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.

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.

Vision 20/20 Blog: Strategic planning process is a journey of discovery

The first Listening Forum was with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

The first Listening Forum was with the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership.

We have embarked on a journey of discovery at USF St. Petersburg and hope you will join us as we set a course for the future.

Vision 20/20: Engaging Students and the Community to Transform the World is a strategic planning process involving a diverse group of great minds spending the next few months in deep exploration about USF St. Petersburg – who we are and where we are going.

Developing a strategic plan for the coming years is Job No. 1 and I am delighted it is underway.

Through a series of public listening forums and “learning journeys,” we will discover what our stakeholders expect of us and examine what other organizations are doing that can provide insights into critical questions facing this institution.

The heart and soul of this entire process will be a series of Listening Forums to solicit input from faculty, staff, students and community members. The first of these forums was held Thursday at the University Student Center during the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership’s quarterly luncheon, where we heard some great ideas. We will soon announce details about the next forums, which are scheduled for Jan. 13-15. You can also check the Things to Do Calendar on our website for details. I invite you to participate in any or all of these public forums and to offer your thoughts to those of us on the Steering Committee.

The process is driven by a 70-member Vision Team comprised of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members and overseen by an eight-member steering committee. The team already has spent two days in wide-ranging, penetrating discussions and will soon split into groups for our learning journeys. At the conclusion of the strategic planning process we will present our strategic plan to the USFSP Campus Board and the USF System Board of Trustees for adoption.

This blog is just one of the ways we will report on our progress. Think of it as the ship’s log for this exploration, a vehicle for anyone interested in the future of USF St. Petersburg to offer their thoughts and where we are headed.

We also will post regular updates on the Vision 20/20 home page and in HarborNotes Weekly: Five Things to Know about USF St. Petersburg, which is emailed each Friday during the Fall and Spring semesters.

The strategic plan will be better with your participation. Your voice truly matters.

You can leave comments on blog posts or e-mail your thoughts directly to Steering Committee members.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sophia T. Wisniewska, Ph.D.
Regional Chancellor


Vision Team members conduct a mind mapping exercise

Strategic planning at USF St. Petersburg moves forward

The strategic planning process at USF St. Petersburg moved forward in earnest Monday night when a diverse team of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members gathered at the University Student Center.

More than 70 members of the Vision Team spent three stimulating hours discussing critical issues facing USF St. Petersburg and higher education. In addition to students, faculty, staff and alumni, the group includes local business leaders, partners, friends, and representatives from local schools and the USF System.

The team is meeting again today for an all-day session and will meet several more times during the coming months.

In addition, open forums for faculty, students, staff and other groups will take place early in the new year to broaden the discussion. To see a roadmap of upcoming events and learn more about the process, please visit

As Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska told the vision team Monday night, the goal of this process is to lay the groundwork for a vision for USFSP that focuses our resources to have a powerful impact in Pinellas County and beyond.

USF St. Petersburg students demonstrate how to create electricity from chlorophyll at last year's St. Petersburg Science Festival.

St. Petersburg Science Festival returning to USF St. Petersburg

The Third Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival, the largest community celebration of science in the Southeast, returns to USF St. Petersburg on Saturday, Oct. 19 with more than 100 hands-on exhibits along Bayboro Harbor.

Once again this year, USF St. Petersburg science students and faculty will present exhibits and research, including a hydrogen-fueled model car, chlorophyll solar cells and creating bio-diesel from waste oil.

The festival, held in conjunction with MarineQuest, drew more than 10,000 people last year. This year’s event includes an exclusive sneak peek for more than 1,000 school children on Friday, Oct. 18.

Saturday’s festival begins at 10 a.m. with an explosive science experiment on stage at Poynter Park at 10 a.m., led by USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster and USF College of Marine Science Dean Jacqueline Dixon.

Along with a full day of science shows and music, the festival will feature activities ranging from crazy chemistry experiments to fighting robots. Visitors can board a research vessel, build a fire, run an underwater remotely operated vehicle, peer into a microscope at aquatic animals and archaeological artifacts, escape fishing nets, test an artificial limb, create art from science and launch a rocket.

USFSP’s exhibits will be coordinated by Madhu Pandey, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of chemistry, and will include student research on manatees, molecular modeling and crime scene analysis.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from USF St. Petersburg restaurants including The Reef, World of Wings, The Tavern at Bayboro and the Campus Grind. Food trucks will line 3rd Street South at Poynter Park. View campus maps.

The festival was created to encourage youth to develop a passion for science and engineering. It is a collaboration of more than 60 university departments, government agencies and private organizations, many of which are part of the St. Petersburg Ocean Team, a consortium of research groups employing more than 1,600 marine scientists in St. Petersburg.

Major sponsors include USF St. Petersburg, the City of St. Petersburg, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the USF College of Marine Science, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Helios Education Foundation, Duke Energy, Eckerd College, Draper Laboratory, Rays Baseball Foundation,, and Science Festival Alliance. Media partners include Bay News 9, CBS Radio, Tampa Bay Times, WEDU, and WMNF 88.5 FM.

For more information go to, email Science Festival Co-Chair Howard Rutherford or call him at (727) 803-9799, ext. 202.