Since the Summer of 2015, the Women on the Way (WOW) program has hit the ground running by opening three new centers. They are now celebrating 35 years of service since 1981.


On Monday, Aug. 22 at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs campus, faculty, staff and students attended the WOW Center’s grand opening.

“It is such a needed program on this campus,” said St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Provost Jamelle Conner. “I know it will make an impactful difference for our students.”

SE-Open-House-169x300Over the summer, WOW opened a new location at the Seminole Campus in the University Partnership Center, with Pepper Harth as an Advisor. Prior to that, in August of 2015, the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center welcomed the program and Nikishea Wright-Richardson took the role of Advisor. Next, the Tarpon Spring Campuses will host the program starting in Spring of 2017.

“I am very excited about the growth of the program, and the tremendous support we receive from the college and the community,” said WOW Coordinator Shirley Crumbley. “This year we not only celebrate 35 years, but the expansion to other campuses.”

St. Petersburg College launched its Women on the Way (WOW) program in 1981 as a resource and support center for women who were entering college in larger numbers than ever before in the history of the United States. The goal was to provide women – many of them the first in their families to attend college – with the skills and resources to be successful in an academic setting.

WOW-doors-and-sign3-1-300x256The effort was spearheaded by Dr. Vilma Zalupski, the college’s first female Provost (Clearwater Campus), Bobbie Hinson, Career Center Director, and Maria Edmonds, a psychology instructor who later became an Associate Provost. Edmonds was WOW’s first coordinator.

Services provided by WOW include scholarship assistance, workshops and seminars on topics such as time management, parenting, and success strategies, a Textbook Lending Library, and access to additional resources and referral information for social services.

Today, more than 300 women college-wide participate in WOW programs.

“I am very proud of the students in our program, and I get to see first-hand lives being transformed. WOW!” said Crumbley.

13087555_383250398512235_2517148250162013955_nThe Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College invites you to attend the third annual Pinellas Comic and Maker Con (PCMCon). It is the biggest comic convention in Florida’s most densely populated county and is for fans of comic books, gaming, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, costuming and maker culture. More than 4,000 people attended last year’s PCMCon convention. Event details include:


There will be exciting activities for people of all ages including costume contests, video and board gaming tournaments, and appearances by the Star Wars 501st Legion, the Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters, and many others.

This convention has proven especially attractive to Pinellas residents who may not be able to attend other fan cons because of the distance or cost. Young adults, children and older fans alike will find something to enjoy. All events are free.

Dozens of local businesses and organizations will have booths to sell fan collectibles, promote upcoming events and share services and resources.

Attendees can expect:

  • costume contests
  • food trucks
  • live entertainment
  • a haunted nature trail
  • expert presentations on a variety of topics
  • movies
  • crafting and maker culture
  • displays themed around superheroes
  • sci-fi
  • anime
  • emerging technologies
  • gaming
  • collectible toys.

Science and technology geeks will get a look at the library’s new Innovation Lab that includes a 3-D printer built locally by FreeFab3D, robots, Arduino and Raspberry Pi kits, virtual reality headsets, littleBits Synth Kit, a DIY hologram viewer and more that the public can explore throughout the day. Other exhibitors specializing in “all things maker” will be on hand as well.


David Brooks

David Brooks

Best-selling author and op-ed columnist David Brooks will be speaking at the Second Annual St. Petersburg College Foundation Distinguished Speaker Event at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at The Palladium Theater, 253 5th Ave. N. St. Petersburg.

As a widely acclaimed political and social analyst, David Brooks is a keen observer of the American way of life and a savvy commentator on present-day politics and foreign affairs. He has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and quiet passion.

  “We are very pleased to host Mr. Brooks at our second annual distinguished speaker event,” said SPC VP of Institutional Advancement Frances Neu. “Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships at SPC,” she said. “With more than 60 percent of our students relying on tuition assistance, attending this event is a particularly good investment – it’s the chance to hear one of the nation’s top commentators while helping to support the education of hard-working students.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Brooks holds several prestigious positions including op-ed columnist for The New York Times and analyst on the PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered. Additionally, he appears regularly on NBC’s Meet the Press. His latest best-seller, The Road to Character, tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed. In a society that emphasizes success and external achievement, The Road to Character is a book about inner worth.

Event tickets are $65 for orchestra seating and $55 for balcony seating. Tickets available at www.mypalladium.org or by calling the Palladium box office at 727-822-3590. For more information contact the SPC Foundation at 727-341-3302 or email foundation@spcollege.edu.

