Sunday, April 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: USF St. Petersburg makes remarkable progress

For the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, this is a summer of great promise. The chancellor who was hired last year is settling in, the Legislature steered millions toward new construction, and relationships with business partners are being expanded. A campus that too often struggled to find its identity is developing an ambitious long-range plan for increasing enrollment, enhancing its research and strengthening its ties to the community. That vision will benefit USFSP students, enrich the city and provide more skilled graduates for the regional workforce.

Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska hopes to increase enrollment from 4,700 students to 10,000 students over the next decade, which would generate more tuition money to hire more faculty, improve student services such as academic counseling and enhance research. Much of the growth would be in the later years, and a campus that did not have on-campus housing until several years ago would add more rooms. The University Student Center that was built two years ago bustles with activity, student applications are up and academic standards for admission are rising.

Wisniewska envisions closer ties to local employers who too often have to look elsewhere for new college graduates with the skills they seek. She sees how academic programs in areas such as finance, health care and information technology could be tailored to prepare students for jobs in the area workforce and enhance USFSP's position as an option for top high school students who gave little thought to staying home for college in other eras. The long-range plan is expected to be presented to USF president Judy Genshaft and the Board of Trustees in September.

While USFSP has its own academic accreditation, it remains appropriately tied to USF. Arguments for full independence by some legislators and other parochial interests in past years have faded away, and that is a positive development. This is a mutually beneficial relationship with plenty of branding and educational benefits, and there is every reason for that to continue. For example, the highly regarded USF College of Marine Science is on the St. Petersburg campus. And last week, USF and All Children's Hospital announced plans for a joint research and education facility on 1.4 acres the university gave to the hospital. That is a promising sign for USF Health and its plans to conduct joint research with All Children's, which joined Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2011.

Meanwhile, USFSP hopes to break ground this fall on a sparkling new building for its College of Business, whose students and faculty are scattered in several buildings now. The Legislature already has allocated $15 million toward the $27 million project, and the university is seeking a major private donation in return for naming rights. The building is expected to include an entrepreneurship center, which should fit nicely with other St. Petersburg efforts to create small business incubators.

USFSP's remarkable progress is evident in its sparkling campus, residential housing and increased presence of students, creating a small campus feel that was only a dream more than a decade or so ago. Its relationships with USF and the larger community are strengthening, and the long-term vision offers even greater promise for a vibrant university that is a key to St. Petersburg's future.

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Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18