USFSP Partners With Tampa Bay Technology Forum

A partnership between USFSP and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) seeks to address gaps in industry demand and match them with existing talent – including that of USFSP graduates. To that end, TBTF has formed a student chapter at USFSP to help market area business and internship opportunities, and to facilitate communication between students and professionals.

“We can help recent college graduates increase their employability by engaging in a dialogue with TBTF to learn what skills are needed,” said Dr. Gary Patterson, interim dean of the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. “We can learn what types of courses may be taken to equip anyone with the necessary skills to succeed.”

A 2012 study by the IT Workforce Task Force, which included TBTF members, did not reveal a pretty picture. Instead, it found that many graduates are not receiving the “soft skills” needed to land a job in the field of their degree. Guided by the findings, Patricia Gehant, Director of TBTF’s Workforce Initiative, set out to build the relationship between the university and TBTF, and the regional business world at large.

“TBTF is respectful of the educational mission and strives for the goal that students who learn here should be able to earn here, as well,” said Gehant. “There are a vast number of local companies interested in hiring students, but students are unaware of the career options that can match their skill set.”

Gehant adds that students in disciplines outside of the College of Business may not realize they are needed in the IT field. Psychologists are needed to measure the way humans use and react to technology, for example. Artists are needed to configure the best possible design structure for a program to be most relatable to consumers. And musicians who have the ability to play and choose music, as a programming skill, are also in high demand.

“TBTF is interested in creating the ‘middle ground’ between business and education to generate conversations about changing the way talent is developed,” said Gehant. “We have a membership of over 300 companies representing thousands of members to connect to educators and students. We create the opportunity and the environment to make change happen.”

USFSP's Cherie Collins, TBTF chapter advisor

USFSP’s Cherie Collins, TBTF chapter advisor

TBTF’s student chapter is led by visiting professor Cherie Collins, who teaches Information Systems for Managers in the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. The chapter works directly with Student Life and Engagement to organize events and recruit members.

“Students have a lot of responsibility when it comes to balancing their education, families and work,” said Collins. “It is important to remind them keep their eye on their future aspirations and take part in our regional business environment, which is rich with opportunities.”

For more information about TBTF at USFSP, visit





USFSP Partners With Police on New Internship

Police work is different these days. Like so many fields, law enforcement is developing ways to use new technologies to increase effectiveness and efficiencies.

USFSP Criminology student Timothy Saldibar shares a data mapping exercise with Dean Biafora.

USFSP Criminology student Timothy Saldibar shares a data mapping exercise with Dean Biafora.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is using technology to improve public safety perception, prevent or deter crime and  enhance the City’s social capital overall. Research skills, data mapping and analysis have become critical to the work.

Enter USFSP Criminology student Timothy Saldibar. Saldibar was selected to become the first IT Services intern with the St. Pete P.D. and as such, is working closely with senior crime analysts like Richard Ferner.


Dr. Richard Ferner

“College students today are typically more adept at learning and using new and emerging technologies and the learning curve can be far less steep,” said Ferner, DBA, who is a senior management methods analyst with the St. Pete P.D. “Considering the challenges in today’s society, incorporating student interns and hiring college graduates can serve as an essential component of a broader strategy in both building and preserving a law enforcement agency that is equipped to deal with divisive issues, resource scarcity and general uncertainty.”

Ferner says that by the end of the internship, Saldibar will be able to work as member of a project team, and produce analytical reports and resources that promote situational awareness among officers in the field. He will have developed leadership skills that will provide a foundation for success in any chosen profession.

“The bulk of the credit for solidifying this important partnership with the St. Petersburg Police Department goes to Dr. William Ruefle in the USFSP Criminology program,” said Frank Biafora, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Over the past few years Dr. Ruefle and his faculty colleagues have updated the curriculum to include greater opportunities for students to gain valuable research, hi-tech, and hands-on training, preparing students like Timothy for a wide array of new career opportunities.”

USFSP: We Get a Kick Out of Rowdies Soccer!

USFSP students and faculty will benefit from a new partnership with Tampa Bay’s professional soccer team, the Rowdies. Beginning this month and through the end of soccer season in November, USFSP soccer fans will be able to purchase tickets to all home games at Al Lang Stadium for just $10.

In order to take adBeFunky_rowdies-unveil-new-logo_1358175399_a.jpgvantage of this exclusive offer, USFSP faculty and students will need to use the promo code “USFSP2014” when purchasing tickets online through Faculty and students may also purchase $10 General Admission tickets on Rowdies gamedays at the Al Lang Stadium Box Office by providing a USFSP ID. Offer is limited to two (2) tickets per ID presented at the box office.

The Rowdies kick off the 2014 NASL Season on Saturday, April 12 against FC Edmonton at Al Lang. For more information, contact the Rowdies’ front office at (877) ROWDIES (877.769.3437).

USFSP Professor Presents Research at AERA


Dr. AnnMarie Alberton Gunn

USFSP Assistant Professor of Education, AnnMarie Alberton Gunn, Ph.D., presented research at the national conference of the American Education Research Association (AERA) in Philadelphia. Gunn’s presentation, “Teacher’s Moving Forward on Their Self-Cultural Awareness Spectrum: Museums and Diverse Children’s Literature,” attempts to answer this research question:

Does participation in a multicultural children’s literature course that includes a cultural literacy civic engagement project with the FL Holocaust Museum influence students’ teaching pedagogy?

It would appear that it does. “Initial findings show that our graduate students, most of whom are practicing teachers, are looking for issues of inequity when developing their own lesson plans,” said Gunn. “In turn, we’ll know better how these social and political issues may impact K-12 students.”

Next semester, Gunn will continue to measure impact by visiting the classrooms of former students. “What’s exciting is that in analyzing diverse, multicultural issues, my students are feeling more empowered to teach,” she said.

“Dr. Gunn’s work is having a measurable impact on the teachers in the College of Education’s graduate programs,” said Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D., interim regional vice chancellor of Academic Affairs. “Integrating research in multicultural children’s literature with community engagement with the Holocaust Museum is a notable example of the applied research for which USFSP faculty are becoming increasingly well-known.”


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.”