USF World News

University of East London and University of South Florida Forge Global Partnership

University of South Florida, University of East London, and Tampa Bay business people pose for a picture at the Academia Meets Practice conference - four older caucasian gentleman flank a middle-aged caucasian women in business professional dress

Representatives from USF, UEL, and the Tampa Bay business community pose following the AMP (Academia Meets Practice) conference held on May 7, 2024. Pictured from left to right are John Fodor (Ret. University of Connecticut), Sammy Tuffaha (Vivat Group), Paul Marshall (University of East London), Rosa Shores (BlockSpaces), Michael Wiemer (University of South Florida).

TAMPA, FL (May 7, 2024) -- USF and the University of East London (UEL) are pleased to announce a new formal collaboration between the two institutions that will foster innovation, enhance student opportunities, and drive impactful research. After 2 years of working together, USF’s Kiki Caruson, Vice President of USF World and UEL’s Professor Paul Marshall, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Careers and Enterprise will formalize the agreement where the two institutions pledge to work together in four key areas: financial technology (fintech), sustainability, business/psychology, and global student mobility, which aims to foster a seamless transition for students seeking to further their education internationally by offering USF graduates an automatic 15% scholarship on tuition fees for UEL postgraduate programs.

Fintech refers to technology that supports the financial industry, e.g. paying for things with your phone, as well as bitcoin technologies. Dr. Iwa Salami, Reader in Financial Law and Director of the UEL Centre of FinTech says, “We are excited by the opportunities to be leveraged by UEL and USF partnering through the provision of shared programs, courses and collaboration in research around FinTech. We believe this partnership will create a rich global experience for FinTech students and researchers at both universities and we look forward to other forms of collaboration that would result from this partnership.” 

The two universities both have FinTech centers that will now co-develop curricula, with plans for shared teaching modules and other FinTech focused programming. According to Michael D. Wiemer, Inaugural Director of the Fintech Center in the USF Muma College of Business, “Fintech is an expansive, rapidly emerging space that interconnects the global academic and business practice domains. Our partnership with UEL presents a high-potential foundation to collaborate and co-create in ways that synergistically contribute to an outsized positive impact for our FinTech students, faculty, and ecosystem of partnerships with the business community.” A joint research symposium on FinTech is also planned for October/November 2024. Revenues in the fintech industry are expected to grow three times the rate of the banking industry. It is projected to become a 1.5 trillion-dollar industry by 2030. 

Meanwhile, UEL's Sustainability Research Institute (SRI) and USF's Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) will collaborate on the second area of cooperation. This partnership will support the development of a Virtual Global Exchange (VGE) program focusing on Social Sustainability, Resource Use and Waste Management, the Future of Food, and Food Forest Development. They have a symposium planned in October 2024, aligning with UEL's Year of Science focus. The symposium will highlights applied sustainability projects that students and faculty at each institution are working on respectively and collaboratively. Robert de Jong is Director of UEL’s Royal Docks Centre for Sustainability. “The partnership with USF allows us to actively build global capacity, impact, and knowledge, for a transition to a more sustainable future/planet” he said. 

Joseph Dorsey, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Director of the Food Sustainability and Security concentration at the Patel College of Global Sustainability stated, “This emerging collaboration with UEL looks promising and may give PCGS some leverage for expanding curriculum, research, and grant opportunities through a strong international partnership and an innovative academic alliance.”

Finally, faculty from USF’s Muma College of Business and UEL will collaborate on the development and delivery of the Mental Wealth program providing students with soft skills, such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence and resilience, alongside practical skills, such as digital proficiency and industry connections to prepare them for the workforce of the future. Dr. Sophia Bokhari, UEL’s Interim Dean of School of Psychological Sciences said the School of Psychology is eager to build stronger, more meaningful transatlantic relations through collaboration with USF. “We aim to share knowledge, exchange best practices, partner on research informed content and introduce groups of students to each other from very different walks of life. We are pushing boundaries and breaking down barriers created through traditional lecture theatres. It is very inspiring to be part of something so progressive." Dr. Russell Clayton, Associate Professor of Instruction in the Muma College of Business, and co-lead of the Virtual Global Exchange CITL Faculty Learning Community, also says “There are many benefits to USF and UEL students through this relationship. Students collaborating through discussion on workplace wellbeing will provide the opportunity for them to compare and contrast perspectives on work in the U.K. and U.S.”

image of a modernistic white Docklands campus building of the University of East London in England

University of East London's (UEL) Docklands Campus

“UEL is an amazing institution” said Professor Paul Marshall, UEL’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Careers & Enterprise. “It’s located in the docklands so right in the financial heart of the city. There’s a lot of similarity between USF and UEL. Both share a strong commitment to collaborate to contribute to the economic vitality of their local regions and have strong ties to the local community. UEL has about twenty thousand students, around eight thousand of whom were born and/or grew up within 5 to 10 miles of the university. “This is also about providing opportunity for them,” he said. 

Dr. Caruson said that a key strategic goal of the University of South Florida in these partnerships is to serve as an engine for social and economic growth both at home and abroad. “Our partnership with UEL gives us the opportunity to work with a like-minded institution to bring new opportunities to our students and faculty in key areas where both universities have invested resources” said Dr. Caruson. “Together we can do great things.”