Archive for the ‘St. Petersburg College’ Category

“I see the three little pigs!” a kindergartener exclaimed, excitement obvious in the way she waved her hand back and forth.

A chorus of agreement bombarded St. Petersburg Collegiate High School’s Principal Starla Metz who sat at the front of the class reading “Winston the Book Wolf.”

For the past four years, during the days leading up to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, St. Petersburg College has helped emphasize the idea of service – “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”

That has involved the college’s work with the MLK Day of Service Advisory Board. In addition, this year SPC brought students, staff and faculty – totaling 94 volunteers – to Pinellas County schools. Volunteers read stories, interacted with kindergarten through fifth-grade students and helped teachers with their everyday tasks on Friday, Jan. 15.

“I enjoyed reading to the kids, giving them something to get excited about,” said Jeff Cesta, Director of Dual and Early Enrollment at SPC.

“It’s important to inspire elementary age students to learn and go to college, and to ultimately find a career,” said Metz after reading her two stories to a class at Belcher Elementary.

Center for Civil Learning and Community Engagement

The event was coordinated by the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement (CCLE). Taking social science to heart, the CCLE encourages engagement between the community and SPC.

Professor Tara Newsom, a social and behavioral science faculty member with the CCLE, said, “Our community engagement is very diverse, which correlates to the diversity of the students at SPC. We push students to get involved in volunteer positions that are a part of their field of study.”

Creating a web of workers passionate about SPC and the community has been a major reason for the success of the CCLE, Newsom said. Students can flourish under a model where completing required volunteer hours provides them a taste for their field of study in a real world setting. That, in turn, can help guide students to a successful career.

“The CCLE grows opportunities. You can say the CCLE are the coordinators and catalysts for civic engagement,” said Newsom.

2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Projects

Linda Hogans, Executive Director for SPC’s Center of Excellence, is also proud of the work the college has done in the civic category as part of the MLK Day of Service.

With funding provided by the Florida legislature, the MLK Day of Service Advisory Board in collaboration with SPC awards funds to local organizations to host service projects scheduled in connection with the  Jan. 18 holiday. These projects are part of the board’s annual effort to transform the holiday into “A Day On, Not a Day Off.”

Overseeing the MLK Day of Service Advisory Board, Hogans’ department has worked hard to put together many volunteer opportunities across Pinellas County.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a challenge as much as I’d say it’s an opportunity,” said Hogans, speaking of the success of  these civic engagement campaigns.

This year alone, forty-five projects were given awards. Hogans highlighted one in particular, which involved the Association of Naval Service Officers working with shelters for impoverished children.

“They refurbished and cleaned up much of the place, and seeing the transformation over the months has been extremely uplifting,” she said.

The MLK Day of Service empowers the community and starts the new year off right, Hogans said.

“It is not just what we do on that day. It is what we do every day that just can’t be measured.”

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

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At its Jan. 19 meeting, the Board of Trustees at St. Petersburg College welcomed its two newest board members, Bill Foster and Nathan Stonecipher, who were appointed in December by Gov. Rick Scott.


Bill Foster

Bill Foster is the former mayor of the City of St. Petersburg, and an attorney and shareholder at Foster and Foster PA. For 10 years, he was on the St. Petersburg City Council, two years as chairman. He has been a participating member of St. Petersburg Vision 2020, the Pinellas County Annexation Task Force, the NAACP and the St. Petersburg History Museum.

Foster is a graduate of Northeast High School, Samford University and the Cumberland Law School at Samford University. He succeeds Bridgette Mill and was appointed for a term beginning Dec. 18, 2015, and ending May 31, 2019.

Nathan Stonecipher

Nathan Stonecipher

Nathan Stonecipher is co-owner of Green Bench Brewing Co. and a member of the Board of Directors of the EDGE Business District Association. A Pinellas County native, he is a graduate of St. Petersburg College and the University of Florida.

Stonecipher previously was vice president of Directed Capital Resources LLC and was an assistant bond trader with Raymond James Financial. Stonecipher succeeds Robert Fine and was appointed for a term beginning Dec. 18, 2015, and ending May 31, 2018.

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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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Prominent intellectual, best-selling author and provocative talk-show guest Dr. Cornel West heads a line-up of prominent African Americans who will address social justice issues at the Heritage Lecture Series during the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in St. Petersburg.

