About Us

Student Success Awards Recipients

Previous Winners:    2021      2020      2019     2018     2017   

Congratulations to our 2022 Student Success Awards recipients!  We are proud of the amazing work that these individuals and teams have done to help USF's students succeed. They join a talented group of previous award winners dedicated to student success.


academic excellence award

Dr. Guldiken

Dr. Rasim Guldiken
Associate Professor and Associate Dean, College of Engineering

Dr. Guldiken is recognized from two key sets of academic excellence: 1) as an outstanding course instructor and Engineering Education Researcher, and 2) as an Academic Administrator as Associate Dean and Past Graduate Program Director of the Mechanical Engineering Department for six years.

Dr. Guldiken has achieved significant recognition internally at USF and externally in national organizations to applaud for, such as Society of Automotive Engineers Ralph Teetor Educational Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers Florida West-Coast Engineer of the Year, USF Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award twice, USF Outstanding Graduate Faculty Mentor, Honorable Mention, and USF College of Engineering Outstanding Teaching Award.

Listing merely a few of Dr. Guldiken accomplishments, he has diverse, progressive academic and administrator career experience that considerably impacts student success.  He has doubled the graduate degrees awarded during his 6-year tenure as the Graduate Program Director, and has been instrumental in recruiting, resulting in two-thirds of the incoming doctoral students being comprised of females or underrepresented students.


College of Public Health staff

College of Public Health Academic Affairs and Student Success Team

This team has undergone tremendous transition and innovation over the previous two years. During that time, efforts in graduate advising (both masters and doctoral), registration and records, data analysis, and educational technology collaborated with other units at the college to facilitate successful student progression through our academic programs.  A progression plan was developed to clearly define for graduate students the required elements for academic success in order to be in good standing in the college. Over the course of implementation, the data team, advising, and registration and records worked together to make sure students achieved the required milestones for successful completion of the degree.

Having a designated leader, the first in this unit, like Dr. Somer Burke, to address a plethora of issues surrounding the pandemic, allowed the team to focus more strategically on the students. During the pandemic, the entire academic affairs and student success team made sure students had what they needed to transition to remote learning. Additionally, this team supported the faculty during the transition by reaching out to students that were struggling, to address any issue a student may have been encountering.

One of the most productive initiatives started by this team was "Monday Academic Rounds". Much like medical rounds, members of the team met to discuss issues or concerns with students, scheduling, graduation, or others, and to problem solve. This, along with many other programs and initiatives contribute to the success of this team. 


Champions Award

Winston Jones

Winston Jones
Associate Dean of Students, Tampa campus

Winston has worked quietly but effectively to inspire the entire USF community to work for inclusive excellence. In the summer of 2020, as the nation reeled from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the social and political turmoil that followed the murder of George Floyd, Winston Jones took his place at the table with concerned students, faculty, and staff.  Troubled and angered by the events--both personally and professionally--Winston still managed to offer a voice of reassurance and reason. While he validated feelings held by many whose patience had been exhausted, Winston steered the dialogue toward viable solutions. In fact, he was a critical partner in the formal dialogue that was initiated with members of the Black Student Union, who presented USF with a list of ten demands to address systematic racism.

With the unexpected resignation of the director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, a critical office especially in the midst of the unrest, Winston literally stepped in, with the pandemic raging, budget uncertainties hanging over the university, and took on the opportunity to transform this office having drafted a new mission, vision, and organizational structure for the new Office of Multicultural Affairs, all while staying in the forefront of the students concerns. 


Susan Kimbrough

Susan Kimbrough
Director of Housing & Residential Education, St. Petersburg campus

With more than 25 years of experience, Susan Kimbrough provides invaluable leadership for the Housing & Residential Education team on the USF St. Petersburg campus. While supervising the Housing & Residential Education professional team, Susan has gone above and beyond in her support to provide meaningful services and experiences for our students within the residential community.

Throughout this year, Susan has carefully rebuilt the professional staff team and helped to guide them in their individual and collaborative growth, expanding services for our students.  Susan’s role was most instrumental in supporting the departmental operations when the COVID-19 pandemic became even more complex.  Susan stepped up to lead the charge to coordinate the on-campus isolation experience on the St. Petersburg campus.

From the onset she made her mission clear, the team should remain focused on providing programs and experiences to promote student success. 

While this is a mere glimpse of why Susan was selected as a Champion Award recipient, her work has been quite impressive and impactful.


Monica Miranda

Dr. Mónica Miranda
Director of the Center for Student Involvement, Tampa campus

At the height of the pandemic, Mónica led a grass roots effort to convene a team of faculty and staff to build USF’s Alianza Latina Faculty and Staff Association from the ground up.  Her energy, leadership, commitment, and passion propelled the association to develop a mission that has started a movement within the university. Alianza’s members’ highest priority is to ensure that students succeed, and thanks in no small part to Mónica’s vision, the plan has been set in motion.

But the Alianza is only one of many examples of Mónica’s excellence in student success.  In her position as the Director of the Center for Student Involvement, ensuring our students have a meaningful out of class learning and leadership experience, she reorganized and significantly grew the student serving team. She has forged alliances across numerous departments to maximize her positive impact on student success.

Mónica has been recognized for her tireless dedication by being awarded the USF Diversity Award and twice awarded the USF Outstanding Staff Award. She was appointed to the Advancing Latino Access and Success presidential task force in recognition of her understanding of and contribution to Latinx student success.

Mónica has worked tirelessly, in both her official and student serving extra-curricular duties, all the while she completed her Ph.D. This accomplishment serves as inspiration to students and furthers her strength as a role model for those who dare to dream.


Leslie Tod

Leslie Tod
Director of the Office of Academic Advocacy, Tampa campus

Leslie has championed the student success movement locally, nationally, and internationally by providing insight and training on proven effectiveness of care management and advocacy for students. Much of the focus of the work is on first time-in-college students, but Leslie has ensured that transfer students remain a priority for the institution. She was instrumental in developing a team that specializes in focusing on the unique transfer student experiences. 

Leslie’s passion to support student success is like no other.  She is constantly evaluating what the Office of Academic Advocacy can do better and seeks innovative ways to engage with data analytics to identify and support students to increase retention and graduation rates.

Leslie helps her staff to support students experiencing extreme barriers to their ability to remain enrolled and earn a degree at USF.  In these difficult times, Leslie has helped her office work more efficiently to exceed their goals and set even grander goals for the future.


Registrar Front Desk Team

Office of the Registrar Front Counter Team
Tampa campus 

During the full pandemic year, colleagues Liana Alger, Tiara Bailey, Regina Gainey and Sandra Sanders staffed the Office of the Registrar front counter and answered emails for AskTheRegistrar@usf.edu. While the counter was closed, and phones were initially not available, AskTheRegistrar@usf.edu regularly saw 1,000 messages a day. 

This team dedicated themselves to prompt triage of this and many other Office of the Registrar inboxes and processes.  When the office reopened the counter in July 2019, this team diligently served as daily resources, triaging pre-vaccine to current times, and ensuring the Office of the Registrar could effectively serve the public face-to-face while many other on-campus offices remained closed.


Collaboration Award

COVID Care Team photo

COVID Care Team and HRE COVID-19 Response Team
St. Petersburg and Tampa campuses

As COVID shut the world down, the university never stopped supporting students. The Housing & Residential Education team stepped up to the plate to ensure that all on-campus students had a safe and supportive place to isolate. 

In the midst of exploring what students might face, the team ensured that students would have a place where academic, mental health, financial, food, and other basic needs were addressed. This resulted in the COVID Care Team being developed to create a 24/7 support line for the students who needed to isolate.  With every interaction, the mission to serve students drove the team to do everything possible to show our students they were priority.

The leaders of this team were Susan Kimbrough, Dr. Joseph Puccio and Dr. Jacob Diaz, with vibrant team members committed to the success of each student.


Student Accessibility Services team

Student Accessibility Services
All campuses

As accessible education continues to improve in the K-12 system, increasing numbers of students with disabilities are enrolling at the University of South Florida. Between August and October of 2021, Student Accessibility Services received nearly 200 applications for service; that number reflects almost a 40 percent growth rate in the number of students seeking services since 2019.  Similarly, the department received more than 110 new applications between January 3 - 21 of 2022, and is now serving 2,400 students across the three campuses.

