jan. 13-15 for faculty, students, staff and the community in the new year to broaden the strategic planning discussion. See the roadmap for strategic planning for more details on upcoming events and to learn more about the process.

Reflection on USFSP’s downtown partnership meeting

It was great to have the business leaders of St. Petersburg give us their ideas and aspirations for USFSP during the quarterly meeting of the Downtown Partnership on Thursday.

It seems very appropriate that the first Vision 20/20 listening forum was with our business community; it was because of early business leaders that USFSP was created and the support of the community continues to make us stronger and move us forward.
The support for USFSP is strong and the enthusiasm for deeper partnerships is genuine. Internships are high on everyone’s list and wonderful opportunities were offered.
Thanks to everyone who came and participated.
Helen Levine, Ph.D.
Regional Vice Chancellor, University Advancement

Vision 20/20 Blog: Strategic planning process is a journey of discovery

The first Listening Forum was with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

The first Listening Forum was with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

We have embarked on a journey of discovery at USF St. Petersburg and hope you will join us as we set a course for the future.

Vision 20/20: Engaging Students and the Community to Transform the World is a strategic planning process involving a diverse group of great minds spending the next few months in deep exploration about USF St. Petersburg – who we are and where we are going.

Developing a strategic plan for the coming years is Job No. 1 and I am delighted it is underway.

Through a series of public listening forums and “learning journeys,” we will discover what our stakeholders expect of us and examine what other organizations are doing that can provide insights into critical questions facing this institution.

The heart and soul of this entire process will be a series of Listening Forums to solicit input from faculty, staff, students and community members. The first of these forums was held Thursday at the University Student Center during the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership’s quarterly luncheon, where we heard some great ideas. We will soon announce details about the next forums, which are scheduled for Jan. 13-15. You can also check the Things to Do Calendar on our website for details. I invite you to participate in any or all of these public forums and to offer your thoughts to those of us on the Steering Committee.

The process is driven by a 70-member Vision Team comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members and overseen by an eight-member steering committee. The team already has spent two days in wide-ranging, penetrating discussions and will soon split into groups for our learning journeys. At the conclusion of the strategic planning process we will present our strategic plan to the USFSP Campus Board and the USF System Board of Trustees for adoption.

This blog is just one of the ways we will report on our progress. Think of it as the ship’s log for this exploration, a vehicle for anyone interested in the future of USF St. Petersburg to offer their thoughts and where we are headed.

We also will post regular updates on the Vision 20/20 home page and in HarborNotes Weekly: Five Things to Know about USF St. Petersburg, which is emailed each Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters.

The strategic plan will be better with your participation. Your voice truly matters.

You can leave comments on blog posts or e-mail your thoughts directly to Steering Committee members.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sophia T. Wisniewska, Ph.D.
Regional Chancellor


Former Mayor Rick Baker to be honored for civic leadership at Fall Commencement

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership during USF St. Petersburg’s Fall 2013 Commencement ceremonies Dec. 15.

More than 400 students will receive degrees, and about 250 are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies.

The Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership is bestowed in recognition of outstanding contributions to the community. It is the most prestigious award granted by USF St. Petersburg and recognizes the institution’s strong ties with the community.

Baker will be honored for his commitment to education, the arts, diversity and economic development. Besides serving eight years as St. Petersburg mayor, Baker served as president of the law firm of Fisher and Sauls, chairman of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and vice president for economic development for USF. He is now president of The Edwards Group, which includes commercial real estate, hotels and entertainment.

“The vibrant and engaging city we all know and love today is the direct result of the visionary leadership of Rick Baker,’’ said USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska.

The Fall 2013 Outstanding Graduate Award will be given by the USF Alumni Association to Charles Matthew Hamm, a College of Business student who is earning a Bachelor’s Degree in the dual majors of Accounting and Finance. Hamm served as vice president of professional development for Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society, helping students transition from school to work. He also worked with the Poynter Institute to develop a professional writing presentation that was recognized by the Beta Alpha Psi national chapter. He plans to pursue a career in accounting.

The ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. at The Mahaffey Theater, 400 First Street S in downtown St. Petersburg.

 Here is a look at Fall 2013 Commencement by the numbers:

 406 Total number of graduates

327 Number of students awarded bachelor’s degrees.

79 Number of students awarded Master’s degrees.

250 Number of graduates participating in Sunday’s commencement.

4 Number of students graduating Summa Cum Laude

16 Number of students graduating Magna Cum Laude

18 Number of students graduating Cum Laude

2 Number of students with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

Larry Langebrake, director of SRI St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg Marine District focus of next USFSP Walgreens Bayside Business Forum

Larry Langebrake, director of SRI St. Petersburg, will discuss the future of downtown St. Petersburg’s Marine District during the next Walgreens Bayside Business Forum sponsored by the USF St. Petersburg College of Business.

Langebrake will share some exciting news about the future of this important industry cluster near USF St. Petersburg and how it will gain even more prominence on the local, national, and global stage in coming years.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 a.m. at Franklin Templeton, 100 Fountain Parkway North, Building 100, St. Petersburg. Seating is limited so please reserve your spot by December 11 by calling 727-873-4700 or e-mailing

“A world-class collection of businesses, government agencies and other institutions surround USF St. Petersburg that are devoted to marine science, oceanographic, and environmental research,’’ said USFSP College of Business Dean Maling Ebrahimpour. “SRI St. Petersburg is a major player in this important business sector and we are pleased that Larry Langebrake has agreed to share his insights about its role in the Tampa Bay economy.”

The Walgreens Bayside Business Forum is presented by the Dean’s Advisory Council of the College of Business at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The series focuses on interdisciplinary collaborations that are shaping Florida’s business future.