USF Sarasota-Manatee began 2018 with new regional chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM bids goodbye to successful 2018

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: December 17, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 17, 2018) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee marked another successful and productive year in 2018, from welcoming new leaders and embracing the challenges and opportunities associated with USF System consolidation to announcing a series of new and upgraded programs, and celebrating the successes of our faculty and students.

Here are the top 10 USF Sarasota-Manatee stories of the year:

  1. USF Sarasota-Manatee welcomes new regional chancellor

Dr. Karen Holbrook, an accomplished researcher and educator with a strong track record of leadership at the University of South Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, The Ohio State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida and the University of Washington School of Medicine, officially became USF Sarasota-Manatee’s regional chancellor on Jan. 2. “This is a special moment, not just for USF Sarasota-Manatee but for the entire USF System,” USF System President Dr. Judy Genshaft said. “I appreciate so much Karen Holbrook’s leadership skills, her energy and her vision. Her priority is what we all share, and that is student success, and she has such an impressive record of accomplishment in higher education.”

  1. USF System undertakes planning process to guide consolidation

After Governor Rick Scott signed the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018 requiring the USF System to consolidate accreditations under one umbrella, USF undertook a planning process to implement the new law. The USF Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force held a series of town halls – including one at Selby Auditorium in early October that underscored the community’s keen interest in USF Sarasota-Manatee — and began formulating recommendations while ensuring its highest priority remains the success of our students by providing a world-class education.

  1. Brunch on the Bay celebrates 25 years of scholarships

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s biggest fundraiser of the year – and one of the region’s most-anticipated social events – enjoyed fabulous support from the community again in 2018. More than 850 guests gathered in the university’s courtyard on Nov. 4 to help raise more than $315,000, funds that will create scholarships to enable students who might not otherwise be able to afford college realize the dream of earning a degree. “This is such a wonderful event, and it means so much, not just to this campus and our students, but to this community as well,” USFSM Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook told attendees.

  1. USF Health College of Nursing expands to Sarasota-Manatee campus

In a move supported by the region’s healthcare community, USF Sarasota-Manatee and the USF Health College of Nursing in April signed an agreement offering a new nursing program through USFSM’s College of Science and Mathematics. The program’s creation helps address what Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook described as “a priority in our community to meet a critical need for well-trained, highly-skilled nurses,” adding, “Our regional healthcare providers have been asking us to help address this need.”

  1. USF designated as ‘Preeminent’ by Florida Board of Governors

The University of South Florida can officially stand side by side with the University of Florida and Florida State University as the best universities in the state. The Florida Board of Governors voted unanimously in June to formally designate USF as a “Preeminent State Research University,” recognizing the institution’s high performance and strong trajectory toward national excellence. The designation carries with it an increase of approximately $6 million in new, recurring funds. “This validates our efforts over more than a decade to transform USF into a premiere institution of higher education, rivaling peers twice our age,” USF System President Judy Genshaft said.

  1. USF Sarasota-Manatee students to ‘turn the tables’ on employers

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Career Services team joined USFSM students in creating a unique event that flipped the job fair concept on its head and put employers on the opposite side of the interview table. More than two dozen students, pre-screened and representing a cross-section of academic programs, designed personalized table displays and posed questions to dozens of employers in attendance while showcasing their education and abilities. Early feedback based on exit surveys of students and employers indicates the event was highly successful, with plans to hold additional “Reverse Career Fairs” in the future.

  1. USFSM names Dr. Brett Kemker Reg. Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook in June named Dr. Brett Kemker, a 1992 USF Tampa alum, as the university’s new regional vice chancellor for academic and student affairs. Kemker, a Gainesville native, previously served in a variety of capacities at the University of New Orleans, the University of Southern Mississippi, Florida State University and Louisiana Tech University. At the University of New Orleans, Kemker was dean of students within the Office of the Provost as well as a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet, serving in a leading role in the development of the university’s master plan.

  1. USFSM names Dr. Gert-Jan de Vreede interim dean of the College of Business

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook in July appointed Dr. Gert-Jan de Vreede interim dean of the College of Business, replacing Dr. James Curran, who elected to return to the classroom. Dr. de Vreede most recently served as an information systems and decision services professor in USF’s Muma College of Business in Tampa. His experience includes 13 years in various roles at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, in addition to two years as chair of the Department of Systems Engineering, Faculty and Technology at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

  1. USFSM debuts cybersecurity program, expands RMI program

In response to the growing threat of cybercrime, USF Sarasota-Manatee announced in August it was upgrading its Information Technology degree to Cybersecurity and Information Technology, creating a combined program aimed at teaching students how to stay one step ahead of hackers. “Cybersecurity is becoming a specialty by itself,” said Dr. Ehsan Sheybani, associate professor of information systems and decision sciences at USFSM’s College of Business. Also this fall, USFSM announced an expansion of its risk management and insurance (RMI) program to meet the workforce needs of local employers in a rapidly-growing field that provides well-paying jobs. USFSM’s RMI program is one of only two such programs offered by public universities in the state of Florida.