As a result of this growth, team members spend increasing amounts of time engaged in continued collaboration to ensure that colleges and academic departments are considering accessible education in their course administration and internal practices, policies, and procedures.  Whether it’s in regular virtual staff meetings, student success committees or through university responsibilities, Student Accessibility Services makes every effort to address these complex issues proactively so that students more-immediately receive responses and solutions to access issues.

The teams’ efforts to bring accessibility awareness to USF are relentless. Within the last year, the office changed names from Students with Disabilities Services to Student Accessibility Services and implemented the President’s Advisory Committee on Accessibility. The amazing team members from all three campuses make this work possible.


Innovation Award

UMatter Program leadership

Eileen Hoffman Hafer UMatter Program

The Eileen Hoffman Hafer UMatter program welcomed the inaugural class of students to the St. Petersburg campus in August 2021. The Eileen Hoffman Hafer UMatter program is an innovative inclusive postsecondary education program created to provide young people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to experience higher education and campus life, including living on campus in the residence halls. Dr. Louise Danielle “Danie” Roberts-Dahm and Dr. Lyman Dukes, the Prinicipal Investigator, started working with Housing & Residential Education in 2020 to lay foundations for the UMatter residential experience and development of the UMatter Residential Community Program.

Dr. Jayme Joslyn has gone above in beyond in her role as the Program Director. Through her leadership, the students in the program have been actively supported in navigating the transition from high school to college, acquired skills in shared learning and career readiness training to set them up to be competitively employed, while also providing participants critical socialization skills to prepare them for independent living.

Approximately 6 to 7 million people living in the United States have intellectual disabilities.  The UMatter program provides services to a population of students who are not typically represented on college campuses. UMatter afforded the opportunity to pursue their academic passions while having a true college experience.


Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman
Interim Vice President for Institutional Equity, Senior Advisor to the President and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Professor of Sociology

In her role as Interim Vice President for Institutional Equity and Senior Advisor to the President and Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman has demonstrated the value of innovation to promote student access for success for under-represented minorities.

She has collaborated with Student Success, Academic Affairs, and all other colleges and units to create and sustain campus environments that reflect the competitive global environment in which USF graduates will compete and succeed. Her contributions -- as leading voice, partner, collaborator, or consultant -- are evident in Diversity, Anti-Racism & Equity (DARE), Black Student Enrollment, Advancing Latino Access and Success task force, Office of Multicultural Affairs, just a name few, and far too many to name them all.   

The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has a small staff and, almost by definition, the success of this office rests on its ability to collaborate with other units in pursuit of university objectives. Dr. Hordge-Freeman's interim leadership has shown how this office can and should work collaboratively. During a period of unprecedented challenges, she has demonstrated the ability to learn from and work with others to advance USF's strategic objectives. 


Partnership Award

OneUSF Housing & Residential Education team

OneUSF Housing & Residential Education Team

In times of crisis, university administrators depend on campus housing and residence life professionals to rise to the challenge of safeguarding students.  They have gone so far above and beyond as to defy description. Campus housing professionals are acutely aware that their diligence has immediate implications for student success, their institution’s financial stability, and providing a positive experience for students, in spite of the difficult conditions under which they’re living and learning.

Throughout the past year it has been truly remarkable the way in which the Housing & Residence Education teams across the Saint Petersburg and Tampa campuses have come together to provide timely, effective, and caring support for all residential students during such an intense time.

COVID-19 placed an immense challenge for housing professionals nation-wide and it called for the Housing & Residential Education teams to serve on call 24/7, partner with Aramark and other offices to ensure students’ needs were met, field questions from students and their families, ensure the residence halls were well prepared for students in isolation, all while supporting each student and focusing on their health and safety. 

This team led by Ana Hernandez, Susan Kimbrough, and Dr. Julie Leos, with hundreds of team members, continue to work diligently as they recover from these last two years and remain committed to serving our students. 


Regional Chancellor Award Sarasota-Manatee

SM campus Academic Advising

Academic Advising Team
Sarasota-Manatee campus

The Academic Advising Team from the Sarasota-Manatee campus is a relatively small group led by Dr. Jennifer VanDeWoestyne with seven staff members, including Aaron Reecher, Stephanie D’Agustino, Topher Mowry, Cristyne Ramirez, Victor Velasco, and Mark Menezes, but are mighty in their reach and their role in overall USF student success.

The unique culture of the Sarasota-Manatee campus means that every member of the Academic Advising Team plays multiple roles in daily operations of the campus. Not only does this team deliver all of the academic advising services for the approximate 2,200 students that call the campus home and the 11,000 students who are served through courses offered from the campus, but also perform a multitude of student success responsibilities unique to this campus.  

The reach of this team of academic advisors throughout USF is impressive as well; the academic advisors advise for twenty-seven different undergraduate and seven graduate programs across the seven colleges. Each academic advisor also represents the campus in collaborative efforts across all campuses by participating in the planning and development of different student success initiatives, as well as the implementation of these initiatives at the local level. This team makes this partnership and collaboration seem effortless.


Regional Chancellor Award St. Petersburg

Nicole Faulk Smith

Dr. Nicole Falk Smith
Statistical Data Analyst, Enrollment Planning & Management
Sarasota-Manatee campus

Dr. Nicole Falk Smith is what some would refer to as a "cornerstone employee." She is dedicated, passionate, goes above and beyond, has a sense of urgency and timeliness, is proactive, thoughtful and dependable. The list could go on!

What is most impressive is the mix of skills and abilities Nicole brings to USF.  She’s technical and analytical with a winning personality. Because of her work in Enrollment Management, she understands the student life cycle and values USF's care management philosophy. Nicole works hard to create reports and dashboards that will be used to help our students succeed.

Because of her hard work learning Power BI, she has created important dashboards that are regularly used by staff and faculty in colleges and administrative units across USF. In addition to her work to support the St. Petersburg campus, she has worked on several One USF projects and is part of the USF Student Success Research Team headed by Dr. Tom Miller. She also serves as part of the divisional Assessment Committee.

Regardless to the numerous requests for data, Nicole is always eager to help. That is the essence of being a cornerstone employee. She just gets it. She helps with projections and predictions, solve problems, look for patterns and triage challenging situations. Because of her understanding about how we operate as an institution and her understanding of systems, she is better able to help with asking the right questions which leads to the correct and data informed results.   

Behind-the-scenes team members, like Nicole, are the foundation to our success. We all benefit from her outstanding work ethic and skills.


Provost Award       

Glen Besterfield

Dr. Glen Besterfield
Associate Vice President and Dean of Admissions
All campuses

Dr. Besterfield has served USF for decades, as a professor in the College of Engineering, as an Assistant Dean in Undergraduate Studies, as Director of INTO, and for the past few years, as the AVP and Dean of Admissions. In all his many roles, he has worked tirelessly and contributed significantly, all for the benefit of USF and his students.

Dr. Besterfield is one of the original architects of the USF student success movement. From his position in Undergraduate Studies, he took the first steps toward boosting first year retention rates. Drawing on his organizational skills and command of data, he began to use predictive analytics when few people used that term to suggest that administrators could predict student behavior by drawing inferences from historical data. As retention rates started to inch up, confidence grew that the university could improve its performance on student persistence and completion rates.

Dr. Besterfield left that position to serve as the founding director of INTO USF. In that position, he began to recruit and enroll higher numbers of international students, fulfilling one of the university's top strategic objectives. Thanks to Dr. Besterfield's pioneering efforts, USF started on the path to becoming the top destination in the state of Florida for international students, a point of pride that we rightly celebrate today.

But it is in his current role as the Dean of Admissions, particularly his service over the last year, that Dr. Besterfield has earned the Provost Award, the university's highest recognition for contributions to student success. Despite the global pandemic, USF basically maintained enrollment levels. Even more importantly, Dr. Besterfield recommitted himself and the university to enrolling more under-represented minorities, limited income, and first-generation students. He altered scholarship policies and practices so that he could offer more attractive financial aid packages to students in need.

