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Archive for the ‘Campuses’ Category

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College will host a judicial candidates forum for those vying for seats on the Sixth Judicial Circuit bench. The forum will be from 6 to 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 6, in the Ethics and Social Science Building on the Clearwater Campus of SPC, 2465 Drew Street, Clearwater. Advance registration is requested at the institute’s website.

Eleven candidates are seeking one of five open contested seats on the Sixth Judicial Circuit bench, which serves Pinellas and Pasco counties. One is incumbent Judge Bruce Boyer. Fourteen other of the circuit’s incumbent judges whose terms expire this year are unopposed and thus automatically re-elected.

Circuit judges serve six-year terms and have no limit on how many terms they may serve. To qualify, candidates must be a member of the Florida Bar and have lived in the state for at least five years.

Judicial races may seem obscure to voters since they are, by law,  non-partisan to prevent politics from tainting the impartiality of the courts. Therefore, candidates bear no party labels and are limited by the Judicial Canon in what they may say in their campaigns. They are forbidden to make predictions or promises about issues that could arise once they are on the bench.

Three local experts with extensive knowledge of the court system will question the candidates, within the limitations cited above. They are:

  • The Hon. Irene Sullivan, retired Circuit Court judge and adjunct professor of juvenile law at Stetson University College of Law, Gulfport
  • Curtis Krueger, courts reporter for the Tampa Bay Times
  • Dr. Susan Demers, Dean of the College of Policy, Ethics and Legal Studies at SPC

The forum will be split into two parts: Groups 1 and 2 comprised of five candidates will be questioned from 6 to 7:10 p.m., and Groups 16, 21 and 35 comprised of six candidates from 7:15 to 8:15 p.m.

The public is encouraged to attend to learn more about the background and qualifications of those seeking to sit on the bench. The forum is being co-sponsored by Tampa Bay Times and the Clearwater Bar Association.

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Fast-Track to FallOn July 21 at five campus locations throughout Pinellas County, St. Petersburg College will host Fast-Track to Fall events to help students finish enrollment requirements before the fall term begins.

During extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., college staff will be on hand to help students wrap up any outstanding items, including:

  • applying to SPC
  • submitting transcripts
  • taking the College Placement Test
  • registering for classes
  • paying tuition

“The purpose of these events is to let applicants know that they can get everything done in one visit,” said Patrick Rinard, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services.

The admissions and registration processes recently changed so students can register quickly and more conveniently, Rinard said. Students now see an advisor when they register to make sure they are on track.

10502125_765178160199200_1561435716025633752_n“With all hands on deck, this day should significantly move the needle toward a fall enrollment increase,” Rinard said.

SPC locations hosting Fast-Track to Fall events include:

  • Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater
  • Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N, Seminole
  • SPC Downtown Center, 244 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

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The Suncoast News and the Tampa Tribune featured an information session for the Elite Educator Program that was held at the college’s Tarpon Spring Campus on July 10.

The program is a partnership between SPC and Pinellas County Schools to prepare teachers to teach grades K-6 and provides an endorsement in ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Reading.

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Students enrolled in the Spring 2014 Field Biology of Florida course at St. Petersburg College spend time at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

SPC students in the Spring 2014 Field Biology of Florida course spend time at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

For students enrolled in Jennifer Fernandes’ field biology class, their classroom is everywhere and class activities involve everything from snorkeling reefs in Key Largo to collecting scorpions in the woods.

In SPC’s Field Biology of Florida class (BSC 2250C), hands-on learning is the instructional method of choice. Students spend only the first day in an actual classroom – the rest of their semester is spent in idyllic outdoor environments across the state.

SPC students enrolled in Field Biology of Florida study the relative abundance of plant species using different transect methods.

Students study the relative abundance of plant species using different transect methods.

“Field Biology is taught in a different format than most courses in that all of our lectures are done in the field all over Florida,” said Fernandes, Assistant Professor of Biology who has been teaching the class at the Tarpon Springs Campus since Fall 2010.

While looking for a way to engage her students in active student learning and success, she recognized that students learn best when they get their hands dirty. So she opted to take her instruction out of the classroom and into the environments they would be studying.

“It’s been helpful to really get a hands-on experience way of learning,” said Andrew Hamblin, 28, a public safety administration student who transferred from Hillsborough Community College in time for the Spring 2014 term. He thinks learning from direct experience is more effective than traditional learning because Fernandes is able to point out specifics in terminology and processes rather than just having students read from a book.

“You can see what is written on paper but you can’t really understand how it works in the same way,” Hamblin said.

