Vision 20/20 strategic planning process reaches major milestone

The Vision 20/20 strategic planning process reached a major milestone this week with the successful completion of a series of Input Forums designed to broaden the conversation about the future of USF St. Petersburg.

Six input forums were held between Monday and Wednesday for students, faculty and staff. A special online forum was also held for distance learning students. Last month, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership participated in an Input Forum during its quarterly luncheon, held at the University Student Center Ballroom.

“Through these forums, I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some very thoughtful conversations about the future of our institution,’’ said Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. “I am excited about the possibilities and pleased at the level of engagement and enthusiastic participation during the forums.’’

The ideas generated during the forums will inform the final product of the strategic plan, which will be completed by the end of the 2013-14 academic year. The Vision Team will meet again Feb. 28 and March 1 and will discuss the feedback generated at the Input Forums.

Psychology Professor and Vision Team member V. Mark Durand, who helped lead the Faculty Input Forum, said the plan will help guide the university as it moves forward in the coming years. “I am convinced that the Vision 20/20 process will lead to concrete changes that will make USF St. Petersburg stronger,’’ he wrote in a blog post. “I observed a diverse but united group excited to help craft the vision for the institution and identify important next steps to help us be a distinctive educational institution that we can be proud of, one that produces successful students and that in some way makes meaningful contributions to our surrounding community.”

Vision 20/20 moves into a new phase beginning next week with the launch of a series of Learning Journeys for members of the Vision Team. The Learning Journeys are designed to be structured experiences that allow Vision Team members to explore key questions at the heart of the strategic planning process. Participants will visit a diverse group of institutions, including C1 Bank, HSN, Midtown St. Petersburg, the University of Tampa and All Children’s Hospital Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Traffic is restricted along 6th Avenue S during a city sewer line installation project.

6th Avenue S parking garage entrance will close temporarily

A major public works project by the City of St. Petersburg will force the closing of the 6th Ave. S entrance to the parking garage starting later today and continuing for the next few weeks. Traffic into the parking garage will be rerouted to the 5th Ave. S entrance.

Meanwhile, the south lane of 6th Ave S will be reopened today for eastbound and westbound traffic. The intersection of 6th Ave. S and 2nd St S will remain open. All crosswalks at 2nd St S and 6th Ave S will remain open.

The project, which involves the replacement of a 30-inch sewer line, is expected to be completed by mid-March. The city is redirecting the traffic as necessary.

Other impacts from the project:

  • Street parking along 6th Ave. S between 3rd Street and 1st Street S is prohibited.
  • Vehicles travelling west on 6th Avenue S cannot turn left into parking lots 2 and 5 and vehicles exiting the parking lots must turn right only. Utilization of the 1st Street S entrance is strongly encouraged.
  • U-Turns are prohibited in the construction zone.

All motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists are urged to be cautious during this period of construction.

Please check back for further updates.


David Hendry

Director of University Police Services

Nabil Matar (left) and Dennis Thompson.

Honors Program presents lecture series to ‘Celebrate the Liberal Arts’

The USF St. Petersburg Honors Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special lecture series that reflects the theme of the anniversary, “Celebrate the Liberal Arts.”

Dennis Thompson, Ph.D., the Alfred North Whitehead Professor of Political Philosophy Emeritus at Harvard University, will discuss “Science, Ethics and Democracy” on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 4 p.m. at the University Student Center Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Nabil Matar, Ph.D., the Presidential Professor of Arts & Humanities at the University of Minnesota, will discuss “The Arabic Legacy in Western Thought” on Monday, March 3 at 3:30 p.m. at the University Student Center Ballroom. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“The liberal arts are at the core of the Honors Program but there is a lot of confusion about what that means,’’ said Thomas Smith, Ph.D., Honors Program director and associate professor of government and international affairs. “The liberal arts are about developing critical thinking and fostering our capacities for reason, judgment and scientific inquiry. They provide the intellectual tools to be engaged citizens.’’

Both speakers will discuss issues that go to the heart of what the liberal arts are all about, Smith said.

Thompson, the author of eight books and founding director of the Harvard University Center for Ethics, will underscore the importance for scientists to understand the ethical implications of their work. Matar will explore the transmission of ideas from the Arab world into western thought.

“This spring lecture series underscores an important part of the mission of the Honors Program at USF St. Petersburg,’’ said Frank Biafora, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “It brings together nationally recognized thought leaders discussing provocative topics that will both challenge and enlighten our students and the public.”

The Honors Program will also present the Second Annual St. Petersburg Conference on International Affairs Feb. 13-15 at the University Student Center Ballroom. The conference, featuring 15 panels of distinguished experts from across the country discussing the critical international issues of the day, is free and open to the public.

