University Beat

USF College of Engineering

The University of South Florida continues expanding its web presence as it prepares to roll out a pair of online masters degree programs.

The College of Business' online Master of Science in management information systems (MIS) degree program launches in the spring 2013 semester, while the College of Engineering's online MS in Electrical Engineering for professionals degree program gets underway in the summer 2013 semester.

USF Arts & Sciences

When the 53 contestants take the stage for the finals of the Miss America 2013 competition Saturday night in Las Vegas, a USF Bull will be among them.

Aniska Tonge graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in psychology only three months before winning the title of Miss Virgin Islands 2012. She also minored in women's studies.

Eric Younghans / USF Health

Singing, dancing and magic acts are just some of the things attendees at Friday night's "BANDaids for BRIDGE" charity fundraiser can expect to see. And the best thing is that the performers are all trained professionals--well, trained medical professionals.

BANDaids creator Madeline Snyder, a second-year student at the USF College of Medicine, says the event features USF Health students, faculty and staff showing off their talents.

"We have physicians dancing in the show, singing, playing the drums, playing the guitar," Snyder said. "So it's really neat to see your mentors get up on stage and kind let loose for an evening for a good cause."

Garrison Games

Whether you didn't enjoy high school (I was a 5'3" tall freshman, but it got better after that) or it truly was the best time of your life, a board game created by a USF Professor and his friends gives you the opportunity to relive high school.

Philip Bishop is a visiting professor teaching philosophy courses in USF’s Honors College and a self-professed "gaming geek." During a gaming session with friends, including his own high school classmate, USF graduate teaching assistant Alan Shaw, the group began discussing making a board game out of their high school experiences.

“That spilled into, well, how would you do that, how would you make in a game, getting to the hallways, getting to your classroom, just getting through the day?" said Shaw. "And that turned into, oh, that mechanic would work perfectly, why isn’t somebody writing this down?”

Mark Schreiner / WUSF News

The USF Herd of Thunder marching band had an eventful 2012, which included performances on the Today show and at the Republican National Convention.

But 2013 might be tough to top, as they'll ring in the New Year with possibly the most important performance in band history.

More than a hundred members of the USF marching band, along with two alumni members who now live overseas, will take part in London's 27th annual New Year's Day Parade. The HOT is the only major American university band invited to the event, which is expected to be seen by more than 220 million people worldwide. The parade will be broadcast by WUSF TV.

A USF student is giving thanks to those who came to her aid and saved her life after she collapsed outside a classroom during finals week.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF News

It's a four-course meal fit for a king - or at least a dedicated foodie - and it's the work of USF Sarasota-Manatee students.

Start with hors d'oeuvres like passed wild mushroom topped with fontina cheese and pulled lamb bruschetta... move on to a salad of four different greens from Bay Area farms... then "turf and turf," a pairing of Cornish game hen and seared beef tenderloin, alongside a heirloom tomato stack and parsnip puree... and wrap it up all up with "Sweet Endings," a trip of pear cobbler, chocolate fudge brownie over mint syrup, and Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream.

That's the menu planned and prepared by students in USF Sarasota-Manatee's College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership for the "HospitaBull" event held last month.

USF and The The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton will host the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Golf Championships.

Over 2,900 students across the USF System received their diplomas this past weekend, and like most graduating classes, there were a few individual stories worth noting:

Big East Conference

While USF Athletic officials put up a brave front, questions remain about the school's athletic conference future as seven fellow Big East teams announced plans to defect this past weekend.

The seven schools, which do not field Football Bowl Series (FBS) level teams like USF does, unanimously voted to leave the conference on June 30, 2015.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, reports the seven non-Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the Big East have agreed to leave the conference. All that's left is figuring out how they'll depart, a decision that will have a huge effect on the three schools left behind, including USF.

Katy Hennig / USF News

Even as researchers unearth more information about what may lie under the ground of the Dozier School for Boys, the allegations of brutality that marked the reform school's history continue to also live on.

For months, a team of USF anthropologists and archeologists have been studying the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna - particularly the school’s Boot Hill Cemetery and surrounding woods. Now, with the release of its interim findings, Professor Erin Kimmerle says the question remains: just how many young men are buried on the reform school grounds.

USF St. Petersburg News

USF St. Petersburg students got a little extra help dealing with the stress of Finals Week in the form of wet noses and fuzzy faces.

Dogs from the Pinellas County chapter of Therapy Dogs International stopped by the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library Wednesday afternoon to give the students a furry study break.

Administrators of the non-football playing schools in the Big East Conference are expected to announce their plans in the next 24-48 hours, and the future may not look good for the University of South Florida. Sources said Wednesday it's becoming "more likely" the basketball schools will break away from the league's football members, including USF.

University of South Florida researchers announced earlier this week that they’ve found evidence of around 90 deaths and 50 gravesites at the defunct Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.  Now, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is asking the Justice Department join the school’s anthropologists in broadening a search to look for more graves -  as well as forensic evidence of possible crimes. reports the future of the Big East Conference continues to be in question. The three member schools that play football, including USF, are outnumbered by seven teams that don't field football teams. Representatives of those schools met with Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco this past weekend, as the option to dissolve the conference remains on the table.

Willie Taggart
Tampa Bay Times

USF didn't wait long, naming Willie Taggart as the third head football coach in the program's history, less than a week after firing Skip Holtz.

Speaking at a news conference Saturday afternoon, Taggart spoke of USF's history while promising a new brand of leadership in the future.

"I always said I wouldn't leave WKU unless I had a chance to go and win a national championship, and I truly believe that can be done here," Taggart said.

"It wasn't long ago USF was No. 2 in the country. It's been proven that we can get there," Taggart added. "What we have to do now is put everybody on the bus, put 'em in the right seat and let coach T drive this bus!"

One of the candidates to be the new USF football coach, Western Kentucky's Willie Taggart, may or may not have met with USF athletic director Doug Woolard. But Taggart's not saying much, instead focusing on preparations for his team's first-ever bowl game.

The Tampa Bay Times reports USF President Judy Genshaft is very enthused about the candidates interested in the vacant head football coaching position, saying the team has "a great future."

Today the final three reports in an overview of the scientific community's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is being released. One of the authors is University of South Florida biologist Steve Murawski, who was the chief scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service during the disaster.