TAMPA — The University of South Florida officially began operating under a single accreditation for the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses on July 1.

Consolidating from three separately accredited institutions is a requirement of a Florida law passed in 2018 and amended in 2019. USF’s plan to consolidate received approval earlier this month from the executive council of the regional accrediting agency that oversees higher education in the southern United States, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Consolidation provides a wide range of new opportunities for students and faculty and ensures that every student has an opportunity to earn their degree from a Preeminent State Research University.

“This is a historic day for the University of South Florida,” said Steven Currall, USF president. “We have an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen our position as one of the nation’s premier research universities and a leader in student success. I am excited about our future as we work together to become a top-25 public university and position ourselves for future eligibility in the prestigious Association of American Universities.”

USF will now be able to offer additional majors, scholarships, support services and study abroad opportunities to students on any campus, as well as expanded access to student organizations and intramural or club sports teams. Faculty on each campus will experience new opportunities for interdisciplinary research collaborations and access to more community partnerships.

USF’s final consolidation plan is the result of significant contributions from students, faculty, staff, community members, legislators and other stakeholder groups, as well as input gathered through town hall forums, public meetings and other opportunities.

OLLI at Eckerd College announces online summer 2020 programs

ST. PETERSBURG — The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Eckerd College recently announced its online, non-credit classes and activities scheduled for the remainder of summer 2020.

In this time of social distancing, learners may participate in classes and social activities in the safety of their own homes. The classes are designed for people age 50 and older, and open to all adult learners across Pinellas County and beyond. Due to the pandemic, classes have moved online, with the goal to return to local sessions as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. The OLLI summer 2020 brochure features 31 courses online using the Zoom platform. A sample of the diverse classes offered include Broadway Showstoppers, Latin America in the 20th Century: Democracy and Dictators, Climate Change: Effects on Land on Sea Animals, American Art: From the Gilded Age to the Jazz Age (1880-1940), and The (Largely) Untold History of Violence in Florida.

OLLI also offers free online discussion groups and socials, as well as opportunities to engage with other lifelong learners. A weekly Monday program called Live: This Week at OLLI informs members and nonmembers of the many activities and classes scheduled for that week. Experience the many e-classes OLLI has to offer this summer with a new All-Access Class Pass. The price to participate is $75 for members and $90 for nonmembers. The pass must be purchased by Tuesday, July 14, and no refunds or exchanges are available. OLLI members and nonmembers may also register for individual classes. Registration opens for summer classes on Wednesday, July 8, at 9 a.m. Advance registration is required for all classes and free events.

Visit eckerd.edu/OLLI for detailed information.

FHM announces partnership with USF

ST. PETERSBURG — The Florida Holocaust Museum recently partnered with Davide Tanasi and his team from the Institute of Digital Exploration at the University of South Florida to capture three dimensional interactive renderings of artifacts in the museum’s permanent collection, virtual gallery experiences, and more.

USF IDEx is hard at work developing this new content and has already made five artifacts captured by the IDEx team using digital photogrammetry available for public view online at sketchfab.com/cvast/collections/florida-holocaust-museum.

Digital photogrammetry is a technique that allows three-dimensional digital reconstruction of physical artifacts using a collection of high-resolution photographs, a controlled light environment, and processed with specific software based on the pattern of recognition of algorithms.

One of the artifacts that has been captured using digital photogrammetry is a pair of baby shoes from FHM’s permanent collection. This pair of tiny lace-up baby shoes was worn by 2-year-old Doris Mathes, who died with her mother, Allie, at Auschwitz in 1943. Her father Richard retrieved the shoes from the family’s home in Antwerp. The family’s rabbi brought the shoes to the United States.

Tanasi and his USF IDEx team plan to continue to capture three dimensional interactive renderings of artifacts in FHM’s permanent collection, among a number of other special projects including a complete 3D rendering of the museum’s boxcar.

Eckerd College’s fifth president begins tenure with community message

ST. PETERSBURG — Damián J. Fernández, Ph.D., began his duties as the fifth president of Eckerd College recently with a message to trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni about how he will approach his time at the helm.

“As the fifth president of the college, I recommit to our mission and values,” Fernández wrote. “They will point us in the right direction as we address challenges from which we are not immune. Linked together by a shared sense of purpose, we — students, trustees, alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the college — will act in ways that advance our vision for the college — a vision of the liberal arts and sciences as catalysts to empower students to do good.”

Fernández, 62, a Cuban immigrant who grew up in Puerto Rico, joins the Eckerd community with more than 30 years of higher education experience in the classroom and administration. His most recent position was chancellor of the Pennsylvania State University—Abington College. Since 2016, Fernández was instrumental in crafting the school’s strategic plan, expanding the faculty, launching three new degree programs and opening the school’s first residence hall.

Months before his official start at Eckerd, Fernández began collaborating with President Emeritus Donald R. Eastman III, executive staff and trustees to address the challenges brought on by a pandemic and public health crisis that shuttered campuses across the country and forced educators to think differently about how they deliver information. Those talks and plans became the Eckerd Together initiative, which strives to deliver the high-impact in-person experience Eckerd College is known for while adjusting to the realities of communal living during the pandemic.