  1. USFSM debuts accelerated master’s degrees in hospitality and criminology

As part of its commitment to providing quality, affordable post-graduate academic programs, USF Sarasota-Manatee earlier this year announced the creation of accelerated master’s degree programs in hospitality and criminology. Starting this past fall, students had the option of enrolling in either program while pursuing their undergraduate degrees, enabling them to earn their master’s within five years instead of the usual six. Both programs are directed toward high-achieving students who meet specific academic criteria.

USFSM to host climate change, financial literacy talks in 2019

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host climate-change summit

A panel of experts will explore the impacts of climate change Jan. 25 at USFSM.

USF Sarasota-Manatee will host two special events in early 2019 in partnership with the Global Interdependence Center and Cumberland Advisors.

First, on Friday, Jan. 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., learn how a changing climate – from hurricanes to red tide to sea-level rise – affects Sarasota-Manatee and Florida in a special talk entitled “Adapting to a Changing Climate: Challenges & Opportunities.”

USF Sarasota-Manatee will host a panel of experts to discuss the impacts of climate change on coastal areas, public infrastructure and local and state economies, and possible solutions ahead.

Tickets are $50, which includes lunch. (That cost is waived for students and faculty.) For more information or to register, visit

Then Thursday, April 11, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the campus will host a panel of experts for “Financial Literacy Day III: Financial Markets and the Economy.”

Gretchen Morgenson, a senior writer at The Wall Street Journal, will deliver the keynote address.

Panel discussions include: Municipal financial market developments; the use of quantitative measurement and technical analysis in the stock market, the outlook for the U.S. stock market and the global economic outlook.

The $50 admission includes lunch. Visit

Scholarship deadlines approaching

USFSM’s Office of Admissions reminds students to submit their scholarship applications as the deadline to apply is quickly approaching.

Here are the cutoff dates for scholarships:

  • January 1: FAFSA Priority Deadline
  • January 2: Application Deadline for Scholarship Consideration
  • January 15: Application Completion Deadline for Admissions Scholarship Consideration
  • February 1: Scholarship Application Deadline for Foundation Scholarships (Freshmen)
  • March 1: Scholarship Application Deadline for Foundation Scholarships (Transfer)

For more about Admissions scholarships, visit:

For more about Foundation scholarships, go to:

Business of Robotics seminar set for mid-January at USFSM

Ehsan Sheybani usf usfsm

Dr. Ehsan Sheybani

Learn about the business of robotics with a free seminar Thursday, Jan. 17, at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Technical jobs fostering green transformation are rapidly growing in the United States and globally. This seminar will focus on the use of robotics for careers in autonomous technology, smart manufacturing and ecologically sound industries.

The event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Speakers include Dr. Ehsan Sheybani, an assistant professor of information systems and decision sciences, and Kuniko Yamamoto, of the Origami Air Art Studio in Sarasota.

This seminar is sponsored by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and New College of Florida.

To register for the seminar or to learn more, visit

Students welcomed to USFSM with ‘Week of Welcome’

Students will be welcomed to the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus with a week of engaging activities starting Monday, Jan. 7, with Springfest.

Known as Week of Welcome, the twice-yearly celebration includes a week-long slate of activities for new and returning students.

Springfest, set for Monday at 11 a.m. in the campus courtyard, will kick off the events with free food, tie-dye, airbrush tattooing and a photo booth.

Also Monday, students can enjoy free sundaes while stocking up on notebooks, highlighters and other items from 3 to 5 p.m. in the FCCI Rotunda.

In addition to other events, students can check out a Tampa Bay Lightning game on Jan. 8; channel their inner-Houdini inside an escape room on Jan. 10; and savor dinner and the new Robin Hood movie on Jan. 11 at the Selby Auditorium.

Learn more at

Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association wins award

Bulls Notebook: USFSM’s 70th commencement set tonight

Amela Malkic, left, and Dr. Darlene DeMarie.

Congratulations to USF Sarasota-Manatee Director of Global Engagement Amela Malkic after the Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association was recognized at the Fulbright Association 41st Annual Conference “Un Mundo, Muchas Voces” (One world, many voices).

The association’s Mid-Florida chapter won the Committee’s Choice Award 2018 for Innovation and Excellence. Malkic is president-elect of the chapter and traveled to the conference representing USFSM. Dr. Darlene DeMarie, president of the Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association, represented USF.

The two colleagues also presented at the conference on the topic, “A True Partnership between the Mid-Florida Chapter of the Fulbright Association and the University Of South Florida.”

“It is a pleasure and a privilege to serve on the Board of the Directors for the Mid-Florida Fulbright Association, and certainly an honor to serve as the incoming president effective 2019,” Malkic said. “Needless to say, we were happy to receive this recognition by the National Fulbright Office on behalf of our Mid-Florida Fulbright chapter and we look forward to continuing our work and to promote the Fulbright program in 2019.”

The November conference was held in Puebla, Mexico, and featured networking sessions, workshops and an awards gala. For more about the award, visit,

USFSM student gives video tutorial on application process

Bulls Notebook: USFSM bids goodbye to successful 2018

Kayla Collins

Criminology student Kayla Collins is getting a workout in public speaking. After addressing hundreds of USFSM supporters at last month’s Brunch on the Bay, the criminology student got to work helping the Office of Admissions produce a college application video.

