The University of South Florida strives to be a high-impact, global research university
committed to student success. The College of Arts and Sciences supports that aspiration
by graduating our students in a timely manner, by preparing them for work and for
life, and by supporting and promoting faculty research that makes a positive impact
on the world. As Dean, it is my job to help us stay focused on these strategic goals.
Strategic Changes to the College
This year, we have made many strategic changes to the College of Arts and Sciences that already are yielding positive results. My goal has been to create stability in an unstable environment through forward movement, community engagement and re-invention. I am grateful for the excellent work of all of our faculty and staff in support of our mission.
As a result of last year's exploration, we created a new school within the College of Arts and Sciences. The School of Geosciences, comprised of Geology, Geography, and Environmental Science and Planning, has resulted in a more comprehensive and resilient academic unit with strong leadership that is better able to serve our students at all levels. Through this merger, the School of Geosciences is well positioned to increase USF's national and global recognition for both pedagogy and research. The creation of this new unit also reflects trends in environmental and geosciences education that go beyond traditional departmental structures.
The School of Public Affairs, established last year, also is coming into its own. The faculty have come together to establish their vision for the school. There is increased synergy between the School of Public Affairs and the Florida Institute of Government, which has created a great environment for our Tallahassee and Legislative Internship Programs to flourish, as well as provided new opportunities for SPA to take ownership of some exciting initiatives like the Sunshine State Survey (more on that later).
In addition, with the support of the Provost, we were able to make some cluster hires in the area of computation and STEM education. Both groups of new faculty have made great progress in a short amount of time. We are excited about the direction of STEM education at USF, as we continue to transform how we're teaching our STEM courses by using innovative resources like the SMART Lab and also recruiting underrepresented populations into STEM fields.
In October, I created three committees out of a strong desire to engage our faculty and staff in the development of innovative ideas and solutions to tough challenges that the College faces. The Faculty Assignment and Evaluation Committee provided a college-wide faculty sounding board for the new tenure and promotion guidelines that went before Faculty Senate in December. This group will be central to two upcoming projects: developing new CAS T&P guidelines to align with the new university T&P guidelines and providing helpful guidelines to departments as they craft their T&P criteria. The Strategic Communication of Value Committee is making recommendations on how the College can best articulate the value of what we do to various audiences. Our third strategic committee addressed staffing efficiencies and the potential for implementing a shared services model within CAS, and the work of this committee resulted in the creation of the College of Arts and Sciences' Business Support Services unit.
The Business Support Services group seeks to provide efficient and effective financial and administrative services and solutions, focused on unit-level needs and university-wide objectives. Led by Brent Smith and Assistant Director Daniel Kanouff, this group handles PCard transactions, travel authorizations, travel reimbursement and purchase order requests for CAS faculty and staff.
This spring I formed the Dean's Advisory Board, a small group of influential and successful alumni who have a strong passion for the College of Arts and Sciences and are eager to help propel CAS to the next level. This group meets quarterly and will provide suggestions and resources to help the College reach our goals. We had a very successful first meeting in February, and this group is excited to work with us.
The landscape of higher education continues to change, and we are exploring the many options and opportunities of delivering some of our academic programs in an online format. Working with USF Innovative Education, our School of Public Affairs launched its first 100% online master's degree in public administration. This program was designed for working professionals who are experienced individuals employed in the public sector. The College of Arts and Sciences has been working with Innovative Education to prepare 20 new online courses that will debut this summer.
Enrollment is holding steady and we are seeing an increase in both out-of-state and international students, which suggests our programs are developing a national and international reputation, and hence more students outside the state of Florida are learning about USF. Our number of full-time students has increased since 2009, improving their progression toward graduation.
I want to thank our faculty for their commitment to our students, the impact of which is reflected in the number of national awards our students have received this year. USF had three students win the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship, all of who are CAS students. These students -- Michael Calzadilla, Kaitlin Deutsch and Fiona Kearns -- are the only recipients from the State University System of Florida this year. We also had Steffanie Munguia, a integrative biology sophomore, win the Hollings Scholarship, which is awarded by NOAA. And Sarah Seabrook, who won the Hollings Scholarship in 2012, was one of 50 students in the nation to receive the Udall Scholarship.
In August, we launched the Dean's Student Leadership Society. The purpose of this highly selective group of College of Arts and Sciences students is to promote pride in a liberal arts education and to assist in strengthening the identity of both the College of Arts and Sciences and the University of South Florida. We currently have 17 outstanding students with majors representing our three schools, and these students now serve as ambassadors for CAS. This society strives to promote a sense of community among all CAS students through student-led programs, including student organization socials, workshops designed for graduating seniors and opportunities to network with CAS alumni.
Our Tallahassee Internship Program continues to be one of the best experiential learning opportunities offered at USF. We currently have 10 extremely bright students interning in Tallahassee for senators, representatives, lobbyists and community organizations during this legislative session. After visiting with these students a few weeks ago, I am happy to tell you that they are outstanding representatives of USF, and many senators and representatives complimented us on our students' excellent preparation and performance. One of the interns, Sinate Ermat, who is working for Sen. Arthenia Joyner, had the opportunity to present a bill last week. Sinate also has been accepted to both Georgetown Law and Stetson Law.
Students from the Zimmerman Advertising Program continue to receive many accolades. Nine talented students were awarded gold and silver student Addy awards during the 2014 American Advertising Awards, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation of Tampa Bay. Among those recipients was Christa Beck, a junior who was awarded the Best of Show in Broadcasting. The ZAP Program also had three students awarded the Most Promising Minority Award by the American Advertising Federation -- Mark Araya, Christopher Mejia and Najja Pemberton. The AAF's Most Promising Minority Students program connects the advertising industry with the nation's top minority college seniors. These students also receive immersion opportunities with industry professionals in addition to exclusive networking events.
