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St. Petersburg College will celebrate the academic success of Latino students who have a grade point average of 3.0 and higher during the Vilma Fernandez-Zalupski Academic Excellence Awards ceremony. The ceremony will be:

6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
Arts Auditorium
Clearwater Campus

About 150 high school students from Tarpon Springs and Clearwater are expected to attend the event, which honors Fernandez-Zalupski, the first woman in Florida to serve as a community college provost. A native of Ybor City, she worked as provost of the Clearwater Campus for 16 years before retiring in 1995.

As provost, Fernandez-Zalupski helped develop the first International Center and Women on the Way, a program that guides women through the college experience. The Tampa Hispanic Heritage Foundation for outstanding service to education has honored her.

The Master of Ceremonies for the event will be Robin Gomez, auditor and Hispanic-Latino Liaison for the City of Clearwater. Saby E. Guidicelli, Workforce Manager/Human Resources, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County will give the keynote address.

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It’s back to school time, and festival season is just around the corner in Florida. To kick off the festivities, the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at the St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs Campus will host its annual Artists’ Market on:

Saturday, Sept. 27
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 28
noon to 5 p.m.

Visitors can browse and buy original works by more than 30 local artists inside the comfort and ambiance of the museum and get a head start on their holiday shopping. Original artwork on display will include wearable art, paintings, jewelry, prints and more. Also available is an Art Book Nook offering gently used books and magazines for sale.

Admission to the museum, market and parking are free both days. Food and beverages will be available from the Bayou Cafe of Tarpon Springs.

All proceeds from the event support participating artists, Isabelle’s Museum Store and LRMA’s educational mission.

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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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AR-140719897

From the Tampa Tribune

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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Students take a moment to chill in the Chill Zone at the Tarpon Springs Campus during the spring 2014 finals week.

Students take a moment to chill in the Chill Zone at the Tarpon Springs Campus during the spring 2014 finals week.

To help alleviate the stress of final exams, the Learning Resources department at SPC launched the Chill Zone, a relaxation area at the entrance of the Tarpon Springs Campus library, during the spring semester finals week.

The event helped promote student engagement and success by giving students a place to relax during the stressful academic week.

Ethan Hart, associate director of Learning Resources at the Tarpon Springs Campus, wanted to offer a variety of tools to ease students’ stress.

“We wanted to appeal to our students’ different needs by offering art activities, relaxing music, snacks, games and visits by a licensed therapy dog,” Hart said.

The Chill Zone was a hit, thanks in part to funding by the Tarpon Springs Campus Provost Office as well as art materials from the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Students congregated in the comfy seating area daily, taking time to visit with friends, catch up on reading or hone their art skills with coloring books.

Bailey, the therapy dog from Suncoast Hospice, also was a fan favorite. Students in the middle of cramming for finals took a much needed break when the friendly Bichon Frise stopped by to say hello.

Student Nick Emery visits the Chill Zone and spends quality time with Bailey the therapy dog.

Student Nick Emery visits the Chill Zone and spends quality time with Bailey the therapy dog.

Students, staff and faculty have been overwhelmingly supportive of the Chill Zone in recent surveys. The Learning Resources department plans to offer this service every term during finals week.

The Chill Zone served as only one of many Spring 2014 initiatives aimed at increasing student engagement by the campus’ Learning Resources department. Other activities included:

  • “Ed App Wednesday” – Each week, Learning Resources staff members highlighted a free, new educational tool useful for students. Armed with cards, posters and QR codes, staff members walked around campus on Wednesdays, letting the campus community know about the resources that were available.
  • Educational outreach – Learning Resources staff set up a table at Student Life and Leadership events like the Earth Day celebration, Welcome Back Week and African-American History month. Staff members brought library books related to the event theme, workshop schedules and an iPad to answer any on-the-spot questions.

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St. Petersburg College welcomes three new members to its leadership team. They include:

  • Dr. Susan Colaric, Associate Vice President for Online Learning and Services
  • Dr. Charles “Scott” Fronrath, Provost, Allstate Center
  • Dr. Marvin L. Bright, Provost, Tarpon Springs Campus
Susan Colaric

Susan Colaric

Dr. Susan Colaric has served as the Assistant Vice President of Instructional Technology at Saint Leo University since 2006. In this role she coordinated the development of online courses and was responsible for faculty professional development related to the appropriate use of technology for teaching and learning.

She has worked in the fields of online and instructional technology for 15 years, has written numerous journal articles and book chapters, and has presented at national and international conferences. Her research over the last decade has focused on faculty use of technology to enhance student learning and the management of distance learning programs.

Colaric earned her doctorate in Instructional Systems from the Pennsylvania State University; she holds a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and completed her undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

Charles “Scott” Fronrath

Charles “Scott” Fronrath

Dr. Charles “Scott” Fronrath comes to SPC from Keiser University, where he served as an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. His responsibilities include leadership and development of baccalaureate and associate degree programs in criminal justice, homeland security, cyber forensics, crime scene technology, forensic investigations, legal studies, business, information technology, and graphic arts and design. He is also an adjunct faculty at Palm Beach State College.

Dr. Fronrath has 17 years of law enforcement experience. His teaching experience includes police tactics and officer survival techniques for a variety of law enforcement agencies throughout Florida. He has been very involved in the community and serves on several boards, committees, and labor unions, including the Police Benevolent Association, International Union of Police Association, Florida Law Enforcement Canine Association, the National Police Canine Association, and National Fire, Emergency Medical Services, Inlet Grove Community High School Governing Board, and the Palm Beach County School Advisory Council. He also serves as an evaluator for the Department of Justice; Bureau of Justice Assistance, and several criminal justice organizations.

As an educational leader in today’s progressive career driven society he believes the optimal goal must be to empower students to take control of their educational journey and provide for them a focus that ensures necessary skill development designed to help them obtain a meaningful career.

He holds a Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University in Organizational Leadership and Human Resource Management and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice with a specialization in Public Administration.

His first day at SPC is June 23, 1014.

Marvin L. Bright

Marvin L. Bright

Dr. Marvin L. Bright is from the Virginia Community College System where he serves as the Chief Officer of Student Success Initiatives. The Virginia Community College System (VCCS) oversees a network of 23 community colleges in Virginia.

Prior to this role, Dr. Bright served as the Chief Administrative Officer of Tidewater Community College’s Norfolk campus where he provided leadership as the Provost responsible for advancing the College’s mission and strategic plan by articulating the resources needed to ensure that the campus efficiently and effectively developed and delivered requisite programs and services.

With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Bright has held several administrative positions in academic and student services, including Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Dean of Students, Director of Athletics, Associate Professor and Counselor.

Dr. Bright’s philosophy on student success is simply put: that students derive the greatest benefit from their college experience when their levels of campus engagement – academic, civic, global awareness, civility, and respect for diversity – are mutually supportive of and relevant to a particular educational outcome.

A community college graduate himself, Dr. Bright also holds a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Towson University, a master’s in Educational Psychology from Temple University and a Doctorate in Higher Education Administration from Morgan State University.

His first day at SPC is July 14, 2014.

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