And she didn’t disappoint. Collins seemed like a pro throughout the 6½-minute production as she guides viewers through the application process. At one point, she let out a “whew,” but otherwise appeared unflappable.

“Kayla gives students friendly insight and understanding in her step-by-step tutorial of the application process,” Marketing and Communications Officer for Admissions Katherine Bourcier says. “This video takes out some of the guess work of completing an application and provides clarity to the application process.”

“Kayla uses her great public speaking skills to assist future Bulls with their applications,” she said. “We are so thankful to have her as a Campus Experience Guide for Admissions at USFSM to communicate her experiences and expertise, like she does in this video.”

Watch Kayla’s stellar work here:

Justice named to editorial board of association journal

Bulls Notebook: USFSM bids goodbye to successful 2018

Sandy Justice

Kudos to Sandy Justice for being named to the editorial board of the Journal of Research Administration, a publication of the Society of Research Administrators International.

Justice, who leads USFSM’s Office of Research, received an email last week from Editor-in-Chief Nathan L. Vanderford welcoming her to the editorial board, where she will be charged with reviewing article submissions.

The Journal of Research Administration (The Journal) is full of scholarly resource for research administration and management. Justice’s appointment will become effective Jan. 1.

“This is not only an important milestone for me in my professional development, but it recognizes my tenure in research administration by my peers from around the world,” she said.

Justice also serves as a symposium judge at the organization’s annual conferences.

Dr. Senapati contributes to scholarly work

USF Sarasota-Manatee tutoring program earns certification

Dr. Su Senapati

Congratulations to Dr. Su Senapati for her contribution to the book, The Human-Animal Boundary: Exploring the Line in Philosophy and Fiction, edited by Nandita Batra and Mario Wenning, published by Lexington Books, an imprint of Roman and Littlefield.

Dr. Senapati, an English instructor in USFSM’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, contributed a chapter entitled, “Ramayana’s Hanuman – Animal, Human, or Divine.”

“Environmental degradation and its concomitant threat to human life has led researchers to seek the kind of thinking that leads human beings to engage in such destructive behavior,” Dr. Senapati said. “This search, in turn, has given rise to questions about creating categories, borders and lines that separate and contain.

“Anthropocene literature, a new sub-specialty in literary studies, explores, among other things, borders that separate the human from the nonhuman and the role they play in destructive human behavior. The Human-Animal Boundary: Exploring the Line in Philosophy and Fiction explores the consequences of binary thinking in terms of animal-human divide.”

USFSM Staff Council receives charter approval

Bulls Notebook: USFSM bids goodbye to successful 2018

USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook, center, signs the Staff Advisory Council bylaws.

USFSM’s Staff Advisory Council received approval of its charter and bylaws and marked the occasion last Thursday with a ceremonial signing of the charter by USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook.

“I do think this is a very important day and this is an important document because the staff needs a voice to communicate ideas and concerns to us and other members of the campus,” Dr. Holbrook said. “You have it for the faculty with the Senate and the Administration and now you have it for the staff with the Staff Advisory Council. It is very important for all of our voices to be heard.”

The Staff Advisory Council began forming in February. Its purpose is to be voice and advocate for staff concerns, issues and interests within a positive work environment where respect, integrity and unity are affirmed.

Kudos to Prof. Mary Knight for completing course review

Bulls Notebook: USFSM bids goodbye to successful 2018

Prof. Mary Knight

E-Learning Services is pleased to announce that Prof. Mary Knight, a USFSM adjunct faculty member in the College of Business, recently completed a successful Internal Quality Matters Course Review for her CGS 2100 (Computers in Business) online course.

The Internal Quality Matters Course Review process is a rigorous process designed to certify quality and alignment through the Quality Matters rubric of best practices in online learning.

To learn more about Quality Matters, contact E-Learning Services or attend one of our upcoming workshops.

USFSM professors organizing student trip to France, Italy

Bulls Notebook: USFSM, the Ritz-Carlton present HospitaBull

Dr. Joe Askren

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Dr. Joe Askren and Dr. Ken Caswell are inviting students on a four-week tour of Italy and France during summer 2019.

The USFSM History & Culture of Food & Beverage program runs from May 26 to June 21 and takes students on tours of vineyards, local farms and markets. Students will engage in chef-designed cooking classes and collaborative discussion with chefs, food scientists and hospitality experts.

USFSM’s Science of Beer brewing system expands

Dr. Ken Caswell

The program is open to students of any major, 18 years of age or older, with an interest in Italian and French culture and language. Tuition is for six credit hours.

The $5,376.34 cost includes accommodations, a daily continental breakfast, 11 lunches, eight dinners and five tastings. It includes excursions to farms, wineries, a cheese house, and brewery and cooking demonstrations, as well as emergency medical and evacuation insurance.

Students will be responsible for their own air fare, personal expenses and tuition costs.

For more information, or to register, visit

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