Archive for the ‘Student Success’ Category


Get a Job!

Monday, February 6th, 2017 | Posted in Graduate Students, Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Get a Job!


USF excels in graduating students prepared for employment, with 62% of graduates beginning careers in STEM, education, healthcare, and other high-demand fields, yet there remain opportunities for growth. 

Students enter college with a wide range of backgrounds and expectations. Some have decided to attend college more recently and aren’t sure how to plan for their eventual careers whereas others seem to have known what they wanted to do since kindergarten. USF has tools and services in place to help all of these students graduate and find jobs.

The Get a Job! series of career planning workshops for students developed from the confluence of several simmering ideas within the USF Tampa Library and a desire, on the part of USF Career Services, to reach students in new ways and places. Career-focused programming within the USF Tampa Library compliments in-library academic advising and the offerings of the Academic Success Center, toward an aim of meeting a multitude of student needs under one roof. Many students consider the library their on-campus home base, so bringing services to them is a natural way to improve access.


Get a Job! Fall 2016 presenters: Britt Self (USF Libraries Digital Media Commons), Doug Meyn and Alicia Walker (USF Career Services), and Nora Wood (USF Libraries). The 2017 lineup adds Career Services veteran Lynn Chisholm.

“I think this series got to the heart of what students were looking for, relative to their job search, and partnering with the USF Libraries team was a great way to reach them.”

-Alicia Walker, Assistant Director of Career Planning at USF Career Services

The Fall 2016 Get a Job! workshop offerings included five sessions, on topics ranging from researching the perfect major and industry for yourself, to building a smart and standout resume, through acing the interview once you’ve got it.

Student feedback on the first series was overwhelmingly positive:

“I found the workshops extremely helpful in many aspects. I was lucky and have applied to two companies, both of which I was offered a position with last semester. I have already accepted a job at one company here in Tampa… I definitely think it is something that should continue in the future.”

-TJ Ross, Masters Student in Electrical Engineering


USF student Katherine Martin

“All of the information was really helpful. I went to a charter school and they didn’t give these practical job search tips. This is the first time I’ve learned how to craft my resume and take the next steps.”

-Katherine Martin, Biomedical Sciences major and aspiring Pediatrician

The expanded Spring 2017 workshop lineup adds a topic on internships and includes two additional evening sessions on two of the most popular topics for students whose schedules don’t permit them to attend the daytime sessions. With just the first workshop completed so far, registration for the spring series has already exceeded that of the entire Fall 2016 series. The Spring 2017 series will be recorded and posted online, dramatically expanding student reach.

“From freshmen to seniors, this series allowed students to better prepare themselves for their future careers by giving them the tools and the knowledge to craft better resumes, research companies and industries, and prepare for job interviews.”

-Assistant librarian for business, Nora Wood

How can you help grow this kind of far-reaching student support? Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 to discuss your contribution.


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Reorganizing For The Future: Digital Scholarship Services

Monday, August 15th, 2016 | Posted in Graduate Students, Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Reorganizing For The Future: Digital Scholarship Services


Dean of the USF Libraries Todd Chavez“The word ‘digital’ increasingly appears throughout higher education — digital humanities, digital science, digital collections, and so on.
The formation of the Digital Scholarship Services department under the leadership of Carol Ann Borchert embodies our commitment to actions that go well beyond the terminology. While the Digital Media Commons team focuses largely on undergraduate student success, this new unit will target faculty and graduate student needs. These complementary missions will ensure that the library is benefiting all audiences and needs.”
-Todd Chavez, Dean of the USF Libraries


The University of South Florida Libraries have long been pioneers in the digital realm. From open access scholarly publishing to digital special collections to oral histories, we’ve consistently been among the first to test and deploy innovative technologies in our quest to improve access to information. It’s no surprise, then, that the digital ethic would inform the evolution of services in multiple areas of the library.

Under the visionary leadership of Dean Todd Chavez, the USF Libraries recently concluded a year-long collaborative strategic planning exercise. Among the outcomes of closer alignment with USF system goals and improving the delivery of existing services, library faculty and staff identified in-house strengths which could be leveraged to greatly benefit USF students and faculty.

