by Kerry O’Reilly, LT ‘15, Marketing Director, Tampa Bay Times
Stephanie Russell Krebs
Dean of Students
University of Tampa
Marketing and Communications Director
Florida Polytechnic University
Dr. Jamie P. Morano, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine, University of South Florida Colleges of Medicine and Public Health
Medical Director, Florida Department of Health – Hillsborough, HIV/HCV Specialty Care Center
Telehealth Hepatitis C Project Lead, James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, Tampa, FL
Principal Investigator, VaccineLink / La Salud Conexión
USF International China and Panama Research Mentor
Ginger Clark, Ph.D.
Vice President, Workforce Training
Hillsborough Community College
Melinda S. Clark
Associate Vice President of Financial Aid
Saint Leo University
Tampa Bay is home to a host of world renowned colleges and universities. Crystal Lauderdale of Florida Poly, Stephanie Russell Krebs of UT, Dr. Jamie Morano of USF Health, Ginger Clark of HCC and Melinda Clark of Saint Leo, share a few insights into their schools. They also provide tips to help incoming Freshmen – and their parents – make the most of their first year.
What’s new on your campus this fall?
CL: We’re opening a brand-new residence hall that will more than double our on-campus living space. We’re also welcoming a new Provost, a new Vice President of Advancement and a new Associate Vice President of Entrepreneurship.
SRK: We are opening a new state of the art fitness and recreation center and we couldn’t be more thrilled for our students, faculty, and staff.
JM: The campus is invigorated with a new Dean of Medicine, Dr. Charles Lockwood, who comes to us from Yale University by way of Ohio State University. He is really inspiring us all to achieve and to attract new students and faculty who are scientifically and clinically innovative. We are also launching exciting international medical and public health collaborative projects for our students and researchers.
GC: HCC is focused on increasing student retention and completion rates and we will be launching a new initiative in partnership with USF entitled “FUSE” which is designed to provide entering students with seamless educational pathways that are designed to accelerate their attainment of bachelor’s degrees.
MC: Our cyber security program is in full swing! The Bachelor degree is now offered online. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in cybersecurity prepare students to become security specialists and sophisticated practitioners in cybersecurity, well versed in the science of protecting vital computer networks and electronic infrastructures from attack. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Saint Leo University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through 2021.
What advice you would give incoming Freshman?
SRK: Take advantage of all new experiences that UT and the Tampa community has to offer. From leadership opportunities, to community service, to campus and community events, Tampa is a great place to be!
CL: Immerse yourself in the college experience. Live on campus, if you can. Get involved in at least one student club or organization, maybe an activity in which you have minimal experience. And don’t spend too much time on your computers and cell phones. College is a great opportunity to engage, converse, debate and socialize. You’ll make some of your best friends for life this year, but you’ll need to look up occasionally to find them.
JM: Attend all the welcoming and open house events; the best time to make contacts and new friends is the beginning of the first year when everyone is still open to new people and new ideas. Later, people get busy with classes and their own activities – so make sure you venture out to meet people and experience new campus activities the first few months especially.
GC: To adopt a dual focus on both career preparation and personal growth and development particularly in terms of communication skills, creativity, and adaptability. I frequently hear from employers that these skill sets are highly valued and yet increasingly difficult to find in new employees.
MC: Get involved! There are so many opportunities to try new things and meet new people. Don’t stay in your residence hall. Online students have opportunities to get involved as well with clubs and organizations.
How about parents of incoming Freshman?
CL: Keep in touch, but allow yourselves to step back a bit. Everyone needs to learn to function independently in order to thrive in the real world, but those lessons only come through personal experience and trial and error: The value of a reliable alarm clock, the appropriate ratio of laundry to detergent, the biological effects of a strict pizza and Froot Loops diet, for example.
SRK: My advice would be to try not to worry too much (easier said than done). Your son or daughter will be going through a huge life transition, and that takes time. Give your child the space they need to flourish in their new environment while being there to support them when needed. And send them a care package; not just a text!
