|SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 13, 2018) – Students and staff from UnidosNow’s Future Leaders Academy last week honored USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook, presenting her with a framed, autographed photograph of the Academy’s “future leaders.”
Dr. Holbrook a week earlier attended a celebration marking the conclusion of the Academy’s Summer Intensive Component. The Future Leaders Academy helps high-performing Hispanic students prepare for college. The students narrow their college selections, tour campuses, learn about the admissions process and prepare for the ACT exam, in addition to honing their essays and resumes.
Each year, 50 Hispanic students – rising juniors and seniors from high schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties – participate in the March through May academy, which ends with the three-week Summer Intensive Component at USF Sarasota-Manatee.
“It really was a wonderful evening,” Dr. Holbrook said of the July 27 celebration at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium. “It was so captivating, the stories each of you told about yourselves and your families and your lives. They were so compelling and they made me go away thinking how wonderful all of you are and how grateful you all are, grateful to your families, to your schools and to this special team at UnidosNow.”
Luz Corcuera, executive director of UnidosNow, said the non-profit organization has partnered with USFSM on the Future Leaders Academy for the past five years. Last year, 25 of the Academy’s “graduates” were accepted into college, earning $1.5 million in grants and scholarships.
Corcuera says the academy helps students understand their potential and realize their educational and career goals.
“This program is important because sometimes these students don’t get the support they need to achieve their dreams,” she said. “UnidosNow and the Future Leaders Academy are here to help them to be successful.”
Faculty, students, staff invited to ‘Tech Petting Zoo’
Faculty, staff and students are invited to USFSM’s “Tech Petting Zoo” to check out the latest in high-tech gadgetry, including a zSpace tour bus where visitors can learn how Virtual Reality (VR) technology is being used in classrooms.
The event, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the campus’ Selby Auditorium, will give attendees an opportunity to test drive a variety of state-of-the-art technologies. Representatives from zSpace, Microsoft, Crestron Air Media and Newline Interactive will be on hand to demonstrate new hardware, instructional software and VR and AR (Augmented Reality) devices.
Virtual reality is already impacting learning at USFSM. At the College of Science & Mathematics’ biology labs, students learn about anatomy using VR. The versatile technology can enable students to “hold” a human heart or even a butterfly in their hands.
The event is a great primer for new faculty or refresher for returning faculty. It coincides with the IncrediBull Critical Thinking workshops (see below) that train faculty on how to strategically incorporate critical thinking into their curriculum.
ZSpace, a leader in AR/VR learning solutions for educators, will park its tour bus, showcasing AR and VR classroom technologies (zspace.com/tour), outside the Selby Auditorium. Microsoft will bring a device bar for faculty and students to test its latest tablets, including the just-released Surface Go, and for those interested in a little fun, a VR gaming station will be setup.
Staff from USFSM’s eLearning Services – Timi Hager, Heidi Schroeder, Sarah Gentry and Amber Lee – will be available to demonstrate instructional technologies used by faculty and students.
“This is an event you shouldn’t miss,” said Gentry. “We’ve been able to partner with Technology Services and top-notch vendors to put this all together. It’s really to show our faculty and students what technology we currently have and what instructional technologies they can integrate into their face-to-face and online classes for future semesters.”
USFSM faculty, students urged to attend workshops
USF Sarasota-Manatee is encouraging faculty and students to learn about “IncrediBull Critical Thinking” at a series of workshops Thursday, Aug. 16, at the Selby Auditorium.
“We want to have a campus culture of critical thinking that will also provide students with a competitive edge when applying for jobs or graduate school upon their graduation from USF Sarasota-Manatee,” said USFSM Faculty President Dr. Michael Gillespie, who oversees the IncrediBull Critical Thinking program.
“This workshop will give faculty the tools and resources to naturally integrate critical thinking into courses,” he said.
For more about the workshops or to reserve a spot, visit usfsm.edu/academics/institutional-research-and-effectiveness/incredibull-critical-thinking/fall-2018-workshop.aspx. The session includes lunch.
Twenty-three classes have been designated as IncrediBull Critical Thinking (IBCT) courses in the upcoming fall semester. As part of the program, students who complete 12 credits of IBCT courses will be eligible to receive a critical thinking certificate upon graduation to assist in job searches.
Increasingly, employers are seeking applicants with critical-thinking skills. The National Association of Colleges and Employers, through a task force of college career services and HR/staffing professionals, identified several competencies associated with career readiness.
