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Eileen LaHaie

Executive Director for the Center for Public Safety Innovation Eileen LaHaie poses with St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway at the Moxie Award’s ceremony.

When Executive Director for the Center for Public Safety Innovation Eileen LaHaie was a little girl, her father always told her, “You have moxie!” She now has an award to prove it, as she was recently given a Moxie Award from the Drug Free America Foundation at their May 18 event.

According to the DFAF website, the award celebrates citizens who have shown knowledge of the facts regarding the harms of drug use, used courage to stand against legislation that would weaken drug laws and proved determined to protect our nation’s children from addiction. To select their reward recipients, the organization looks at people who have worked with them and made efforts in the community.

After working with the DFAF for more than twelve years, LaHaie said most of her work at SPC has somehow related to drug prevention. “We do community outreach, counter-drug training programs, make videos and develop curriculum for them,” she said.

LaHaie said she grew up in a law enforcement family, and she’s seen how destructive drugs can be–especially to families. “Now that I’m a grandmother, fighting drug addiction is no longer work–it has become a mission.”

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Congratulations to the six St. Petersburg College faculty members chosen to receive the 2015 John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards from the League for Innovation in the Community College.

The League is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. It hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies in a continuing effort to make a positive difference for students and communities. The awards will be presented at the Innovations 2016 conference in Chicago in March.

The 2015 St. Petersburg College award winners are:

Christy-PowersChristy Powers – Excellence in student coaching and support

Dr. Christy Powers is the instructor-in-charge and longest-serving instructor in St. Petersburg College’s legal studies bachelor’s program.

Powers began her education in the south suburbs of Chicago at Moraine Valley Community College. From there, she earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of St. Francis and her Juris Doctor and Masters of Law in Employee Benefits from Chicago’s John Marshall Law School. She began her legal career with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.

For the past 10 years she has worked to help her students find their own passion in the law. Inspired by professors that mentored her in college, she is committed to providing individual advising and coaching to help her students balance their education, life and career goals. Her students know she has a personal, vested interest in their well being in and out of the classroom.

One of her most popular classes prepares students for the national voluntary paralegal certification exam. The most challenging portion of the test involves an analytical writing project. Powers has developed a practice methodology which involves working through a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the facts and construction of the memorandum. Students thrive with this kind of immediate feedback and application. Using this technique and applying it to the introduction course in the paralegal program has empowered students to deal with original source materials, statutes, regulations and cases in their first class.

Powers also developed a program for all SPC students who have a criminal background, workplace issues or other barriers to employment. She often delivers campus lectures to help students develop a narrative to explain their past errors and what they had learned from those experiences. She serves as both a life coach and a professional coach for many students.

Jennifer-FernandesJennifer Fernandes – Outstanding student engagement

Jennifer Fernandes, assistant professor of biology, teaches at St. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs Campus, where she uses a variety of strategies to help increase student engagement and success rates. In her Field Biology course, she incorporates active learning where students spend every Friday exploring Florida ecosystems and learning material by experience versus just seeing pictures in books. Recent outings have included hiking through hammock and scrub ecosystems, snorkeling in the Florida springs with manatees, kayaking through mangrove habitats and the springs, snorkeling on the coral reef and camping in many different upland environments. Each semester students go on a weekend trip to Key Largo to hike through the Everglades and learn about sea turtles, their conservation and what they can do to help.

Students also participate in service learning projects either by removing invasive species, creating oyster domes or planting sea oats. Fernandes has developed a relationship with Tampa Bay Watch and takes her students on a field trip every semester to learn about their mission and help them accomplish it.

Her Field Biology of Florida and Study Abroad Bonaire classes have worked with the Coral Restoration Foundation (CRF) to help restore coral reefs and earning a Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certification that enables them to join CRF projects around the world. Every semester since the inception of this model, there has been a 100 percent student success rate. She believes this is due to the nature of the course and the active learning that takes place during the class.

Her development of an innovative tutoring program has greatly increased the success rates and reduced withdrawal rates in Biology I, a required class for all science majors that has historically been a challenge for students to pass. Students are required to attend weekly supplemental instruction sessions led by college staff and student tutors. For these sessions, Fernandes created worksheets and jeopardy games for the tutors to do with the students and to answer any questions on material they may not have understood during class. As a result, the students have a better understanding of the material and go on to be very successful in other science courses.

Wende-Huehn-BrownWende Huehn-Brown – Innovation in the use of technology

Wende Huehn-Brown has taught business at St. Petersburg College since 2007.  She has a Ph.D. in Engineering Management with a B.S. and M.E. in Industrial Engineering, as well as 20 years of professional experience. When she joined the college, she quickly realized one of her biggest challenges would be teaching business courses in analytical fields online. She is responsible for seven master courses within Operations and Supply Chain Management disciplines, as well as the Senior Capstone focused on Strategic Management. Her subject matter expertise and experience help students prepare for their business career.

