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Format: 2014-04-21
Format: 2014-04-21
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What started as a fight over a new university in Polk County has blossomed into a battle over budget cuts to the University of South Florida. On this Florida Matters, we delve into the origin of the fight, and talk about how it may be resolved. Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander was once one of USF's biggest supporters. That's important, because Alexander has the power to direct millions of dollars toward USF...or, as we found out recently, to take it away. “I have lost confidence in USF's leadership of that issue,” he said recently. That issue is the creation of what would be Florida's 12th university -- Florida Polytechnic -- in Alexander's home county, Polk County. Alexander has said USF officials have dragged their feet on helping what is now a USF branch campus gain its independence. This comes as Alexander's budget committee proposed budget cuts that USF said equal 58 percent of their state appropriation -- more than any other university. USF President Jusy Genshaft immediately called the Tampa Bay Community to action: “What is key is, we can change this. It is not a done deal,” she said at a community meeting after the proposed Senate budget was announced. Since then, Senate leaders have backed off some of those proposed cuts, but Dr. Genshaft says more work needs to be done to make sure USF is treated fairly in this year's budget. Dr. Genshaft spoke recently with WUSF news director Scott Finn about how we got here, and her plan for steering USF through it. Of course, Senator JD Alexander has a different take on the dispute over USF Polytechnic and the USF budget fight. Alexander's dream is to create what's called a polytechnic university on land along I-4 outside Lakeland, with a focus on STEM degrees -- science, technology, engineering and math. At first, Alexander was a big supporter of having the new Polytechnic university remain as part of USF, under the UC model. But just three years later, Alexander was saying this at a Board of Governors meeting, where he asked for immediate independence for Polytechnic. “All I can tell you is it has been tortuous...impossible to get the program arrays, to hire the faculty, to recruit the students,” he said. Alexander elaborated on the USF Poly split and the proposed cuts to USF recently with a group of reporters at the state Capitol. Other universities are being cut as well, but USF officials say the Senate's version of the budget disproportionately affects them. It's led to a movement of community leaders and students to try and reverse the cuts -- or at least make them more in-line with other universities. USF Student Body President Matthew Diaz led a group of student to Tallahassee recently and spoke to the Senate Budget Committee -- where he received a lecture from Senate Higher Education Appropriations Chairwoman Evelyn Lynn. Diaz talked with Florida Matters about his experience in fighting proposed budget cuts to USF. We've also been hearing from you on WUSF's Facebook page. John Hayes says, "(Senator) Alexander is acting like an elementary school bully, trying to use his position to "get even" with President Genshaft. Her opposition to his desire to make USF Polytechnic become its own, independent school, is no reason to decimate USF's budget." Let us know what you think -- go to Facebook.com/WUSF and hit the like button. There's also lots more about the USF budget battle, including the most recent updates, on our website, WUSF.org.
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USF Society of Professional Engineers, led by President Simon Restrepo (front left)
A degree in engineering not only takes a lot of time and effort, but it also takes a lot of cash—the kind of funds that not many young people have, particularly in this tough economy. But some generous donors are making a difference for over a hundred USF Engineering students, and they met face to face recently. University Beat on WUSF TV takes you to that meeting and introduces you to one such lucky scholarship recipient.

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High school students get a biology lesson at USF's Darwin Days
The Scopes Monkey trial was over 85 years ago, but the argument over teaching the theory of evolution still continues today. As legislators in states like Florida try to bring alternative theories into the classroom, biology teachers from elementary schools through the university level struggle with how to deal with such a controversial topic. This week’s University Beat on WUSF 89.7 FM takes you to USF’s recent Darwin Days, where some of these teachers and students had a chance to hear from one of the country’s most renowned science educators.
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Engineering Scholarships
USF College of Engineering scholarship website

USF Racing website

University Beat report on Marshall Scholar, Jean Weatherwax

Darwin Days
USF Humanities Institute website

National Center for Science Education website

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Dr. John Wiencek, Dean of the USF College of Engineering, talks about why these scholarships are so important to both students and the donors behind them.

Robert Garcia, Vice President for Tampa Bay Trane and a graduate of the USF College of Engineering, explains why he supports his alma mater and what he thinks about its students.

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Dr. Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education talks with University Beat’s Mark Schreiner about the idea of teaching both evolution and a ‘competing’ theory, like intelligent design, in a science classroom.

Dr. Elizabeth Bird, Director of the USF Humanities Institute, and Dr. Eugenie Scott share their thoughts on if this debate will ever come to an end, as well as why it’s important for USF to hold an event like “Darwin Days.”

