Critical & Creative Design Thinking Program

Our Team

Dr. A. Helene Robinson, Program Director

Dr. Robinson is the director of the CCDT program, the Arts Integration coordinator, an associate professor of instruction in the College of Education, and affiliate faculty in the department of Women and Gender Studies at the University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee campus.  

Her research, teaching, and writing focus on arts integration methods to create inclusive learning environments, applied behavioral analysis to create multi-tiered systems of support, special education pedagogy, social/emotional skill development, developing empathy and cultural reciprocity for effective and innovative designs, and curriculum and pedagogical development applying critical and creative design to develop positive self-beliefs, resiliency, self-regulation, critical thinking, a growth mindset, and effective collaborations in multi-cultural contexts.   

She has conducted many professional development workshops, presented nationally and internationally, engaged in numerous community service and research projects, and led the design and development of multiple innovative programs, focusing on interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty across colleges.

Dr. Gregory Smogard

Dr. Smogard is the assistant vice president of Innovation and Business Development on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. He focuses on creating and enhancing mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses and organizations by leveraging the university’s resources and innovation expertise. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies and global brands in more than forty countries and held management positions at American Express’s Latin American Division, and Blockbuster/Viacom. Dr. Smogard is author of the book, A World of Opportunities for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Creating Your Own Job in the New Normal.

Carlos A. Moreira

Mr. Moreira is the director for Campus Engagement for Veteran Success and Alumni Affairs at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. He oversees the programs, scholarships, and benefits process for all military-connected students.  

He is the chair of the SALUTE National Honors Veteran Society. Mr. Moreira is an advisor to university chancellor on Diversity, Equity and Equal Opportunity. In the community, Mr. Moreira is a board member for the Sarasota County Veterans Commission and is currently serving as the chair.  

Lastly, Mr. Moreira is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserve as a company first sergeant.

Emily Pacula

Ms. Pacula is the administrator for the Critical & Creative Design Thinking program here at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.  

In addition to administrative support, she has a background of event planning, digital marketing, and graphic design.

Dr. Michael Gillespie – CCDT workshop facilitator & presenter

Dr. Gillespie is an associate professor of psychology at the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus. He teaches Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Research Methods, and Statistics.  

His research focuses on organizational culture and leadership, psychological measures, and job attitudes, with a current interest in judgment and decision-making in the workplace.  
Dr. Gillespie’s previous appointments include data analyst at University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, director of research at Denison Consulting, and assessment coordinator for the College of Education at Bowling Green State University.  

Most recently, he served as director of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Incredi-Bull Critical Thinking Program and President of the Faculty Senate. 

Dr. Lisa Penney – CCDT workshop facilitator & presenter

Dr. Penney is a professor of management in the Muma College of Business at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, where she teaches undergraduate and MBA courses on management, leadership, and organizational behavior.  

Dr. Penney is an award-winning researcher who has spent over 20 years studying the causes and consequences of job stress. Her work has been published in top scholarly journals and featured in national and international media, including, Newsweek Japan, and The Today Show.

Currently, Dr. Penney is working to bridge the research on neuroscience, decision-making, and stress to develop practical strategies to help individuals improve their critical thinking and decision-making under stressful conditions.