University Beat

USF will say goodbye to the Big East Conference June 30th, the now-official date that the so-called "Catholic 7" schools will take the conference name and start their own league. ESPN reports that, in addition to keeping the Big East name, the new league will continue playing its postseason men's basketball tournament in Madison Square Garden, one of the last remaining questions about the split.

The American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) has come out with its 2012-2013 list of the 75 Best College Towns and Cities, and while Gainesville (University of Florida) and Tallahassee (Florida State University) make the grade, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota (USF), Orlando (UCF) and Miami (University of Miami) fall short.

US Presswire

Since it's become clear USF and the other schools that field Football Bowl Series (FBS) level teams will lose the "Big East" name, they'll have to come up with a name for their new conference.

If some of the domain names filed for by the conference's law firm are any sign, it looks like some form of "America 12" will be the choice.

Ryan Dillow / WUSF

From virtually controlling a robot, exploring a man-made cave, and creating their own lip gloss, the more than 20,000 people who attended the recent USF Engineering Expo had a huge variety of activities to choose from.

The 41st Annual Engineering Expo—believed to be one of the longest running events at USF—drew in students from elementary, middle and high schools around the Bay area and across the Southeast United States.

USF News

You might not recognize the name "Jerry Greenfield," but take away the last name and add "Ben and..." and everyone suddenly knows the ice cream magnate.

Greenfield will bring that notoriety, along with his business acumen (and some tasty treats), to USF's Tampa campus Monday night as part of the University Lecture Series.

Big East Conference

After memberships in the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA, the University of South Florida will reportedly soon say farewell to the Big East Conference -- but not by choice. reports the so-called "Catholic 7" schools splitting off from the league will keep the Big East name.

According to ESPN, the seven schools, which don't field Football Bowl Series (FBS) level teams, want to formally split off in July of this year. Sources say the seven -- DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall, and Villanova -- will be joined by Butler, Xavier, and possibly Creighton in the 'new' Big East.

Kathleen Cabble / Tampa Bay Business Journal

The University of South Florida Saint Petersburg's campus continues to grow. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reports the College of Business will be built on the College's current location, the Piano Man building on 7th Avenue South.

The Journal reports that the university had been planning to use a parking lot across from the University Student Center, but that site was ruled out after officials decided they might use it instead to expand the nearby Science and Technology Building.

While Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford says Florida Polytechnic University is "a disaster" that could use an outside ally, he's looking for an entity more like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and not USF -- the university Florida Poly was spun off from.

Speaking to the Tampa Tribune editorial board, the Wesley Chapel Republican presented what he admits is "a crazy idea... go talk to MIT or CalTech or Stanford and see if they want to have a satellite campus in Florida."


USF, along with its fellow Big East Conference schools, will remain on ESPN after a deal was announced over the weekend. And while the unease over not having a TV rights arrangement is gone, so is a relatively substantial amount of money.

TED Comes to USF

Feb 21, 2013

It's one of the biggest speaking series in the country, drawing such major names as Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Bono. Now TED is coming to the University of South Florida with its TEDxUSF event, "On the Edge of the Future," Friday night at the School of Music.

While TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment and Design," the concept has grown to include philanthropists, religious leaders, and musicians. It originated in the 1980s in Silicon Valley, and now includes a pair of major conferences in California.

Speakers give 18 minute long talks on "ideas worth sharing" -- an idea or concept they're passionate about, in hopes of motivating their audience.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF News

Ground has been broken on the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center's new McKinley Drive Outpatient facility, which will serve patients with a variety of cancers, while also creating a number of jobs for the Tampa Bay area. This week's University Beat on WUSF Public Media has more on what the plan means for Moffitt, USF and the community.

Eric Younghans / USF Health

Anyone who's ever gone to college probably remembers the thrill of getting that letter of acceptance.

For student Ellen Bickel, how and where she received word she was accepted into the USF College of Pharmacy may be even more memorable than the fact she got into the school: College Dean Kevin Sneed hand-delivered Fickel's letter -- as she stood on the court as a cheerleader for the USF Bulls men's basketball team.

A few busloads of students from all three University of South Florida campuses will be heading to Tallahassee on Tuesday to meet with state lawmakers.

At least 70 students, along with university officials including President Judy Genshaft and head football coach Willie Taggart, will take part in USF Day at the Capitol.

They'd like to talk to legislators about a number of issues, including in-state tuition for veterans.

But USF Student Government President Brian Goff says the major topic of discussion will be funding for higher education.

Chris Urso /

In a move that's prompting a round of "I told you so's" from critics, Florida Polytechnic University trustees are asking state legislators for $25 million in additional funding.

The Tampa Tribune reports those who stood opposed to creating the new university last year are again voicing their displeasure.

"I told my colleagues and I told the governor last year that this was going to be a monstrous cost," said state Rep. Mike Fasano, a Republican from New Port Richey who was in the Senate at the time. "Very few people wanted to listen. Now it's coming back to haunt them."

Daniel Peck Photography

Whether it's in the classroom or on a popular YouTube video series, USF Mechanical Engineering Professor Autar Kaw uses a style that challenges his students. At the same time, they're not only learning complex mathematical formulas, but they're remembering them.