The commitment is clear, and the accomplishments are evident, Dr. Besterfield has made an indelible impact on USF.




> Awards Ceremony Video

Robert Seidler
Graduate Academic Advisor, College of Nursing, Tampa Campus

In the role of Graduate Academic Advisor, Robert interacts with newly admitted students, current students, and alumni. Robert always ensures that students come first with everything he does. For the new students, Robert revamped the Canvas Orientation course to make sure that new students were aware of the different campus resources available. For current students, Robert runs reports every day monitoring student enrollment in order to alert key faculty and staff for a rapid response intervention, as needed. For graduate Nursing students, he created an OASIS tutorial to simplify the registration process and a Qualtrics survey to streamline the certification process. Robert is always looking for innovative ways to upgrade processes to the improve the student experience. He advocates for students with every decision and makes sure their interests are served by any changes made in the College of Nursing. Robert values and views the relationships with new and current students, and alumni, as a collaboration where the university and the student both succeed.


ChBME Lab Teaching Team for the Remote Laboratory Adaptation
Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering, Tampa Campus

Conversion of hands-on laboratory courses to a remote modality due to the COVID-19 pandemic required thoughtful consideration of student outcomes and reimagination of activities to achieve those outcomes. In chemical engineering, seniors are required to complete a two-semester unit operations lab sequence. The lab exposes students to bench scale industrial processes such as heat exchange, membrane separation, pumping, distillation, and adsorption. Students learn how to operate equipment, use instrumentation, and analyze data. Key student outcomes include development of sensory and psychomotor skills, performance of data analysis, and communication of technical content. During this critical transition, the lab teaching team created and produced video content, developed, and assembled take-home lab kits, utilized active learning techniques, and leveraged the Teams platform to effectively deliver the chemical engineering lab course in a remote environment. To bridge the gap between video and in-person performance, weekly discussions were held with the instructors for every virtual lab, focusing on pairing physical data with assumptions and analysis.  The ChBME Lab Teaching Team worked diligently and expeditiously to ensure a path to success for all student outcomes.



> Awards Ceremony Video

Austin Jared
Coordinator, Medical Response Unit, Student Health Services, Tampa Campus

Austin Jared is a certified Emergency Medical Technician who possesses certifications as an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course Training Instructor and Emergency Medical Responder Course Instructor.  He oversees more than 60 medical first responders, EMTs and paramedics who staff the all-volunteer USF Medical Response Unit (MRU) vehicle and the Student Health Services, Health Support Staff. The MRU Program launched in February 2020, provides free Basic Life Support services and courtesy medical transportations for all students, staff and faculty.  The MRU program was the only student program designated ESSENTIAL by USF during the COVID pandemic. Austin became the first USF employee outside of Environmental Health and Safety to be certified to do fit testing for N-96 masks. His team performed more than 4,500 COVID screenings without a single personnel exposure. His efforts and all of the volunteer students were recognized by USF Health with the prestigious USF CULTURE COIN AWARD because of their selfless indispensable support. Austin Jared has been essential in training USF students as Emergency Medical Responders and in developing programs that provide unique opportunities for undergraduate students.


Lisa Landis
Director, Academic Advising, Behavioral & Community Science, Tampa Campus

Lisa provides invaluable leadership for all student success initiatives in the College of Behavioral & Community Sciences and across all campuses.  As evidence, the impressive college data from 2020-2021: 95% freshman retention rate, 93% second year retention rate, 91% graduate without excess hours, 73% 4-year graduation, 83% 6-year graduation, and 1,792 students in internships. Lisa not only works within her college, she supports colleagues across departments, colleges, and campuses.  Some examples: Dr. Jennifer Lister said, “Lisa is well respected by her peers as evidenced by her invitation to serve on many important USF committees, such as the Finish In Four leadership team, Banner 9 implementation team, several Archivum teams, Retention Taskforce, Degree Works workgroup, and the Executive Board of the Council for Academic Advising.”  According to Dr. Valeria Garcia, “She is an active member of "Data Dive" workgroup and numerous working committees supporting student success initiatives, not only representing her college but as a power-user of data and tools.” Lisa Landis is an outstanding example of being a team player who contributes immensely to student success.


Billie Jo Hamilton
Associate Vice President, Enrollment Planning & Management, Student Success

Billie Jo Hamilton has been a pillar of the student success movement serving on the Student Success task force in 2009-2010 and subsequently delivering on one of its key recommendations, the implementation of a financial aid leveraging model. In her current role, Billie Jo supervises the Offices of the Registrar and Financial Aid. In addition, she works collaboratively with senior leadership to develop enrollment plans and strategies, all of which took on new levels of urgency and complexity during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a “normal” year, the office of financial aid would distribute close to $450 million in state, federal, and institutional aid to USF students. Soon after the pandemic hit, the federal government passed a $2.2 trillion relief package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, of which USF received $17.4 Million designated for students in greatest need. USF also put together an additional package of nearly $18 Million in institutional financial aid for the Fall 2020 semester and another round of over $50 Million in federal relief funds were received. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Billie Jo Hamilton and her office, all funds were distributed quickly, providing timely support to keep our students on track to graduation.

Innovative Education Digital Learning
Cross Campus Collaboration, All Campuses

When the COVID-19 pandemic shifted all USF instruction online suddenly, the Digital Learning stepped up to meet the challenge, hosting multiple live workshops, manning open labs to answer faculty inquiries, compiling and disseminating support materials, among other deliverables. As the pandemic wore on, Learning Designers directly supported faculty with developing summer courses via the Design Your Online Course (DYOC) Canvas course and individualized consultation on online pedagogy and quality standards. The Digital Learning Training and Development area met the increased demand and provided excellent assistance to faculty facilitating their courses in the online environment, many for the first time. The production team lent equipment and offered guidance to faculty who needed to produce video content on their own, and edited the self-produced videos to reflect the highest quality, particularly for courses that typically took place in lab environments. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Digital Learning team, faculty were amply supported in their efforts to deliver course materials to students throughout the pandemic.



> Awards Ceremony Video

USF Libraries Research & Instruction Team
USF Libraries, All Campuses

With the dual challenges of consolidation and COVID-19, USF faculty needed access to high-quality, online resources that helped teach students about critical searching, evaluation, and research skills. The Research & Instruction Librarians from all three USF campuses came together to build an online Information + Data Literacy program. The new USF Libraries Information + Data Literacy Workshops were short, Canvas based workshops with embedded text, videos, and interactive quizzes. Collaboration, assessment, and meeting cross-disciplinary instructional needs were at the core of this program. Twenty-one workshops were made available, guiding students from an introduction to USF Libraries resources and services, to teaching fundamental searching and evaluation skills, to supporting disciplinary research expertise and high impact practices. Over 2,500 USF students from all three campuses and a wide range of departments, completed at least one Info + Data Literacy canvas workshop. Students reported that the workshops helped them learn how to read scientific papers, understand the difference between primary and secondary sources, and learned how to search an online database. The work and commitment of the USF Libraries Research & Instruction Team continues to support faculty instruction and student success across OneUSF.


Office of Orientation, Orientation & Campus Visitation, Department of Student Support
Student Success, All Campuses

Since the announcement of consolidation, the Orientation Teams across OneUSF pulled together to provide a seamless transition for new undergraduate students and their families. While not officially consolidated at this time, the work demonstrated by these teams were in sync from the onset. Met early on with the challenges of the state regulated Orientation fee, these offices identified and created opportunities for collaborative programming, use of technology and communication and outreach. Joining forces and not losing sight of what was most important, the teams set forth to create Orientation content, leadership and program curriculum, and onboarding assistance.  When met with the challenges of COVID, these areas were able to devise a plan to switch Orientation modality with only a few weeks’ notice. Working together with university stakeholders, Innovative Education and IT to deliver a world class Orientation experience, the team met the enrollment goals and satisfied student and family needs for a successful start in their USF career.  The hard work of the Orientation Teams across OneUSF, countless hours of behind the scenes, and unfaltering dedication to student success, assisted in the enrollment of one of USF's largest cohorts of First Year students.  



