2017 News Stories

Stavros Center professor receives award for work in literacy education

Deborah Kozdras

Deborah Kozdras, PhD

TAMPA, Fla. (August 28, 2017) – Deborah Kozdras, PhD, instructor and chief creative officer at the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education, received the 2017 Friend of Newspaper in Education (NIE) award from Florida Press Educational Services.

The award is given in recognition of those who teach the use of newspapers as educational tools in order to promote literacy, which Kozdras does through her incorporation of news and newspapers into the lessons and workshops she leads at the Stavros Center.

Florida Press Educational Services’ mission is to promote literacy particularly among youth, and through its partner papers serves the entire state of Florida. It strives to encourage critical literacy skills and civic engagement. Kozdras has a passion for literacy and has worked with NIE Manager Jodi Pushkin to do presentations on the work done through the partnership between NIE and the Stavros Center.

“(Receiving this award) validates a lot of what we’re doing,” Kozdras said. “I think this is … very important for students, and the Florida Press Association is (in) line with that.”

In a world where information is everywhere and attention is scarce, Kozdras said it is important to educate students in global literacies, such as financial and cultural literacy. Newspapers, she said, can be a valuable tool for doing this.

“It’s all about news literacy, which is more important than ever for our students to be able to discern what is real or what is not so real … what bias people are coming from when they’re looking at the news today, whether it’s an opinion piece, whether it’s a fact piece,” Kozdras said. “We need to give those strategies and skills to students so that they can discern what they’re reading. I think that’s very important and that’s some of the work that we’ve been doing with the Newspaper in Education people.”

Kozdras has been with the Stavros Center since 2010. Director of the Stavros Center, Dick Puglisi, PhD, said Kozdras is well deserving of this recognition.

“Dr. Kozdras has done an outstanding job in partnering with The Tampa Bay Times Newspaper in Education program,” Puglisi said. “She has developed excellent lessons that integrate various news events and issues with economics education.  In recognition of her work with NIE, she is a most deserving recipient of the Friend of NIE Award.”

The award was presented at the Florida Press Association/Florida Society of News Editors Convention, which took place Aug. 10 and 11 in Naples, FL.

About the USF College of Education:

The USF 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 30 for online graduate education programs. The USF College of Education has more than 51,000 alumni who are making a difference in the lives of children each day.