Carol Ann Borchert, Director of the Digital Scholarship Services unit

Director of Digital Scholarship Services Carol Ann Borchert

Out of this exercise, Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) was born. An existing digitization group had largely been charged with scanning, creating, and posting digital collections – primarily items from Special Collections. Another group within the Academic Resources unit focused on scholarly communications: an institutional repository for faculty publications, the publication of open access journals and textbooks, and the hosting of online conference proceedings – areas in which USF is a national leader. Both groups have focused on providing research materials in an open access format for researchers worldwide. Skill sets that had been siloed in two units are now combined for greater efficiency as well as seemingly limitless strategic synergy. As Carol Ann Borchert, the newly-appointed director of the DSS unit, puts it “USF has a universe of remarkable collections, and now they will be accessible without the need to come to our building in person to dig for them.”


“I’m excited about the new Digital Scholarship Services unit and honored by the opportunity to lead it as the new Director.  I look forward to working with faculty and researchers to build unique collections that will be available open access online.  These collections will support researchers worldwide, enhance educational opportunities, and showcase the work being done here at USF.”
-Carol Ann Borchert, Director, Digital Scholarship Services


USF’s potential to revolutionize digital scholarship is limitless. To support these efforts, consider making a gift to the USF Tampa Library. Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at 813-974-4433 to discuss your contribution.


A Seed Planted

Friday, October 9th, 2015 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on A Seed Planted

There is a common thread among students who have undertaken intensive research projects in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department. So moved are they by their experiences that they describe them as “transformative,” “life-changing,” and a “high point” of their academic career. Stacy Dolan talks about her recently completed year long research position working with the papers of Betty Castor in much the same way:

“It was one of the most indispensable things I’ve done in my whole life. It gave me the ability to work from my own strengths and plan my own path, on my own schedule and a with a really long time scale – and being self-directed in that entire pursuit.”

-Stacy Dolan, USF ’14

Stacy Dolan presents her research to a packed Grace Allen Room at the USF Tampa Library.

Stacy Dolan presents her research to a packed Grace Allen Room at the USF Tampa Library.

A 2014 USF Honors College graduate, Ms. Dolan came to the attention of the USF Libraries through a recommendation from Dr. Susan MacManus, Distinguished University Professor in USF’s Department of Government and International Affairs. In addition to having taught Stacy in several courses, Dr. MacManus was the chair of Stacy’s honors thesis committee and worked with Stacy while she was in a leadership role within the USF chapter of political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha. Of Stacy, she says:

“I was really impressed with the quality of her research skills, her writing, and interest in anything about women in politics — so it was a perfect fit.”

-Dr. Susan MacManus, USF Distinguished University Professor


Watch the video of Stacy’s research presentation here:


The Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative forms an important and growing part of the USF libraries Florida Studies Collections. A gift from Betty Castor, one of the collection’s notable donors, made possible a year-long intensive research project. Stacy Dolan chose to focus on Betty Castor’s efforts to ratify the ERA in Florida. She has a message for others who may be considering a gift to sponsor a research award:

“When you sponsor a project like this, you are changing someone’s life. Letting them prove they are the researcher they have been working toward becoming. Special Collections is a wonderful learning laboratory and this work bolsters USF in general. This transformative opportunity is not easily replaced with an internship or on the job experience. It is not something you can just go out into the world and find for yourself. “Its a seed planted.”


Stacy has begun work in legal writing and research job for a prominent local firm. She hopes to have her 96-page research paper published in 2016.



Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Looking for inspiration? Go no further than the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium. Produced by the Office for Undergraduate Research, this competitive annual event showcases some of USF’s brightest and most engaged students. Of the 400 research projects on exhibit this year, a handful were singled out for special recognition. The USF Tampa Library’s own Director of Library Services, Nancy Cunningham, is so inspired by this variety of undergraduate student that she created and funds an award honoring a student who has made especially astute use of the research literature while pursuing their Colloquium project.

This year, the Best Use of Research Literature Award was given to Eduardo Garcia, an Interdisciplinary Classical Civilizations major and pre-medicine major Ahmed Mohamed.

