University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus



Campus Insider: USF to host health and wellness virtual event for faculty, staff at Sarasota-Manatee campus on Oct. 30

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Just as the University of South Florida remains committed to providing a safe learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, it understands the importance of personal health and wellbeing, which is why the university’s Sarasota-Manatee campus will host a virtual “Health, Healing and Self Care Day” for faculty and staff on Friday, Oct. 30.

The half-day event will include advice from health and wellness experts to navigate wellness challenges caused by the pandemic, breakout sessions for faculty and staff to share their experiences and support one another, and helpful tips from campus employees and Human Resource’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Among those who will offer insights will be Lisa Penney, a professor in the Muma College of Business at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. Penney is an expert in workplace stress.

The schedule will include:

  • 9-9:15 a.m.: Opening remarks, USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook
  • 9:15-10 a.m.: Keynote address, “Understanding Stress & Developing Resilience,” Lisa Penney
  • 10-11 a.m.: EAP session, “Five Fast Fixes to Reduce Stress,” Kathy Jo Pollack
  • 11 a.m.-noon: Discussion groups with Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Steven Prevaux and Jacob Diaz
  • Noon-12:30 p.m.: Breakout sessions with Danielle McCourt and Gayle Van Gils
  • 12:30-1 p.m.: Closing remarks, Duane Khan

“We hope this will allow for a release of pent-up emotional energy and encourage openness, personal growth and healing as we strive to ensure the continued progress of our students,” said Allison Dinsmore, assistant director of student success at the campus.

Dinsmore is organizing the event with Corey Posey, the campus’s diversity, equity and inclusion officer. The event aligns with USF President Steve Currall’s Principles of Community for dialogue with respect and freedom with responsibility.

“We hope that by focusing on health and well-being during what has become a turbulent time on college campuses and in our nation, that this will allow our valued team members to unplug from the stressors of life, experience a period of relaxation and gain a fresh and new perspective,” Posey said. “We also hope to highlight the many resources available to employees regarding mental health and well-being.”

USF to offer free online classes starting Nov. 2 to help hospitality businesses prepare for COVID-19 aftermath

The University of South Florida School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is offering a free certificate program to help hotels, restaurants and other hospitality businesses prepare for the post-COVID-19 pandemic environment.


Cihan Cobanoglu

The “Post-Crisis Hospitality Management Certificate” consists of seven free classes and will be held online from Nov. 2 through Dec. 18. Visit to register and learn more. More than 4,300 professionals worldwide have registered for the program thus far.

Faculty from the hospitality school, which is part of the USF Muma College of Business and based at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, will present the classes. Participants can attend the sessions live or visit to view recorded sessions.

A certificate of completion from the hospitality school will be available after attending the sessions and completing an assessment. No books or materials are required for the sessions. Each module will run two hours and include opportunities for participants to interact with the facilitators.

The program will explore such topics as marketing, human resources management, technology management, hospitality law and contracts, financial management and hospitality operations and seek to answer such questions as:

  • How can I restore demand and drive revenue?
  • How can I develop new “off-the-beaten-path” opportunities?
  • Technology in hospitality: Can it become a savior?
  • Legal challenges: What to look for?
  • How to deal with remote workers, low employee morale and digital exhaustion.
  • How to optimize operations to be prepared for a similar crisis in the future.

“Our faculty members are donating their time to do this, and they are all doing this with one goal in mind, to help this important industry to recover,” said Cihah Cobanoglu, director of the M3 Center and a professor in the Muma College of Business.

To register for the class visit the registration page

USF to host virtual event connecting nonprofits with students who need assistance

Housing and food insecurities will be in the spotlight as the University of South Florida hosts the Fall 2020 Resource Fair Virtual Event on Thursday, Nov. 12, from 3 to 5 p.m.

The special free online program, hosted by the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, is expected to draw representatives from 30 local nonprofit agencies for a broad discussion about housing and food insecurities. Several USF organizations and departments are expected as well, including the campus-based Student Accessibility Services, Health and Safety and External Affairs & Governmental Relations.

