Articles

Business Honors Program to Expand onto USF St. Petersburg Campus

By Keith Morelli

April Bailey

TAMPA (October 15, 2020) -- The Business Honors Program at the Muma College of Business is poised to expand onto the USF St. Petersburg campus next year, allowing admitted students to live together on a floor of a new residence hall.

“It has moved from rumor to the planning stages,” said April Bailey, an instructor in the School of Marketing and Innovation and director of the program on the Tampa campus. “I believe the timeline will call for the first group of Business Honors Program students to be living in the new residence halls on the St. Petersburg campus by the fall of 2021.”

The program blends rigorous coursework and research with special residential, service, international and applied-learning opportunities found inside and outside of the classroom, according to the program’s website. Business Honors Program students get the benefit of small classes, study-abroad opportunities to foster a better understanding of the global business environment, summer internship opportunities and comprehensive study in research and computational methods.

Mentoring from corporate and business leaders is also available for students along with personalized advising and priority registration.

“One of the benefits of consolidation is the ability to bring successful programs to the USF St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses,” said Sri Sundaram, Tiedemann-Cotton Dean of the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance. “Two such programs are the Business Honors Program and the Bulls Business Community.

“Working with Thomas Smith, associate dean of the Judy Genshaft Honors College on the St. Petersburg campus, we are planning to establish an ‘honors floor’ in one of the residence halls. This allows us to offer an additional option to freshman entering USF – for students who prefer a small campus atmosphere.

“Also, Sundaram said, “it attracts more freshman to the Muma College of Business at the St. Petersburg campus who would like to be part of the Business Honors Program and the Bulls Business Community, a Living Learning Community in which students take classes together and live together in a residence hall.”

To get into the program, select incoming Bulls Business Community students are invited to apply and may choose to live in the Bulls Business Community on either the Tampa or St. Petersburg campus.  To live in the BBC, students must have a weighted high school GPA of at least 3.50, an SAT score of at least 1200 or an ACT score of at least 25; two academic recommendation letters and attend a personal interview with the program director during the university orientation.”

Among the students enrolled in the program this year on the Tampa campus is Stephen Ellingson.

"What I like about the Business Honors Program is that it gives me an opportunity to make connections with students and faculty," he said. "It also gives me an opportunity to learn essential business skills at an accelerated rate. It is gives me an advantage when applying for business positions."
 
The program also offers study-abroad options, allowing him to travel overseas and study international business, he said.

"If I hadn't joined," he said, "I wouldn't have gotten this amazing opportunity."

Jeff Morris, assistant director of undergraduate programs at the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance said the plan calls for the first cohort of Business Honors Program students is to be enrolled in the fall of 2021.

“Given the number of undergraduate business students who currently call the St. Petersburg campus their home and are in either the Judy Genshaft Honors College or the Innovation Scholars program, we expect similar numbers of incoming students who will be very interested in joining the prestigious Business Honors Program within the Muma College of Business,” he said. “We envision starting small and growing the program year over year.”

As the expansion is designed to be an extension of the Muma College of Business’ Business Honors Program on the Tampa campus, he said, there are opportunities to leverage offerings already in place. Administrators do not expect significant additional costs to run the extension other than the typical fees for a Living Learning Community and some potentially unique St. Petersburg event costs.

“Now that we’re One USF – and one Muma College of Business – we aim to capitalize on Dean Sundaram’s vision to help make business students who call St. Petersburg their home campus feel much more included in the college and have similar opportunities and experiences as the Business Honors Program students on the Tampa campus,” he said. “This extension to the St. Petersburg campus will help elevate the profile of the college and the university with civic leaders and employers, not just within Pinellas County but also well beyond."