TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2021) – University of South Florida Interim Dean of the College of Education Judith Ponticell and USF Provost Ralph Wilcox today shared an important update with faculty, staff, students and other community members on the future of the college.
Their message states in part that “we are pleased to announce that our latest plans will retain the College of Education within an autonomous college structure. We will also retain our most high-demand undergraduate education programs, and we will accelerate our national search for a permanent Dean of the College of Education. We will do this while meeting our fiscal responsibilities and maintaining our commitment to student access and success. This direction has the full support of USF leadership.”
The decision by USF comes after university leadership has continued to meet in recent weeks with various groups, including regional school district superintendents, to share ideas and listen to input as part of a process to reimagine the university’s education programs during a period of significant budget challenges.
The full message from Ponticell and Wilcox is below.
Dear USF College of Education Community,
During the past few months USF has been deeply engaged in conversations about how to best align our precious financial resources with our strategic aspirations as a university. Of particular interest have been conversations about the future of the College of Education, and we have been greatly impressed by the level of support for maintaining a strong presence for the college now and into the future.
As you know, these conversations have included a series of meetings with our regional superintendents: Addison Davis, of Hillsborough County; Kurt Browning, of Pasco County; Mike Grego, of Pinellas County; Jacqueline Byrd, of Polk County; Brennan Asplen, of Sarasota County; and Cynthia Saunders, of Manatee County. These conversations have been extremely productive and collaborative. As a result of these deliberations and your valuable input, we are pleased to announce that our latest plans will retain the College of Education within an autonomous college structure. We will also retain our most high-demand undergraduate education programs, and we will accelerate our national search for a permanent Dean of the College of Education. We will do this while meeting our fiscal responsibilities and maintaining our commitment to student access and success. This direction has the full support of USF leadership.
Our proposal, as well as the other thoughtful, strategic realignment plans from all USF colleges and units, will be presented to the USF Board of Trustees at its workshop on Friday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m. I encourage you to watch the workshop at www.usf.edu/board-of-trustees/meetings.
As our deliberations proceed, we will continue to refine the educational offerings provided by the college, including a focused array of bachelor’s degrees leading to teacher certification. We will offer these programs while strengthening the college’s focus on educational research, ensuring that USF remains at the forefront of innovative teaching strategies. We will also continue to build our graduate programs for tomorrow’s educational professionals and leaders.
Meanwhile, we will do our part to secure USF’s financial future. We will continue to work together and with USF leadership to make necessary, but difficult decisions to streamline our operations while maintaining our focus on student success, research and service to our community, and especially our Pre-K through 12 partners.
Thank you to our faculty, students, parents, alumni, regional superintendents, legislative advocates and other partners for your passionate engagement in this process and the many hours of conversations that have brought us to this point. We would also like to thank USF President Steve Currall and the USF Board of Trustees for their continued leadership and guidance as we work to address our budgetary targets.
Financial reduction decisions are never easy, and this year especially has brought complexities and challenges unlike anything we have ever experienced. Through this process, we have listened, and we have learned. As we continue to make responsible decisions in the months to come, we need the support and trust of our community. Together, we can emerge from this challenge stronger and more connected than ever.
USF College of Education
University of South Florida
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.