Letters from Leadership

Brett E. Kemker, Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Success  and Vice Provost

Brett E. Kemker, Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Success  and Vice Provost 

BRETT E. KEMKER, Regional Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Success and Vice Provost

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus is a vibrant academic community made up of accomplished students, faculty and staff who find it the perfect place to pursue and nurture their aspirations in the classroom, laboratory and beyond.

We remain committed to strengthening our campus community as we continue to grow with the Sarasota-Manatee area that has been our home for some 50 years. Student enrollment boomed, from about 6,800 students in 2018 to almost 14,500 this year, as we expanded our academic offerings, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, to meet student interest and employer demands in myriad fields, including education, tourism and hospitality management, cybersecurity and risk management and insurance.

USF’s admission to the elite Association of American Universities (AAU), a recognition of what we have accomplished with our research and other endeavors, as well as planning for a new Nursing/STEM building, will create even more opportunities to elevate the Sarasota-Manatee campus’s academic reputation and the demand for what we offer.

We are also growing physically. When our new student center and residence hall opens in the fall of 2024, our campus community will be forever transformed. The new building, which is quickly taking shape, promises to be a center of living and learning overlooking Sarasota Bay, and a point of Bull pride, that will foster a new, dynamic community for the 200 students who live in the building — and anyone else fortunate to study, teach and work on the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

This magazine celebrates the impact of the wonderful research and other work being done by our faculty and students across our campus and in the communities we serve, from a Sarasota middle school to local craft breweries and distilleries to overseas “classrooms” in exciting locations like Serbia and France.

And it looks forward, like everyone who loves the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, with relentless optimism to the new, stronger communities we are helping to build.

Sandy Justice, Associate Director of USF Research and Innovation

Sandy Justice, Associate Director of USF Research and Innovation

SANDRA JUSTICE, Associate Director of USF Research and Innovation

Researchers at USF SarasotaManatee generated more than $5 million in research expenditures to support advances in immersive technology in hospitality, employee engagement and leadership, inclusive hearing health, arts-integrated education and cybersecurity. The mantra of National Science Foundation Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, "Innovation anywhere, opportunity everywhere," underscores how critically important it is to activate talent, invite ideas and optimize innovation ecosystems.

Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders. STEM-degree graduates are in high demand, pursuing careers that are more recession-proof, and earn significantly higher salaries than non-degree jobs. The planned Nursing/ STEM building on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus will help remove barriers for students seeking STEM degrees, which is crucial to maintaining global competitiveness.

Kudos to our faculty for their awards, for demonstrating their dedication to excellence and for advancing the knowledge enterprise. Cihan Cobanoglu, McKibbon endowed dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, received the McCool Breakthrough Award for his innovative achievements in the hospitality industry. Faizan Ali, an associate professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, received an Outstanding Research Achievement Award for distinguished contributions to the field, particularly for developments in recent research methodologies for consumer behavior and human-computer interaction in the industry.

Denise Davis-Cotton, director of the Florida Center for Partnerships in Arts Integrated Teaching (PAInT) received $2.6 million from the U.S. Department of Education to bring arts-integrated pedagogy to civics classrooms. Over three years, the project, titled “Bill of Writes Storytellers,” will bring together 24 classroom teachers from Illinois, California and Washington D.C., 12 teaching artists and 24 community members in 12 nonprofit public charter school organizations to encourage student involvement through project-based learning and promote artsintegrated pedagogy.

I hope that you enjoy learning about the research happening here, and I invite you to visit the campus. Here we grow!