The series, sponsored by the Cross and Anvil Human Services Center, will be held Jan. 11-13 at SPC’s Allstate Center campus, 3200 34th St. S. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.

Joining Dr. West as headline speakers will be Dr. Lani Guinier, law professor at Harvard University and former member of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division; Charles M. Blow, columnist for the New York Times; Dr. Gerald Horne, author, historian and professor at the University of Houston; and John L. Burris, civil rights attorney and legal analyst for cable news media.

The Heritage Lecture Series, entering its third year, seeks to engage the African American community in recognizing its accomplishments and defining its grievances, educating its young people and challenging its members to carry on Dr. King’s fight for equality. Speakers will focus on the effects of recent changes in law, education and history as they relate to racial justice for African Americans.

The program lineup is:

·         7 p.m. Jan. 11, Dr. Lani Guinier

·         10 a.m. Jan. 12, Charles M. Blow

·         7 p.m. Jan. 12, John Burris

·         6 p.m. Jan. 13, Dr. Gerald Horne

·         7 p.m. Jan. 13, Dr. Cornel West

The Cross and Anvil Human Services Center, 1201 Seventh Ave. S., St. Petersburg, is a partnership between the City of St. Petersburg and the Greater Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church. It provides academic support services, mental health counseling, comprehensive youth mentoring, veterans’ services, and parental engagement training.

Additional sponsors include: St. Petersburg College, the Juvenile Welfare Board, the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office, Duke Energy, Pinellas County Schools and the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College.

Advance registration is required at http://conta.cc/1m1jHGB.

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With a record field of Republican candidates and a seemingly endless series of debates, the 2016 Presidential Primary Season is about to enter a new and decisive phase: actual voting.

The first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses are set for Feb. 1, and a nation saturated in primary coverage for the past six months eagerly awaits outcomes that have more validity than poll results or pundits’ tea leaves. So who are the most likely winners? Who will be finished before Super Tuesday? Perhaps more importantly for voters who may be experiencing primary fatigue: Is this the best we can do? Is there a better way to choose a presidential nominee?

Some answers will be provided as St. Petersburg College debuts its Distinguished Speaker Series from 7-8:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 at the Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Michael Steele, former Republican National Committee chairman and respected political commentator on cable and network TV, headlines an evening of discussion about the primaries just four days before the Iowa Caucuses.

The forum, titled “Battle for the White House: A Primary Primer,” is sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions. Media co-sponsors are the Tampa Bay Times, WEDU-TV, and WUSF Public Media. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

Joining Steele in this assessment of the primaries will be Jim Davis, former Congressman from Tampa and the Democratic candidate for governor in 2006. The moderator will be Amy Hollyfield, deputy managing editor of politics and business for the Tampa Bay Times.

Eight months ago, the buzz about the Republican primaries was all about the showdown between Florida superstars Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. So sure were pundits that Florida’s favorite GOP sons would dominate the Republican field that they coined a twitter-like brand for the race: Jebio.

How long ago and far away those days seem. After a tumultuous summer and fall of debates, shifting polls and agenda-shattering world events, the early assumptions about the GOP presidential field were gone with the political winds. Near the dawn of actual voting, the race is still wide open, with a stageful of candidates still hoping that a strong showing in Iowa and New Hampshire will vault them into the lead.

On the Democratic side, a much smaller field challenging the taken-for-granted nomination of Hillary Clinton has the same hope.

In addition to assessing the horse race aspect of the primaries, the panel will discuss the disproportionate influence of small-state primaries like Iowa and New Hampshire on the nomination process, the influence of SuperPacs on the campaign, and the challenge of campaigning for Super Tuesday, when at least 11 states hold their primaries.

Advance registration is requested at http://solutions.spcollege.edu. For more information, call 727-394-6942.

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Student success rates increased this fall at St. Petersburg College, particularly among First-Time-in-College (FTIC) African-American male students, who improved by 13.6 percent in developmental classes and 6.6 percent overall compared to last fall.

Success rates for all FTIC students this fall are up 2.8 percent over last fall and 2.2 percent for all SPC students. Since 2012, SPC has focused on improving student success rates, which is defined as earning a grade of A, B or C in a course.