Although intended for students of USF’s three campuses, the event is open to staff, faculty and the general public as well.

“It’s important that our students understand that resources are available to them,” said Yolonda Woody, a senior at the Sarasota-Manatee campus and member of the Food and Housing Insecurity Committee, comprised of students, staff and faculty.

Also sponsoring the event are the campus’ Office of Veteran Success and Student Government Association. The fair will be held virtually through Microsoft Teams. Register by Nov. 8 at the fair’s registration page to participate.

The topics of discussion include:

  • Food and housing insecurity 

  • Health and wellness 

  • Career and employment connections 

  • Veteran/military aid 

  • Financial resources 

  • Other direct client services 

“The goal is to give people who need help more access to these agencies,” Woody said. “I want our students, staff, faculty and members of the public to understand that there are people out there who care and who can help them to improve their lives.”

For more information contact Woody at

CARVERCON returns to USF with free virtual event

CARVERCON 2020 is coming to the University of South Florida with guest speaker retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Mike McConnell, former director of the National Security Agency. McConnell is the executive director of Cyber Florida, a state-funded organization hosted at USF.

The annual security conference is free and will be held virtually on Nov. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. Register and learn more here

Luke Bencie, co-author of “The CARVER Target Analysis and Vulnerability Assessment Methodology: A Practical Guide for Evaluating Security Vulnerabilities,” is organizing the event. CARVER is the security assessment process used by the CIA, FBI and other agencies to evaluate vulnerabilities.

Security professionals nationwide are expected at the day-long event, including professionals from the military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, as well as security directors from Fortune 500 companies.

Topics for the event will include: 

  • How COVID-19 and other bio-threats could be weaponized
  • Ever-growing cyber threats
  • Emerging geopolitical enemies
  • How security professionals can stay ahead of threats
  • What’s next for the coming decade?

Chef Rov lauded in column saluting Manatee Hispanics

Chef Rov Avila, the creative force behind the popular menu items at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus café, recently garnered recognition for his off-campus charitable efforts.

Avila, known for his dollar-stretching healthy recipes, was included in Manatee County Administrator Cheri Coryea’s Oct. 7 column saluting notable Latinos.

“Over the years, he has worked closely with Realize Bradenton and local farmers’ markets through the Healthy Together Initiative, which provides assistance in creating, sharing and instruction in healthy habits and cooking tips for SNAP recipient families,” Coryea, the county’s top government official, said of Avila.

SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the federal program that provides food-purchasing assistance to low-income people. Coryea’s column names 19 notable Hispanic leaders from Manatee, including Avila, who said he was grateful to be mentioned in the article.

“I’ve always been proud of my heritage and I’m honored to be included alongside such distinguished leaders,” he said, adding, “I’m always happy to talk about food preparation and ways to save money while creating nutritious and flavorful meals. It gives me great pleasure to help people in this way.”

Avila said he has long enjoyed cooking. Classically trained, he was introduced to cooking at a young age by his mother, grandmother and aunt in their home in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the nation’s capital city.

USF Sarasota-Manatee campus celebrates Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month, and the University of South Florida reminds students, faculty and staff about the importance of cultural and ethnic celebrations and their important place in our society.

“Students who belong to the Native American community bring a variety of outlooks to our campus,” said Hawa Allarakhia, graduate assistant in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. “As a part of our community, Native American students help us open our minds to the rich history of their community by teaching us about the importance of storytelling, dance, family traditions and music to their community.”

Native American Heritage Month, also called American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, was first celebrated in May 1916 in New York as “American Indian Day.”

The event followed an effort by Red Fox James, of the Blackfeet Nation, who rode across the country on horseback seeking approval from 24 state governments to create a day to honor American Indians.

In 1990, then-President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution designating the month of November “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations have been issued every year since 1994 to recognize what is now called “American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.”

Students can learn more about Native Americans by viewing the PBS programs at this site. In addition, the “Florida Rambler,” offers information about a variety of Native American programs and places to visit in Florida that are significant to Native Americans.

For more about the campus’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

To learn more about the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, visit

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