The University of South Florida is a high-impact, global research university committed to student success. The College of Arts and Sciences supports this mission by graduating our students in a timely manner, preparing them for work and for life, and 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 crucial strategic goals.
Recently, CAS embarked on the creation of a multi-year college strategic plan. I am grateful to our faculty and staff who currently are serving on the planning committee. They will recommend strategies to the faculty that will make our college even more successful.
Strategic Changes to CAS
This year we made many strategic changes to the College of Arts and Sciences that are already yielding positive results. My goal is to create new kinds of stability in a dynamic environment through disciplined innovation, proactive community engagement and academic re-invention. I am grateful for the excellent work of all of our faculty and staff in support of these new programs and structures.
- Unified Language B.A. Degree: The Department of World Languages has created a new unified language and culture degree that emphasizes the connections between language and culture. Former degree programs in individual languages have been reengineered as concentrations within the new degree. The new degree provides students with more options to explore language and culture.
- Intelligence Studies Degrees: The intelligence concentration in the cybersecurity master’s degree is now the most popular concentration in the program and interest in the stand alone intelligence studies master’s degree approved last year is beginning to take off. A new concentration in intelligence studies for the undergraduate information studies degree also is expected to be popular.
- Business Support Services (BSS): CAS continues to expand BSS to serve more academic departments in CAS. BSS is a college-wide unit that processes travel and purchasing transactions in the USF business systems on behalf of faculty and staff. BSS has created efficiencies in processing transactions, simplified security setup in FAST and greatly improved compliance with USF policies and procedures.
- Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) Budget Model: CAS is preparing its academic departments for success under a proposed RCM budget model at USF that is intended to provide greater transparency and incentivize entrepreneurial action in the colleges. The college is adopting a more data-driven approach to measuring performance and allocating precious resources. CAS is providing departments with much more detail about tuition revenue, admission and enrollment, student progression toward degrees, and research productivity and impact.
CAS has been proactive in establishing partnerships with organizations that align with our mission and provide unique opportunities for our students and faculty, all the while addressing pressing societal challenges.
- Brookings Executive Education: In partnership with Brookings Executive Education—the leading provider of executive education to government--the College is developing courses to meet the educational and professional development needs of government and the military. Courses will be offered in an executive education format with stacking of courses to create certificates and ultimately a master’s degree. Courses such as “Strategic Negotiations: Cross-Cultural and Conflict Resolution,” are designed to be mixed and matched with current Brookings’ offerings in policy decision making and leadership to provide professionals, such as those from the commands located at MacDill Air Force Base.
- Booz Allen Hamilton: In cooperation with other USF colleges and centers, CAS and the global consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton have formalized a partnership to conduct cutting-edge applied research and to prepare the next generation of business and government professionals in such fields as cybersecurity, data science, information technology and intelligence.
- USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey: This survey is the most anticipated annual survey of Floridians that looks at a wide range of economic, social and political issues facing one of the nation’s largest, most diverse states. Under the direction of Distinguished University Professor Susan MacManus, students from MacManus’ Media and Politics class work with the well-known Nielsen Corporation to create survey questions and analyze the results. The USF-Nielsen Sunshine State Survey offered our students the unique opportunity to learn about polling and interpreting the results, as well as to network with Nielsen professionals. The survey also led significant press coverage throughout the state.
Unstoppable Campaign Update
CAS received several significant gifts this fiscal year that support the college’s core mission of student success and research:
- Nearly $5 million from the Hitz Foundation to support the creation of the Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST).
- $160,000 from the Tampa Bay Rays for a scholarship endowment to support first generation college students.
- $50,000 from the Joy McCann Foundation to support antibiotic development programs targeting Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MSRA).
- $113,000 from national foundations, corporations and individuals to support cancer cell biology and biochemistry research.
I thank our faculty and staff for their unflagging commitment to our students.
- Enrollment: CAS, in partnership with USF Innovative Education, has increased online enrollment to about 20 percent of our total SCH (up from less than 12 percent) with highly popular Winter Session and Maymester offerings.
- Governor’s Ready Set Work Challenge: Psychology, Sociology, Geosciences and Health Sciences have all worked hard to revise their respective curricula to integrate opportunities for students to explore various potential career opportunities early on in their degree programs.
- LIP/TIP: Our Tallahassee Internship Program (TIP) continues to be one of the best experiential learning opportunities offered at USF. We had seven extremely bright and motivated students who interned in Tallahassee for senators, representatives, lobbyists and community organizations during legislative session this semester. Several students participated in our Legislative Internship Program (LIP), which offers our students the chance to work in the local offices of federal, state and local legislators or think-tank/policy agencies.
