USF Health appoints new dean for College of Nursing

The University of South Florida announced Tuesday that Usha Menon would serve as dean for its College of Nursing and senior associate vice president of USF Health.

Menon, who served as interim dean for the college since February, joined USF Health in 2018 as vice dean of research for the college. She has previously served as associate dean of research and global innovation at the University of Arizona-Tucson’s College of Nursing and vice dean of the Ohio State College of Nursing. She was also co-principal investigator of an National Institutes of Health-funded program designed to speed up health research and medical breakthroughs by creating a one million person detailed clinical database.

Menon, a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, a recipient of the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award and an inductee of the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, has won about $60

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USF trustees criticize how leaders handled College of Education plan

Administrators at the University of South Florida faced tough criticism Tuesday from USF’s board of trustees for how they released the news last month that undergraduate programs in the College of Education might be phased out.

Trustee Byron Shinn said he heard it from a donor to the college and couldn’t believe it. He said he had to call university leaders to confirm it.

“I understand we’re not closing down the college, however, I’m upset about process and I’m upset about communication,” Shinn said during a trustees work group meeting. “How we went about this is absolutely inconsistent with the history of my board and my involvement, and I’m not pleased about it. And to be blindsided as a trustee with our community is inappropriate and unsatisfactory.”

Shinn added: “We lit up the community in a bad way. I know I caught some flak. And so did probably some of

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Pasco School Board urges USF to reconsider College of Education plans

The Pasco County School Board on Tuesday joined the chorus of opposition to the University of South Florida’s decision to stop offering undergraduate degrees in education.

Calling the university’s move a “huge disappointment,” board members unanimously adopted a resolution encouraging USF leaders to maintain the teacher preparation programs that school districts throughout the region rely upon. They followed the Pinellas County School Board, which approved a similar measure a week ago.

Pasco regularly has dozens of teaching interns in its schools, and about 30 percent of its annual hires come from the undergraduate programs. School principals have said USF graduates are among the best prepared for the work, coming to the classroom ready to teach without the need for more training.

“High quality teachers are essential to the training of our youth,” said board chairwoman Colleen Beaudoin, a USF graduate and chair of the University of Tampa’s school of education.

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‘We need teachers.’ USF, districts at odds over College of Education cuts.

A major disagreement over the future of teacher training in Tampa Bay played out in dueling public statements issued late Tuesday by the University of South Florida and the Pinellas County school district.

In an op-ed submitted to the Tampa Bay Times, university officials stood by their decision, announced last week, to phase out undergraduate programs in the College of Education. They said it was part of a “strategic realignment” driven in large part by a steep drop in the college’s enrollment over the last decade. Graduate programs, they said, would continue and be improved.

Related: USF will close its College of Education due to budget cuts

A short time later, the Pinellas County School Board approved a resolution criticizing USF’s decision and urging the university to reconsider. The resolution said Pinellas schools rely heavily on USF’s undergraduate program as it hires 600 to 800 new teachers each year.

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USF: We’re committed to teacher education, but things must change

Like many organizations, the University of South Florida is engaged in work to assess and advance strategic priorities that support our academic mission while responding to the budget realities of a world changed by COVID-19.

University of South Florida President Steve Currall [ RYAN NOONE | Provided ]

As part of this process, a preliminary proposal emerged to reimagine and reconfigure USF’s continued commitment to supporting education.

Understandably, early details of this proposal have elicited strong reactions from partners in the community who share our passion for education. We wish to provide additional information about our deliberations and plans to support accessible pathways for those who desire to enter this vital profession.

To be clear, USF remains committed to teacher education. We are exploring strategies that will strengthen the quality of programming we offer, in alignment with our mission as a research university.

University of South Florida Provost Ralph Wilcox.
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New center at USF College of Marine Science will help explore ocean floors

The University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science, based in St. Petersburg, has received a $9 million federal grant to launch a Center for Ocean Mapping and Innovation.

The center will create maps of the seafloor and develop more efficient technologies — including underwater robots and satellites, for ocean and coastal zone mapping — that can be used to model coastal storm events, sea level rise and safe navigation in ports. The center also will develop rapid response tools that can be used in coastal disasters, according to its new website.

The grant by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, known as NOAA, will be administered over five years.

The center will be home to eight marine science faculty and offer training modules, certificate programs, graduate courses and seminars for students and professionals. Steve Murawski, USF professor and Downtown Partnership-Peter Betzer Endowed Chair of Oceanography, will serve as director.

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Sadness greets USF decision to close education college. ‘It’s wrong.’

Cassie Mattison knew from an early age she was born to be a teacher.

a man and a woman standing in front of a cake: Cassie Mattison, center, won Hillsborough County's teacher of the year honors in 2013. Still teaching at Strawberry Crest High, she said she wouldn't have become a classroom educator without USF's undergraduate program.

© Times (2013)/Tampa Bay Times/TNS
Cassie Mattison, center, won Hillsborough County’s teacher of the year honors in 2013. Still teaching at Strawberry Crest High, she said she wouldn’t have become a classroom educator without USF’s undergraduate program.

“But if USF didn’t have a College of Ed, I would not be in a classroom, impacting thousands of lives over all these years,” said Mattison, Hillsborough County’s 2013 teacher of the year. “Countless former AP Literature students of mine are teachers now. One is even an assistant principal. They are all products of my classroom and the USF College of Ed. Never could I have imagined this domino effect.”

Mattison and many others like her expressed shock and dismay at the University of South Florida’s announcement this week that it would shutter the undergraduate degree program in

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USF to close College of Education, reconfigure it into graduate school amid budget cuts

Earlier this month, USF announced it planned to cut $36.7 million from its overall budget.

TAMPA, Fla — The current College of Education at the University of South Florida is set to shut its doors because of budget cuts. And, it will be reimagined as a graduate school that will become part of another college on campus.

In a message to faculty and staff, Interim Dean Judith A. Ponticell wrote USF would reduce the College of Education’s annual budget allocation by $6.8 million, or 35 percent, over the next two years. The decision comes amid budget challenges linked directly to the coronavirus pandemic.

“To that end, we are strategically reimagining and reconfiguring Education at USF from a comprehensive College of Education to a more focused Graduate School of Education with an appropriate organizational affiliation with another college such as the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences,” Ponticell explained. “This will

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USF closing College of Education

Ryan McKinnon
| Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Faculty at the University of South Florida learned Wednesday that the university will be eliminating its College of Education, a program that had once been the fifth largest college of education in the country. 

The school plans to phase out its bachelor’s of education degree over the next few years, as the current students enrolled in the program finish. The master’s program will be shifted into another college, and the university will close the door on its College of Education.

The move comes as interest in teaching nationwide has plummeted, while school districts look for ways to entice teachers into the field.

“We see, across the country, less interest in education as a field, as a career field,” said Judith Ponticell, interim Dean of the USF College of Education.

USF’s overall enrollment in the College of Education, including both undergraduate and graduate students, has fallen

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