Letters from Leadership

From Brett Kemker, PhD

Regional Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs and Student Success

The role of research is to question and create a proving ground for innovation. In my academic career, I have experienced institutions of higher education withstand and defeat attacks on value, massive budget cuts, hurricanes and now COVID-19. As a researcher, I understand the impact and toll this has on our mental health and well-being. I would submit that the research mission is extremely important in fortifying the academic community in which we all rely for cultural stability and well-being.  We have seized this opportunity for some meaningful professional development and personal growth. We are proud of how professionally unassuming we were as we launched into remote course delivery this past spring. Nothing bonds people together better than a shared mission. 


Research: USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus

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Photo of Brett Kempker

It is amazing how our lens has changed so abruptly to see the world in such an altruistic way. As researchers, we see this as such a galvanizing time to shape the academic culture on our campuses to the new normal: to maintain the health of our academic community, take advantage of this momentum to maintain a sense of community and help students stay the course in their academic endeavors.

Scientists and scholars around the world have realigned their research aims to address COVID-19 – not just in surveillance and prevention and vaccine, but also in the areas of improving education delivery and learning outcomes for students from K-12 to higher ed. Now is the time to develop ourselves with new technologies and new skillsets for research, knowledge dissemination and the empowerment of expanded communication modalities.

As academic leaders, we must embody the changes we encourage in those we serve. As researchers, we do not exaggerate the size of our problems. Rather, we believe in our ability to think critically to solve the issues at hand. With this powerful realization, be at peace. In this ever-changing world, you are in control of your passion for discovery, your attitude and your effort.

From Sandra Justice, CRA

Associate Director, USF Research and Innovation

Photo of Sandra JusticeEven before USF consolidation paved the way for increased collaboration across campuses, the Office of Research was established on the Sarasota-Manatee campus to extend the reach of the USF Office of Research and Innovation. Together, we work to strengthen and grow the USF research enterprise while providing experience and expertise dedicated to the campus. We connect collaborators to enhance productivity and competitiveness.  This includes working with community partners, university leaders and interdisciplinary teams to provide lynchpin support that is critically important for multi-year, multi-million dollar projects and infrastructure.

The Summer Grant Writing Workshops program is a cornerstone of our efforts which resulted in more than 200 participants earning their USF Certificate in Grant Writing. This eight-week professional development program hosted at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus provides grantsmanship training for faculty and student researchers at USF and our partners at Moffitt Cancer Center, the VA, BayCare and the Cross College Alliance.

University reputation is key in the current, highly competitive funding climate. This research magazine is a valued communication tool designed to raise the visibility of faculty expertise and support the vision, strategic direction and culture of creative scholarly research.

As you will see in the pages that follow, research is the response and catalyst for change. To learn more and stay connected, I invite you to visit the research magazine online and connect with us by email at research@usf.edu.