Her advanced instructional design technology skills enable her to solve online issues for her students. She also uses VoIP, messaging and video meetings to stay connected and responsive to her students. Her weekly reflection videos on key concepts, a series of pencasts and desktop-recorded videos on completing analytical methods, her use technology like a smartpen, Camtasia, Powtoon, YouTube, and many other resources provide her students with online learning in a mobile friendly format. Additionally she mastered a learning management system implementing rigorous course learning objectives using best practices, as well as encouraging students to learn the technology (including Turnitin) to enhance their success.

In just one course, she has more than 50 pencasts and 40 desktop-recorded videos on math problems, as well as four desktop-recorded videos on navigation and study tips, five PowToon animated videos on weekly reflection points, seven recorded lectures that use a business scenario she wrote to tie together each week’s lessons, nine assessments (including on the syllabus) and more. This has resulted in online student success for this one course going from 57 percent in 2013 to 78 percent in 2015. These students advance to perform at a high level at capstone, which requires this discipline, where industry best students proceed to a global competition and 56 percent of our students rank in the top three.

Nathan-MuehlNathan MuehlInnovative Pedagogical Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Nathan Muehl serves as Band/Orchestra Director and teaches music courses at St. Petersburg College. Over the past year, he has restructured the Music Theory I-IV courses to feature a text-neutral delivery system.  This objectives-based approach allows students to choose their own learning resources tailored to their learning style and budget. It creates a truly personalized learning experience. The results include higher levels of student engagement, more thorough achievement of course concepts, easier customization for accommodations, and students working at an improved pace. While each student in the course may be using different learning resources, the experience is not cumbersome to the instructor, and the approach is instantly adaptable and welcoming of new technologies as they are invented.

Muehl’s research interests include organizational motivation and morale. He currently serves as co-chair of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Mission and Vision Statement Committee. His personal mission statement is to “live a life of integrity, high trust and continual improvement; balanced between my roles as a husband, a musician and a teacher.”

Roxana-LevinRoxana LevinOutstanding Student Engagement Online

Roxana Levin has developed the Spanish program at St. Petersburg College including the blended program at the Tarpon Springs Campus. She spends much time online working with her students and coaching them through the use of software to help them reach proficiency. She constantly looks for innovative ways to improve the level of engagement with her online students. She engages the students in oral production and ensures that students develop all the skills of the language. She has also been an advocate of embedding culture in her online courses by providing many opportunities for students to immerse in the culture virtually as well as engaging them in out of class cultural events. Levin has been instrumental in bringing an innovative new online Spanish program to the college and is working on the redevelopment of the existing ones.

Professor Levin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics Education from Argentina and a Master’s degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of South Florida. She has been the lead faculty for the Ecuador and Spain study abroad programs for 10 years and is the advisor of Latinos United Club at the Tarpon Springs Campus.

Rosaria-PipitoneRosaria PipitoneInnovation in Career Services

Rosaria Pipitone graduated with her M.A. from University of South Florida’s Counselor Education with a concentration in Career in 2009. Originally from New York City, Rosaria relocated to Tampa to enroll in USF’s program as it is one of only eight programs accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Program that offers career as a concentration. During her graduate program, she was hired as a career consultant at USF’s College of Nursing to work with unemployed veterans. While working at USF she focused on embedding career services into the classroom where she could teach career development to a captive audience. Her Career Services Infusion model was well-received when presented at the 2013 National Career Development Association conference in Boston. In 2013, she authored two chapters, Resume Writing and Job Shadowing, in the text Career Development for Today: A holistic and inclusive approach.

In 2013 she was hired as a Career Outreach Specialist at St. Petersburg College where she successfully introduced the concept of the Career Service Infusion Model.  The model was adapted to meet the needs of the students, faculty and academic programs at SPC.  During this time she successfully integrated employment preparation workshops for students in the music department.

Rosaria underwent the Career Development Facilitator Instructor (CDFI) certification in 2015 and will be certifying SPC’s student support service staff as Career Development Facilitator’s (CDF). In addition, to her role in career services, Rosaria also teaches Legal Issues in Music course for SPC’s Music Industry/Recording Arts (MIRA) program.

By the age of 30, Rosaria has traveled throughout the United States and Europe as a lead coordinator for Envirosell marketing firm, providing her with the opportunity to utilize her interpreting skills with international Fortune 500 companies.  Rosaria was recently recognized by the United Nation’s #iamwoman campaign for her ability to overcome economic obstacles as first-generation American.  Raised in an Italian household, Rosaria is fortunate to be bilingual and enjoys her yearly family visits to Italy.

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Twenty proposals designed to promote students success will be funded through the St. Petersburg College Foundation’s Innovation Grants Initiative. Grant recipients will receive awards of up to $3,500 to implement projects that broaden traditional curricula and enrich the learning experience for SPC students. In total, more than $55,250 will be awarded this year.

“The grants represent the enormous talent of SPC faculty and staff who design and implement the projects,” said Beth Horner, Vice Chair of the SPC Foundation Board of Directors. The grants are developed to help strengthen students’ skills in a number of areas including science, technology, the arts and career preparedness.