“Student success is our highest value at St. Petersburg College,” said Jesse Coraggio, SPC’s Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services. “We have all been working very hard, inside and outside the classroom, to improve the success of our students. While it is nice to see the increased success rates, the real value is knowing that we are changing the lives of more and more of our students.”

SPC launched The College Experience in Fall 2012 to keep the college focused on giving students the support they need to earn the degree or certificate that will change their lives. Five key areas that make up The College Experience are:

  • Out-of-Class Support – Extensive free resources, including individual tutoring from faculty and staff, libraries and computer labs.
  • Integrated Career and Academic Advising – A full-service operation that helps students define who they are, identify career and degree paths and get ready to enter the job market.
  • My Learning Plan – An online tool that prescribes the courses students need to take to complete their academic program and order they need to take them in.
  • Smart Start Orientation – a free, non-credit course that introduces students to all the tools they need to succeed in college. Smart Start is for first-time SPC students seeking an A.A. or A.S. degree and students returning from suspension or dismissal.
  • Early Alerts and Student Coaching – Identifies struggling students early so they stay enrolled in their courses, on track with assignments and fully engaged.

Every week, faculty and staff meet online for 30 minutes to review real-time data from the previous week and discuss ways to make improvements.

This fall, more than 16,000 students visited campus learning centers for out-of-class support by faculty and staff. SPC faculty provided more than 5,000 hours of tutoring and academic support outside the classroom.

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St. Petersburg College (SPC) today announced that Tech Data Corporation, one of the world’s leading IT distributors and the largest public company in the Tampa Bay region, will provide $10,000 in scholarships to SPC students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Technology Development and Management.

Tech Data

The scholarships will help cover the cost of tuition, fees, and books for SPC students, who can receive up to $2,000 a year, or $1,000 per semester. Five scholarship recipients will be selected beginning with the Fall 2016 term.

“Tech Data is excited to partner with SPC to provide students with the opportunity to learn and thrive in technology careers through this scholarship program,” said Angie Beltz, vice president, Cisco Solutions Group at Tech Data and a member of the SPC Foundation Board of Directors. “This scholarship exemplifies our commitment to educating and training our future leaders.  SPC’s Technology Development and Management program provides students with the skills they need to work in today’s evolving IT landscape, and we thank SPC for their leadership and continued partnership.”

The scholarships will be distributed through the SPC Foundation, which is a direct support organization of St. Petersburg College.

“Tech Data, through the leadership of Bob Dutkowsky and Angie Beltz, has been a trailblazer in helping to ensure that area students possess the high-demand skills that will ensure their long-term success as well as the continued prosperity of the Tampa Bay area,” said Frances Neu, VP of Advancement for SPC. “We are proud to have their partnership.”

SPC recently partnered with Tech Data, Valpak, Agile Thought, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) to create a collaborative career development program known as the Exploratory Lab Boot Camp.

Among the 43 graduates who attended the Exploratory Lab, 78% were hired as interns or for new jobs by Tech Data, Agile Thought, Raymond James, Ernst & Young, local startup Lets Share Value, and an international company in Thailand. Some students returned to existing jobs seeking promotions and others returned to school with a new purpose.

Last month, Tech Data won Student Program of the Year from the TBTF for its leadership with the Exploratory Lab Boot Camp.

“Tech Data is a strong, local innovator and partner of St. Petersburg College,” said Sharon Setterlind, dean of SPC’s College of Computer and Information Technology. “This type of collaborative effort will help close technology skills gaps in the Tampa Bay area. We are hoping this kind of partnership catches on with technology firms across the Tampa Bay area, as it can truly make a difference in the lives of our students and the success of our local businesses.”

While students who receive the scholarship are not obligated to work or intern for Tech Data, Setterlind said she hopes the company continues to hire SPC graduates.

“Tech Data has hired several of our students, and they are thriving in their new careers,” she said.

To be eligible for the new scholarship, students must:

  • Be enrolled full-time at St. Petersburg College
  • Pursue a B.A.S. degree in Technology Development and Management
  • Maintain continuous enrollment in the degree program
  • Have a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Be a Florida resident
  • Not have completed more than 141 cumulative credits

For more information about this new scholarship, visit the Foundation website.


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