JM: Know that in High School your child could do many activities and still keep up with academics; however, in college, especially if also working a part time job, one is going to have to be good a time management and selectively choose activities that will benefit their career path.
GC: Actually, two pieces of advice. First, be patient as students need time to explore different career options in order to ensure that their ultimate educational goal is clearly aligned with their interests and aptitudes. That is the best way to ensure long-term success both academically and professionally. Second, be open-minded when it comes to the possibility that their child will want to pursue vocational training as opposed to a four-year degree. Our vocational students are securing jobs at close to a 100% rate and earning high wages as well.
MC: Try to let your sons and daughters learn to solve problems on their own. They will not become independent adults if you step in every time there is a conflict.
What education opportunities do you have for working professionals?
SRK: UT offers a variety of part-time graduate programs designed to accelerate the careers of working professionals, as well as executive-level workshops on leadership, strategy, entrepreneurship and ethics. And, our flexible continuing studies programs are ideal for adults who wish to complete their bachelor’s degree.
CL: Presently, Florida Poly doesn’t offer certificates or programs specifically for working professionals. However, we do have two graduate degree programs – one in Engineering and one in Innovation and Technology – that professionals who are looking to extend their knowledge or credentials might want to consider.
GC: HCC is particularly sensitive to the needs of adult learners so we offer enhanced access to classes via alternative scheduling practices (Saturday classes, evening classes, and accelerated sessions) and a growing inventory of on-line courses and degree programs.
MC: We have so many options. Working adults can take classes via our education centers (23 in seven states, including the Adult Education Center at University Campus and the Tampa Education Center at Channelside) and online from anywhere. We understand how busy working adults are, so our education center class schedules are flexible—and many classes meet only once a week.
How has the make-up and size of your student body changed over the past 2 to 3 years?
CL: Well, Florida Poly opened just two years ago this August, so it’s changed quite a lot! Our inaugural class included 550 students – mostly freshmen. This fall, we’ll have more than 1,200, including freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, transfers and graduate students. We’ll graduate our very first class in January!
SRK: We are a very diverse and growing community, with students from all 50 states and 140 countries. We expect another record enrollment year this fall, putting our population at approximately 8,300 students. Our student body has increased more than 10 percent in the past three years.
GC: Our enrollment has remained relatively stable at 42,000 students but we are seeing significant demographic changes as our average student is now 24 years of age and the number of minority students is growing at a rapid pace. Additionally, our veteran population has greatly expanded in recent years.
MC: The graduate programs continue to grow each year. The profile of our campus student population has increasing numbers of honors students and international students.
Who was your favorite college professor and why?
SRK: Wow, that was a long time ago. My favorite professor was Bernard Wurger. I was a theater major, and he taught acting classes and directed our productions. I remember he had very high expectations for us and always challenged us to do more than we thought we were capable of achieving.
CL: In college, my favorite professor was Rick Meyer, a former L.A. Times photographer who taught my photojournalism classes. Rick believed his purpose was to make sure any student who worked hard and wanted employment found a job after college. He always said, “There’s plenty of time to rest when you’re dead,” but he said it as though he were just making a suggestion. It was up to you to take it to heart.
JM: My favorite college professor at Princeton University was Dr. Uwe Reinhardt. He was so very entertaining and made health economics sound so easy – but I quickly realized that my calling was in medicine and public health – ideally to combine public policy with public health.
GC: I was fortunate to study with a number of great professors so I would probably begin at the beginning with one of my first professors, Dr. James Young, who was a history professor at Bainbridge College. The man was a brilliant historian and a masterful storyteller. He would lecture for 50 minutes and yet have the entire class riveted to his presentation. He ignited my curiosity and demonstrated for me the power of being an effective communicator.
MC: My favorite college professor was Dr. William Wade. He made Western Civilization History come to life in the classroom. And, I am not a history buff!
In three words how would you describe your school’s brand?
CL: Fresh. Confident. Driven.
SRK: Experiential. Diverse. Student-Centered.
JM: Modern. Innovative. Determined.
GC: Optimistic, Impactful, Community-Focused
MC: Values-based. Innovative. Flexible.