By Adam Freeman, University Communications and Marketing
An internationally recognized stem cell researcher studying glaucoma, a highly regarded marine scientist, a leader in the field of risk management and insurance and experts across a wide range of other disciplines are among the approximately 225 new full-time faculty members joining the University of South Florida this fall. The estimated total number of new faculty is as of Aug. 4 and represents a similar amount of new faculty as last year.
“We are pleased to welcome a group of highly accomplished new scholars who join the world-class faculty we have at the University of South Florida,” USF President Rhea Law said. “Our faculty play a vital role in cultivating new knowledge and making life-changing discoveries, and we look forward to the many contributions they will make in support of our university and the success of our students."
This week, many of the new faculty from all three USF campuses are learning their way around the university as they participate in new faculty orientation ahead of the start of fall classes on Aug. 21.
“We are thrilled to welcome these new faculty colleagues to our talented faculty community,” USF Provost and Executive Vice President Prasant Mohapatra said. “Each brings with them unique talents and expertise, and we are eager to see the impact of their contributions at our institution and beyond the borders of our campuses.”
Among the new faculty is Yiqin Du, who joins USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine. Du has earned international recognition for her stem cell research that works in multiple areas of the eye, with the goal of establishing novel treatment options. She is the principal investigator on two major grants with total current funding of $5 million and has been granted several patents.
“I have been working at University of Pittsburgh for a couple of decades and I really wanted to challenge myself to move out of my comfort zone to a new place. Since USF is the fastest-rising university and ophthalmology at USF is fast-growing in both patient care and research, there are more opportunities to do both basic research and translational research,” Du said. “Also, USF is in the beautiful Tampa Bay region and it has always been a dream for me to work and live in a city near the ocean.”
Associate Professor Dreux Chappell joins the USF College of Marine Science on the St. Petersburg campus. Chappell’s research focuses on the interplay between phytoplankton physiology and ocean chemistry. She is currently principal investigator on a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant and has a record of sustained research funding, including more than $2.3 million in NSF grants and support from other agencies. One of Chappell’s main study sites is the West Florida Shelf and coming to USF from Old Dominion University brings her closer to this focus area and provides opportunities to expand existing research collaborations with colleagues at USF, Florida Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Petersburg.
“A major draw for me is that USF is a top-tier research university and it’s clear that research is valued and supported,” Chappell said. “The College of Marine Science has a world-renowned faculty and hosts one of the top graduate programs in oceanography in the world. I’ve felt incredibly welcomed since interviewing for the position, and I’m really excited about how collaborative and supportive the faculty and support staff have been in helping ease this transition to a new institution.”
Latoya McCormick-Hutchinson is new to the USF School of Theatre and Dance as an assistant professor of instruction and music director. McCormick-Hutchinson is a Pinellas County native who graduated from Northeast High School in St. Petersburg and earned a master’s in music education from USF. She brings 20 years of experience in education and a track record of working with community organizations as a musical director for many theaters in the Tampa Bay region, including the Straz Center, Stageworks, American Stage and Eight O’Clock Theatre.
“I am excited to return to USF,” McCormick-Hutchinson said. “I first stepped on campus in 2004 as a student. I was eager to further my education as a graduate student and take what I learned out into the world. I am now returning to campus as a teacher, eager to share my knowledge and skills with future educators and performers.”
Randy Dumm is a new professor and director of the USF Baldwin Risk Partners School of Risk Management and Insurance, which is based on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Dumm comes to USF after more than six years as a professor and deputy chair of the Department of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at Temple University in Philadelphia, the largest RMI program in the country. Dumm said the BRP School of Risk Management and Insurance is well positioned to become the next powerhouse RMI program in the country and to meet the needs of industry in Florida and elsewhere, as it continues an expansion that started last year when Baldwin Risk Partners donated more than $5 million to accelerate the growth of the program.
USF has “built the framework, the structure, it’s all here,” Dumm said. “We just need to continue to build that out and to bring students into the mix and then engage the stakeholders in this particular program, and that’s industry. Additionally, we have a strong research faculty in the BRP School of Risk Management and Insurance and our plan is to expand on that as well, as we move forward.”
More information on Dumm and the school of risk management and insurance is available here.
Marc R. Masferrer, University Communications and Marketing, and Sadie Lehmker, College of The Arts, contributed to this article.