Best Import Vision
Big Dog On Campus
A classic case of a young man who peaked too soon? Hardly. Stewart is Wardell's guide dog, a graduate of the Southeastern Guide Dogs Association, and they have been together since July 1999 when the Lions Club and Detroit Lions running back James Stewart donated the dog and got Wardell into the training program. Wardell, who lost her sight after a battle with cancer, now attends class, does motivational speaking, and makes appearances for the American Cancer Society with the 80-pound golden retriever-golden lab mix by her side. "Stewart's like an angel, and he's protected me from so many things like cars and people," Wardell says. Once, when she was attacked on campus, Stewart locked onto the assailant and didn't let go until security arrived.
But most days, Stewart spends his days trying to convince Wardell to turn left to go to the cafeteria instead of right to go to the next class or pay a visit to Natasha Mitchell, the disabled student coordinator, who keeps special treats for the big dog in her desk. SRR
Contact Mitchell at 386-755-1308.
Best New Colleges
Last June, St. Petersburg Junior College, the state’s oldest two-year institution founded in 1927, earned the right to offer baccalaureate degrees and is now known as St. Petersburg College. SPC still offers all of the two-year and certificate programs it did before but now will phase in bachelor’s programs in nursing, education, and some technology fields. “Through the addition of these badly needed four-year programs, we’ll be able to be more responsive than ever to student needs,” says Carl M. Kuttler, Jr., president.
SPC is the first of Florida’s 28 community colleges to switch to four-year status, with others chomping at the bit to follow.
In Lakeland, the state’s original public honors college, New College of the University of South Florida, dropped its ties to USF and now stands on its own two feet as “New College of Florida.”
“We have the same classrooms and faculty. Our brand of education—the tutorial-style instruction, design-your-own program--has remained,” says Steve Schroer, director of public affairs.
Administratively, however, there have been and continue to be sweeping changes, Schroer says. “We’re trying to be independent and unravel from USF. We have to create our own independent offices--for example, general counsel and our own business office. We will have a president and provost now. It’s a lot of hard work—we now have to apply for separate accreditation. It’s a long process that will be ruled on in June 2003. There’s also a presidential search going on.”
Schroer says New College’s sudden independence gives the school its identity back. Before New College will affiliated with USF, it nearly failed as a private college in the 1960s and 1970s. “We have a very different mission compared to USF, which is a major huge research university,” he says. “That’s not what we do. We can now tell our story without a dual or mixed message.”
New College, which currently enrolls 600 students, looks to bump that up to 800 over the next few years. “One of our disadvantages is that our departments can’t offer the full range of programs that larger schools can,” he says. “With another 20 faculty, that could change.”
“In terms of admissions, it’s the greatest thing to happen since we were voted ‘Best Buy’ by Money magazine,” says Joel Bauman, director of admissions. “Now, we have a much clearer, crisper profile. It’s easier to discuss the public honors college of the state of Florida rather than the complex administrative structure of being a branch of USF."
“Now people respond in a much more positive fashion,” Bauman says. “When you tell them that we’re a free-standing public honors college, they can relate to it. The message was muddled before—it was difficult to describe who we are and what we do when we were attached to USF. Now, you can focus on academic program and success of students without confusion around the name.”
Her thesis, entitled "Elders As Citizen Diplomats, Leaders For Social Change," gave voice to her desire to see elder people utilize the wisdom they have for the benefit of their fellow man and live life with purpose in the latter half of their life cycle. The octogenarian chose to get her Ph.D. because it "gave the opportunity to become a scholar instead of a dilettante, and to speak with authenticity and authority and knowledge."
Among her many adventures, Dr. Ross attended the Reagan-era Citizens Summit in Russia in 1986 and gained some fame when the international press dubbed her "Grandmother of the World." She also headed an anti-nuclear movement in Broward County. It seems unlikely she'll slow down as she nears her 83rd birthday since in April she's slated to speak in Madrid at the Second World Assembly on Aging, sponsored by the United Nations. "I like being on the cusp, on the edge of getting things started, making sure attention is paid to issues of importance to us," she says. "There's so much to do. It's just such an exciting world!" SRR
Contact the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nova Southeastern University at www.nova.edu/shss.
Best Nursing Assignment
The achievements the nurses have made through the program have been immediate and dramatic. One student doing a health assessment assignment saw lesions consistent with oral cancer and was able to refer the patient to a doctor where the condition was diagnosed. A prison nurse told her instructor that she does a more detailed medical history now because of her class assignments and found a testicular nodule in a patient because of them.
Being on-line has not affected teacher-student interaction, either. "We're using the same tried-and-true curriculum that we use on campus adapted to the distance format, " says Dr. Leigh Hart, assistant professor of nursing. "Between the on-line component, e-mail, and chat sessions, I spend just as much time, if not more, with my distance students as with my students on campus in the same course." SRR
Contact Dr. Hart at email@example.com.
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