> Awards Ceremony Video

Frank Gresham
Academic Services Administrator, Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center, St. Petersburg Campus

When it was determined the university would be operating virtually beginning in March 2020, the Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center on the St. Petersburg Campus, faced an unprecedented challenge, how to shift all tutoring and supplemental instruction services to an online format. Within a week, Frank Gresham researched digital options, and using only Microsoft products, incurring no additional costs, he created an appointment system using Bookings, separate subject channels for drop-in tutoring within Teams, and a virtual desk where Student Success Center staff greeted and assisted people in real-time. Most notable among these innovative solutions was the Virtual Desk. Created using a standing Microsoft Teams appointment Monday - Friday, the Virtual Desk garnered high praise from students and faculty, particularly early on in the pandemic, when many offices were difficult to reach. This personal touch made the difference to students isolated from friends and sometimes family, who yearned to "see" and connect with other people.  Frank’s outstanding and innovative thinking helped remove a few barriers for students seeking academic support enabling the Student Success Center to continue serving USF students without any significant gaps in service.


The COMPASS Student Experience Team
Student Success, St. Petersburg Campus

The COMPAS Student Experience on the St. Petersburg campus develops and provides programs and initiatives for first- and second-year students and transfers. These programs provide transformative support experiences to students throughout their transition and university journey. COMPASS has embraced technology and social media platforms before and since the pandemic to support the Student Success’ learning outcomes and curriculum. COMPASS also partners closely with faculty and academic units for an innovative and integrative approach to blending curricular and co-curricular learning. One aspect of this unit’s success is the peer mentoring program.  Connecting first time in college and transfer students with a student leader, Peer Coach, guidance for student success through one-on-one coaching has proven beneficial.  A few highlights of the impact of COMPASS include: over 63% virtual engagement with FTIC students through the peer coaching program; over 70+ programs and events within the 2020-2021 academic year utilizing technology and virtual spaces; and over 1,700 Bulls and students from around the world connected through The Pen Pal program, an international opportunity created to meet students’ engagement needs during the pandemic. COMPASS leverages powerful and innovative opportunities with campus partners and stakeholders to advance the work of Student Success.



> Awards Ceremony Video

Annmarie Chavarria
Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President, Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General Hospital, recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the top hospital in the region, is honored by The USF College of Nursing for the extraordinary contributions made to student success during the COVID-19 pandemic. The College of Nursing has a longstanding association with Tampa General Hospital, specifically with the department of Nursing. Practicing nurses and nursing students joined the front lines in the battle against COVID-19, tasked with caring for patients and families under highly stressful circumstances. COVID-19 presented an array of unprecedented challenges for undergraduate and graduate nursing clinical education. The Tampa General Hospital nursing service assisted in providing clinical placements for 109 USF undergraduate nursing students when our students were not allowed in other facilities due to the pandemic, while our graduate nursing students conducted COVID-19 rounds on recently discharged patients. This partnership exemplifies how the significant shortage of highly skilled registered nurses in Florida is addressed by capitalizing on the USF College of Nursing proven track record of high graduation, licensure, employment rates, and a strong partnership with Tampa General Hospital.


Allison Barlow
Executive Director, St. Petersburg Innovation District

The St. Pete Innovation District and especially the Executive Director, Alison Barlow have partnered with USF St. Petersburg on the Innovation Scholars Career Exploration Program. Designed as a career exploration program for first-year, first time in college students, Innovation Scholars connects students in their first semester with business professionals from downtown St. Petersburg for mentorship. The program allows students to be exposed to professionals, industries, and occupations that are related to their interests, broadening their career options post-graduation and solidifying major choice. Now in its second year, the program has doubled in size and proven popular with students and mentors alike, while boosting student retention and confidence in major selection. From the program’s inception in 2019, Alison proved to be a powerful connector and tireless program promoter. Utilizing her wide-ranging mental rolodex, Alison recruited senior executives from local organizations to serve as mentors for our students, and convinced dozens of senior-level professionals in downtown St. Petersburg to become committed partners in this program. Alison Barlow personifies what it means to be an exemplary partner in a student success initiative and has been integral to the success of the Innovation Scholars Program.



> Awards Ceremony Video

Dr. Jody McBrien
Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow, 2021-2022
Professor – Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Sarasota-Manatee Campus

Dr. Jody McBrien is well-known for the international research she conducts with refugees. She is also a highly effective teacher encouraging her students to excel through engaging with critical thinking and examining multiple perspectives. She uses her scholarship to teach about challenging topics such as migration, discrimination, poverty, sexual orientation, torture, and genocide.  An example is an assignment in her International Human Rights and Human Migration courses.  For three semesters, Dr. McBrien applied for and received funding to provide her students with two 1-hour interviews with refugees located throughout the world using the services of NaTakallam, an organization that pairs students with refugees living in Uganda, Iraq, Colombia, and other countries using Skype. Students have described this assignment as “life changing” and “the best assignment I have ever had in college.” When the Sarasota-Manatee campus chose Critical Thinking (“Incredi-bull Critical Thinking,” or “IBCT”) as its Quality Enhancement Plan, Dr. McBrien completed work to make her undergraduate courses ICBT courses. Although USF Sarasota-Manatee does not have Ph.D. programs, McBrien has served on nine dissertation committees (at USF and internationally), two Master’s thesis committees, and has mentored 13 Honors students.  Dr. McBrien consistently makes significant contributions that advance student success at USF.


Sarasota-Manatee Campus Virtual Book Club Coordinators
Library Services and Office of Student Engagement, Sarasota-Manatee Campus

When the University moved to remote instruction, some students felt isolated and needed opportunities to connect with the campus community.  In response, USF Sarasota-Manatee Assistant Librarian Jessica Szempruch collaborated with the Kati Hinds, Office of Student Engagement, to build a virtual book club (VBC) to engage the students and the Sarasota-Manatee community. Library specialist Evan Fruehauf and student worker Scarleth Andino also helped organize and facilitate student VBC engagement. All aspects of student accessibility were considered including: access to technology, ability to purchase books, and how to create an inclusive virtual environment. Students recommended and voted on which books to read and those under financial strain could sign up to receive a free book funded and mailed out by the Office of Student Engagement.  Since VBC’s founding, over 110 people have participated; approximately 80% undergraduate, 15% graduate, and 10% staff and faculty. For VBC books that were adapted into movies, several Netflix Virtual Watch Parties were organized. Thus, while social distancing in their own homes, the students could share popcorn and a movie night with their friends. The student response was overwhelmingly positive and the strong participation ensured the Virtual Book Club would continue when on-campus activities resumed. 



> Awards Ceremony Video

Dr. Patti Helton
Regional Vice Chancellor of Student Success, St. Petersburg Campus

Dr. Helton cares deeply about our students and is committed to inclusion, justice, equity and diversity. In March 2020, the tragedy that ensued in our country with Mr. George Floyd, demonstrated how the construct of race and racism continues to remain undiscussed in many circles.  This challenge prompted Dr. Helton to establish a space where colleagues could come together to explore the dynamics of race and racism. This was the first ever “race and social justice hour” within the unit, and it continues to this day. The program is a monthly opportunity for the campus to gather and learn about the complexities of race, racism, power, privilege and oppression. Dr. Helton prioritizes this space as critical to our success as educators in service of students.  As one can imagine, resistance shows up in a myriad of ways and through it all Dr. Helton remains unflinching in her goal to center the concept of race as important to our collective work.  While the work on race and racism highlights only one dimension of Dr. Helton’s leadership, we are confident that we will continue to move from conversation to tangible and measurable action as we contribute to the development and success of our students at USF.



> Awards Ceremony Video

Joseph A. Puccio, MD
Executive and Medical Director, Student Health Services, Tampa Campus

Dr. Joseph A. Puccio answered the University’s call for an elevated response to the pandemic, while ensuring access to medical and behavioral healthcare. Dr. Puccio has been a key contributor to USF’s risk-reduction strategies as a COVID task force member. A few of Dr. Puccio’s contributions:  In accordance with One USF, Dr. Puccio ensured continuous medical services on all campuses without interruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. New medical clinics were launched at Sarasota-Manatee and CAMLS. He initiated a procedure for students abroad with immunization & insurance registration holds to matriculate.  Dr. Puccio supported academic continuity by expanding medical/COVID testing services on all 4 campuses & USF Health professional colleges. He also updated clinical protocols to launch tele-health appointments, 7 days/week so students could safely access medical services, and he coordinated with USF Morsani College of Medicine to repetitively test all medical students throughout academic year, and much more. Dr. Puccio continuously ensured medical support for students' academic success, without compromising the health and safety of the USF community. Through a global pandemic, his inspiring leadership and unfaltering dedication supported the ongoing health of students and their academic success.  Dr. Puccio has been a shining example of servant leadership at USF.