Among those was critical thinking/problem solving: “Exercise sound reasoning to analyze issues, make decisions, and overcome problems. The individual is able to obtain, interpret, and use knowledge, facts, and data in this process, and may demonstrate originality and inventiveness.” (naceweb.org/career-readiness/competencies/career-readiness-defined/)
The session will feature workshops by Dr. Lila Rajabion, Dr. Su Senapti, Dr. Jody McBrien, and Dr. Helene Robinson, among others. Ben Heins, coordinator of internships and service learning, will lead a special workshop at 11 a.m. aimed at both faculty and students and featuring a panel discussion with human resources professionals.
USFSM debuted the IBCT initiative in summer 2017. Since then 570 students have participated in the program.
“Our goal is to graduate students who will be strong critical thinkers,” Dr. Gillespie, president of the USFSM Faculty Senate, said. “That’s what employers and graduate schools want, and we are trying deliver that.”
E-Learning recognizes Dr. Hegyi-Szynkiewicz
E-Learning Services is pleased to announce that Dr. Sarah Hegyi-Szynkiewicz, a USFSM faculty member in the College of Science & Mathematics, recently completed a successful Internal Quality Matters Course Review for her SPA4510 (Introduction to Clinical Methods and Counseling and Communication Sciences and Disorders) online course.
The Internal Quality Matters Course Review process is rigorous and designed to certify quality and alignment through the Quality Matters rubric of best practices in online learning. Courses that meet the Internal Quality Matters Review’s requirements may display the USFSM Quality logo on the front page of their online course descriptions. They’ll also receive the “High Quality” designation in the Florida Virtual Campus course directory.
Dr. Zacharias Pieri contributes to two books
Kudos to Dr. Zacharias Pieri of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences. Over the summer, the interdisciplinary social sciences instructor, whose research focuses on the relationships between religion, politics and violence, contributed chapters to two books:
1) Hassan, Idayat and Zacharias Pieri. 2018. “The Rise and Risks of Nigeria’s Civilian Joint Task Force: Implications for Post-Conflict Recovery in Northeastern Nigeria” in Zenn, Jacob (ed.), Boko Haram Beyond the Headlines: Analyses of Africa’s Enduring Conflict, West Point: Combating Terrorism Center.
2) Zenn, Jacob and Zacharias Pieri. 2018. “Boko Haram” in Silke, Andrew (ed.), RoutledgeHandbook of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism, Oxford and New York: Routledge.
USFSM career fair to ‘turn the tables’
USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Career Services Office is proposing a unique way to match students and employers – a “reverse career fair.”
Unlike regular career fairs, “reverse” fairs put students in control by having them conduct interviews with potential employers. The technique provides insight into jobs and internships students wouldn’t otherwise get at regular job fairs, says Ben Heins, coordinator of internships and service learning at USFSM.
“If a student is seeking a full-time job or an internship in late 2018 or any time in 2019, they need to apply for this unique opportunity,” he said. “The odds of securing that next big break through this event couldn’t be higher.”
Heins learned about the idea at an educational conference. He’s working with Student Engagement, Student Government and E-Learning to launch the fair on Nov. 8 at the campus’ Selby Auditorium.
The event is dubbed “The Tables Have Turned: USFSM’s Inaugural Reverse Career Fair.” Students must apply by Sept. 7 to participate. Twenty participants will be selected to attend four training sessions in October to prepare them to interview the prospective employers.
“We will invite employers based on the student-finalists’ interests and, before the event, provide those employers with briefings on the backgrounds of each student to build excitement,” Heins said.
Brunch on the Bay tickets, sponsorships available
Tickets and sponsorships for Brunch on the Bay are now available, and this year’s event is shaping up to be extra special as it marks 25 years of local support.
Since 1994, Brunch on the Bay attendees have given graciously to fund scholarships for USF Sarasota-Manatee students while also savoring the finest brunch fare from local restaurants and caterers.
This year, as Brunch celebrates its Silver Anniversary, many special features are planned and the guest list is quickly growing, so don’t delay in securing your tickets and table sponsorships.
The event is set for Sunday, Nov. 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.
“More than 1,700 local students have received scholarship support from Brunch on the Bay, and we’re thrilled to continue this significant tradition — with a few twists for 2018!” Vice Chancellor for Advancement Lee Williams said. “We’re featuring a Brunch on the Bay Honorary Committee, in addition to the Organizing Committee, and the Honorary Committee co-chairs will be announced soon.”