The new president also announced that he will highlight interdisciplinary initiatives, to address the complex issues of our times, and will prioritize diversity, inclusion and belonging at Eckerd, as a nod to his belief that providing marginalized groups access to education is the best way to build personal and professional attainment that will ultimately strengthen the nation.

Beginning in July, Eckerd trustees, faculty, staff, students and alumni volunteer groups will receive surveys aimed at deciphering the priorities of the community and ideas of advancing the institution. Fernández will begin listening sessions with groups on-campus during the fall semester with plans to use all the feedback to create a strategic plan for the college.

USF names new associate VP of undergraduate studies

TAMPA — The University of South Florida recently appointed Allison Crume as associate vice president and dean of undergraduate studies.

Crume, an experienced higher education leader, will provide strategic direction and leadership to a unit that will continue to drive the innovative policies, programs and practices that established USF as a national model for student success. She comes to USF from Florida State University, where she has served in progressive administrative roles since 2006, and most recently as associate vice president for student affairs and adjunct faculty in the College of Education. Having earned her doctorate in higher education administration from FSU, Crume brings both scholarly and practical experience on the topics of student access, retention and graduation while creating a safe, welcoming educational environment for all students. Working closely with FSU’s undergraduate studies unit on numerous projects, she helped to enhance student academic resources and culture on the Tallahassee campus. She is committed to equitable access to success, inclusive excellence, and the removal of all barriers that obstruct a student’s path to timely graduation.

“USF is pleased to welcome a proven student-centered education leader and scholar,” Ralph Wilcox said in a press release. Wilcox is USF provost and executive vice president. “Dr. Crume is a dedicated and accomplished professional who understands the importance of equity of access and success for both freshmen and transfer students, a core priority of USF’s mission and vision.”

USF is recognized as a national leader in student success, demonstrating unprecedented gains in both student retention and graduation rates. The six-year graduation rate dramatically improved by 25 percent since 2009, reaching 75% in 2019. The retention of first-year students has also climbed to 91%, reflecting the university’s success in helping students transition and adapt to the rigors of college.

“I am excited about the opportunities to further student learning through innovation and collaboration,” Crume said. “The Student Success team exemplifies the intentional steps USF is taking toward an enhanced holistic academic experience. I look forward to joining the team and contributing to its continued success.”

Crume will begin her new position on Aug. 3.

James Madison University announces spring 2020 dean’s list

James Madison University recently announced the names of students making the dean’s list for the spring 2020 semester.

Students who earn dean’s list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of between 3.5 and 3.899. Among those making the dean’s list were:

• Emma Denelsbeck of Palm Harbor

• Alice Littlejohns of Palm Harbor

• Olivia Lansing of Belleair

• Alexis Vanderlinden of Seminole

Seminole resident makes dean’s list at Harding University

SEMINOLE — Jaden Celeste of Seminole is among more than 1,500 Harding University students included on the dean’s list for grades achieved during the Spring 2020 semester.

Celeste is a sophomore management major. The dean’s list is published each semester by Dr. Marty Spears, University provost, honoring those who have achieved high scholarship. To be eligible, a student must be carrying 12 or more hours with a 3.65 or higher grade-point average and no incompletes.

Belleair resident named to dean’s list at Miami University

BELLEAIR — Megan Russell of Belleair recently was named to the dean’s list at Miami University for the 2019-20 spring semester.

Miami University students who are ranked in the top twenty percent of undergraduate students within their division for second semester 2019-2020 have been named to the dean’s list recognizing academic performance. Russell is majoring in zoology, sustainability.

WPI announces dean’s list students

SAFETY HARBOR — Rhianna Shanabrook of Safety Harbor was named to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute dean’s list for academic excellence for the spring 2020 semester.

Shanabrook is a member of the class of 2021 majoring in mechanical engineering. A total of 1,749 undergraduate students achieved the criteria required for WPI’s spring 2020 dean’s list. The criteria for the WPI dean’s list differs from that of most other universities as WPI does not compute a grade point average. Instead, WPI defines the dean’s list by the amount of work completed at the A level in courses and projects.

Raymond named to dean’s list at Samford

PALM HARBOR — Mary Raymond of Palm Harbor was among the 1,759 students named to Samford University’s 2020 spring semester dean’s list.

To qualify for the dean’s list, a student must have earned a minimum 3.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0 while attempting at least 12 credit hours of coursework. Dean’s list is the highest academic recognition given by the school at the end of each semester.

Raymond is majoring in health sciences.

Phelps earns academic honor

CLEARWATER — Elizabeth Phelps of Clearwater recently was named to the dean’s list at the University of New Hampshire for earning highest honors for the spring 2020 semester.

Phelps is majoring in psychology. Students named to the dean’s list at the University of New Hampshire are students who have earned recognition through their superior scholastic performance during a semester enrolled in a full-time course load of 12 or more graded credits. Highest honors are awarded to students who earn a semester grade point average of 3.85 or better out of a possible 4.0.

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