USFSP Professor Awarded Princeton Fellowship

— Dr. V. Mark Durand

USFSP Psychology professor Mark Durand, Ph.D., traveled to Princeton last week as a recipient of the highly regarded 2014 Princeton Lecture Series Fellowship. As a tribute to his career in the field of autism, Dr. Durand was selected to be a keynote speaker at the 20th anniversary of the Princeton Lecture Series on Autism, where experts are invited to present new findings and future possibilities for the treatment and awareness of this complex developmental disorder.

“This is an impressive accomplishment for Dr. Durand and an honor for USFSP,” said Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D., interim regional vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “This award simply confirms what we’ve long understood — that Dr. Durand is one of this country’s leading authorities on autism.”

Durand’s body of work includes the publication of three books since November: “Sleep Better! A Guide to Improving Sleep for Children with Special Needs,” “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” which is aimed at helping clinicians screen for and treat the disorder, and “Abnormal Psychology: An Integrative Approach,” Seventh Edition, a textbook required by universities across the country. Yet a fourth book, the seventh edition of a second text, “Essentials of Abnormal Psychology” is due in the fall.

For his Princeton lecture, Durand drew largely from his research and the resulting popular book, “Optimistic Parenting,” which guides parents and teachers of challenged children on how to develop more positive thoughts and perceptions — a key ingredient of successful parenting and effective behavior management.

“Trying to change difficult child behavior is much more complicated if families are struggling themselves,” says Durand. “What we are learning is that confidence and optimism — having hope — are prerequisites to successful parenting.”

Burg Blog – “The Joy of Self-Publishing”

What was once called “vanity publishing” (because people thought it was vain or egotistic to print your own book) has emerged into a highly advanced industry that caters both to the emerging authors that haven’t yet broken into the mainstream and those authors that choose to remain autonomous and control their careers. Self-publishing is an excellent method of getting your book into people’s hands, whether family, friends, or professionals, like literary agents.

I self-published my fifth book in December of 2013. The front and back covers are printed in brilliant and glossy color, the inside pages are printed in dark and legible black ink and the binding is perfect bound (glued together). My book has its own unique ISBN and can be found on Internet sites such as Amazon. There’s even a Kindle version (which sells far more copies than the print version). In fact, there’s no difference in my self-published book than any other book found at the bookstore. It looks like the real deal because it is the real deal. The great thing about self-publishing is that I can print as many books as I want (I usually print them in batches of thirty) or I can print as few as one book – and for a reasonable price. The more books you print, the less they cost, and the more profit you can make.

The self-publishing company that I use has the ability to help you create your books by offering graphic design and pagination services. You need only provide your manuscript. But if you have the resources, like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, you can create your entire book on your own by following their step-by-step instructions. They’ll even help get your book out in the real world by providing marketing support and submitting your book to online book retailers.

The best thing about self-publishing is that you retain all of your rights and, if your book sells, make more money off of the royalties. But self-publishing isn’t only for beginners and wannabe writers. Have you ever heard of Hugh Howey? He is a very successful author who chooses to self-publish – all of his books are in the top 100 on Amazon. The book, “Eragon,” by fifteen-year-old Christopher Paolini was self-published by his parents before it was made into a film. Storytelling guru, David Mamet, is going to self-publish a book in 2014 and Jim Carrey self-published a critically acclaimed children’s book in 2013. In fact, according to data gathered by Bowker, in 2013 there were nearly 400,000 ISBNs assigned to self-published titles. ISBNs are those bar codes found on the back of every book. Bowker data also suggests that self-publishing is a gamble. Self-published authors can expect to make from $0 to thousands of dollars per month in sales, with the median income from sales to be under $500. But even if you self-publish your book just to give away for free there’s an intrinsic feeling that comes with seeing your words in print that cannot be rivaled. So, if you’re like me and want to use the education and expertise that you’ve gained here at USFSP to showcase your work, try self-publishing!

First Blog Entry

So I am to write a blog entry from the perspective of the non-traditional student. Someone in the English department must have decided I wasn’t looking nearly as self-conscious as in semesters past and thought the fastest path back to awkwardness would be to have me put my non-tradtionalness in writing and then put that writing on public display. I am an undergraduate over the age of forty and this makes me a non-traditional student. Thanks for reminding me, but since my cover is blown maybe some good can come from this. My hope is that potential students who also fall into the non-traditional category will read this and think to themselves, if he did it then it can’t be all that difficult. There would be no truer thinking than this.

