University Beat

University Beat is a radio and television program that focuses on the research and work at the University of South Florida and how it benefits the Tampa Bay area, Florida, and the world around us.

Each week, reporter Mark Schreiner looks at the latest USF efforts in medicine, engineering, education, arts and sciences and explores other programs that reach out to both students and the community.

USF Communications and Marketing

A trio of rankings recently came out on a variety of subjects, and for the University of South Florida, two out of three weren't bad.

USF picked up the top spot in a national ranking of public universities when it comes to student success and once again made the top 10 among public universities for U.S. patents.

But it placed almost right in the middle of some 700-plus schools in Money magazine's "most valuable" universities.

WUSF TV

Teddy Mullet has always liked building things by hand. While his cousin bought a kit to build a laser, Mullet decided to buy the parts separately and make his own. So when he was in his junior year at Sarasota Christian School, he was thinking of applying to University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

One problem – USFSM had no engineering program.

Recent USF graduates Victor Sims (left) and Frank Cirillo are both running for political office this year.
campaign Facebook pages

CORRECTION posted at 7/5/16 3:30 p.m. Copy and University Beat radio report updated to indicate Frank Cirillo graduated from USF's Tampa campus and not USF Sarasota-Manatee.

This year, while a lot of college students are getting ready to vote in their first presidential election, two recent University of South Florida graduates are running for office.

Glenn Nickerson / WUSF TV

In 2009, University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design students Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross watched Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath.

What struck them was the lack of quick, proper shelter for the victims of an event like this.

"The Committee" website via UCF

Thanks in part to work by WUSF TV, more than 70 public TV stations around the country will air an award-winning documentary that looks back at a 1950s and 60s legislative effort that targeted a then fledgling University of South Florida.

"The Committee," which was produced by faculty and students at the University of Central Florida, examines the Florida Legislature Investigation Committee -- also known as the Johns Committee, after its chairman, state senator and former governor Charley Johns.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

UPDATED at 2:30 p.m. on 6/23 with Pres. Genshaft quote and information on how USF will use the funding.

The University of South Florida is one step closer to joining the University of Florida and Florida State University as one of the state's elite public universities - and one step closer to receiving the funding that goes with that ranking.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

  If you drive through the Unity Park area of St. Petersburg, maybe looking for parking for Tropicana Field, you’ve probably seen Faith House Florida - a collection of four brightly colored apartment houses and a garden on 15th Street North.

What makes Faith House stand out in the oak canopy lined neighborhood, surrounded by single family homes, is that it’s a structured residential program for people battling substance abuse issues, recently released prison inmates and homeless people.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

  It’s a problem that affects 700,000 people in the ten-county Tampa Bay area: food insecurity.

Thomas Mantz, the Executive Director of the group Feeding Tampa Bay says food insecurity is when people like you and me don’t have consistent access to food due to a lack of money or other resources. 

Pressure Builds In Debate Over FAMU President's Contract

Jun 8, 2016
Florida A&M University

As the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees prepares for a crucial meeting, a powerful Tallahassee pastor and former trustee said Wednesday the panel should not renew the contract of FAMU's embattled president, Elmira Mangum.

courtesy Paul Spector

(This report originally aired April 12, 2016, and is reairing June 7, 2016.)

In the 1980s, one bestselling book advised people to "do what you love, the money will follow."

Others believe in the adage "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."

While neither of those concepts can probably never really be proven correct or not, a pair of University of South Florida psychologists are taking on a similar idea: if a person has a a calling, a form of work someone finds fulfilling, what happens if they pursue it - and what happens if they don't?

While officials from USF and FIO and local politicians look on, Duckworth Steel Boats owner Junior Duckworth (center, back) performs the ceremonial keel laying of the new research vessel.
Amie Blodgett / USF News

Next summer, a group of marine researchers and local politicians who gathered at a Tarpon Springs shipyard for a ceremonial keel laying plan to return for the dedication of a new research ship.

With the touching of a blow torch to the keel Wednesday morning, construction formally began on the 78-foot vessel at Duckworth Steel Boats.

USF students in the "Introduction to Food Studies" course gather at their vegetable garden planted at the USF Botanical Gardens.
Jesse McLane / WUSF TV

Think back to the last time you had a salad.

Was it one of those bags that you buy at a store, tear open some envelopes with the various ingredients, mix and eat?

Or are you one of those folks with a green thumb who takes your vegetables all the way from seed to the salad bowl?

Well there’s a class at the University of South Florida that’s trying to turn students from the former into the latter.

Daniel Yeh / USF College of Engineering

For USF graduate research assistant Robert Bair, work he normally does in the laboratory isn’t as easy when he’s out in the field. And in this case, we literally mean a field in India.

"So a lot of things happen that you wouldn’t expect in a lab - a few weeks ago we had a few coconuts from a tree fall onto our data logger, and of course, not a lot of damage was done, but it wasn’t something we expected," he said recently via Skype. "And we had to rearrange the site configuration just so that wouldn’t happen again so we could prevent further damage."

Gobulls.com

Ever since the University of South Florida started playing football 19 years ago, the question has been: Will there ever be an on-campus football stadium?

We soon might have an answer, thanks to a feasibility study the university is conducting.

Preparing to make public universities a priority during the next two years, incoming Senate President Joe Negron says more and better scholarships will help take Florida's higher-education system to the next level.

The Stuart Republican has made clear his goal of finding an additional $1 billion for the 12 public universities during his two-year term as president, which is slated to begin after the November elections.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The upcoming end of the school year was the perfect reason for students from USF St. Petersburg and Fairmount Park Elementary School to hit Tampa Bay recently.

The day brought together students from USFSP’s College of Education and Outdoor Leadership Program and about a dozen high-performing fifth graders from the St. Petersburg-based school.

Florida Board of Governors

The Florida Board of Governors has taken the first steps toward approving a standard search process for university presidents, with a final vote on approving the policy expected at the panel's June meeting.

Ahmed Mohamed

Ahmed Mohamed received a pair of degrees at the University of South Florida’s recent commencement ceremonies, graduating in just three years with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The University of South Florida starts four days worth of Spring Commencement exercises, the 108th commencement convocation, with three ceremonies on the Tampa campus Friday.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The special meeting of the University of South Florida Board of Trustees Tuesday only covered two topics, but ended up running as long as some regular meetings due to the importance of both subjects.

First, the board approved a contract with the more than 2,220 graduate assistants who teach classes and conduct research - a deal almost a year in the making.

Then, they approved an increase in rates for USF residence halls.

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