College of Arts and Sciences, USF

Dean Eisenberg

Our Mission
The College of Arts and Sciences is the intellectual heart of the University of South Florida. We fulfill the essential role of providing a liberal arts education through our focus on the humanities and the social and natural sciences. We are a diverse, inclusive community united in the belief that broadly educated people are the basis of a just, free, peaceful and prosperous society. 

Our Vision
The College of Arts and Sciences aspires to be a national model for integrating the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences into a dynamic, trans-disciplinary entity focused on knowledge generation, global problem solving, skills development and real-world applications. We will nurture academic success for a diverse population by creating engaged, inclusive learning environments that prepare students for productive personal and professional lives as global citizens. Through innovative, interdisciplinary research, creative activities and mutually beneficial community partnerships, the college seeks to become a global leader in scholarship that addresses vexing social and environmental challenges and consequently enhances quality of life for all.


ZAP students with President Judy Genshaft

Student Success
This has been an extraordinary year for CAS students, faculty and staff as we have made major contributions toward President Genshaft’s vision of becoming a preeminent, AAU eligible university. Student success is, without a doubt, our core mission. Through a focused combination of appreciative advising, curriculum redesign and innovation, and expanded experiential education, CAS faculty and staff are one of the main driving forces behind the dramatic improvements in student progression, graduation and employment that have been realized in recent years. I thank our faculty and staff for their unflagging commitment to our students.

  • Enrollment: The fall 2016 headcount in the College is stable at 16,403 (up .3%). Student Credit Hour (SCH) production in the College is strong and accounts for more than half of the SCH produced by USF Tampa. CAS, in partnership with USF Innovative Education, has increased online enrollment to 18% of our total SCH. At the same time, we have taken great strides to ensure the quality of our online offerings by providing faculty the opportunity to complete course design training. And despite a turbulent global environment, international student headcount in CAS is 850, up 16% from last year.

  • Graduation, Academic Progress Rate and Retention: CAS outperforms most other colleges at retaining and graduating students. The 6 year graduation rate of students who begin in CAS and ultimately graduate from the university exceeded 70%, and our students were retained both within our college and at the university at a higher rate than last year, making CAS a significant contributor to USF’s movement toward meeting pre-eminence and performance based funding goals. 
  • Successful Course Completion: CAS reduced the number of courses with D/F grades >10%. Our faculty participated in targeted course redesign and CAS Departments discussed and implemented strategies to improve successful course completion based on data distributed by the Dean’s office.

  • Appreciative Advising: The College of Arts and Sciences has continued to develop an Appreciative Advising Model (Disarm, Discover, Dream, Design, Deliver, Don't Settle) with a learner-centered emphasis. We continued our annual tradition of offering the Academic Advisor Professional Development Fall Retreat and Spring Workshop, which both include discussion of foundational theoretical frameworks of Appreciative Advising and targeted training in coaching skills that are essential to each phase of appreciative advising.

The new case management model being developed by USF Student Affairs and Student Success was also a prominent component of the annual advising workshop this year. Advisor professional development within CAS emphasizes the improvement of the advising experience for students and the results this year included the development of Canvas student workshops to better support student learning throughout the probation and dismissal process at the University and the creation of a handout to introduce new students at orientation (FYS and Transfer) to their academic advisors, providing a more personalized connection between students and advisors. CAS also designed and adopted a standard template for Academic Advising Session Notes which integrates Appreciative Advising stages as a framework for the advising discussion, creating consistency in how advising is delivered across the college.

  • Regionally recognized Academic Advisors: It is my pleasure to share with you that the hard work and dedication of three CAS Academic Advisors will be recognized at the 2017 Region 4 Advising Conference!  

    • Kasandrea Sereno is Winner of the Region 4 Excellence in Advising - Advisor Primary Role 2017.

    • Daniel Shelnutt is Winner of the Region 4 Excellence in Advising - New Advisor 2017.

    • Rene Alvarez has been awarded Certificate of Merit of the Region 4 Excellence in Advising - Advisor Primary Role 2017.


