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.

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.

USF Communications and Marketing

On Monday, University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft sent a letter to faculty and staff announcing a new direction - a "path to preeminence" - that aims at bringing the school into "the ranks of America's most elite universities in the next few years."

It's more than just a phrase. Schools in the State University System that achieve "preeminence" or "emerging preeminence" get additional funding from the Florida Legislature.

But what do these statuses actually mean?

Heide Castañeda

While many viewed the recent U.S. Supreme Court case involving President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration with a passing interest at best, Heide Castañeda's involvement was much more personal.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

You would think after playing defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for nine years, and then 11 more as a Tampa firefighter, John Cannon might have back pain.

But the engineer-driver said he feels pretty good, thanks in part to a short exercise program TFR put together with researchers from USF Health - a program that, with the help of a $1.3 million federal grant, will soon be tested by firefighters in the Tampa Bay area's three largest departments.

TheatreUSF

What is beauty? Is it more than skin deep?

And what about courage? And love?

Those are the questions TheatreUSF is taking on with their spring production – an adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical “Violet.”

The musical opens on the University of South Florida Tampa campus tonight and runs through April 24th.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

The building that will house University of South Florida St. Petersburg's College of Business will bear the name of a woman who worked her way up in a Tampa Bay corporation from payroll clerk to Chief Financial Officer.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

While the University of South Florida's Tampa campus has 1,700 faculty and 1,800 staff members, the largest part of the workforce is the school's 2,300 graduate assistants.

During contract negotiations that have lasted for almost a year, the union representing that group is pushing USF for a pay raise and continuing full healthcare coverage.

USF Athletics

One of the two University of South Florida football players suspended after being charged with firing a gun on campus last year has been reinstated to the team.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, senior cornerback Lamar Robbins was reinstated after charges were dropped. 

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