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed

Garcia’s project, The Naval Aspect of Sulla’s Campaign against the Poison King and Rome (mentor: William Murray), required intensive in-person, hands-on research in search of information on the little-known naval aspect of this period. Indicative of Mr. Garcia’s stated passion for Near Eastern history, his studies required him not only to work in ancient Greek and Latin, but to pore over a seemingly endless number of tomes in the USF Tampa Library’s reference holdings and in Special Collections. Of the USF Tampa Library, he says, “I could not have done it without the library… the resources and collections here – especially Special Collections – are so undervalued. To have so much compiled into one space is vital, especially for classics and history.” Mr. Garcia plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the field at Columbia University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduation this fall.

Ahmed Mohamed’s paper, Traditions of Thought on Biomedical Ethics in Subsaharan Africa (mentors: Anatoli Ignatov, Richard Pollenz), presents a review of recent field work in Uganda, Tanzania, and Benin and contrasts those nations’ more holistic approach to health care with typical models in the US. In the course of conducting his research, Mr. Mohamed availed himself of a great number of library resources: “My research would not have happened without the library – everything that I used was literature based and not always available locally. I used Interlibrary Loan and UBorrow to get the resources I needed.” Mr. Mohamed intends to pursue a career in neurology.

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

“Navigating the research literature to uncover new publications, draw out trends, and unearth unique perspectives is a challenge for even the most seasoned scholars.  This year’s award winners, Eduardo Garcia and Ahmed Mohamed proved themselves to have the critical thinking skills, tenacity, and technical savvy necessary to wade through the scholarship and deliver new insights on their topics.  The faculty mentors for both young men remarked on their high level of skill and passion for research.

Eduardo and Ahmed are true inspirations to me and my librarian colleagues — not to mention their fellow students.”
-Donor and USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham

There are a variety of ways to support these research awards. For example, a gift of $25,000 can endow a research award like this in perpetuity, in your or your family’s name. Become involved in recognizing and supporting students who are making the most of their educational opportunities: contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 .


USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership

As a pioneering woman leader, Betty Castor can tell stories that would make women entering the workforce today blanch. Not yet a state senator, in 1974 County Commissioner Castor was ejected from a lunch meeting with HUD officials and the yet-to-arrive Mayor Dick Greco at members-only business dining room the University Club. The reason? She was a woman. Castor handled the incident with extraordinary grace and composure and called her friends in the news media once she got to the hot dog cart down at street level. The incident made significant headlines, even drawing acclaimed journalist Calvin Trillin to Tampa to write about it .

Castor was not intimidated by the treatment she received. She went on to represent her district in, then become President Pro Tempore of, the Florida Senate; was elected the Florida Commissioner of Education; and was the first woman President of the University of South Florida, presiding over a period of great change and progress. This is to say nothing of her years enthusiastically teaching children in Uganda (and leading a group of girls to the summit of Kilimanjaro, without male accompaniment), raising a few of the next generation of respected legislators, and holding the presidency of the League of Women Voters.

Betty Castor reviews a list of prime sponsored bills in the Florida Sentate with project archivist Stacy Dolan

Betty Castor reviews a list of prime sponsored bills in the Florida Sentate with project curator Stacy Dolan

As part of the growing USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative, the documents, photos, videos, and other materials that illustrate Betty Castor’s career are just one of several collections in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department that tell the story of accomplished women leaders and the challenges they have overcome. This initiative brings together the personal papers, public office archives, and oral histories of Florida’s women leaders, including Tampa City Council Member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Jan Platt, Florida First Lady Mary Jane Martinez, and Tampa City Council Member Linda Saul Sena.

Betty Castor understood the centrality of the USF Library from the moment she became USF’s president in 1994. And today Castor sees the big-picture relevance. She says, ”It is the central resource for the University and represents the intellectual capacity of a place… I am particularly proud of Special Collections, because I’m intensely interested in the history of Florida and change in Florida, and they have stepped forward to make the Florida Studies Initiative a priority.”