Students from the School of Public Affairs in Tallahassee

  • Experiential Education:
    • Undergraduate Research: CAS accounts for over half of the Undergraduate Student Research credits earned at USF Tampa.

    • Internships: Eleven CAS Departments (Chemistry (Med. Tech); English; School of Geosciences; Humanities and Cultural Studies; History; Mass Communications; Psychology; School of Information; School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies; School of Public Affairs; and Women's and Gender Studies) offer coordinated internship, practica and field experiences for our students. In each of these units, there is a consistent, designated faculty coordinator that markets opportunities, develops and maintains partnerships with employers, and mentors students as they prepare for, and participate in, internships, field placements and practica for credit that may count toward degree requirements.

      For example, the School of Public Affairs faculty coordinate the Tallahassee Internship Program (TIP) and Legislative Internship Program (LIP). TIP continues to be one of the best experiential learning opportunities offered at USF. We had eight bright and motivated students who interned in Tallahassee for senators, representatives, lobbyists and community organizations during the legislative session this semester. Twenty students participated in LIP, which offers our students the chance to work in the local offices of federal, state and local legislators or think-tank/policy agencies.

    • Service Learning: 23 CAS course sections were designated Service Learning this year.

    • Study Abroad: CAS students and faculty are very active in education abroad. 550 students participated this year.
  • CAS Pre-College Programs: CAS offers several programs developed for high school students who want to pursue academic interests, discover career opportunities and explore the independence of university life. All programs are enriched with experiential learning, select field trips and guest speakers – all of which put theory into practice. Some programs even offer the opportunity to earn college credit.

    • ADcademy: This six-day program allows students to learn the process of developing an advertising campaign from start to finish. Students explore the creative process, design, consumer research and other aspects that allow them to create advertisements in print, video and audio. Students also participate in field trips to local advertising and marketing companies and learn from industry partners.

    • STEM Academy: Science and Medicine: This academically intensive, six-day program directly engages students in hands-on inquiry, discovery, creativity and research across several disciplines that impact medicine and the health professions. STEM Academy scholars are exposed to basic, clinical and translational research.

    • STEM for Scholars: This four-week summer program prepares students for academic and college life, with the goal of expanding students’ horizons in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Students have the opportunity to develop critical thinking and conceptual creativity. They are engaged and challenged through active, hands-on participation in all aspects of the program.

    • Write Now: USF’s Young Writers Workshop: Write Now is a week-long immersion into a collegiate environment in creative writing. Students work with passionate and experienced instructors, meet published authors and write and share their own work.

  • National Scholarships and Awards: A number of our talented students received national awards this year, including three Gillman scholarships, two critical language scholarships, and one scholarship at the U.S. State Department.

  • Career Readiness - Governor’s Ready Set Work Challenge: Psychology, Sociology, Geosciences and Health Sciences have all transformed their respective curricula to integrate opportunities for students to explore various potential career opportunities early on in their degree programs. At the same time, I have dedicated a significant portion of my schedule each month to meeting with prominent employers and community leaders about opportunities for our students.

  • Alumni Societies and Chapters: Many of our Departments and Schools have established Alumni Societies and chapters to connect with Alums as they move into their careers and establish themselves as prominent business and community leaders. For example, the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, the School of Geosciences, the School of Information and Women’s and Gender Studies each have established societies and/or chapters.
  • Advisory Boards: The College of Arts and Sciences as well as many Departments within have advisory boards populated by business and community leaders. The include the Department of Physics, School of Geosciences, Women’s and Gender Studies, School of Information and the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications.
  • Dean’s Student Leadership Society: Now in its fifth year, the Dean’s Student Leadership Society boasts 32 members and 34 alumni. This past year, they have mentored freshmen, regularly spoken with students at local high schools and middle schools about preparing for college, and have represented the college at dozens of events. The spring recruitment class was highly competitive, with just a 25 percent acceptance rate and an average GPA of 3.79.

  • ZAP Continues to Grow: In Fall 2016, CAS and the Muma College of Business welcomed 34 students as the second cohort of the Zimmerman Advertising Program (ZAP). They will spend their first four years in an integrated curriculum as business advertising majors in Muma and then will finish their fifth year earning a master’s degree in strategic communication in the Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications.

