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.

USFSP Debuts at #36 on U.S. News and World Report Rankings

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (September 23, 2011) – Among public regional universities in the South, USF St. Petersburg ranks at #36 – an impressive placement for the university’s debut ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges. The 2012 edition of the rankings were released Sept. 13.

“This recognition reflects the significant transformation of USF St. Petersburg since the university earned independent accreditation in 2006,” said Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan. “This institution provides students a unique and special experience within a great University of South Florida System.”

USF St. Petersburg offers master’s level and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences, business and education within a student-centered environment. Recently added programs include undergraduate degrees in health sciences, biology and entrepreneurship and a graduate program in digital journalism and design. Popular undergraduate degree programs include accounting, education, psychology, and finance.

The first regional institution in the USF System with independent accreditation, USFSP distinguishes itself by its urban waterfront location in downtown St. Petersburg and its focus on undergraduate research, civic engagement and small classes.

“Our inclusion in these rankings will help inform prospective students about the opportunities at USF St. Petersburg,” said Norine Noonan, regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our stellar academic programs, outstanding library, and small-campus feel provide the college experience many students seek.”

The U.S. News and World Report rankings methodology considers a variety of factors – peer assessment, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance, alumni giving and retention.

For the ranking categories, regional public universities are described as institutions that provide a full range of undergraduate majors and master’s programs, but offer few, if any, doctoral programs.

Judy Mitchell Appointed to USF St. Petersburg Campus Board

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (September 9, 2011) – Judy Mitchell, the recently retired president of Peter R. Brown Construction, Inc., has been appointed to a four-year term on the University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus Board.

“This is such an exciting time to join the USFSP Campus Board,” Mitchell said. “This university’s impact and presence in the community continues to grow and I look forward to contributing to that effort as a board member.”

For the past five years, Mitchell has been featured on the list of top 50 women in the Florida’s Woman-Led Businesses Study conducted by the Center for Leadership at Florida International University. Her commitment to community service has been evident through numerous leadership positions, including Chair of the Morton Plant Mease Hospital, Chair of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and President of Leadership Pinellas.

“I and my fellow board members are thrilled to have Ms. Mitchell appointed to the USFSP Campus Board,” said Debbie Sembler, chair of the board and member of the USF Board of Trustees. “Her background as a successful entrepreneurial leader will enhance our board’s service to the university and community.”

Mitchell currently serves on the USF St. Petersburg College of Business Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, The Bank of Tampa Board, the Florida Investment Advisors Board, the Morton Plant Mease Hospital Foundation Board and the board of the Homeless Emergency Project. Mitchell received her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Ohio State University.

The USFSP Campus Board provides guidance and advisement on the efficient operation and improvement of the campus. Mitchell joins current board members Debbie Sembler, chair, Roy Binger, Bob Churuti and Susan Hough Henry.

The next meeting of the USFSP Campus Board is scheduled for Tuesday, September 27 at 9 a.m. in Harbor Hall at USFSP.

Julie Wong

Julie Wong Named Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 27, 2011) – University of South Florida St. Petersburg named Julie M. Wong as regional associate vice chancellor for student affairs, effective August 1. Wong currently serves as vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a position she has held since 2008.

As associate vice chancellor for student affairs at USFSP, Wong will serve as the chief student affairs officer and will sit on the university’s leadership team. She will direct functions focused on creating and maintaining a university experience that promotes and celebrates student engagement. Wong will oversee areas such as student organizations, student government, multicultural affairs, recreation, civic engagement, leadership development, residence life, counseling, the career center, disability services, volunteer services, and financial aid.

“It is my pleasure to welcome Dr. Wong to the USF St. Petersburg community,” said Regional Chancellor Margaret Sullivan. “We are an institution on the move and Dr. Wong’s ideas, energy and background will be an incredible asset to the students, faculty and staff at USFSP.”

Wong’s arrival coincides with a transformational time in student life at USFSP with the construction of the University Student Center and renovation of the Student Life Center, both expected to be complete in August 2012. The center will add a second residence hall to USFSP, provide a dining facility and include a ballroom and meeting spaces.

Wong will report to Norine Noonan, regional vice chancellor for academic affairs.

“With the addition of the student center, we want to focus on strengthening the partnership between academic affairs and student affairs,” Noonan said. “Dr. Wong’s extensive experience in leading large student affairs operations at major institutions throughout the country will significantly benefit USFSP as we move forward.”

Prior to her work in Colorado, Wong served as associate vice president and dean of students at the University of Texas at El Paso (2004-2008). Wong served as dean of student affairs, Sixth College at the University of California, San Diego (2001-04) and as associate dean of students for campus life and director of student activities at Chapman University (1999-2001). She also served as assistant director of residence life at California State University, Los Angeles (1992-99).

“I am extremely impressed by the faculty, staff and students at USF St. Petersburg,” Wong said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to become a part of the USFSP community and lead student affairs during such an exciting time for the university.”

Wong holds a bachelor’s degree in recreation and leisure studies from San Jose State University, a Master of Arts in college and university administration from Michigan State University and a PhD in educational policy, planning and administration from the University of Southern California.

-USF St. Petersburg-