Our Department of World Languages was selected by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to participate in a student exchange program. Twenty-three USF students will be going to Japan and all costs will be paid by the Japanese government. In return, we will host 23 Japanese students for a week in November or May. This is a great opportunity for our students and a wonderful chance to show off our Japanese program.
High-Impact Research and Scholarship
It is evident we have faculty engaged in high-impact, meaningful research, both locally and around the world. The media has taken notice of the great work our faculty are doing, resulting in positive press, and in some cases, additional external funding. Erin Kimmerle's work on the Dozier School project continues to draw national attention and support from elected officials at the state and federal level. Jason Rohr from the Department of Integrative Biology recently was featured on a Canadian television show, "16x9," which is the equivalent of "60 Minutes." Jonathan Rottenberg from the Department of Psychology released a new book this year about depression, and his "Come out of the Dark" campaign seeks to end the stigma of depression and foster a national conversation about depression awareness and understanding. Several students are working on this campaign with Rottenberg, and they have been able to touch thousands of lives all over the world.
In January, the School of Public Affairs began spearheading the Sunshine State Survey, the most anticipated annual survey of Floridians on a wide range of economic, social and political issues facing one of the nation's largest, most diverse and highly competitive states. The Sunshine State Survey is a series of questions asked annually, which provides leaders and academics in the public and private sectors with much-needed trend data, while questions on newly-emerging issues give leaders an invaluable up-to-date look at where a wide cross-section of our state's residents stand on them. Working with Nielsen, Distinguished University Professor Susan MacManus and her Media and Politics class designed the survey and will analyze the results. The 2014 survey results will be released during the summer and will provide valuable insights before the next election cycle. The survey's results will be announced at an annual kickoff news conference in Florida's capital city. Each year the Sunshine State Survey generates extensive press coverage and comprehensive follow-up editorial support and op-ed columns.
In spite of federal sequestration, our research faculty have had a productive year. While federal funding is down overall for universities, our College's Office of Research and Scholarship is committed to providing resources to help our faculty prepare competitive grant proposals and seek alternative funding sources. It's important to note that while our federal funding is slightly down, the College of Arts and Sciences has the best federal funded research percentage in the university. The College has a diverse portfolio of research grants, including funding from NIH, NSF, NEH and DoD.
We continue to have faculty receive distinctions acknowledged by the AAU. In December, we were thrilled to learn that the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) named Associate Professor of Integrative Biology Gordon Fox, Distinguished University Professor of Global Health and Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology Daniel Lim and Distinguished University Professor of Psychology Mark Goldman as its newest Fellows. Shengqian Ma, Ph.D., from the Department of Chemistry, received the prestigious NSF CAREER Award. Jody Harwood, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, received a Fulbright fellowship to work with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an Australian-based federal government agency for scientific research. The purpose of the fellowship will be to develop a new generation microarray DNA chip for water quality assessment in Australia, testing for fecal pollution in aquatic environmental waters. David K. Johnson from the Department of History received a $50,000 National Humanities Center grant to complete his on-going study of the historic relationship between consumer commodities and subcultural identity politics. Thomas Williams, professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies, received the American Philosophical Association's Edinburgh Fellowship, which sponsors one visiting research fellowship per year at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.
For the second year in a row, one of our faculty members has been honored by the French government. Distinguished University Professor Gaëtan Brulotte was presented with the honor of Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques. This award is the highest honor that the French government can bestow upon a civilian.
Our efforts to engage and partner with the Tampa Bay community are impressive, and I thank everyone who works tirelessly to strengthen our College's "town and gown" connections. The College of Arts and Sciences hosted numerous events and conferences that connected us with many people in the community.
The College remains committed to bringing in leading intellectuals to Tampa Bay for the benefit of our students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community. We continue to host the Frontier Forum lecture series with support of the Office of the Provost and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. This year's Frontier Forum was a huge success, as we hosted the family members of Henrietta Lacks (the subject of USF's first common reading program), The New York Times Best-Selling Author Dr. Eben Alexander, who wrote "Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife" and Robert Edsel, best-selling author of "The Monuments Men," which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney. We also continue to bring our faculty members to the Tampa Bay community, and they have discussed topics such as antibiotic-resistant bacteria, climate change, sports and politics, and immigration reform. Looking forward, we are exploring additional opportunities to showcase our faculty in the community.
The Humanities Institute has had another impressive year of events that show the importance of celebrating the humanities. This year they hosted two Distinguished Scholars-in-Residents Jacquelyn Dowd Hall from UNC Chapel Hill and novelist, essayist and playwright Caryl Phillips.
The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to engaging our alumni and fostering meaningful relationships. This year, we hosted several events during Homecoming Week to provide opportunities for our alumni to come home to CAS and see all of the wonderful things happening in our college. Alumni had the opportunity to interact with our current students, hear about the latest research from our faculty and reconnect with the College. We also had the privilege to host the first graduating class of USF that was celebrating its 50th reunion. The Alliance for Integrative and Spatial Technology dazzled them with a presentation about heritage preservation, 3D printing and the use of Google Glass and other cutting-edge technology in the classroom. I also want to add that these events would not be possible without a dedicated staff who work tirelessly to plan these events.
The Citizenship Initiative continues to strengthen ties with MacDill Air Force Base, CENTCOM, SOCOM and JSOU. Earlier this year, the Citizenship Initiative hosted a conference about modern warfare's complexity and the human dimension. This conference attracted policymakers, military officials, non governmental organizations among others.
As I look to the year ahead, I pledge to continue to do all I can to position our college to be successful. A strong College of Arts and Sciences is critical to us achieving our vision of becoming a high-impact global research university.
Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Communication