Event sponsors are: Raymond James; Bright House Networks; Cisco; Duke Energy; Merrill Lynch; LEMA Construction; Carroll Family Foundation; Ken and Sandee Cherven; John and JoAnn Nestor; Rothman Family Foundation; Creative Contractors Inc.; Gregory, Sharer and Stuart; Biltmore Construction; Jagged Peak. Media partners: Tampa Bay Times; WEDU; WUSF Public Media and Tampa Bay Business Journal.


On Monday, August 22, Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College and Empower Adventures Tampa Bay will launch their new partnership by providing Habitat for Humanity Pinellas’ 45-person staff an unparalleled leadership and team building experience, together.

Collaborative Labs’ Executive Director Andrea Henning said, “We are thrilled to partner with such a strength-based organization like Empower Adventures Tampa Bay. We’ve spent the past decade designing and executing strategic-planning sessions for hundreds of unique organizations using our accelerated process and technology to accomplish in hours, what takes weeks or months using traditional methodologies. Gone are the days of the uber expensive strategic planning getaways for only the wealthiest companies; we provide affordable and customized solutions, and with EATB by our side, we are going to change the landscape together.”

According to Henning, Monday’s group from Habitat for Humanity Pinellas will build a Team Success Plan for the year at Collaborative Labs in the morning, and then they will reinforce the team experience and trust at Empower Adventures Tampa Bay in Oldsmar in the afternoon. The full day experience will result in increased team accountability and trust, as the Habitat for Humanity Pinellas’ Team takes action on implementing their success plan for the next year.

smalloogoEATB Founder and former Army Airborne Ranger Captain Joe DeRing said, “We have been searching the Bay Area for the right partner and feel that Collaborative Labs really fits the bill and connects our sense of adventure and empowerment. Our big differentiator is that we are not a theme park with thousands of visitors each day. Our location on the Mobbly Bayou Preserve inOldsmar is an ideal venue for the perfect eco-friendly team-building experience; and our leadership model is based on my years of survival training and individual empowerment.”

“Together, Collaborative Labs and Empower Adventures Tampa Bay will offer a high-engagement/high-impact program for any size business or organization wanting to tackle strategic planning and team building at the same time. Team consensus building and bonding opportunities happen in an informal setting around some pretty formal and important issues,” Henning added.

For more information on Collaborative Labs, please visit their website at www.collaborativelabs.com or call 727-341-3154. For more information on Empower Adventures Tampa Bay, please visit www.zipontampabay.com or call 813-448-5635.

About Collaborative Labs
Collaborative Labs facilitates organizational problem solving for companies and organizations ranging from a few people to large teams. Their unique approach incorporates interactive technology, strength-based techniques and real-time documentation to develop an actionable plan that produces tangible results. They carefully analyze each client’s needs and goals, and then synthesize their findings into a custom solution that ensures consensus, team building and accountability.

About Empower Adventures Tampa Bay
EATB’s mission is to empower teams and individuals to seek their highest potential. We achieve this mission by delivering powerful adventure experiences in beautiful settings that take people outside of their normal comfort zone. The course features five zip-lines and a 200-foot rope suspension bridge traversing the natural beauty of Oldsmar’s Mobbly Bayou Wilderness Preserve, near Bicentennial Park in the northwest Tampa suburb. Zip-liners begin the course by ascending a 60-foot tower, making it a great way to take in some amazing scenery – and perhaps conquer one’s fear of heights in the process.


144A8090-X3When Aimee Stubbs started working at SPC’s Disability Resources at the Clearwater Campus in 2006, there were 110 students actively working with the department.

Now there are 450 on that campus alone, and around 2,000 college-wide. In January 2015, when Stubbs began her current position as director, she saw an opportunity to expand the existing program to provide all different types of learners with technology, support and accommodations. That meant not only a name change, but also a complete revitalization of the department.

Students say the tools and resources provided by the department are helping them be successful in their classes.

“Everyone from the department has been very nice and helpful. They set me up with captioning for my classes, extra time for exams, a formula sheet for my math tests and many apps to use for organization,” said student Joey Weatherford. “They are the people to go to if you ever need help with anything.”

New Name – New Game

The change from Disability Resources to Accessibility Services was made in hopes of encouraging students who may not consider themselves as having a disability to investigate how they might use services such as assistive technology and accommodations.

“We want to make everyone aware that our department’s mission is to provide access,” Stubbs said. “Not just physical, but also educational access for all learners. So we revisited our mission to make sure everything we did had the purpose of access.” A Seamless Experience The program’s success has been bolstered by getting all faculty and staff on board. Stubbs said that there is truly no aspect of St. Petersburg College that Accessibility Services doesn’t deal with.

“Whether it be facilities, furniture, instructional design, faculty and staff, security, online services, web compliance, testing – this is an institutional approach. We’re all working together to support our students,” she said.

