Janet Keeler coordinates the Food Writing and Photography Certificate Program.

Advisory Board to help shape first food writing and photography certificate program

USF St. Petersburg is developing the nation’s first graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography and has gathered a distinguished advisory board to help guide the program.

Janet Keeler, the award-winning food editor of the Tampa Bay Times and an adjunct journalism professor at USFSP, is coordinating the program, which is overseen by Journalism and Media Studies Chair Deni Elliott, Ph.D,.

The program, which will offer its first classes next fall, is designed for graduate students, mid-career culinary professionals and professional communicators. The 15-credit program can be completed fully online or through a combination of traditional short and semester-long classes.

“Public interest in all things food has exploded in recent years, whether on television, in print or on the web,’’ said Elliott, the USF St. Petersburg Eleanor Poynter Jamison Chair in Media Ethics and Press Policy.

“Food is more than sustenance,” she added. “It defines cultures, provides jobs, and brings people together. We are excited to be able to offer cutting-edge knowledge and skills to harness the passion so many have for food.’’

The program includes four required courses in Multimedia Reporting, Digital Law and Ethics, Special Topics in Food Communication, and a final three-credit project. The remaining class can be earned by taking elective courses in Literary Food Writing, Science Food Writing, Blogging/Entrepreneurship, Web Publishing, Social Media, Photojournalism, or Visual Communications Design and Theory.

Up to 12 credit hours from the certificate program can be applied to a master’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies or Digital Journalism and Design.

Instructors will be seasoned reporters, world-renowned ethicists, experienced web developers, and more.

The program is aimed at graduate degree and non-degree seeking students interested in improving their food communication skills, including food service professionals using digital media to promote their business and engage with customers and writers and photographers looking to build an audience for online ventures and traditional media.

The advisory board includes media and food industry representatives:

“Anyone with a personal or professional interest in communicating food-related topics should consider this program,” said Koch of Bloomin’ Brands, the Tampa company that owns Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s and other restaurants. “Tampa Bay is uniquely positioned to those with a culinary interest nationally – from our access to Gulf seafood and proximity to farm fresh produce to critically acclaimed restaurants – this is a terrific opportunity to learn from media and industry leaders at USF.”

Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, praised the forward thinking behind the certificate program. “The new program reflects one of the great strengths of USFSP’s stellar faculty: their ability to identify a need and to fill it in interesting and innovative ways,” she said. “The diversity of expertise and interests of our expert advisory panel will help ensure the success of this exciting program .”

You can apply to the program online or email your questions. More details are available at the program’s website.