Archive for the ‘Seminole Campus’ Category

College Visit Day

Pinellas County high school students can take a day off from classes on Oct. 14 to visit St. Petersburg College campuses. Open to high school juniors and seniors, these events count as an official college visit day. At each event students can:

  • Explore different majors … and the careers they lead to
  • Take a tour of our beautiful campuses
  • Learn about the free resources to help students succeed
  • Find out how to apply to SPC
  • Enjoy free refreshments
  • Ask for an official college visit letter to take back to their school as confirmation that they attended the event.

Choose the campus location nearest you. Get more information and reserve your spot online today:

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As baby boomers, the largest American generation to date, begin retiring, they are leaving looming gaps in the workforce. The departures have drawn media attention to the growing number of openings in the Tampa Bay area for public servants, specifically in public safety, policy and utilities.

In the City of St. Petersburg, for instance, nearly a quarter of the police force is currently eligible to retire. And when veteran officers leave, they take institutional knowledge with them.

St. Petersburg College is working closely with cities, counties, municipalities and companies to train and expose its students to the diversity of jobs available in the public utilities, public safety and public policy sectors.

SPC Career Exploration Event

public sector jobsRecently, more than 100 people attended SPC’s Public Utilities Career Exploration event at the Seminole Campus, where they learned about current and future career openings, training requirements, salaries and scholarship opportunities.

The annual career exploration event began a few years ago with a focus on job opportunities for students in SPC’s A.S. degree program in environmental science, but has expanded to include public policy students. The college eventually plans to hold the event twice a year and include students in information technology.

“The event illustrates a strong partnership between educators and local industries to inform students and the public of career opportunities in our region,” said Jason Krupp, director of Workforce Services for SPC. “It is very rewarding to help connect students with real opportunities in a sector they may not have considered otherwise.”

Job openings in public utilities

One of the most diverse departments in any municipality, public utilities positions range from mechanics and equipment operators to lab techs, biologists and chemists to accountants, marketers and attorneys. In St. Petersburg, Water Resources is the city’s largest operation and provides potable water distribution, wastewater (sewage) collection, treatment and disposal, and reclaimed water for irrigation purposes to city residents.

“Because water is a limited natural resource with increasing demand and regulation, there is a strong future need for skilled workers in public utilities,” Krupp said.

City of Seminole to hire SPC public policy students

Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds recognized this need and recently announced an agreement with SPC to hire one SPC public policy student or graduate each year for the next 10 years. This agreement is a testament of the high-quality instruction and career preparation provided by SPC faculty and staff.

The trainee will work their way through four departments: administration, public safety, community development and public works, to receive exposure to and specialized experience in the various areas of city government.

Public safety training

Over at SPC’s Allstate Center, students can enter a training academy to become a police or corrections officer or firefighter, move up in their career by earning an academic degree or take mandatory and specialized training available for emergency and first responders, military personnel, public safety, emergency management and judicial professionals and even the general public.

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R. Gil Kerlikowske

R. Gil Kerlikowske, United States Customs and Border Protection Commissioner

United States Customs and Border Protection Commissioner and St. Petersburg College alumnus R. Gil Kerlikowske was the featured speaker at St. Petersburg College’s Public Policy Leadership Speakers Series luncheon on May 21.

About 125 people attended the event, including local law enforcement and politicians, SPC administrators, faculty and staff. The 64 bachelor’s degree students in SPC’s Public Policy Administration program were the focus of the event, asking the commissioner questions about drug policy, human trafficking, border security and more.

Kerlikowske reflected on his four decades of law enforcement and drug policy experience, including teaching as an adjunct professor in Florida, New York and Seattle.

“That ability to give something back and spend time with students is just so critical,” he said. “I think that there was nothing more helpful in my career than to be able to serve as an adjunct and to be able to interact with students — to have that kind of discussion and dialogue. It really keeps you fresh.”