“Brunch is presented by Mary Kenealy Events of Sarasota, and working with Mary and her talented team has simply been exceptional,” Williams said. “We have a few special guests arranged for the annual gathering; so it’s sure to be memorable. USFSM’s Brunch on the Bay is a fantastic way to spend a Sunday, enjoy wonderful culinary delights and support area students with scholarships.”
Since its start, Brunch has distinguished itself as USF Sarasota-Manatee’s premier fundraising event, adding more than $1.3 million to the university endowment and generating more than $1 million in scholarships, including those to First Generation students, the first in their families to attend college.
“It’s one of the very best events in this community and it’s been around longer than most other events,” said Bob Turner, a USFSM alum and former publisher of the Bradenton Herald. “It’s extremely important to support this event to support the students who need a leg up to further their careers and help our businesses with a workforce that’s ready to go.”
Turner and USFSM graduate Lauren Henry are co-chairs of this year’s Brunch on the Bay Organizing Committee.
“I see so much potential in what this university has to offer in terms of partnering with businesses and leaders in our community,” said Henry, a 2016 graduate. “And so Brunch on the Bay is a culmination of that, where the university and community come together and support the cause of higher education.”
For more about Brunch of the Bay, including tickets and table sponsorships, visit usfsm.edu/brunch or call Pam Gleason at (941) 359-4603.
M3 Center: Hotels’ higher cleaning costs may go unnoticed
Hotels may spend more cleaning guest rooms, but that doesn’t mean customers will notice, according to a hospitality industry research group at USF Sarasota-Manatee.
A review of customer-service data by the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation shows that of 13 major hotel brands that increased housekeeping costs for 2017, only four – Hilton, DoubleTree, Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn – saw higher cleanliness ratings from customers compared to the year before.
Also, spending more on housekeeping doesn’t always result in better scores than at rival hotels. The center noted that Embassy Suites, Marriott, Westin and Hilton outspent all others in the survey, but that didn’t earn them higher cleanliness scores compared to those other hotels.
“Spending more money on cleaning a room does not guarantee higher guest scores for cleanliness. However, smart management of housekeeping costs does,” the report says. “Ensuring a property operates at the highest possible standards without straining a budget can be achieved when the right practices are in place.”
The study was conducted by Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu, director of the M3 Center, researcher Olena Ciftci and Drs. Katerina Berezina and Faizan Ali. Based at USF Sarasota-Manatee, the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation was founded in 2013 to conduct research to benefit the hospitality industry.
The study, called the “Gradebook for Cleanliness in Hotels,” was initiated to determine whether increased housekeeping expenses translates to higher customer survey scores.
To conduct its research, the center analyzed data from 1,139 hotels from 15 major hotel brands within three broad categories: upper midscale, upscale and upper upscale.
Researchers then examined housekeeping costs per occupied room, taking into account such items as cleaning equipment, cleaning supplies, guest supplies, and housekeeping salaries and wages, among other expenses.
The center found that the Hampton Inn & Suites led all others in the cleanliness rating (81.15%), followed by the Hampton Inn (77.48%), Hilton Garden Inn (76.13%), Fairfield Inn (76.05%) and SpringHill Suites (76.03%).
However, when researchers compared cleanliness scores relative to housekeeping expenses, TownePlace Suites came out as the most efficient housekeeping operation for 2017.
The report recommends that hotels focus on efficiency in regard to housekeeping costs, noting that more than 65 percent of those expenses are directed toward salaries and wages.
“Therefore, this area provides the most opportunities for managing costs and potentially achieving a higher cleanliness score while spending less,” the report says.
Among other measures, it suggests that hotels train housekeeping staff on an ongoing basis, encourage more efficient housekeepers to train less efficient housekeepers and reduce turnover by implementing employee recognition programs.
“The M3 Center’s mission is to provide cutting-edge research for the hospitality and tourism industry. I am very happy that we could provide this report so that hoteliers can use it to benchmark their housekeeping operations,” Dr. Cobanoglu said.
“In the hotel industry, we see a lot of data about the revenue side. However, it is rare to report on actual expenses,” he said. “This report brings in the expense side as a percentage of sales and cost per occupied room, the two most-used metrics when evaluating costs. In addition, the report shows us that spending more money does not equate to cleaner rooms, at least according to the guests’ perceptions.”
|About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)
USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee and Sarasota counties, Venice and online. USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of more than 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.