Innovative Education Digital Learning
Cross Campus Collaboration, All Campuses

The Digital Learning team was at the forefront of USF's sudden transition to remote learning in Spring 2020. This team worked tirelessly to provide support for the faculty teaching online, the faculty preparing for future classes for online learning, and the wide-ranging courses that immediately had to pivot to the online environment. The 36-member team was instrumental in the development of the Faculty Continuity Toolkits and adapting standards to ensure courses remained high quality and impactful. The training resources guided faculty and other areas throughout the campuses in leveraging tools like Canvas and Microsoft Teams.  Working collaboratively with teams across campuses, including IT and the Academy of Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE), the Digital Learning team led the way forward in an unprecedented and uncertain time. An example of the impact of Digital Learning comes from Summer 2020, when new freshman took 100% online classes in their first term at USF. Students reported comments like “I love the class interaction,” and “This course has been very thorough and easy to understand online, which can be difficult.” The Digital Learning team found innovative ways to meet USF’s goals and the impact of their work during 2020 will be felt for years to come.




Richard Kelso

Instructor, Muma College of Business

As a past member of the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships Service-Learning Academy, Dr. Kelso recognized the significance of linking students to community organizations in real-world settings to enhance their learning experience. Dr. Kelso implemented a Community Engaged Learning (CEL) model in his Capstone course to strengthen students’ connection with Tampa Bay organizations to increase their understanding of community needs. He has overseen over 2,000 students participate in the CEL assignment, with over 30,000 collective service hours working with various local community organizations. 


Helios STEM Middle School Residency Program: Undergraduate Middle Grades Mathematics 5-9
College of Education

Led by Drs. Cheryl Ellerbrock and Eugenia Vomvoridi-Ivanovic, this program provides a supportive environment for prospective teachers to build professional networks through cohort groups, faculty interaction, and intensive coursework and field experiences in Hillsborough County Public Schools.  The program aligns with USF Strategic Goals 1-3: (1) It is a high quality interdisciplinary educational program that reflects the latest research in teacher education, middle level education, mathematics education, and integrated STEM education.  (2) It affords opportunities for interdisciplinary research initiatives that bridge multiple disciplines to solve critical educational issues. (3) Mutually beneficial partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools originally developed in collaboration with USF Colleges of Education, Art and Sciences, and Engineering enhancing access to employment opportunities in Hillsborough County Public Schools.


Antonio Gonzalez

Assistant Director - Sports Programs, Recreation & Wellness

Nominated multiple times, Antonio, in his everyday job, is constantly going out of his way to make other individuals' jobs easier.  Antonio is someone who will put in the work when no one else will and ensures all facets of his department (and often times, other people's departments) is running smoothly.  He makes time to have conversation with each of his staff members and ask if there is anything he can do differently or additionally to assist them. Much of our programming is done late at night and outside.  Often times he works until 2AM just to make sure our program is running smoothly and that we are offering our students the best of the best services. Antonio changed what was a separate Sports Clubs and Intramural Program, into a united Sports Programs. The goal was to make everyone in the department more marketable when applying to other positions. Students now have a better chance to get a graduate assistant position and graduate assistants now have a better chance of obtaining a professional job.  An excellent leader and colleague, Antonio has made a tremendous difference in all of our lives.


Jackie Nelson
Senior Director - Collier Student Success Center, Muma College of Business

Jackie Nelson epitomizes the “champion” of student success. Over the years her work has inspired many to contribute resources and time to the college.  
Her push to have students employed at graduation inspires her staff to help place students by holding networking events, on-site employer visits with students, career and internship fairs, resume writing, and internship placements. The extremely successful Corporate Mentor Program for students who are the first in their family to attend college was started with Ms. Nelson’s help. The Corporate Mentor Program students achieved an average GPA of 3.4 last year and were employed at graduation.  Jackie’s efforts secured enrollment in our two Living Learning Communities and our Business Honors Programs, both of which serve to attract and retain outstanding students. She helped develop a summer Bulls Business Program to attract the college’s highest performing summer admitted students.  Ms. Nelson drives our scholarship process, ensuring that outstanding students and students in financial need have assistance.  Ms. Nelson and the associate dean have developed and instituted a myriad of performance metric initiatives – including but not limited to advertising campaigns and recruiting events in collaboration with Admissions. Students seek Ms. Nelson out, and advisors and faculty send students to Ms. Nelson as the best hope for resolving a student problem.  There is no greater champion of students or their success!


Patsy Sanchez
Director of Diversity, Diversity, Inclusion & Equal Opportunity

Patsy has championed education for the last 23 years at USF, changing the lives of countless students on campus and in the community. As a USF admissions recruiter, she empowered first generation low-income students to attend college by providing admissions, scholarship, financial aid information. As a first generation in college, and immigrant, she served as a role model and inspiration. In addition to her role as Director for DIEO, she has served as Director of the Latino Scholarship for the last 19 years providing support to its 140 students, who are mostly first-generation in college. Under her leadership, the program achieved a 97% 4-year graduation rate and retention rate for 2018 was 100%. In 2008, she secured a historical gift of 4 million dollars from the Helios Education Foundation to benefit more students and create a community incentive match. She oversees the student support programs, annual events and assists the Foundation with fundraising goals. Patsy Sanchez has established a USF legacy of success by supporting students from admission through graduation and beyond. As she continues her work, her legacy of success has been taken up by a new generation of Champions who have now joined her in supporting students and student success from admission through graduation and beyond and her legacy continues.


Shaina Gonzalez
Academic Enhancement Coordinator, Office of Veteran Success

The daughter of a Vietnam veteran who suffered from the invisible wounds of war, Shaina demonstrates a love and compassion for the veteran population that has spawned the most creative and meaningful academic support found in the United States -- making USF a top college for veterans. For the past four years, Shaina has served as the Academic Enhancement Coordinator for the Office of Veteran Success and has transformed academic progress and success rates of military veterans attending USF. Shaina established the Academic Enhancement Program (AEP) taking a holistic approach to understanding and serving the needs of this unique student population. Shaina must thoroughly assess each veteran’s military experience, combat related disabilities, family circumstance, and financial stability before she is able to formulate a plan to address the academic issues facing the student. Since its inception, Shaina has enrolled over 400 student veterans into the AEP. Her genuine, caring approach to working with veterans allows her to quickly gain trust and build relationships of mutual respect with students.  Shaina has developed innovative ways of working with students suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In order to address these unique learning challenges, she created the vet-to-vet tutoring program that pairs well-adapted, academically successful veterans with veterans who are struggling academically. To date, the tutoring program has provided over 3,000 hours of tutoring at no cost to student veterans, achieving a 72% class pass rate for students being tutored. Since Shaina's arrival, retention and persistence rates have also grown proportionally. Shaina sees potential in every student she meets. Her positive attitude is infectious, and she inspires our veterans to achieve more than they believe possible.


Jessica Davis
Academic Advisor, College of Arts & Sciences

Jessica has made a powerful impact on students, but she has also become an invaluable resource for her peers, the Office of Academic Advocacy’s Transfer Student Advocates. Jessica’s advising position and leadership role within the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Natural Science and Mathematics, often places her in the challenging position of redirecting students based on their academic profiles. Considering the university’s Degree Progression Policy, Jessica concisely assesses the students’ options without losing sight of their ultimate goals and aspirations. Jessica blends her strong communication skills with an intuitive working knowledge of USF’s processes and policies to best serve students and partner with colleagues.  Jessica has also worked with leadership from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Academic Advocacy, the Office of Transfer Student Success, the Office of Orientation, and the Office of Admissions to streamline the secondary review process, while focusing on the long-term direct benefits this process would have for students.  