  • Rising in the National Rankings: USF’s Industrial and Organizational Psychology graduate program ranks No. 2 in the nation among all public and private universities, up from No. 4 last year. Our Master’s in Library and Information Sciences is ranked 25th in the U.S.


Current members of the Dean’s Student Leadership Society

Research and Scholarship
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. The college saw significant increases in both research expenditures (up 36% at $17,868,000) and award dollars (up 31% at $21,416,386) in 2016. Our federal facilities and administration recovery rate is 27%, one of the highest at USF. The college continues to see increases in both expenditures and award dollars in 2017 with year-to-date expenditures at $11,982,686 and award dollars of $16,045,761, both up nearly 10% over the same period in 2016.

  • Significant Upgrades to Faculty Support: We redesigned the CAS Research website to offer better tools to faculty seeking support for their scholarship. We created two new assistant dean positions to provide data analytics and technical writing support to investigators. Additionally, a new Unit Research Administrator has been added to support scholarly activities across the college.

  • Notable Faculty Awards: 28 CAS faculty received prestigious national awards this year, up from 10 last year, including AAAS Fellows, NSF Career Awards, ACLS Fellowship and Fulbrights. In addition, this year CAS recruited our first ever member of the National Academy of Science, Professor Charles Stanish. Dr. Stanish is coming to USF to continue his world class work on Peruvian archeology and to found a new USF Center focused on human influences on disease and the environment.


The School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies

Strategic Changes to CAS
This year an audit of CAS business systems affirmed that the many strategic changes the College of Arts and Sciences implemented to provide back office support in the academic units are yielding positive results. My goal is to create new kinds of stability in a dynamic business 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. As such, we are better prepared for what comes next.

  • Lowering the Student/Faculty Ratio: We have known for some time that for us to reach the highest levels of excellence we must grow the size of our faculty cohort relative to our number of students. To this end, this academic year we hired 25 new faculty in the college —15 assistant professors, one professor and 9 full time instructors. At the same time, one faculty member (Dr. Jamil Jreisat of SPA) and three staff (Anne Copeland, Rose Ford and Nancy Serrano) retired from CAS after enormously successful careers.

  • Business Support Services (BSS): BSS is a college-wide unit that utilizes a help-ticket based approach to process 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. Based on the UAC audit report 17-008, CAS will expand BSS to serve 100% of the academic departments in CAS.

  • 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 to 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.    
  • DIEO Research Bootcamp: For the third year in a row, CAS was a major supporter of the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity’s Research Bootcamp. Sponsored by Sisters of the Academy and geared to women of color, more than 25 CAS junior faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral scholars have participated in research skills training and one-on-one mentoring. Ten CAS faculty also serve as senior scholars to the DIEO Bootcamp mentees.
  • Mentoring Network Survey: CAS Office of Faculty Affairs is conducting a needs assessment for a Faculty Mentoring Network. The 15 item survey was distributed on March 30, 2017, seeking information on what mentoring opportunities and resources faculty need to be successful. Results of the survey will be utilized to develop and implement programming aimed at faculty needs. CAS Faculty Affairs anticipates a fall 2017 roll-out of the Mentoring Network.
  • SIGS: This year marked the formal debut of a new unit in CAS, the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies.       This unit will bring together the strengths of faculty across international affairs, political science, and Africana and Latino studies to envision a truly global unit both with respect to curriculum and scholarship.

  • FIRST: Working with various aspects of local, state and federal law enforcement, we created the Florida Forensics Institute for Research, Security and Tactical Training. This institute will work to solve cold cases, identify missing persons, and offer valuable forensics training with special relevance to the Florida ecosystem.

  • Hunger Action Alliance: Working with Feeding Tampa Bay and the USF College of Public Health, Anthropology professors have created this alliance to conduct much needed research on the nature and causes of food insecurity in the Tampa Bay area.