He gave a brief history of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency that was created in 2003 as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks. The new agency combined the efforts of agricultural inspectors; U.S. Border Patrol and Customs; and Immigration and Naturalization Services.

The goal was to have one face at the border. The challenge, he said, was to respond to the wide range of responsibilities — from managing counterfeit honey from China to the rise of Syrian foreign fighters in the U.S.

“The issues in front of Customs and Border Protection is like being in a tennis match – going back and forth from one issue to another on this wide array of responsibilities,” he said.

During his time working as Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Kerlikowske said he learned that effective drug policy includes enforcement, quality prevention and treatment.

“I wish as a police chief I had the knowledge of drug treatment holistically from a public health perspective that I did when I took over at ONDCP,” he said. “We actually began to change the debate from ‘this is purely a criminal justice problem to this is a health problem.'”

An SPC Public Policy student Nicolas Louis interacting with Commissioner Kerlikowske.

An SPC Public Policy student Nicolas Louis interacting with Commissioner Kerlikowske.

Kerlikowske’s advice to the students was clear:

“For you that are students … the mentorships you have is everything,” he said. “You can be the smartest student in the world. You could do the best whitepaper on the subject. You could do the best PowerPoint, etc. But your ability to work with others and cooperate to figure out how to compromise — to figure out how to work as a team in order to accomplish a mission is the benefit that truly you will get here.”

Kerlikowske’s path to the White House

Kerlikowske earned his associate in arts degree from St. Petersburg Junior College while working for the St. Petersburg Police Department as a street cop. He eventually became head of SPPD’s criminal investigation division while earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal justice from the University of South Florida.

He later graduated from the National Executive Institute at the Federal Bureau of Investigation Academy in Quantico, Va., and went on to serve as police chief of four cities, and as a member of the United States Justice Department.

In his current role as commissioner, Kerlikowski runs the largest federal law enforcement agency with more than 60,000 employees and a budget of $12.4 billion. Before accepting the commissioner position in March 2014, he had served as Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy since 2009.

Public Policy Leadership Speaker Series

The Public Policy Leadership Speaker Series luncheons, organized by SPC Professor Jeff Kronschnabl, gives students the opportunity to engage with highly acclaimed professionals from local, state and federal government in an intimate setting. Previous speakers have included:

  1. Kurt S. Browning, former Florida Secretary of State (March 21, 2012)
    Discussed the value of a higher education and the duties of the Secretary of State.
  2. Major General Karl M. Horst, Chief of Staff-U.S. Central Command ( 27, 2012)
    Discussed his experiences in leadership from his 39 year military career and also discuss his leadership and how it pertains to the USCENTCOM area of Responsibility.
  3. Charlie Crist, former Florida Governor (March 19, 2013)
    Discussed policy leadership while serving Florida as an elected official for over 15 years.
  4. Judge Nelly Khouzam and Judge Morris Silberman, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal (Oct. 16, 2013)
    This husband and wife duo discussed “A Nation of Laws: What is the role and responsibility of appellate courts as relates to the rule of Law?”
  5. Bob Lasala, County Administrator for Pinellas County, and Bill Horne, City Manager of Clearwater (April 2, 2014)
    Discussed collaborative leadership within local governments.
  6. Jack Latvala, Florida State Senator, and Ed Hooper, Florida State Representative (Oct. 29, 2014)
    Discussed collaborative leadership within the Florida Legislature.
  7. James Olliver, Seminole Campus Provost, and Frank Edmunds, Seminole City Manager (March 25, 2015)
    Discussed their distinguished public service careers and collaboration between the SPC Seminole campus and the City of Seminole.


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Frank Edmunds, Seminole City Manager; Leslie Waters, Seminole Mayor; James Olliver, SPC Seminole Campus Provost.

Frank Edmunds, Seminole City Manager; Leslie Waters, Seminole Mayor; James Olliver, SPC Seminole Campus Provost.