Class field trips vary in content and location depending on the time of year and weather. The spring term often includes weekend camping trips while summer offers snorkeling and winter brings manatees to study.

“In this type of setting, every single student is engaged and they’re all interested in learning because of the different modality,” said Fernandes, who wanted to create a course that would make science interesting for majors and non-majors alike.

Since taking learning outside the classroom, students have journeyed to:

  • Crystal River
  • Rainbow Springs
  • Honeymoon Island State Park
  • Caladesi Island State Park
  • Weedon Island Preserve
  • Highlands Hammock State Park
  • Turtle Hospital
  • Little Manatee River State Park
  • Kissimmee River Restoration
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park
  • Hillsborough River
  • John Chesnut Sr. Park
Students in the Summer 2014 course during a snorkel trip to Rainbow Springs, where they learned about aquifer and spring ecology.

Students in the Summer 2014 course during a snorkel trip to Rainbow Springs, where they learned about aquifer and spring ecology.

During local trips, students carpool to local parks and preserves. For more distant trips, SPC transports students in college vans to locations like Key Largo, Everglades National Park and Topsail Hill State Preserve.

“This class definitely put all of us students in areas that we were able to better understand what we were being taught in regards to the ecology, the plants and animals, and the different natures of the areas that we visited,” Hamblin said.

Students also engage in active learning through volunteer work, like collecting scorpions for research and creating oyster domes for Tampa Bay Watch, a nonprofit organization dedicated to habitat restoration and protection.

“This way they have a different idea of what science truly is,” Fernandes said. “It’s not something that’s boring. They understand it’s actually very hands-on every day, and it helps them make better decisions in life.”

Because of the logistics involved with teaching the course, the class size is capped at 20 students. An additional benefit of this smaller setting means students work more closely with fellow students and develop better working relationships with their peers.

“Every semester, the students absolutely love the class,” said Fernandes. “The biggest things they say is that they learn so much more than they would in a regular classroom setting; that they actually retain the information and develop friendships in a class that they would never have done before.”

Hamblin enjoys the camaraderie he experiences in the class.

“When you do other classes, typically you’re just there to do the work and you don’t associate with many of the other students,” he said. “However, this class really kind of brings that all together where you’re talking and discussing all the subjects with all the students.”

“We’re all communicating and helping one another out and having a great time together,” he said.

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Public-Safety-Summer-Camp-is-a-Huge-Hit-with-Middle-School-Youth---logoMore than three dozen Pinellas County middle school students attended the 2014 Public Safety Summer Camp hosted by the Center for Public Safety Innovation at SPC’s Allstate Center June 16-20.

Campers got a broad and diverse taste of the public safety profession and learned:

  • lifesaving techniques of CPR
  • how K-9 dogs are used to fight crime
  • how criminal investigations are conducted, including fingerprinting, evidence collection and preservation techniques
  • the importance of internet safety
Students participate in a rock wall climbing exercise to better understand the physical challenges faced by law enforcement.

Students participate in a rock wall climbing exercise to better understand the physical challenges faced by law enforcement.

Students got to spend time with SPC Law Enforcement Academy recruits and learned firsthand what it is like to train as a law enforcement officer. Students learned about the physical requirements for a career in public safety and how to overcome challenges through a rock wall climbing experience.

Speakers at the camp included St. Petersburg Police Chief David DeKay, Director of Urban Affairs for the City of St. Petersburg Nikki Gaskin-Capehart and Executive Director of SPC’s Center for Public Safety Innovation Eileen LaHaie. The three discussed the importance public safety plays in the community and how campers would interact with public safety professionals during the summer camp.

The camp also included several field trips to the:

  • St. Petersburg Police Department
  • Pinellas County Justice Center
  • St. Petersburg Fire Department

“I loved the field trips,” said camper Anthony Massa, 12. “We got to see some interesting places and see what those jobs were like.”

The week-long camp culminated in a graduation ceremony where campers received certificates of completion. All of the parents surveyed indicated that the summer camp was a great experience for their children and 96 percent of the students would recommend the camp to their friends.

Several agencies were contributed to this year’s summer camp:

  • Pinellas County Campus Police
  • Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
  • St. Petersburg Police
  • St. Petersburg Fire Department

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J.C. Brock celebrates being named Honorary Fire Chief by the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs' Association on June 25.

J.C. Brock celebrates being named Honorary Fire Chief by the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs’ Association on June 25.

J.C. Brock, retired Chief Executive Officer at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center, was named Honorary Fire Chief by the Pinellas County Fire Chiefs’ Association on June 25.

