USFSP names new campus officials, board member
A handful of hires and promotions have been announced by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in recent days, including a new chief diversity officer, new registrar and new campus board member.
The diversity position is a new one for the university. USFSP Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska appointed Cecil Howard to the role, in which he’ll work with students, faculty, staff and community partners on diversity and inclusion initiatives.
“I saw this as an opportunity to come in and help shape the vision and culture of the institution, and shape the direction of the office,” Howard said in a news release. “Typically, in this arena of diversity and inclusion, you go into an environment where the culture has already been set. I knew that wouldn’t be the case here and that was intriguing to me.”
Wisniewska said creating the position fulfilled “an important milestone” in the university’s strategic plan.
A native Floridian, Howard has served on the state’s Commission on Human Relations. Until last year, he worked as director of the City of Gainesville’s Office of Equal Opportunity, contributing to the University of Florida’s diversity action plan.
At USFSP, he’ll head the Chancellor’s Advisory Diversity and Inclusion Committee and will work with multiple departments, including academics, student affairs, human resources and enrollment management. The more candid the university can be about issues of race, gender, religion and sexual identity, he said, the better to deal with them.
“The number one way to build credibility is to let people know I want to listen to what it is they have to say,” he said in a statement. “Once you build credibility, you start to build trust. And once you establish credibility and trust, next comes the buy-in, which is what we’re going to need from everyone if we truly want to hold ourselves to be the most diverse and inclusive university around.”
New campus registrar
Wisniewska also appointed Shari Piotrowski Schwartz as USFSP’s new registrar.
“We are delighted that Shari will join us, bringing her vast knowledge and experience to the table,” Wisniewska said in a statement, underscoring the registrar’s role in student success.
Schwartz comes to USFSP with three decades of experience in higher education. She has worked as registrar at Georgia State University and the State University of New York at Onondaga Community College.
Beginning Jan. 9, she will manage the Office of Records and Registration, overseeing academic information and records.
“Shari is a thoughtful, reflective leader who will share with USFSP her vision, her extensive knowledge, and years of experience as a practicing registrar,” said Catherine Cardwell, dean of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library, in a statement. Cardwell led the search committee for the job.
New campus board member
Human resources consultant Lawrence Hamilton will join the USFSP campus board for a four-year term.
“Higher education is the cornerstone of any successful community, not only in what it provides economically, but also in what it provides in thought, change and community growth,” he said in a statement. “USFSP is an exciting hub and a great source of positive energy. I’m happy to be a small part of it."
He will join four other board members in providing advisement on campus operations and goals.
“I am delighted to have Mr. Hamilton join the USFSP Campus Board,” Stephanie Goforth, chair of the board and member of the USF Board of Trustees, said in a statement. “His background in policy and human resources will only strengthen our board’s service to the university and to the community.”
Hamilton is executive coach and adjunct faculty with the Center for Creative Leadership affiliate at Eckerd College. He was senior vice president of worldwide human resources for the Tech Data Corporation for more than 12 years and has served on multiple boards and local organizations.