Jessica Lauther
Student Programs Coordinator, Global Citizens Project

Jessica’s primary duty is to coordinate the GCP’s flagship program, the Global Citizen Award (GCA), focused around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. In this role, she has hosted over 200 workshops, introducing more than 2,000 students (91 different majors) to the program. To date, well over 300 students have received the GCA. She has easily connected the GCP with partners across campuses and communities, coordinating over 1,000 global events.  In the community, she has long-standing collaborations with the Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Great American Teach In. Because the GCP is the Quality Enhancement Plan for USF, data is collected to assess the impact of the project. Those data show that Jessica’s program, the GCA, has a far greater impact on student success and global citizenship than any other GCP program.

BioAdvise (Biology Advisors)
College of Arts & Sciences
Members: Jessica Davis, Mary Cuthbertson, Tarin Haydt, Jessica Hoffman, Kevin Lee

BioAdvise (on the USF Tampa Campus) serves a large biology major population (1:520 advisor: student ratio as of Fall 2019).  BioAdvise has provided multiple events for biology majors including two examples that provided valuable opportunities to collaborate across USF units to include: (1) Career Services + BioAdvise: Biology Resume Workshop partnered with Career Services and Natural Sciences Career Consultant to provide workshop in Spring 2019 to biology majors.  (2) USF Education Abroad + BioAdvise: Bio Bulls Abroad Partnered with Education Abroad to provide workshop in Fall 2019 to biology majors. BioAdvise works diligently to balance a heavy advising load with providing multiple programming events each semester, aiming to keep student success - be that graduation, employment, matriculation to graduate school, or global experiences - at the center of every program developed.

Campus Food Waste Recovery Team

Student Green Energy Fund Project

Proposed by a multidisciplinary group of students from the College of Public Health and the College of Engineering, the Campus Food Waste Recovery Project’s goal is two-fold:  First, pre-consumer food waste from campus dining is diverted from the landfill by use of anaerobic digestion in five bio-digesters constructed by groups of students.  Second, the student group brings attention to food insecurity by interactive student engagement and social marketing. Food insecurity among college students is associated with negative impacts such as reduced academic performance, delayed graduation, higher dropout rates, poor diet quality, and higher stress levels.  By understanding students’ interests and behaviors, the team focused increased awareness of campus resources such as Feed-a-Bull Pantry. The team conducted a campus-wide survey which resulted in over 500 students responding from every college at USF, with findings which showed that 29.7% of students are food insecure.  With Aramark’s support and guidance, the team coordinated student volunteers and conducted a food waste audit in fall 2019 to estimate the amount of post-consumer waste students were generating; during the audit, the team also engaged students in discussions about food waste and climate impact. For the 3-day audit, we estimated over 2,000 students that engaged with our team. The collaboration is ongoing with various USF colleges, departments, offices, and community partnerships.


Steve Johnson
Actionable Data Manager, Strategic Initiatives
Kim Williams
Data Manager, Office of Academic Advocacy

The Office of Academic Advocacy needed a solution that would integrate multiple data points into a single source. Steve Johnson and Kim Williams collaboratively created an innovative solution. Steve Johnson proposed the utilization of Power BI, and Kim Williams supplied an understanding of the data and how to locate it across the various institutional sources.  The result was inclusion of the First-Year Retention model, the Civitas Learning student persistence predictor, results of the BCSSE (Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement), student grade information from Canvas, Canvas Instructor referrals, and a variety of web reports from Banner.  The impact of the OAA Report Suite in Power BI is how it integrates several decentralized data sources into a coherent and comprehensive format and transformed the work of the Office of Academic Advocacy. 


Center for Entrepreneurship
Marketing Department, Muma College of Business
Members:  Dr. Dirk Libaers (Director), Karin Braunsberger, Steve Budd, Steve Diasio, Maricela Elizarraras, Diana Hechavarria, Lin Jiang, Lei Zhang  

Established in 2015, by a $2.9 million-dollar gift from Frank and Ellen Daveler, The Frank and Ellen Daveler Entrepreneurship Program (Daveler) offers undergraduate students from all across Florida a unique opportunity to increase their competencies in the domain of entrepreneurship. The program is the only one of its kind in the State. Any undergraduate student at any Florida college or university can apply to become a fellow of the program. Each fall, 20 undergraduate students are selected as fellows, they receive $3,000 and are subsequently invited to USF to pitch their projects at the Innovation Competition in the spring. The most important component of the program is the student fellows network it curates, allowing fellows to connect to a mentor from The Center for Entrepreneurship’s professional mentor network, fostering lifelong relationships that help students develop successful professional careers in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship.


Clinical Services Workgroup
Counseling Center
Members: Drs. Lisa Ferdinand, Cody Brichner, Meghan Butler, Kai Shin Chu, Madeline Colon, Vincent Dehili, Nicholas Joyce, Lashley Marks, George Poncy, Mona Stribling, Diane Williams

The Counseling Center developed an innovative, comprehensive, client-centered and flexible model that allowed counselors to adjust their treatment approach to best meet the needs of students. Collaborations with parents and family, strategic partnerships with Student Outreach and Support, Student Health Services, and the Office of Academic Advocacy, these changes allowed the Center to increase capacity by 18%. Due to this comprehensive model, group services were expanded by 16%, students receiving services focused on resiliency increased by 20%, and utilization of online assisted services increased by 30%. Students responded positively, with 93% of clients indicating they would utilize services if needed in the future, and 90% reporting overall satisfaction with their counseling experience. Amazingly, 78% of students reported they were more likely to continue their education as a result of counseling, and 79% reported being more likely to graduate.


Office of Transfer Student Success
Undergraduate Studies
Members: Dr. Fai Howard, Jonathan Lee, Chandra Davis, Shaun Harris, Aaron Holland, Justine Nandkishorelal, Jacob Waldron

Florida is nationally known for their state-wide transfer initiatives, articulation agreements, and embedded support systems to benefit transfer student success.  Fuse is a transfer program between the University of South Florida and eight Florida State Colleges institutions (FCS). This partnership provides a seamless academic pathway for students to complete their associate degree, which guarantees admission into specific majors at USF and promotes timely baccalaureate graduation. Common barriers for transfer students include losing credit hours in the matriculation process or accumulating more credits than required.  The Fuse program was launched in October 2016 to address, support, and alleviate these barriers. The Fuse program has flourished and grown with a very small staff, serving 8 schools with over 100 Fuse students that have successfully matriculated to USF and over 1,000 in the pipeline. 


Residential Education Team
Student Success
Members:  Julie Leos (Director), Angelica Aranda, Jennifer Connell, Brandi Crews, Aaliyah Deggs, Courtney Durbin, Michal Foursevitch, Melany (Mel) Freiria, Roniesha Hardee, David Hibbler, Paige Hicks, Jason Jackson, Stephanie Jamanca, Corey Johnson, Lauren Levanti, Flor Martinez, Nicholas (Nick) McKim, Chazman McKoy, Bervelie Mitil, Johnathan (John) Morrissey, Neudy Nuñez, Nicole Onofreo, Michael Prosia, Michael Rockford, Nancy Rosario, Jack Waldron, Dylan Wilkes, Kara Zarnoch, Yara Zraiqat

The Residential Curriculum, linked to USF's academic mission and vision, primes residential students for success. Through targeted interventions coupled with strategic community building, Residential Education provides students with transformative learning opportunities that lead to high persistence rates, GPA, and successful graduation. Focus on these areas lend to the success of residential students: An Ethic of Care, Peer Support, Living Learning Communities (LLCs), and Caring Educators.




Iraida Carrion & Manisha Joshi

Dr. Iraida Carrion & Dr. Manisha Joshi
Associate Professors in the School of Social Work

"...Their India program is one of the few faculty-led Education Abroad programs to offer students the opportunity to immerse in and engage with indigenous communities within a global context...These two faculty members have contributed significantly to students’ academic success by creating global classrooms, modeling USF’s global mission, and demonstrating academic excellence..."