The department believes the use of Accessible Information Management (AIM) Software will make it easier for faculty and staff by automating accommodations, paperwork, notes and providing them access to student records all in one place. “This will reduce barriers to case management for students,” Stubbs said.144A8155-X3

Access to Resources

There are several applications available to address the differing needs of students, including those with dyslexia, auditory processing issues or time management challenges. Stubbs hopes that students will feel empowered by technology and that the use of it will help them become as autonomous as possible in their learning.

Assistive Technology Specialist Regina Miller recommends apps that would be helpful for students’ differing needs and offers instruction on how to use them.

“Before the explosion of technology in general, students usually depended on others for support with writing, reading, or typing,” Miller said. “Today, assistive technology supports all of those things. It’s a communication gateway between peers and faculty and other areas of support that a student may seek.”

Mallory Michael recently earned her bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies. She said she was blown away by the number of helpful apps available.

“Accessibility Services was great about telling me what I needed. They offered me Dragon Dictate, which I’d never heard of before,” Michael said. “You speak into it, and it types for you. I eventually started using my keyboard, but I know a lot of less-functioning people who rely on it.”

144A8147-X3A Network of Support

Community partnerships are important to learning institutions, and Accessibility Services is currently partnered with more than 30 local agencies that can provide the resources students may need to succeed in class. Workshops are offered that address topics like time management, study skills, test anxiety and helpful apps.

Students attest that Accessibility Services’ multi-angle approach is truly helpful. Betsie Hughes earned her degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Education this spring, and she credits the department for helping her with seating, testing and other accommodations that she needed to navigate a college campus.

“I always feel like they’re a support team for me. It’s hard enough being a college student and studying, and if you don’t get a level playing field that other students have, that makes it more stressful,” Hughes said. “But it really helped to know someone had my back.”



i-GCBrrVj-X3St. Petersburg College’s new state-of-the art Career and Academic advising center reflects its reinvigorated advising model and provides a space for enhanced student engagement. Normally, an advising center is a buzz of activity during the weeks leading up to the start of the term. Then? Empty hallways, lineless queues and deserted student work stations for months on end.

Not anymore. This school year, St. Petersburg College opened its first redesigned Career and Academic Advising Center at its Tarpon Springs Campus. The reimagined center evokes the idea of a popular coffee café or community gathering spot, where students and staff collaborate in comfy seating areas surrounded by the latest technology.

“It’s like the Apple genius bar meets Starbucks,” said Dr. Marvin Bright, Provost of the Tarpon Springs Campus. “There’s a lot of movement and engagement with students in the space, which promotes the movement and flow within the entire building. This is not a space where students are sitting in an office waiting to be helped.”

The Career and Advising Center is a place where students, faculty, staff and community members work in a collaborative environment to create rich and ongoing learning, co-working, and teaching experiences. The center fosters student success, vital campus partnerships, and encourages individuals to become members of an intellectually diverse, active learning community. It is a reflection of the college’s new career and academic advising model, which places an emphasis on the alignment between a student’s academic area of study and their career aspirations.

Reaching Millennials – and their parents – where they live

SPC has as many students in the traditional college age bracket (approximately 30%) as those over the age of 35. Clearly, the generational experiences with technology are very different. Yet, at least two-thirds of Americans – crossing generational spans – own smart phones and other digital devices.

Millennial social environments, including academic ones, are in close synergy with an abundant use of technology. Traditionally, earlier generations have criticized Millennials, or “Net-Gens”, for their connection to new-age communication, and perceive them as withdrawn from in-person interaction. On the contrary, research shows that Net-Gens prefer to engage in multitasking, socially diverse environments that allow for in-person connections along with the use of technology.

St. Petersburg College has embraced the challenge to bridge the generational gap and connect to its diverse population at the critical advising level.

“Our students are constantly adapting to the ever-changing nature of our digital world, and we have every intention of advancing our services and philosophies along with them. It would be a disservice otherwise,” said SPC President Bill Law.

“Our new advising model and our advising centers are bringing the college-to-career conversation to a higher level,” Law said.i-NL8bCXg-X3

The student-centered experience

Traditionally in higher education, the Prescriptive Theory of Advising has been used, focusing on students’ needs related to academics with minimal emphasis on the total individual development. This approach is authority-based guidance, which hinders authentic relationships. Often, students aren’t engaged during this critical process, which hinders growth in and beyond the classroom.

St. Petersburg College has abandoned the Prescriptive Theory of Advising and now offers an engaging and collaborative approach known as Developmental Advising. This approach focuses on working with students in defining where they want to go with their lives and careers and then giving them the information and the tools to get there. In essence, the Tarpon Springs Campus Career and Academic Advising Center embodies this method.