When I first began this less than epic journey roughly two and a half years ago, my primary concern was technological. This concern was not unfounded. While I foresaw some of the problems I would encounter (I hadn’t used Word in about a decade) most of the problems came as a surprise. Things like turning papers in online and properly citing all these new sources of information was daunting at first. As I got the hang of it, I started to feel better about technology in the classroom and stopped worrying that my papers would be lost forever in an Internet black hole. It does still make me a little sad that no one needs to go to the library anymore, but then again, whatever book I am looking for is almost never checked out, so it isn’t all bad.

Fast forward to the here and now with graduation right around the corner. I am not only using things like Google sites and Google docs and wiki pages, I am using them at a pretty high comfort level. And while this won’t earn me so much as a polite golf clap in most circles, at least I know how far I have come. So, if you’re thinking about coming back to school after an extended time away from the academic world, stop thinking and go for it.

Teaching Math With Technology: Professor Presents at National Conference

Fueyo SunBay

Dr. Vivian Fueyo, USFSP College of Education and interim regional vice chancellor for Academic Affairs

How can innovative classroom technology combined with well-researched curriculum materials and intensive teacher training affect a middle school teacher’s ability to teach math concepts? How can it improve a student’s ability to learn them?

The answers to those questions were among research findings Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D., USFSP professor of Childhood Education and interim regional vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, delivered last week at the national meeting of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators in California. Fueyo and fellow researcher George Roy, P.h.D., University of South Carolina, presented “Teaching With Technology: Two Tiers of Professional Development,” pointing to their research on how the methods of SunBay Digital Mathematics can make a difference in middle-school mathematics instruction.

“We found that students of teachers using SunBay to teach key mathematical topics showed consistently higher learning than students taught by traditional means,” said Dr. Fueyo. “Gains were consistently higher for lower-performing students.”

The SunBay Digital Mathematics project aims to set the direction of the future of middle school mathematics education, specifically to increase student achievement in grades 6-8 on the major math topics of Florida’s Sunshine State Standards.

The project is collaboration between SRI International and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), with funding support from the Duke Energy Foundation, the Next Generation Learning Challenges of the Gates Foundation, the Pinellas Education Foundation, and the Helios Foundation.

Florida Studies nature writing series planned at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

USF St. Petersburg Associate Professor of English Thomas Hallock, Ph.D., is organizing a series of public readings and discussions at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve this spring focused on nature writing. They will read selections from their non-fiction work.

Associate Professor of English Thomas Hallock, Ph.D. | Photo by Aaron Alper, '12.

Associate Professor of English Thomas Hallock, Ph.D. | Student Photo by Aaron Alper, ’12.

Titled “Writers in the Preserve,’’ this three-day series is organized around the theme, “How Do We Find Nature in the City?”

The series is co-sponsored by the USFSP Florida Studies Program, the College of Arts and Sciences and Friends of Boyd Hill Nature Preserve. It is co-organized by Boyd Hill ranger Andrea Andersen.

On February 21, Hallock joins award-winning Tampa Bay Times writer Jeff Klinkenberg, journalist Cathy Salustri, a USFSP Florida Studies graduate, and Wendy Joan Biddlecombe, a staff writer for Hernando Today/Tampa Tribune and a USFSP journalism master’s graduate.

On March 28, poets Gianmarc Manzione, Gloria Muñoz and Brian Duncan will lead a poetry night hike through the Preserve.

The series concludes on April 11 with “13 Ways of Looking at a City: Community Gathering,” as writers, environmentalists and community advocates celebrate the natural and built environment of south St. Petersburg.

“This lecture series demonstrates the extraordinary talent at USF St. Petersburg and our commitment to engaging the community with provocative programming,’’ said Frank Biafora, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “I commend Dr. Hallock for his creative leadership.”

Each event is free and open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. For more information contact Thomas Hallock at or (727) 873-4954. Boyd Hill Nature Preserve (727-893-7326) is located at 1101 Country Club Way S. in St. Petersburg.