Vinik award recipient photo

Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program
Team Members: Dr. William Sutton, Dr. Michelle Harrolle, Dr. Michael Mondello, Dr. Janelle Wells, Hannah Colyer

"...With job placement being one of the tools by which student success is measured, students participate in PowerPlacement, a personal and professional curriculum developed by the program’s faculty.  Within the curriculum, students participate in a residency program to gain professional experience while preparing for the workplace.  Since the first graduating class in 2014, the program has experienced great success with a 98.4% job placement rate within four months of graduation..."



Autumn Mueller photo

Autumn Mueller
Director of Advising in the College of Arts and Sciences

"...The hands on leadership has been instrumental to the success achieved by the College of Arts and Sciences. With a first year retention of 91.5%, four year (69.3%) and six year (75%) graduation rates are a direct reflection of this colleague’s hard work and commitment to student success..."

Keri Riegler photo

Keri Riegler
Director of New Student Connections, and Parent and Family Programs

"...This colleague has elevated the student peer coaching program, which was designed to connect incoming students to their peers who help develop strategies for academic success and a successful transition into college life, while introducing incoming students to opportunities for campus involvement. Having a vital part of USF attaining preeminence by working diligently to retain first year students, transfer students, and upperclassmen, this colleague and respective team, were intentional in contributing to the strategic vision and goals of the University..."


Allison Cleveland-Roberts

Dr. Allison Cleveland-Roberts
Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences

"...Serving as a partner to Undergraduate Studies activities to ensure timely graduation, working with both faculty and departments and the goals of the broader institution, this person has shown a consistent ability to understand both needs that often lead to a successful outcome for the student. This leader redesigned processes to make Finish in Four more efficient and in line with Undergraduate Studies and the Office of Academic Advocacy workflow, all to the benefit of student success..."

OCEP photo

Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships
Team Members: Dr. Lillian Wichinsky, Heba El-Tall, Mazi Ferguson, Dustin Krein, Maria Trogolo

"...This team supports faculty in their efforts to integrate community-engaged pedagogy into their courses while advancing their own scholarly work, an instrumental coordination impacting student success at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As the University of South Florida continues to provide students with exceptional learning opportunities, this office and team of professionals will continue to build sustainable community-university collaborations through innovative approaches for student success in the 21st century..."


Candace Henry photo

Candace Henry
Assistant Director of Financial Education Programs

"...Students that are Florida residents participating in services offered by Bull2Bull have seen their average debt reduced by $86 per credit hour compared to those who have not participated in a Bull2Bull service. Similarly, students who are non-Florida residents have seen their average debt reduced by $48 per credit hour. This initiative along with the other aspects of the financial education program under this leader, have garnered national attention with the Bull2Bull program being recognized in 2018 as the #1 ranked financial aid counseling program by LendEDU..."

Peer Advisor Leaders (PALs)

Peer Advisor Leader Team

"Throughout the past two years, these student leaders have outreached to over 4,000 USF students, and last year, facilitated 377 coaching sessions. This year, the student leaders have already facilitated more than 330 coaching sessions...The team of student leaders are awesome in leading the way for our incoming students, and ensuring the peer advisors are trained and ready to begin this transformation work is a committed professional leader guiding the way..."



Employer Relations Team

Employer Relations Team
Team Members: Devan Lane, Amanda Marshall, Pranam Parsanlal

"...The team that is tasked to build partnerships with employers across Tampa Bay, throughout Florida, and across the United States so that we can make the best possible employment opportunities available to our new graduates, has established exceptionally strong relationships with employers.  They provide training and support with all of the key employers that are the future employers of our graduates..."



Ana Hernandez photo

Ana Hernandez
Assistant Vice President of Housing & Residential Education 

"...Guided by the Performance Based Funding metrics, this colleague has ensured that all student employment positions have learning outcomes that will prepare them for career advancement.  This department is the second largest employer of students on-campus with nearly 300 student employees, where students are provided the opportunity to apply their classroom theoretical knowledge in a practical setting..."

International Services photo

Office of International Services
Team Members: Marcia Taylor, Modupe Aina, Annette Bloise, Thora Cecil, Erin Dudley, Kelly Hall, Jimmy Hutchful, Daniela Mui, Lu Norstrand, Caitlin Pike, James Schwartz, Mary-Ellen Smith, Bryant Tonkin, Pam Trowbridge, Kristen Zernick

"...The impact of international students on the student success culture of USF is incalculable.  Faculty have adapted pedagogies and classroom discourse has broadened. They have enriched the co-curricular experience across campus life, and data indicates they have remarkably successful careers here in the US..."





Dr. Pettit photo

Dr. Sandra Pettit
Instructor in Chemical & Biomedical Engineering

"...This instructor continues to employ evidence based learning techniques to promote student success, and incorporated peer leaders into a newly developed course, Peer Leading in Chemical Engineering..."


INTO department photo


Team Members: Jason Seth Beckerman (director), Janna Eveland, Jane Harvey, Ariadne Miranda, Jenny Schultz, Jordan Walters 

"...Since its inception in 2006, this area has contributed to thousands of international students being successful at USF and in higher education, where 85% of Pathway students meet the requirements for matriculation to USF programs..."



Flowers photo

Quinton Flowers
Student - Interdisciplinary Studies Major & Quarterback
(award accepted by Mark Harlan, director of Athletics, on behalf of Flowers)

"...In spite of multiple hardships, this award recipient did not allow those challenges to deter him, instead he found his place in the classroom, at the University of South Florida and on the football field. In 2016, he was recognized as a star STUDENT athlete for achieving his highest GPA at the University. Turning the tragedies that surrounded him into a testament, he has inspired others..."

Michelle Robinson photo

Michelle Robinson
Assistant Director - New Student Connections

"...She uses data to drive decisions and outreach, leveraging information from Civitas, USF’s attrition model, and the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement survey...to identify freshman with the highest risk of leaving the university, in order to enhance the new student experience..."


Collaboration Award

Monica Rochon photo

Monica Rochon
Senior Residence Life Coordinator - Residential Education 

"...instrumental in the development of a Social Justice Dialogue series that creates space for the critical exchange of ideas. The series Real Talk, implemented three years ago in 2015, are single-speaker or panel style events geared to bring faculty and staff from across multiple disciplines and areas of research together to discuss issues of social justice and equity."

Office of Academic Advocacy photo

Office of Academic Advocacy

Team Members: Leslie Tod (director), Dr. Michelle Bombaugh, Michael Callendar, Shane Combs, Ashley Dees, Anthea Henderson, Pedro Henry, Zulmaly Ramirez, Ginny Shepherd, Anna Vest, Kim Williams, Sarah Wray

"...this team took on the role of coordinating the [Summer Finish in Four] initiative and being a point of contact in monitoring student progress and connecting the students to key contacts to assist in their completion efforts. When...concluded, an increase in the 4-year graduation rate of those students helped was realized..."


Development & Engagement Award

Glen Parker photo

Glen Parker
Canvas Administrator - Information Technology

"...Through the development and implementation of projects of his own, he has successfully addressed university wide challenges. The current functionality of Attendance Codes for lecture classes began as a brainchild of this colleague, as he knew administrators were looking for a way to let faculty in large classes take attendance. He pitched the idea, created the programming, and now provides the technical support to keep it running..."

Student Support Services photo

Student Support Services Program

Team Members:  Reba Garth (director), Courtney Alleyme, Eirleene Bristow, Stephy Oge, Roshanda Pinson, Dr. LaToshsa Thomas, Brian Williams

"...With mandatory advising sessions, a supportive living learning community, and the utilization of predictive analytics, this program is able to identify and address risk factors, helping students progress through the various pathways to graduation...This team has accomplished a 91% persistence rate for the 2016 cohort, a 74% six-year graduation rate for 2010 cohort..."


Innovation Award

Lisa Landis photo

Lisa Landis
Director of Advising & Student Support Services
College of Behavioral & Community Sciences

 "...This leader maintains focus on USF’s student success goals by serving as the Chair of the Council on Academic Advising and working with the Council’s technologies sub-committee that supports the technology systems used by the advising community. She is quick to volunteer her time and expertise to new projects that arise, especially those related to the technologies that support student success..."