An exceptional recent USF graduate has been chosen to work on the Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative: Stacy Dolan graduated Summa Cum Laude in Spring of 2014 with a major in political science and a minor in philosophy. Her honors college thesis focused on women’s and LGBT political activism, and she knows something about leadership, as a past president of College Democrats at USF. When asked why this project is important to her, she says, “We today see many women becoming increasingly aware of their place in politics, what it means to be a woman in politics, and what it means to be a woman outside of politics. This project is incredibly important because without understanding where we’ve come from, we will never understand how to move forward.”

Why has Castor chosen to give in support of the USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership project? Her gift comes at a moment in time when telling the history of Florida accurately, and illustrating women’s increasing role in public governance is pivotal. “Let’s not lose the opportunity to capture this recent past. Here we have an institution with the capacity to do it. I like the idea of organizing it through the library because you can connect to all of the other things happening. I hope that in my own personal stepping forward and trying to build some understanding of the role of women as they enter the public arena, we can provide an incentive for others to do so.”

Make history. Make a financial gift in support of the USF Libraries Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 .


Coleman Award Winners Announced for 2014

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 | Posted in Development News, Student Success by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Coleman Award Winners Announced for 2014

The winners of the 2014 Ruth and Frank Coleman Award for Excellence in Short Fiction were honored at a luncheon this week. Graduating psychology major Shea A. Keene won first place with her story, “Eighty-Seven Dollars and Sixty Cents.”  Freshman exercise science major Andrew Gaunt won second place with his piece “If I Had a Vagina.”

USF Professor and contest judge Joan Kaywell, Andrew's father Campbell Gaunt, 2nd place winner Andrew Gaunt, Jeanne Coleman, 1st place winner Shea A. Keene, Shea's guest, and contest judge and USF Professor Carolyn Ellis

USF Professor and contest judge Joan Kaywell, Andrew’s father Campbell Gaunt, 2nd place winner Andrew Gaunt, Jeanne Coleman, 1st place winner Shea A. Keene, Shane McNutt, and contest judge and USF Professor Carolyn Ellis

Here is what winner Shea A. Keene had to say about her motivation for writing the winning piece:

I initially wrote “Eighty-Seven Dollars and Sixty Cents” as a sophomore for a Fiction Technique class I took at Florida State University. The events in the story are based on my grandmother’s actual experiences working on a chicken farm as a young girl in the post-WWII years. She first told me this story when I was in high school, and her determination to rise above poverty, as well as her willingness to sacrifice for family, profoundly impacted me. I have always respected my grandmother and looked to her as a strong female role model, and writing this story allowed me to perfectly encapsulate her strength of spirit and perseverance.

Ruth Coleman’s daughter Jeanne writes, of her participation in the award:

I shared lunch with the two award winners, senior Shea Keene (“Eighty-Seven Dollars and Sixty Cents”) and 
freshman Andrew Gaunt. (“If I Had a Vagina”). What amazing people ! 

I have represented my mother at the awards luncheon for the past 3 years. After my mother’s death in 2012, I have had the privilege of being one of the judges of the stories submitted for consideration and meet the winners. The Ruth 
Coleman Short Story Award allows me to spread my mother’s message that writing, reading, studying, learning, and encouraging young people to test themselves are essential to personal fulfillment. I hear her voice in my mind and I 
try my best to listen and follow her advice. 

Thank you Shea and Andrew for sharing time with me yesterday. Thank you Carolyn Ellis and Joan Kaywell for your enthusiasm and commitment to excellence in writing, and thank you Bill Garrison, Merrell Dickey, Beverly Marks, and all the many others at the USF Library library staff for making the Ruth Coleman Short Story Award happen.

Ruth Coleman, who loved writing and scholarship and for whom the award is named

Ruth Coleman, who loved writing and scholarship and for whom the award is named

The Coleman award was created by a generous gift from the late Ruth Coleman, who had a passion for writing, literature, and the USF Libraries. This year’s entries were judged by her daughter, Tampa attorney and library donor Jeanne Coleman, and USF professors Joan Kaywell and Carolyn Ellis. Special Collections librarian Melanie Griffin serves as the library’s faculty liaison for this award. Melanie curates the Children’s and Young Adult Literature collections, for which the late Ruth Coleman began an endowment. The library endowment and collections continue to grow. To be a part of this initiative, contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 .





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