The City of Seminole and St. Petersburg College signed an agreement today that will place one SPC public policy student or graduate in a one-year paid position with the city each year starting Aug. 1. Each year for 10 years a new student/graduate will be selected for a position with the city.

Recently passed by the Seminole City Council, the new Frank Edmunds Public Service Associate in Training program is named after 20-year Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds who is retiring in August.


“This is the continuation of a long history of partnership between the City and the College,” said James Olliver, SPC Seminole Campus Provost. “I think it shows that the two of us, together with the Chamber of Commerce and the various civic and social organizations in Seminole, are so much greater than the sum of the parts in service to our community. We challenge other municipalities throughout Pinellas County (and beyond!) to follow this model and help themselves and the college by providing a robust work experience to one of our outstanding graduates.”

The trainee will be assigned by the city manager and will rotate through four departments: administration, public safety, community development and public works, to receive exposure to and specialized expertise in the various areas of city government.

To qualify, the student must be either in their final term in the Public Policy and Administration bachelor’s degree program or a recent graduate (within one year of selection). They must also have been recognized for having achieved public service distinction during their tenure as a student.

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James Olliver, celebrates in 2012, when President Barack Obama held a rally on Seminole Campus.

James Olliver, celebrates in 2012, when President Barack Obama held a rally on Seminole Campus.

With nearly 45 years in higher education, Dr. James Olliver, who served St. Petersburg College from 1989-2015, will retire at the end of this month, setting the standard for excellence, innovation and leadership.

“Jim Olliver has given a lifetime of extraordinary leadership and service to St. Petersburg College and to our students,” said SPC President Bill Law. “Throughout his career he has been on the front end of education innovation focused on support for students and faculty. Even more importantly, Jim has used his considerable talent to forge a unique partnership with the community served most directly by our Seminole Campus, a partnership that is the best in America between a college and its community. He has won civic leadership awards from a grateful community and has been similarly recognized within his professional associations.”

During his first seven years at SPC, Olliver served as Vice President for Institutional and Program Planning. He helped secure an $11 million Project Eagle grant and has been the driving force behind SPC’s eCampus, Florida’s largest online campus.

In 1996, he was named provost of the Seminole Campus. The first classes were offered at Seminole Mall and groundbreaking for the new campus was in 1997. Olliver beamed with pride on Sept. 8, 2012 when more than 11,000 enthusiastic local supporters packed SPC’s Seminole Campus to see President Barack Obama.

Named “Mr. Seminole” by the Seminole Chamber of Commerce in 2008, he is perhaps best known for the partnerships and contributions he has made locally. His hands-on leadership style and drive have touched every part of the thriving Seminole Campus including:

  • Creation of Career and Entrepreneurship Center
  • Development of media-rich Digitorium for campus and community events
  • Development of 40-acre Natural Habitat Park
  • Expansion of Career Services and Orientation within SPC’s College Experience
  • Supervised the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions and Village Square
  • Collaboration with City of Seminole for joint-use Seminole Community Library
  • Location of UF Pharmacy and Dental programs on Seminole Campus
  • Negotiating free PSTA bus service for SPC students, faculty and staff
  • Partnership with Duke Energy to install solar energy panels
  • Oversaw construction of Seminole Conference Center
  • Supported creation of Seminole Innovation Lab
  • Promotion of advanced degrees through University Partnership Center

Olliver also provided leadership to launch and grow a number of popular workforce programs including hospitality management, environmental science technology, digital arts (including web design, graphic design and video production) and entrepreneurship. Enrollment climbed to 23,000 student semester hours in Fall 2014.

Eritha Cainion, senior at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, join Seminole Provost Jim Olliver in cutting the ribbon at the PSTA event Thursday.

Jonathan Jacques, president of Seminole Campus Student Government Association and Eritha Cainion, senior at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, join Seminole Provost Jim Olliver in cutting the ribbon at the PSTA event Aug. 21, 2014.

