2017 News Stories

USF College of Education Announces 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards

TAMPA, Fla. (October 9, 2017) – The University of South Florida (USF) College of Education is proud to announce the recipients of the College’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Each year, the USF College of Education is proud to present our Distinguished Alumni Awards in conjunction with the USF Homecoming events, which will take place Oct. 9-13. Join us on Friday, Oct. 13 for our Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception as we honor Joanna Fox, English Education `99, with the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award, Dr. Ara Rogers, MA `96 and PhD `04, with the Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award and Tyler Campbell, English Education `12, with the newly established Young Alumni Award.

The reception begins at 4:00 p.m. in the College of Education Rotunda with the program to begin at 5:00 p.m. in TECO Hall of the College of Education David C. Anchin Center.

Joanna Fox, English Education `99 — Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award  

Joanna Fox Headshot
The recipient of the Dean's Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award is recognized as a community member who has demonstrated long-term contributions, achievement and service within education or a related profession — on a local, state, regional, national and/or global level.

Since graduating from the College of Education in 1999 with a degree in English Education, Joanna Fox has served for 17 years at Booker Middle School, a National School of Merit in Sarasota, Fla. Fox has revolutionized the way creative writing is taught to her students by providing them with a comfortable and unique place to let their ideas flow in her classroom that she and her students refer to as “The Dragonfly Café.”  

Fox has tackled common challenges in the middle school setting through her teaching, such as providing her students a creative outlet to have their voices heard through off-campus poetry performances, and having her students’ families become involved in the writing process at Family Writing Nights.

“There is a quote on (the wall of the classroom), ‘Words will take you places; how far do you want to go?’,” Fox said. “Seeing my current students and my former students who have gone out into the world fueling their lives with words and going places is one of my greatest joys as a teacher.”

Because of her work, Fox has received numerous awards and recognitions such as the Florida Teacher Certification Examination’s Beginning Teacher of the Year Award and Teacher of Excellence Award, the Arts Leadership Award for Sarasota County, Scholastic’s Outstanding Educator Award and the International River of Words/Kalmanovitz School of Education Teacher of the Year Award. 

“It is exceptional to be recognized for doing something you love doing,” Fox said. “It’s not my job. It’s my joy. Lifetime achievement resonates with the gravid sound of recognition for work of worth.”

Dr. Ara Rogers, MA `96, PhD `04 — Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award 

Ara Rogers Headshot
The Spirit of Partnership Alumni Award is presented to an individual who has gone "above and beyond" in their service to the College of Education, and we express our deep appreciation for those who have created and sustained partnerships within the community and the college to achieve the mission of the College of Education.

Dr. Ara Rogers received her Master’s degree in Adult Education and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Adult Education from the USF College of Education, and has since given many years of service to the USF community.

Rogers currently serves as Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at USF, a membership-based organization for adults age 50 or older who come together to learn. At OLLI, Rogers provides classes and programs for 1,500 seniors in the Tampa Bay community who are committed to learning throughout their lifetime. 

“Our community of older adults constantly teach me how to live better, with optimism, joy and resilience,” Rogers said. “Our members embody lifelong learning, and hopefully serve as a rebuke to the pervasive ageism in our society. They have lifetimes of expertise to share; we are lucky they choose to share it with us.”

In her role, Rogers has reached out to retired USF faculty and staff who have in turn joined OLLI as members, volunteers, participants and supporters of the program. She works within the Colleges of Business, Education, and Community and Behavioral Sciences to enhance and improve the program and has incorporated and shared what she has learned from her degrees earned in the College of Education into her work.

“I am humbled and honored to be honored by my school,” Rogers said. “OLLI-USF could not reach nearly the number of adults we do were it not for the many community partners that work with us, donating their time, expertise, meeting spaces and robust learning experiences. We work hard to build relationships across Hillsborough County, and we value those relationships. We could not serve as many residents as we do without them.”

Tyler Campbell, English Education `12 — Young Alumni Award

Tyler Campbell Headshot
In its inaugural year, the College of Education’s Young Alumni Award recognizes a graduate of the university who received their degree within the past 10 years and who is 35 years old or younger. The award recognizes the work of a graduate who serves as an exemplary leader in the field of education among their peers and in their community.   

Tyler Campbell graduated from USF’s College of Education with an English Education degree in 2012 and has used what he has learned at USF to become an exemplary leader among his peers in education. 

Campbell first worked at the middle school level and later went on to serve at Lakeland High School, where he explores how the status quo of teaching can be improved and enhanced. Campbell has implemented innovative instructional practices into his curriculum such as a class blog and website for his students. In the future, he plans to move towards a hybrid class model in the future with a new classroom setup to include tables and lamps, in order to promote a more conversational, collegial environment.

“The field of education is certainly one that demands constant learning and relearning, whether content or pedagogy,” Campbell said. “The ‘teaching’ in my classroom is certainly a two-way street. I learn just as much from my students as I hope they do from me.”

Campbell has received multiple awards during his short time as an educator, such as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Arts Applause Awards in 2017 and the Broadway World.com Orlando Regional Theatre Award in 2016. 

“While a student in the College of Education, I was struck by the passion and fire of the leaders who were helping to guide the new cohort of educators. The inspiration and drive they instilled is where credit is due for my successes in the classroom thus far,” Campbell said. “To be recognized by this same group with the first Young Alumni Award is quite humbling, and makes the ‘sweat and tears’ of the success all worthwhile.” 

For more information, please contact:
Elizabeth Engasser
Director of Communications
University of South Florida College of Education
(813) 974-8723

About the USF College of Education:
The University of South Florida College of Education is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (formerly NCATE), and is fully approved by the Florida Department of Education. The USF College of Education is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 100 programs in the nation, as well as in the top 20 for online graduate programs. The USF College of Education has over 51,000 alumni who are making a difference in the lives of children each day.