Meet the USF World Leadership
Vice President, USF World
Dr. Kiki Caruson leads USF’s global engagement across the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee campuses, including study abroad programming, international student and scholars services, international admissions, the management of international partnerships, the Global Discovery Hub, initiatives that support research and scholarly mobility, Peace Corps programming, international alumni outreach, as well as global development activities. Dr. Caruson is an expert regarding the best practices for promoting strong relationships between university research and international offices and the data and metrics associated with successful global engagement across faculty, students, alumni, and global partners. She led an AIEA-Sponsored Thematic Forum: Developing Institutional Strategies for Growing Global Research held at the University of South Florida in 2014, which launched subsequent conferences hosted by Rutgers University (2016) and the University of California, Davis (2018).
Dr. Caruson is the author of numerous publications including “International Research Partnerships,” in NAFSA’s Guide to International Partnerships: Developing Sustainable Academic Collaborations edited by Jane Gatewood, 2019; “Building International Research Capacity: The SIO Perspective,” in NAFSA’s Senior International Officer Guide edited by David Di Maria, 2019; and Globalizing University Research: Innovation, Collaboration, and Competition published in 2017 by the Institute of International Education (IIE). In 2016, Dr. Caruson received the inaugural Big Ideas Award from the Society for Research Administrators International (SRA-I) for the creation of a peer-resourced, web-based Global Research Toolkit.
Dr. Caruson is an alumna of the USIEF India Fulbright Program for senior international education administrators (2013) and is an active scholar, teacher, and mentor. She has led student groups to Panama, India, and Peru, and has twice received USF's Outstanding Teaching Award. A faculty member in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies within the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Caruson maintains an active, interdisciplinary research portfolio; is an advisor and mentor to graduate and undergraduate students; and has served in leadership roles in a number of professional organizations affiliated with her academic discipline, international education, and research administration.
Campus Director, St. Petersburg
Wendy Baker is responsible for leading global engagement for USF World at the St. Petersburg campus, and has extensive higher education administration experience at the University of South Florida. She served as the Advisor in Residence for the USF Know Europe education abroad program and as a Program Leader for the Doing Business in the Baltics (Lithuania) program. Ms. Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising from the University of Georgia and an MBA from the University of South Florida. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Ed.D. in Program Development at the University of South Florida, where her research focuses on global learning. Ms. Baker is a graduate of the AIEA Senior International Officer Academy and completed leadership training with the Accendo Advisory Group. She is a recipient of the USF Award for Global Engagement and was selected to travel to Spain to participate in the Study in Spain Workshop sponsored by ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones and the association EDUESPAÑA, with the collaboration and support of FULBRIGHT ESPAÑA. Ms. Baker presents nationally on international education topics and is a Fulbright International Education Administrators program grant recipient to Taiwan.
AVP, Global Academic Partnerships & International Enrollment Mgmnt
Serving in many capacities across his 20+ years at USF, Sean Gilmore is currently the Assistant Vice President of Global Academic Partnerships and International Enrollment Management at USF World. Formerly the Executive Director for the INTO USF Center, Director of Admissions, and Director of International Admissions at USF, his knowledge of international student recruitment, enrollment, and retention is extensive. As an alumnus of the University of South Florida providing access and opportunities to study at USF is embedded in Mr. Gilmore's DNA.
Director, Education Abroad
Since 2008, Amanda Maurer has served as the Director of the Education Abroad Office in USF World. In that time, the number of students participating in an international education abroad experience has increased by 150%, as reported in Open Doors. In the 2020 Open Doors report, USF ascended into the top 40 institutions in the United States for outbound mobility. Not only has student participation in study abroad increased under Amanda’s leadership, but the Education Abroad Office has also been nationally recognized because of its commitment to ensuring access and diversity in those who participate in study abroad programs. In 2017, USF was the awardee for the Excellence for Diversity and Inclusion in International Education (EDIIE) from Diversity Abroad, and in 2019, USF was awarded the IIE Andrew Heiskell Award - Access and Equity. Prior to coming to USF, Amanda served as the Senior Director of International Programs at Columbia Law School. She received her Master’s degree in Russian language and literature from Florida State University, where she studied abroad in the USSR and former Yugoslavia. She has served on several international education boards, participated and led training sessions, conference panels and poster sessions, and was a contributor to the ISA ThinkDen publication on Education Abroad Operational Models.
Campus Director, Sarasota-Manatee
Brandon S. McLeod, Ph.D. has nearly fifteen years of progressive experience in higher education as an administrator, advisor, instructor, and immigration officer. He loves working with, and learning from, the diverse international community and is always looking for opportunities to promote and engage in internationalism. He has taught students from more than 60 countries and advised students and scholars from over 95.
His doctorate is in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi with a graduate minor in Applied Statistics. He also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching Languages from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master of Arts in English, from the University of South Alabama, and a Bachelor’s of English, with minors in Philosophy and French, from Spring Hill College in his native Mobile, Alabama. His dissertation is titled "Online Learning Readiness Among International Students." He has also co-authored a chapter titled "Overview of Post-baccalaureate Student Needs", published in Valerie Shepard and April Perry's edited A Practitioner's Guide to Supporting Graduate and Professional Students (2022).
Dr. McLeod is active in NAFSA at the state, regional, and national level, having served as the International Student and Scholar Services Representative and board member for MAIE/Study Mississippi, as a NAFSA Trainer Corps Trainer and Ambassador, and NAFSA Annual Conference Poster Fair Organizer. He is a frequent presenter at NAFSA conferences and loves collaborating with his colleagues from other institutions.
AVP, Global Outreach, Communications, and Philanthropy
Bessie Skoures recently joined the team as an assistant vice-president who will lead global outreach, communications, and philanthropy efforts for USF World. Most recently she served as chief operating officer for Ruth's List Florida and prior to that was the associate director of outreach for USF’s Patel College of Global Sustainability where she oversaw marketing, communications, and outreach activities, including global and local educational initiatives. She began her career at USF as special assistant to the Honorable Betty Castor, executive director of the Patel Center for Global Solutions. She has also been employed as an adjunct instructor.
Prior to her roles at USF, Bessie served as deputy director of the Term Member Program at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and worked at Human Rights Watch in New York and Brussels. Bessie is a member of the Tampa Bay Area Committee on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the Host Committee. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan and her M.A. from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She is fluent in Greek and French and resides in Tampa Bay.
Director, Office of International Services
As the Director of the Office of International Services, Marcia Taylor is the Primary Designated Official (PDSO) for the university’s F-1 student program, the Responsible Officer (RO) for the university’s J-1 exchange program, and advises university staff on employment based visas and permanent residency. She has worked in the field of international education for 25 years. As a member-leader with NAFSA, Marcia has served as the Florida Association of International Educators Treasurer, the Florida Association of International Educators Chair, Region VII representative to Academy II, Region VII coach for Academy IV, Region VII Florida State Representative, and Region VII Chair. She has also been a member of the following NAFSA Committees: SEVIS Policy and Practice Subcommittee, International Student Subcommittee, Regional Affairs Committee, and Leadership Development Committee. Marcia was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, teaching mathematics at the secondary school level. She has a Master of Arts in International Affairs, with a concentration in African Studies, from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Hope College in Holland, Michigan.