PCFCA President Chief Bert Polk, along with fellow fire chiefs, county staff and SPC Fire Training Center staff, met with Brock to recognize his contributions to fire service education and the fire academy over the years.

Brock retired as the Allstate Center’s Campus Executive Officer on June 30.

View the SPC Facebook gallery to view more photos from the event.

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Michelle Osovitz stands with students at Mason Metals Studio in Tampa

Michelle Osovitz, far left, joins students at Mason Metals Studio in Tampa.

Looking for a way to make learning about science fun, St. Petersburg College biology professor Michelle Osovitz recently teamed up with other faculty members to immerse students in a world of art and science integration outside the classroom.

With the help of a grant from the SPC Foundation, students learned how to create kinetic or moving jewelry to demonstrate the concepts of science and mathematics involved in making it.

Studio owner Lorrie Mason demonstrates mathematical calculations of kinetic ring construction to SPC students Riccardo Carelli and Lexi Creasy at Mason Metals Studio in Tampa.

Studio owner Lorrie Mason demonstrates mathematical calculations of kinetic ring construction to SPC students Riccardo Carelli and Lexi Creasy at Mason Metals Studio in Tampa.

Osovitz, who teaches in the bachelor’s program at the Clearwater Campus, said she wants students – regardless of their major – to realize that science doesn’t have to be feared or loathed.

“We are actively enhancing the learning experience at SPC by creating an environment both inside and outside the classroom that fosters application of scientific principles in creative arts disciplines,” Osovitz said.

A kinetic spinner ring is actually a combination of two rings – one band that moves or spins around the other one freely. Because they move, they are called kinetic rings. To make the rings, students incorporated numerous scientific concepts, including:

  • geology in working with gemstones
  • chemistry in determining the properties of the copper, silver and steel
  • mathematics in designing and creating the jewelry
  • scientific methods in the overall project

Integrating art and science enhances students’ experience and can make the field of science less intimidating, Osovitz said. Applying what students have learned to create art allows them to develop critical thinking skills, exercise creativity and increase long-term retention.

According to Osovitz, studies have shown that students who engage in interactive projects that combine science and art tend to understand scientific principles better.

As part of the jewelry making project, students kept an art notebook to record calculations, information about various metal properties and sketches. Upper level students were encouraged to incorporate their art into term papers or poster presentations.

Examples of kinetic "spinner" rings created by SPC students.

Examples of kinetic “spinner” rings created by SPC students.

Students who completed the design modules were invited to Mason Metals Studio in Tampa on June 4 to complete their jewelry pieces.

The initiative was funded by an SPC Foundation Grant for Creative Integration of Art and Science. Osovitz joined fellow science faculty members Erin Goergen, Shannon McQuaig and Monica Lara in applying for the grant, which seeks to teach students technical skills in microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology. McQuaig led students in a project earlier this year about pigments found in bacteria.

“We are all passionate about incorporating creativity and artistic thinking in the teaching of our science courses,” Osovitz said. “As a result, it has become apparent that incorporating art into the science curriculum will not only benefit our students but the professional development of our faculty as well.”

“We are encouraging collaboration across disciplines including physical and life science as well as the art department here at Clearwater,” said Jonathan Barnes, academic chair of Humanities and Fine Arts at the Clearwater Campus.

“On a personal level, it helps us to think about the way we present complex scientific principles in the classroom in a way that our students can relate to,” said Osovitz.

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SPC will host a celebration recognizing the work of state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, on a tuition equity bill that allows children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. The event is scheduled for June 24 at 10 a.m. at SPC’s Clearwater Campus Ethics & Social Science Building, Room 104.

Latvala and Rep. Jeanette Nuñez, R-Miami, sponsored the hotly debated bill, which had been introduced in various versions in the Legislature since 2003. On June 9, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill into law, which potentially saves students an annual average of $15,278 at state universities and $6,438 at Florida colleges, according to a legislative analysis. The in-state tuition rate is about one-quarter the amount paid by non-Florida residents.

To qualify for the waiver of out-of-state fees, undocumented immigrants and others must have attended a Florida secondary school for at least three straight years before graduating. They then have 24 months to apply to a college.

New and current SPC students with questions about the impact of the new legislation can contact a student advisor. Students can work through the college’s normal intake processes to establish residency for tuition purposes. Required documentation will include a Florida high school transcript reflecting three consecutive years’ attendance and proof of graduation within the past two years.