Complimentary parking for the Honors Program events will be available at the USFSP parking garage, 260 5th Ave S, St Petersburg. For more information about these events please call (727) 873-4872.

The Honors Program offers academically gifted, highly motivated students an exciting and diverse college experience that enhances their undergraduate education. This year, about 100 students comprise a thriving, close-knit, diverse academic community. Students receive individual attention from a distinguished faculty in small, seminar-style classes. Read more about the Honors Program.


WUSF General Manager JoAnn Urofsky (left to right), Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman cut the ribbon for the WUSF St. Petersburg Studio.

WUSF opens its first St. Petersburg Studio at USFSP

WUSF Public Media, in partnership with USF St. Petersburg, has opened a new broadcast studio at USFSP, providing students a new opportunity to work with award-winning journalists.

A crowd of more than 50 people attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Jan. 10, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, WUSF Partners Board members and executives, and local business and community leaders.

The event took place in the Courtyard of the Peter Rudy Wallace Florida Center for Teachers at USF St. Petersburg, home to the Department of Journalism and Media Studies and the new WUSF St. Petersburg Studio.

“Having an award-winning NPR affiliate on our campus is something we should all be proud of. WUSF sets a high standard for journalism in the Tampa Bay area,” said Wisniewska. “It will also be an excellent opportunity for our journalism students, who can gain valuable on-air experience, working closely with seasoned professionals. I particularly look forward to the stories our students produce through the Neighborhood News Bureau in Midtown, an important part of this city where Mayor Kriseman is focusing much needed attention.”

JoAnn Urofsky, general manager of WUSF Public Media, expressed pride in the new partnership with USFSP. “The new studio space will provide us with expanded news presence in both St. Petersburg and Pinellas County,” she said, “as well as an opportunity to work with students in the USF St. Petersburg graduate journalism program.”

The studio has working space for WUSF’s reporters, allowing them to file stories on deadline from a Pinellas County location. In addition, reporters will work with USF St. Petersburg students to research articles, publish stories for WUSF’s Health News Florida website and write for print and radio. WUSF reporters already are working with two USFSP students at the new St. Petersburg Studio.

The mayor congratulated USF St. Petersburg on the opening of the studio. “This is a great addition to an already great institution, and a wonderful opportunity for students as well,’’ he said “I look forward to hearing more news and information from WUSF right here in St. Petersburg.”

Journalism Chair Deni Elliott said the studio is an excellent example of collaboration within the USF System and with the community that directly benefits students. “We are excited about the possibilities this new studio offers for our journalism students and faculty,” she said.

A conversation about how USFSP can help solve local problems drew a large crowd at the Community Input Forum.

First Vision 20/20 Input Forums prompt lively, engaged conversations

The first round of student and community Input Forums for the Vision 20/20 strategic planning process took place Monday at the University Student Center ballroom. The forums — one for students in the morning and a second for community members in the evening — featured lively discussions of important issues for the future of USFSP. Some common themes of both forums included an interest in creating more internship opportunities to benefit students and local businesses and increasing community engagement to solve pressing local problems. Environmental Science Senior Lauren Reilly wrote in a Vision 20/20 blog post that the forum was inspiring. “Many different topics were discussed, such as undergraduate research support, paid internships and the commuter-student community,’’ she wrote. “After lunch, the second round of conversations began. I joined one that was full of laughter as we brainstormed about ways to improve our outdoor culture and bring the beach vibe to campus.” Vision Team member Goliath Davis said he was pleased with the results of the Community Input Forum. “I was impressed with the level of interest and engagement by everyone,’’ he said. “I was particularly impressed that so many people took time out of their busy lives to show up on a Monday night. And I was extremely happy to see the interest and commitment from the community for USFSP.” Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska welcomed participants at both forums, saying the forums are the “heart and soul’’ of the process and encouraging everyone to focus on the big picture. “This is a chance to pause, take a deep breath and think big: What are the big ideas shaping our future that we should address today?” she said. “As Carl Sandburg once said: ‘Nothing happens unless first a dream.’” The input forums continue today, with a faculty forum in the morning and the afternoon, and the second Student Input Forum at 4:30 p.m. The final input forum will be Wednesday at 9 a.m. for USFSP staff. Members of the Vision Team will participate in a series of Learning Journeys beginning next week. The next Vision Team meetings will be Feb. 28 and March 1. For updates on Twitter and Facebook, follow the hashtag #usfspvision2020. Go to the Vision 20/20 website for detailed information about the process.

Students discuss their visions for the future of USF St. Petersburg during Monday's Input Forum.

Students discuss their visions for the future of USF St. Petersburg during Monday’s Input Forum.