IT Archivum Team photo

Archivum Insights Technical Leadership Team
Information Technology

Members:  Carrie Garcia, David Hearne, Dr. Travis Thompson, Alice Wei

"...partnered...to provide tools and solutions that have allowed for transparency and insights. The [Archivum Insights] tool has afforded the student success team the ability to quickly take action and communicate issues in real time, while also leveraging the Civitas predictive analytics tool and other student information systems across USF..."


Partnership Award

Joe Battle photo

Joe Battle
Medical Director - James A. Haley Veterans Hospital

"...The academic partnership with the College of Nursing and the James A. Haley VA Hospital has created strong relationships to include shared faculty and trainees, innovations in education and patient care, and an emphasis on scholarship and inquiry..."  

Appian corp photo

Appian Corporation

Awarded accepted by Adrienne Hubbard

"...This company, dedicated to student success, is delivering a...platform that is transforming higher education. Their work...on the Archivum Insights Platform was a project conceptualized in a white paper with the student being the focus...Their commitment to USF has also extended into training our students on the platform at no cost for two weeks every semester which will allow USF to hire students to grow the platform as well as provide students for opportunities outside of USF..."


Provost Award

Metz-Wiseman photo

Monica Metz-Wiseman
Retired Librarian - Campus Library

"...single-handedly launched a project to help students with the affordability of their textbooks...The Textbook Affordability Project provides informative, effective and active solutions to the rising cost of textbooks, including electronic textbooks, textbooks on reserve at the library, and the USF bookstore’s textbook rental program. Today, this work serves as an exemplar across the State University System as a way to address a problem that research suggests impacts 45-65% of students..."

Collier Center photo

Collier Student Success Center 
Muma College of Business

Team Members: Jackie Nelson (dir.), Christy Aleman, Angela Casey, Olivia Davis, Sandra Denslow, Laren DiGiovanni, Shaun Gonzalez, Shawna Grant, Monica Hermann, Michelle Jenkins, LaTevia Lowe, Jack Lynch, Chris Maltezos, Sarah Moore, Patricia Nickinson, Pavla Ozkul, Nadine Samardzija, Jose Soto, Krista Townsend, Lori Wilder

"...aims to ensure all students within their college are able to successfully launch their careers upon completion of their undergraduate degrees...There are various aspects in the Center that contribute to the success of their students...Corporate Mentor Program...Career Clinic...Undergraduate Advising..."




Academic Excellence Award

Gerry Meisels

Dr. Gerry Meisels
Director of the USF Coalition for Science Literacy

"… a professor who has compiled a distinguished record of teaching, research and service over the course of a 29-year career at USF…He is the Principal investigator of a five-year, multi-million-dollar initiative supported by the National Science Foundation called STEER, (the Systemic Transformation of Evidence Based Education Reform)…this project, led by a team of innovative, student-centered faculty, will improve the quality of education that undergraduate students receive in STEM gateway courses…"


Kingsley Reeves

Dr. Kingsley Reeves 
Associate Professor - College of Engineering

 "…as a member of the Student Success Council, Dr. Reeves has contributed to a number of initiatives, including the SMART Lab. He cares about the success of his students. Recognizing that the high price of textbooks is often beyond the reach of students, this professor authored an open source textbook titled Statistics for Engineers. Further, he has contributed to college readiness, access, and success for underrepresented students through a collaboration with Middleton High School, a STEM magnet school in East Tampa..."



sidney fernandez

Sidney Fernandes
USF Vice President for Technology and Chief Information Officer

"…Were it not for this innovator, USF may not have even attempted to develop the case management approach…a customized platform that will unite all student support personnel in a dynamic network that will improve the quality of service for all students."     

Champions Award

Mary Goodwin

Dr. Mary Goodwin
Director of Engineering Student Services - College of Engineering 

"Years before we recognized the gender gap, one college took on the challenge of closing that achievement gap.  By incorporating best practices like peer tutoring, active learning, and supplemental instruction into the curriculum, the college has already realized impressive gains.  For the 2015 cohort, the College of Engineering reported a 90.9% first year retention rate, the highest ever in the history of the College and higher than the rate for the whole university.  Male students, by the way, were retained at 91.6%." 

owen hooper

Owen Hooper
Director of Accelerated Summer and Intersession Academic Programs - Innovative Education

"…The Academic and Cultural Engagement Program (ACE), is founded on and promotes the best principles of student success, by pairing six credits of academic coursework with exciting engagement opportunities for students...USF was fortunate to put the administration of this program in the hands of an exceptional young man who brings a passion and expertise to student success."

carrie garcia

Carrie Garcia
Director, Application Services - Information Technology

"For the last award in this category, USF would like to recognize another member of the Student Success Council who has championed so many efforts, including academic tracking, predictive analytics, and more. Perhaps the greatest example of her service to USF came a few years ago when we needed somebody to step in on a short-term basis to run the Registrar’s office…without having to grovel too much, she agreed to step in and keep this critically important office running."


Collaboration Award


Students of Concern Assistance Team (SOCAT) 

Team Members: Danielle McDonald, Maria Zale, Winston Jones, Linda Kasper, Julie Leos, Dominick Marckese, Martin King, Dr. Rita DeBate, Dr. Joseph Puccio, Dr. Lisa Ferdinand, Dr. Lawrence Braue, Leslie Tod, Kim Williams, Dr. Ruth Bahr, Makenzie Schiemann, Nicole Morgan 

“…the first multi-disciplinary team to apply a case management approach to offer support and guidance to struggling USF students.  Their goal is to help the student focus on academic success, avert more serious difficulties, and ensure the safety of both the student and the USF community.  By offering guidance and resources to students in need, the Students of Concern Assistance Team, SOCAT has made a significant difference in the lives of students each day by helping them to be healthy and affording them the opportunity to continue focusing on their academic goals." 


Development and Engagement Award

mobilizing the dream

Mobilizing the Dream
Stacy Pippen - Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs  

Team Members: Samantha Bryant, Tariq Charleston, Malik Waters, Judelande Jeune, Jade Swaby, Udeme Ikaiddi, Daryl Gibson, Huntley Sawyers

"Many of our team members work extensively with students to ensure that students are not only represented, but that their voices are heard and initiatives implemented.  One team member, however, did exemplary work with the students who initiated Mobilizing the Dream.  Over the course of the last year, these students worked with administration, faculty and staff on four different committees, to better understand and find solutions to concerns that have been more broadly articulated by the Black Lives Matter movement in higher education.  In the process, they taught us to focus on the essence of diversity.  They also showed us, by their own examples, what it means to be a successful undergraduate student."


Partnership Award

mark milliron

Dr. Mark Milliron
Co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of Civitas Learning

" …This company, dedicated to student success, is now working with more than 285 institutions reaching 6.5 million students.  It is delivering, here and across the country, a student success platform that is transforming higher education.  Their goal is to partner with colleges and universities to “help students learn well and finish strong by taking the guess work out of student success.”…The USF relationship with this innovative group of thought partners is a model of collaboration and thanks to this platform, USF moved off its performance plateau and onto the path to preeminence."



persistence committee

Persistence Committee

Committee Members: Dr. Thomas E. Miller, Dr. Michelle Bombaugh, Dr. William Cummings, Jennifer DiPrete, Dr. Valeria Garcia, Billie Jo Hamilton, Dr. Charlene Herreid, Janet Hicks, Michelle Jenkins, Winston Jones, Linda Kasper, Jean Keelan, Dameion Lovett, Shabnam Mehra, Neudy Nunez, Keri Riegler, Dr. Jennifer Schneider, Dr. Robert Sullins, Marcia Taylor, Travis Thompson, Leslie Tod, Kim Williams

"...A cross-functional team, formed in early 2016, took on the charge of raising performance on retention and graduation rates. This team, chaired by Dr. Tom Miller, brought to the effort a passion and expertise that is unmatched anywhere in the country. Using Dr. Miller’s persistence model and the Civitas student success platform, the Persistence Committee identifies and supports at-risk students through timely and appropriate interventions. They are now developing a transformative case management approach that will soon be a model for student success everywhere. Thanks to the work of this Committee and its innovative use of the Civitas Student Success platform, USF now boasts the highest retention and graduation rates in its history."