SPC will honor Latvala for his efforts on the new legislation at the college’s Clearwater Campus, the same location where he announced in February that he would sponsor the bill. Speakers will include SPC President Bill Law and SPC Clearwater Campus Provost Stan Vittetoe. SPC students and alumni will attend and discuss how the law will impact them and their families.

Student success has been a top priority for administrators and staff at SPC and recent data shows those efforts are paying off. For the past three spring semesters, success rates for students in all courses have increased. Gains among first-time-in-college students are more dramatic, with African-American and Hispanic/Latino males making the greatest academic improvements.

Comparing data from Spring 2012 to this year’s spring semester, success rates were up by 15.8 percent for Hispanic/Latino males. The rate for African-American males climbed 16 percent during the same timeframe. The college has tracked a narrowing or elimination of the gap between success rates for these student ethnic groups compared to white students.

SPC is ranked within the top 100 colleges and universities for the enrollment of Hispanic students in undergraduate programs, according to information from The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine.

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The future is now on St. Petersburg College’s Seminole Campus.

The recent opening of the Innovation Lab in the library at the campus drew more than 100 people, including a who’s who of college, community and tech leaders.

Creative learning environments like the lab, often called makerspaces, are growing in popularity. In SPC’s lab, instructors, students and library card holders can use the latest technology tools, including a 3D printer, Cublets KT06 modular robots and the Korg littleBits circuits in seconds kit. With the Monolith 3D printer, made locally by Free Fab 3D, users can create virtually any object through a wide variety of computer programs. In fact, much of the printer itself was created on a 3D printer.

The Cubelets modular robotics kit lets users build surprisingly complex robots out of simple parts that fit together like building blocks. The Korg littleBits kit is a do-it-yourself synthesizer used to compose original electronic music in mere seconds.

The lab also includes an iMac and a desktop running Ubuntu Linux, giving users a taste of different operating systems and the programs they offer, such as Apple’s newly released Swift programming language.

One of the computers in the lab is dedicated to podcasting and audio experiments, and has a professional grade microphone and mixer. All of this was made possible by SPC librarian Chad Mairn’s vision, a $3,500 college innovation grant and help from Seminole Campus Provost Jim Olliver.

Guests at the morning and evening grand opening parties included SPC President Bill Law, Seminole Vice Mayor Thomas Barnhorn, Seminole City Council member Patricia Plantamura, and Lance Eppley and Fri Rider, the designers of the Monolith 3D printer. Mo Eppley of the St. Pete Makers, also attended. St. Pete Makers is a non-profit group seeking to bring a high-tech makerspace to St. Petersburg.

The innovators demonstrated what the lab’s 3D printer was capable of, showing off many complex designs that were created on the Monolith such as a bearing printed as a single piece. Most importantly, members of the community – young and old – filled the lab and spilled out into the hall during the grand opening parties.

One guest, a 12-year-old Android app developer, volunteered to teach a workshop on mobile development. Mairn was quick to accept and noted that the lab will host a wide variety of workshops and guest speakers. Among them will be the creator of a makerspace in Taiwan who will connect with guests via teleconference on the lab’s smart TV and webcam.

The lab will host its first workshop on June 12, 10 a.m. – noon, on how to create a LibraryBox, a palm-sized computer designed to serve files in areas with no Internet access. The workshop is free and open to the public.

The Innovation Lab is currently seeking volunteers to help run the lab. You can apply online or by contacting Chad Mairn at 394-6917.

Check out our Facebook gallery of the Innovation Lab opening. Read coverage of the Innovation Lab in, the Tampa TribuneTMCnet.com and 83degreesmedia.com.

SPC student Chris Demmons, who writes for SPC’s student newspaper, Sandbox News, provided this report. Read his story in Sandbox News.

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world cup fifa flierSt. Petersburg College invites the public, students and staff to watch the FIFA World Cup™ from 3-6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 17. The free event will be at the Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater.

The FIFA World Cup™ is a sports competition between teams from countries around the world. Google Data from January 2010-May 2014 shows the World Cup has resulted in more Google searches than the Super Bowl, the 2012 Summer and 2014 Winter Olympics, and the Tour de France.

Come see what the excitement is about at the watch party as Brazil and Mexico battle it out on the field. Experience the cultures of both countries through culturally-themed activities and a performance by Mahetzy, a folkloric Mexican dance company.

Stop by SPC booths to learn about educational opportunities, financial aid, scholarships, career information and academic advising. A bilingual staff member will also be available throughout the event.

Representatives from the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer team will hand out giveaways and speak about the team.

Bring your national colors and family members to celebrate this international sporting event. For more information, call the SPC Student Life and Leadership Office at 727-791-2622.

Download the flier.

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