TAMPA — More innovation. More partnerships. A global outlook. Education tailored to the needs of each student.
University of South Florida system president Judy Genshaft laid out those broad goals Wednesday in her annual fall speech to the university.
And whatever the challenges, financial or otherwise, Genshaft vowed USF would not succumb to pessimism.
"Unlike other institutions, ours is a university system characterized by optimism," she told students, faculty members and staffers at the Marshall Student Center. "Our strategy has been clear: to be creative, to be entrepreneurial and to be financially responsible, all at the same time."
Genshaft, who marked her 10th anniversary as USF president in July, used the speech to review highlights from the past decade and to look ahead.
Ten years ago, she encouraged the university to be relevant, engaged and involved. At the same time, USF set a goal to increase its research profile.
It succeeded. Last year, USF was 33rd nationally among public research universities for federal research spending, according to a new Chronicle of Higher Education ranking. Among public and private universities, it's ranked 57th, up 11 places over the past five years.
In 2000, the university established the College of Marine Science, which this year mounted a "heroic" and immediate response to the gulf oil spill, Genshaft said.
In 2001, USF College of Engineering robots searched debris of the World Trade Center in the first known use of robots for emergency response.
This year, USF also created a student success council aimed at, among other things, raising the university's below-average graduation rates and boosting USF closer to becoming eligible to join the prestigious Association of American Universities.
Looking ahead, Genshaft urged colleagues to:
• Think about what it would mean for each USF student to have a "personalized journey in higher education."
• Recognize that partnerships and collaborations, in Tampa Bay and abroad, will bring USF opportunities and revenue.
• Plan to develop the "USF Innovation Zone," using technology to reach beyond geographic borders, make the university more engaged in its community and build entrepreneurial projects with partners like the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratories.
One such project, the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, a high-tech surgical training center, is planned for downtown Tampa.