“These creative and well-planned projects promote success by engaging students in new and exciting ways,” Horner added. “We are pleased to be able to underwrite the grants.”

A committee comprised of college and community representatives reviewed and evaluated the proposals.

The Innovation Grants Initiative was launched in 2011 as an opportunity to support the college’s efforts to improve student success. The Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 since starting the initiative.

This year’s grant recipients are:

James Angle, Support for Online Testing Fire and Public Safety Training Center

Gabrielle Bain, PT Obstacle Props

Brittany Baldwin, Educational Ecosystem Development Fund

Marie Biggs, Girl Power: Building Science Content Literacy for Girls K-5

Susan Blanchard, Reaching Out – Disabilities in the Community

Meg Delgato, STEM on Wheels: A Portable Approach to Science Inquiry in the Classroom

Meg Delgato, Instrumental Change, The Sequel: Using the Art of Drum Making to Investigate

the Science of Sound

Ethan Hart, SteamWorks

Jonathan Helms, Vocation Vacation

Stephanie Henningsen, The SPC Student Leadership Academy

David Manson, 2016 St. Petersburg Jazz Festival

Ray Menard, There’s More to Meat than Meets the Eye

Marilyn Michael, 2016 Summer Vocal Institute

Natavia Middleton, Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader

Kari Morrel, Midtown Library Technology Enhancement

Shirley Oakley, Persuasion and Performance: Connecting Students with Professionals in the Media Field

Julia Rawa-White, Rise & Shine: Student Success through Interdisciplinary Research & Scholarly Publication

Lara Sharp, Off to the Races–Summer Camp Program: Building Robotic Cars

Katherine Siegler, Biotech Botanicals

Carol Weideman, Expanding the Teaching Toolkit to Enhance Student Engagement

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Keron Jean-Baptiste

Keron Jean-Baptiste

Keron Jean-Baptiste has been named Associate Provost of SPC’s St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

Jean-Baptiste joined St. Petersburg College in 1999. He has worked in student services for fifteen years. During his tenure, he has served as an Academic Advisor on the Seminole, Midtown, and St. Petersburg/Gibbs campuses. He has also served as a Coordinator of the Information Technology Readiness Academy, College Recruiter, Site Coordinator at Midtown, Senior Staff Assistant in testing, and Student Support Advisor on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

For the past year, he has served as the Interim Associate Provost on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus and has been actively engaged in several strategic projects within the College Experience, including development of the new comprehensive advising model.

A former St. Petersburg Jr. College student, Jean-Baptiste earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from National Louis University, holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and is currently a Doctoral candidate at Nova Southeastern University.

Jean-Baptiste joins the campus leadership team under new Provost Jamelle Connor.

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Karen Kaufman White

Karen Kaufman White

After 31 years at SPC, Karen Kaufman White, Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus is retiring in July.

“I’ve had the good fortune to know Karen White since her first days at “SPJC.” She has always been a patient and focused educator, working on behalf of students and faculty, ready to take on new challenges,” said SPC President Dr. William Law. “Her early work to design and launch the Ethics Program at the College has proven to be a mark of distinction for all of us. Her work to lead our St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus as a provost at the end of her career has similarly been a beacon of service and support for our students. We wish her well in the next phase of her life.”

Initially a high-school English teacher and later a civil trial lawyer, White joined SPC in 1984 as Dean of Open Campus, managing what was then the college’s largest campus. During that time she supervised the successful launch of the Applied Ethics Program, including a required course for all degree-seeking students, the first program of its kind in the U.S. Later, she was Instructor-in-charge of the Applied Ethics Department and an adjunct Applied Ethics Instructor.

“Every SPC graduate takes with them a gift from Dr. White in the skills that they learn in PHI 1600 Applied Ethics,” said Susan Demers, SPC Dean of Public Policy and Legal Studies. “Her hard work in crafting the original Applied Ethics course and the legacy of her leadership are the backbone of our department. Her passion for justice, attention to detail, and generous spirit make her the living exemplar of critical thinking applied to life. We will miss her and wish her the best but I hope she knows where home is!”

In 1999 she became the Coordinator for Project Eagle I, a large federal grant aimed at building a national model for increasing access to four-year degrees and workforce training for community college students.

She also served as Special Assistant to the President and Dean of International Programs prior to accepting the position of provost in 2008.

“One could not have scripted a professional journey that would bring more joy and satisfaction than the career that unfolded for me at St. Petersburg College,” said White. “I am forever grateful for the privilege of learning from and working with such wonderful colleagues in serving our community and helping our students succeed.”

Jamelle Conner has been named Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

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davie-gill-ad-259x300Student Life and Leadership Coordinator Davie Gill has been named Athletic Director, taking over for Mark Strickland, who was recently named interim provost at the Seminole Campus. As it was with Strickland, the position is in addition to other administrative duties.

Gill began his career at SPC in 2000 as a student services officer at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. He was named coordinator of what was then called Student Activities (now known as Student Life and Leadership) at the campus in 2008.

Strickland served as athletic director for eight years.

 

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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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