In addition to the academics themselves, these programs have generated clubs and important campus activities like the Semmy’s in the Digital Arts program and the annual Business Plan and Elevator Pitch Competition in Entrepreneurship program. In 2013, the Advanced Videography class won an Emmy Award for “Away: A Story of Trash.”

“Dr. Olliver’s strong community-focus and passion for education has dramatically changed education within the Seminole Community,” said Jesse Coraggio, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants at SPC. “With leadership roles in such initiatives as the Seminole Community Educational Ecosystem – a community partnership between the local elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools as well as SPC’s Seminole campus – he has changed lives by providing accesses and opportunity through post-secondary education.”

His legacy of leadership will continue to spark inspiration in students of all ages long after he retires.

“Thanks to everyone at the College for truly making this my dream job,” said Olliver. “It doesn’t get any better than serving your community by providing educational opportunities and seeing students be successful.”

Mark Strickland has been named Interim Provost of the Seminole Campus for the 2015-16 year, starting June 1.

“Dr. Jim Olliver is an extraordinary educator, the likes of which we will be hard-pressed to replace,” said Law. “He has earned our respect and our best wishes as he embarks on the next stage of life. We wish him Godspeed.”

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Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland

Mark Strickland will join the Council of Campus Provosts as Interim Provost of the Seminole Campus for the 2015-16 year. This interim appointment provides an opportunity to address transitional matters. He officially begins his new role on June 1, 2015.

In his role as Associate Provost for the Downtown Campus, Mark has been a major contributor in the implementation and success of the College Experience, along with assisting and serving on numerous collegewide initiatives and committees. In addition to his contributions as an Associate Provost, he also has been the Athletic Director since 2007. Mark served in various leadership roles with the Florida College System Activities Association (FCSAA).

Mark joined St. Petersburg College in 2000 as a college recruiter. In 2003, he was promoted to coordinator of Enrollment Management and soon thereafter became the director. Mark left Enrollment Management in 2011 to become the Associate Provost at the Downtown Campus. In addition to Mark’s roles at SPC, he also has been an adjunct instructor for Barry University and the University of Tampa.

Mark’s upbringing as a military dependent allowed for him to live in multiple countries such as: Egypt, Italy, and Germany. In addition to his time overseas, Mark also lived in Georgia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Virginia and Florida.

Mark settled in nicely in Florida, having graduated locally from Seminole High School. From there, Mark went on to earn an associate degree from St. Petersburg College, a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, and a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern. Mark is working towards earning a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership and earned several doctoral credits at Colorado State University.

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Hundreds attended the New Ideas Conference, with honorary host and moderator Congressman David Jolly, on March 27 at SPC’s Seminole Campus.


The event brought together national, state and local leaders who discussed and offered innovative solutions to some of the most pressing policy issues facing the United States and Pinellas County. The daylong event featured panel discussions on the topics of education, budget reform, energy and the environment, and transportation.

The conference was such a success that organizers hope to make it an annual event. The conference was presented by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions (ISPS), and sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, Bright House Networks and Boston Capital Leasing.

Check out the Facebook gallery and media coverage from the Tampa Bay Times, the Tampa Tribune and TBNWeekly.

Panelists included:


  • State Sen. John Legg, chairman of the K-12 state Senate Education committee
  • Dr. Michael Grego, Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools
  • Tonette Salazar, State Relations Director of the Education Commission of the States

Budget reform

  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office
  • Dr. Joshua Gordon, Policy Director of the Concord Coalition
  • Former Congressman Jim Davis, former member of the House Budget Committee

Energy and environment

  • Former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis, who launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative
  • Susan Glickman, Florida Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
  • Buck Martinez, Senior Director of the Office of Clean Energy at Florida Power and Light
  • State Rep. Dwight Dudley


  • Jim Boxold, Florida Secretary of Transportation
  • State Senator Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg
  • Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch


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