As a result, Kaw has been named one of four 2012 "Professors of the Year" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. This week's University Beat on WUSF 89.7 profiles the professor, but here's three quick things to know about him:

1. Kaw was honored, in part, because he's the "Numerical Methods Guy."

Kaw's Holistic Methods Institute website, his blog and his YouTube video lectures, have been seen by thousands of engineering students around the world. Using those tools, he says, builds a strong base for future learning.

It's fitting Brigham Young University comes out with its rankings of college accounting research programs in the midst of tax season. USF's School of Accountancy placed highly in a number of categories, including first in the nation in the 'accounting information systems' field.

BYU's preliminary 2012 rankings also ranked the School of Accountancy 21st in audit research and 29th in tax research.

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports

For college football fans, signing day is like Christmas, when you finally see what new presents your team has under the tree. For players and their families, it's the culmination of years of preparation, pressure and recruitment. And for coaches, it might just be the difference between losing your job and winning your conference.

USA Today took a look at signing day through the eyes of USF's new coach, Willie Taggert.

For the 120 schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), there is nothing quite like national signing day; a carnival of unnecessary pomp, overwrought expectations, dramatic twists, and – for the coaches who spend countless hours recruiting players – plenty of nervous anticipation.

USF Athletics

If Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco has his way, the Big East Conference will pick up a 12th team, sign a TV rights package that includes multiple networks, and keep its name. reports that Aresco said on Monday that, in light of recent defections, the conference no longer wants to expand futher west than Texas -- but adding another team is likely.

"We probably at some point will add a 12th team," Aresco said. "We are going to have 11 when Navy comes in '15. We'll have 10 this year. There's no urgency, but we think we'll probably think about adding a 12th team."

A University of South Florida communications official accused of creating a hostile work environment has resigned. Michael Hoad, who as vice president of communications was the face of the university during such events as the firing of football coach Jim Leavitt and the acrimonious split of the Florida Polytechnic campus from USF, resigned effective Friday.

John O'Connor / StateImpact Florida

Students who transfer to the University of South Florida can still earn a degree at their former school.

USF and four Tampa Bay colleges signed a "reverse transfer" agreement Monday.

That means when a student completes a class a USF, the credits can count toward an associate's degree at Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando Community College, Polk State College and St. Petersburg College.

HCC president Ken Atwater says students who earn enough credits at USF will automatically receive their degree.

Moffitt Cancer Center

Ground has been broken on the latest expansion of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, with both the economic and physical health of the Bay area being the main beneficiaries.

Moffitt Cancer Center's new outpatient care facility will be located on McKinley Drive, about two miles south of Moffitt's main site on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus. The 200,000 square foot, eight story structure will feature four ambulatory surgical suites and clinical space for Moffitt's breast and skin cancer programs.

USF College of the Arts

It's a concert where smartphones and tablets aren't frowned upon--they're actually a part of the show!

This week's University Beat has a preview of Louder Than Ever Before, a multimedia, interactive concert performed by the band "Touch," which plays all of its music on iPads.

The concert is Friday, February 1st at 7:30 p.m. in USF's School of Music Concert Hall.

USF Saint Petersburg

Three finalists have been named to become USF Saint Petersburg's regional chancellor, and the man currently filling the seat is not among them.

The Tampa Bay Times reports interim Chancellor Bill Hogarth was among the six candidates interviewed for the position this week. However, the director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography did not receive enough votes from the advisory committee.

George Guthro / R/V Weatherbird II

The University of South Florida and a trio of WUSF reporters are being honored for their work in response to the BP Gulf oil spill in 2010.

A team of USF researchers and officials, led by Dr. William Hogarth, are among the recipients of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Tampa Bay's STEM Catalyst Collaborative Partnerships Award.

University of South Florida

1/28/13, 3 p.m. CORRECTION: The story has been updated and revised to indicate that neither man is a student, but are both affiliated with USF.

Police at the University of South Florida are investigating a reported sexual battery that took place at the Marshall Student Center.

According to a release from University Police, on January 25th, a male student man reported that he was attacked by another male student man on the afternoon on January 18th in a public restroom in the USF Marshall Student Center. The release says the victim and the alleged attacker knew each other. The attack remains under investigation.

Police Department spokeswoman Charlotte Domingo tells the Tampa Bay Times the men are not students, but are affiliated with the university.

Jason Bombaugh / USF HOT

USF's Herd of Thunder (HOT) marching band rang in 2013 by playing London's New Year's Day Parade in front of an estimated crowd of more than half a million people. Band members and some of the staff that traveled with them shared their memories of the trip with WUSF's University Beat. Here are half a dozen 'high notes:'

1. HOT was the featured band, marching the two mile route through historic downtown London after almost 10-thousand band members, cheerleaders and other performers had already gone past the huge crowd.


Less than three years after its formation, the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Program has been named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States.

The program, based in USFSP's College of Business, received the award this past weekend at the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship's annual conference in San Francisco.

The University of South Florida won't be making any trips to the West Coast anytime soon, as yet another school is apparently pulling out of the Big East Conference without ever playing a game. reports San Diego State will return to the Mountain West Conference, joining Boise State, which decided last year not to join the Big East as a football-only member.


USF St. Petersburg is one step closer to finding its next regional chancellor, as the pool of candidates is now down to six.

According to USF St. Pete News, the Search Advisory Committee will interview the remaining candidates in person at Tampa International Airport January 28th & 29th.

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.