USF Health CAMLS Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Armstrong in the only hybrid operating room solely for training in the world USF Health CAMLS Prepares for Launch
TAMPA (2012-2-16)
Length: (0:53)

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Florida lawmakers have shot down a bill that would have privatized prisons in the southern half of the state. But several prisons may be still be closed because there are more than 10,000 empty prison beds statewide. One of those is Hillsborough Correctional Institution – a woman’s prison on the “hit” list. Backers of keeping the faith-and character-based prison open the state made a huge error because it did not consider the recidivism rate of prisoners. That could cost the state more money as inmates get out, commit new crimes and end up back behind bars.
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Senate Calls Off Prison Privatization
TAMPA (2012-2-15)
Length: (2:49)

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USF Society of Professional Engineers, led by President Simon Restrepo (front left)
A degree in engineering not only takes a lot of time and effort, but it also takes a lot of cash—the kind of funds that not many young people have, particularly in this tough economy. But some generous donors are making a difference for over a hundred USF Engineering students, and they met face to face recently. University Beat on WUSF TV takes you to that meeting and introduces you to one such lucky scholarship recipient.

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Poster for USF College of Engineering Heart of Gold ceremony (courtesy USF College of Engineering)
With today’s one-two punch of a stagnant economy and increasing tuition costs, college scholarships are more important than ever. This week’s University Beat on WUSF 89.7 looks at how corporate and individual gifts are helping USF Engineering students afford their education.
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USF College of Engineering scholarship website

USF Racing website

University Beat report on Marshall Scholar, Jean Weatherwax

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Dr. John Wiencek, Dean of the USF College of Engineering, talks about why these scholarships are so important to both students and the donors behind them.

Robert Garcia, Vice President for Tampa Bay Trane and a graduate of the USF College of Engineering, explains why he supports his alma mater and what he thinks about its students.

Wildlife Expedition Sees Danger, Signs of Recovery for Panther
CALOOSAHACHEE RIVER (2012-2-12)
Length: (4:43)

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Three Tuskegee Airmen Share Their Stories
POLK CITY (2012-2-9)
Length: (0:52)

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In Florida, the unemployment rate among veterans, especially among the National Guard and Reservists, hovers above the national civilian average. This week on Florida Matters, we look at the hurdles veterans face when looking for work as well as initiatives aimed at encouraging employers to hire veterans. Resources for Veterans looking for work: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes, program has onsite job fairs including a Tampa Hiring Our Heroes event scheduled February 23rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bayanihan Arts and Events Center, Tampa. Employ Florida Veterans is an online portal promoted by Gov. Rick Scott in late January. Hero 2 Hired, the Military Spouse Job Board and the Department of Labor Gold Card program are among the links available on the White House Veterans page. Joining Forces - - includes a national resource directory of employers looking to hire veterans, a military spouse board among other links. Veteran Employment - a collaborative website between veterans and Monster.com. G.I. Jobs - a guide to "post-military" success with tips on resumes, interviewing and dressing for success. Florida National Guard Career Connections - information on job fairs, job banks and job searches of Florida government positions. Florida One-Stop Career Centers - links and addresses to centers statewide. Veterans Gold Card - employment opportunities for post 9/11 era veterans. Resources for Employers looking to hire veterans: ESGR Employer Resource Guide Employer Sample HR Policy Florida Employer Resources - tips on recruiting qualified candidates.
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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Hiring Our Heroes, program has onsite job fairs including a Tampa Hiring Our Heroes event scheduled February 23rd from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bayanihan Arts and Events Center, Tampa.

Employ Florida Veterans is an online portal promoted by Gov. Rick Scott in late January.

Hero 2 Hired, the Military Spouse Job Board and the Department of Labor Gold Card program are among the links available on the White House Veterans page.

Military.com Tools to help Veterans find jobs:

Veteran Job Postings

Military Skills Translator

Veteran Career Network

Veteran Job Fair Calendar

Military-to-Civilian Resume Writing

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Mark Dion's installation, "The South Florida Wildlife Rescue Unit: The Uniforms"
An exhibit that examines what we think about nature versus what we know is now on display at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum. University Beat on WUSF TV takes us to “Mark Dion: Troubleshooting,” which takes the tools of a natural history museum and turns them into a thought-provoking exhibit.

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Mark Dion's installation, "The South Florida Wildlife Rescue Unit: Mobile Laboratory"
From a wildlife rescue van to a display featuring stuffed cats, rats, raccoons and possums, Mark Dion’s work is decidedly unlike anything else you’ll see in an art museum. This week’s University Beat on WUSF 89.7 shows how Dion’s ongoing exhibition at USF may change how you look at both nature and art.
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Natural Art Exhibit
USF Contemporary Art Museum
813-974-2849 website

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Graphic artist Mark Dion explains what the exhibit’s title, “Troubleshooting,” means; how natural history museums inspire his work; what some of the unusual objects he uses mean; and who should visit his exhibition.

USF Contemporary Art Museum curator Jane Simon talks about some of the upcoming events associated with Dion’s exhibition.

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