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University Beat

Meet the New Boss of USF Sarasota-Manatee

USF Sarasota-Manatee

At the beginning of November, Dr. Sandra Stone officially became regional chancellor for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee - and she's hitting the ground running.

Stone, 59, had most recently served as vice president for academic affairs at Dalton State College in Georgia.

With USFSM's second freshman class almost done with their first semester of college and the school's 40th anniversary coming up next year, Stone sat down for an extended interview for University Beat, which you can hear by clicking on the link below.

Here are some highlights:
1. USFSM will begin work on a new strategic plan in January 2015 - While Stone didn't give too many indications of what she'd like to see, she did talk about her vision for what USFSM could look like by 2025.

"I would hope to see that we have a more evenly balanced distribution of students across the four years (about 200 of the 1,900 full-time students currently attending classes full-time at USFSM are freshmen or sophomores)," Stone said. "I would like to see us have more graduate students."

"I would like to see us be even more integrated into the larger community life, so that we're really considered a cornerstone of the community and there's not a lot of separation between the campus and the community," she added.

Stone also sees more laboratory space and other new buildings on the campus, including the school's first residence halls.

"I think you would see, five, ten years down the road, a much more vibrant campus life during the day, walking onto campus, and we would have people who would see this as a destination institution and come here with the intention that they would stay and do their entire college career here with us."

Credit WUSF 89.7 News
WUSF 89.7 News
Dr. Sandra Stone (left) speaks to WUSF's Mark Schreiner

2. Stone isn't worried about replacing Dr. Arthur Guilford, who retired in July after seven years as USFSM's regional chancellor - "He did a lot of great work and there's a great foundation to build on and I feel like it's an exciting time to take a look and see where (the university's) programs can go in the future and if there are new programs that tie into what the development needs of the community are so that we can start planning and try to be ahead of the curve," Stone said.

"I think anytime when there's a change in leadership, there are a lot of expectations for what's going to happen next," she added with a laugh. "The university system is one of those organizations...where things don't happen really fast, so I think we have an opportunity to sit back for just a bit and do some planning and figure out what makes sense for us to go forward (with)."

3. Family ties (sort of) helped her get the job - Stone's husband, Anthony, got a PhD in psychology from USF in 1977. Stone says he hails from the area and was the one who told her about the job opening.

"We love the area, it's beautiful, the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. There's so much to do here, there's just an amazing social, cultural, recreational environment," Stone said. "It just seems like a perfect place to live."

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