- Dean’s Student Leadership Society: Now in its fourth year, the Dean’s Student Leadership Society boasts 21 members and 30 alumni. This past year, they have mentored freshmen, participated in Bulls for Kids, collected pajamas for children in foster care and have represented the college at hundreds of events. Two of our members received a full ride for Ph.D. programs at Brown University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
- ZAP Charter Class: In fall 2015, CAS and the Muma College of Business welcomed 23 students to join the first cohort of the Zimmerman Advertising Program (ZAP). This highly competitive program features students from Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Saudi Arabia and Russia. They will spend their first four years as business advertising majors in Muma and then will finish their fifth year in the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications, earning a master’s degree in strategic communication.
CAS research and scholarship activities focus on solutions to problems of local, regional and global significance. The grand challenges being addressed by our faculty include sustainable and renewable energy, global environmental change, digital heritage preservation, human health and well-being, food security and hunger, gender equality, STEM education, and building inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable societies.
- Grant success: CAS faculty have been successful in supporting their research and scholarship efforts through both intramural and extramural funding. So far this fiscal year, research awards have increased by 34 percent totaling about $18 million from 207 awards. Our research expenditures also have shown an increase of 13 percent totaling $8 million with a facilities and administration recovery rate of nearly 24 percent, one of the highest rates at USF.
- STEER Grant: USF, in collaboration with its partner, Hillsborough Community College (HCC), has embarked on an ambitious NSF funded project to transform the culture of teaching in STEM departments. Our shared goal is to make evidence-based teaching expected and the norm for science, mathematics and engineering classes, with the anticipated outcome of enhanced student success. The team has leveraged grant resources to institute systemic change by addressing three key components: faculty, students and the institutional environment in which they interact. This project utilizes multiple, simultaneous initiatives to approach each of these components and create a culture of student-centered, evidence-based teaching.
- CVAST: The Alliance for Integrated Spatial Technologies (AIST) expanded its role as a leading global education and 3D heritage research facility to become the Center for Virtualization and Applied Spatial Technologies (CVAST) at USF. This change is made possible thanks to a $4.6 million grant from the Hitz Foundation, and a matching investment from USF.
Our efforts to engage with the Tampa Bay community have been highly successful, and I want to 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 linked us with people and groups in the community, both within and beyond the Tampa Bay area.
- Frontier Forum Lecture Series: We continue to offer the Frontier Forum lecture series with support of the Office of the Provost. This year we hosted Dr. Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist who discovered CTE, a brain injury found in many NFL players; Laura Schroff, the New York Times best-selling author of “An Invisible Thread” and George Takei, actor, writer and social justice activist.
- Trail Blazers: For nearly 40 years, CAS has hosted dinners with some of our most outstanding faculty in the heart of downtown Tampa. These events give our alumni and donors the opportunity to learn about the latest research going on in the college. This year, our featured speakers included Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, Manoug Manougian, David Merkler and Tammy Allen. The feedback from our guests is overwhelmingly positive, and it gives us a way to tell our story and why the work of CAS faculty matters.
- Art of Forensics Conference: The Florida Institute for Forensic Anthropology & Applied Science (IFAAS), in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Florida Sheriff’s Association, hosted a conference in hopes of solving some of Florida’s cold cases. Forensic artists worked along side law enforcement to create 3D, facial reconstructions of nine victims.
- Florida Legislative Speakers Forum: For the first time, the College organized the Florida Legislative Speakers Forum, which was held in Tallahassee, Florida. Former Speakers of the Florida House discussed issues facing Florida today and reflected on their experiences while serving as Speaker. The panel discussion, moderated by Distinguished University Professor Susan MacManus, featured four former speakers of the Florida House: Donald Tucker, Ralph Haben, H. Lee Moffitt and Dean Cannon. The event was recorded for the Florida Channel and can be viewed here: http://thefloridachannel.org/videos/2916-florida-legislative-speakers-forum/
- Humanities Institute: The Humanities Institute continues to offer highly engaging events to our campus and the public, and have featured important discussions about STEM and the humanities, race and politics, science fiction, Shakespeare, and global public health. HI also hosted two Scholars-in-Residence this year: John Dupre and Terrance Hayes.
- Alumni Events: The College of Arts and Sciences is committed to engaging our alumni and fostering meaningful lifelong relationships. This year, we hosted several events for alumni, including a Homecoming Parade Watch Party, a reception for Department of History alumni and the annual Rockbreaker Social for the School of Geosciences.
As I look to the year ahead, I pledge to continue to do all I can to position our college for sustained success. I am moved by your confidence in my leadership and am motivated to exceed your expectations every day. A strong College of Arts and Sciences is critical to us achieving our vision of becoming a high-impact global research university. We have already done so many wonderful things together; let's see together how much better we can become.
Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Communication