Monday, January 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: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Editorial: Look hard into Tampa Bay and Pinellas CareerSource CEO, and get to the bottom of the numbers and the money

Something is seriously amiss at Tampa Bay’s two CareerSource agencies, which receive millions in federal and state money to match unemployed workers with local employers. First, the agencies appear to be taking credit — and money — for job placements...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

A Chicago Tribune editorial: Shut down this shutdown habit

"Shutting down the government of the United States of America should never ever be a bargaining chip for any issue. Period. It should be to governing as chemical warfare is to real warfare. It should be banned."— Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., addressing ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18