“We’ve turned advising upside down, in the sense that we’ve literally knocked down walls and barriers,” said Rod Davis, Tarpon Springs Campus Associate Provost. “Now we have a collaborative environment where students can build relationships.”

The previous center’s layout mimicked the design and environment of a doctor’s office or motor vehicle department – an outdated model to the growing millennial generation.

“Previously, services only met prescribed student needs. The environment didn’t foster a continual collaboration and engagement among students, faculty, and staff,” Provost Bright said.

Now, advisors are no longer tethered to their desks. With technology at their fingertips, they can meet students where they are. Each advisor has multifunctional two-in-one laptops that allow them to host group or one-on-one advising sessions. In addition, more than 35 computers are available to students for independent class registration and for faculty to host classroom lectures. As technology continues to evolve, the center has the ability to expand to offer additional features.

The state-of-the-art technology embedded throughout the center welcomes students. Immediately front and center, the Jumbo-Tron flashes high-resolution images and video that captivates students and invites them to make connections. The concierge center overlooks a comfortable, open floor plan that is socially inviting and empowers confidence for key stakeholders to make an impactful change to their educational future.

i-5p5nLrc-X3Making Career Connections

The Career and Transfer Hub is an extension of services offered by the Tarpon Springs Career and Advising Center. There, advisors and support staff offer career counseling to students, starting with the end goal in mind.

For example, students prepare for the workforce by making resumes with the center’s software, learning the technology needed to conduct a Skype interview and attending network fairs that are offered weekly.

“Every conversation we have with students includes a career conversation,” said Student Services Manager Terri Kontodiakos. “It is vital to student success and keeps students motivated, knowing they are working towards a larger goal.

Advising: A critical component of SPC’s award-winning College Experience initiative

The Tarpon Springs Campus Career and Advising Center supports SPC’s College Experience initiative, which is designed to help students “start smart and finish strong.” In 2014, the college was named a winner of the Chancellor’s Best Practice Award for these efforts.

This initiative ignites students’ drive and motivation through five areas deemed critical to advancing student success:

• Expanded out-of-class support

• A personalized tool called “My Learning Plan”

• New student “Smart Start” orientation

• Early alerts and student coaching

• Integrated career and academic advising

Through the new developmental advising approach, students identify, clarify and realize their personal, academic, career and life goals. The purpose is to give students the tools, resources and support they need to be successful.

“There is no doubt these proactive support systems and resources are making a difference in the lives of our students,” SPC President Law said. “The successes we are seeing inspire us to retain our collective, laserlike focus on student achievement.”

The art of politicsSt. Petersburg College’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement (CCLCE) Fall 2016 event series is entitled “The Art of Politics: The Art of the Possible.” This series is tied together by the diverse threads of civic thought and expression often represented through art, be it politically motivated or meaningful civic dialogue. CCLCE is committed to providing a variety of opportunities to build civic pathways between SPC and our community. The fall series includes:

  • Propaganda, Protest and Satire
    • 17-Nov. 16
    • SPC Downtown, 244 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg
    • SPC Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S., St. Petersburg
    • This art show will display aspects of political and civic thought including patriotism, community involvement, dissonance and propaganda. Artists are encouraged to interpret the art of politics to include issues of social justice, the community, and the individual’s place within.
  • Civic Public Mural Art
    • September-October
    • SPC Seminole, 9200 113 St. N
    • SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N.
    • SPC Downtown Campus, 244 Second Ave. N., St. Petersburg
    • Large, highly visible mural pieces on display at these campuses will depict social justice and address student success in a variety of themes.
  • The Art of Civic Dialogue: A Workshop
    • 14 and Oct. 21 at University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 140 Seventh Ave S.
    • Oct. 27 at St. Petersburg City Hall steps, 175 5th St N.
    • Art is a powerful medium of political expression. Students will explore the role art plays in positive civic dialogue and produce pieces to share with the mayor and the community at large.
  • A Silent Message in a Tweeting World
    • Nov. 1
    • Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Dr. NE, St. Petersburg
    • This panel discussion, led by St. Petersburg author and community development consultant Peter Kageyama, will address the issues of political art in all its forms, including the role art plays in the 2016 political arena.
  • Food for Thought & Music for your Soul
    • Oct. 6 and Nov. 14-22 at various SPC Campuses
    • This event, which includes a food drive as well as a drive to collect used musical instruments, empowers SPC’s Music Industry Recording Arts students to enrich the community by giving the gift of music and food to financially challenged Pinellas County Schools students. For information on how to donate, contact Rosaria Pipitone at (727) 341- 4722.





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