Dean Eric Eisenberg with the School of Geosciences

Unstoppable Campaign Update

  • Permanent USF Geology Field Station in Idaho: Last August, the USF Research Foundation Board of Directors approved a proposed project by the USF School of Geosciences to launch fundraising efforts to purchase land and build the USF Geology Field Station in Idaho. Total fundraising goal is $400,000. The College of Arts and Sciences will match up to $150,000 of donated funds.

    The USF Geology Field Station in Idaho will provide crucial hands-on experience for USF students, guarantee the best learning experience possible – and move USF to the forefront in university field research. The USF Geology Field Station project is strongly supported by the USF Geology Alumni Society (GAS). Anticipated opening date is summer 2019.  
  • Major Gifts: These generous contributions support the College’s core mission of student success and impactful research:
    • $25,000 from Dr. Glenn and Joyce Burdick to support the Glenn A. and Joyce M. Burdick Endowment for Physics.

    • $35,000 from the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County to support the Community Real Estate Development (CRED) Program in the Florida Institute of Government.

    • $250,000 legacy gift from Richard and Trevetta Wunderlin to support the Richard P. and Trevetta F. Wunderlin Herbarium Endowment in Cell Biology, Micro Biology and Molecular Biology.

    • $300,000 from the Leo and Anne Albert Charitable Trust to support Cancer Cell Research and Biochemistry in Chemistry.

    • $950,000 from Dr. Julian Newman to establish the Newman Endowment Growth Fund to support scholarships and awards for graduate and undergraduate students in English and History.

Key Partnerships
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 agencies—the College is creating courses to meet the educational and professional development needs of government and the military. Courses are offered in an executive education format in conjunction with course-stacking 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 a more comprehensive education to 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 offers our students the unique opportunity to learn about polling and interpreting the results, as well as networking with Nielsen professionals. The survey also led to significant press coverage throughout the state.


Students and the dean with Frontier Forum speaker Yaa Gyasi

Community Engagement
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.

  • 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 Susan MacManus, Golfo Alexopolous, Jennifer Bosson and Linda Whiteford. The feedback from our guests is overwhelmingly positive, and it gives us a way to tell our story and to demonstrate the ways in which the work of CAS faculty matters.

  • 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 journalist, author and filmmaker Sebastian Junger, New York Times Best-Selling author Yaa Gyasi, and CNN Senior Analyst and Supreme Court Expert Jeffrey Toobin.

  • 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: Michael Berube, the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University and Peter Balakian, winner of last year’s Pulitzer Prize for poetry and one of the world’s leading scholars on the Armenian Genocide.  

  • 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 luncheon and campus tour for the Class of 1966, a reception for the Department of History alumni and the annual Rockbreaker Social for the School of Geosciences.

  • Department-sponsored Events: With the support of the College, our Departments have been engaging the community with their current research as well as hosting experts in their fields. Most notably:

    • The Department of Anthropology hosted the Art of Forensics at the Tampa Bay History Center. Some of the best forensic artists in the U.S. spent a week inside our lab creating clay reconstructions of the cold case victims’ faces, aiming to raise awareness and generate new leads in each case. The twenty cases include twelve from Florida, four from Pennsylvania, two from Kentucky, one from Missouri and one from Tennessee. It was through this event that individuals reached out to the authorities, believing that one of the victims may be a lost loved one.

    • The Religious Studies Department continues to host its successful bi-annual June Baumgardner Gelbart Lecture in Jewish Studies. Their latest lecture featured David Dalin and focused on The Presidents of the United States and the Jews – From Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama.

    • The Department of Mathematics and Statistics presented its annual R. Kent Nagle Lecture featuring Michele Mosca from the University of Waterloo. His presentation focused on Cybersecurity and the Quantum Era.


IFAAS Director Erin Kimmerle with the Art of Forensics team

As I look to the year ahead, I pledge to continue to do all I can to position our college for continued excellence. I stand in support of President Genshaft’s desire to make the University of South Florida a national model. A strong College of Arts and Sciences is critical to us achieving that vision. We have come very far together and I am dedicated in seeing us go even further.

Eric M. Eisenberg, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Communication