Students, faculty gain research space

One of USF’s largest departments at the Tampa campus is the Psychology Department. With more than 1,800 undergraduate majors and 250 graduate students, a new facility was needed to provide appropriate academic and research needs.

Monday, these needs were met when President Judy Genshaft, Provost David Stamps and other university leaders participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to dedicate the Psychology and Communication Sciences and Disorders building as the first interdisciplinary building at the Tampa campus.

The $25 million building, which is located near the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, will conduct research in studies such as neural science, communication, psychology and social work. The new 107,000 square foot building will provide students and faculty with about 35 laboratories for collaborative research.

“This building has features to enhance our work,” Genshaft said. “It also encourages our workers to develop their research.”

Emanuel Donchin, chairman for the Psychology Department, said the interdisciplinary building will get faculty involved with different studies across campus. Studies such as biology, communication sciences and social psychology are diverse but can work closely together, he said.

“The focus is on individual work in a group,” Donchin said. Arthur Guilford, chairman for the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, said the building includes about 10 to 15 research labs in the Psychology building and about 10 in the CSD building.

Guilford said each building is designed similarly with clinical facilities, teaching and research labs and offices.

Other plans include adding a playground behind the CSD building for children with communication disorders.

He said the faculty will be able to help these children by communicating with them on the playground because children learn language while playing.

Guilford said the building also has an auditorium that will be used mostly for classes, but anyone is able to reserve the auditorium through the university.

He said the building strengthens both departments’ affiliation with the Moffitt Center and other medical institutes on campus.

“This building is going to have a significant impact for both departments because it creates professional clinics that we never had professionally,” said Guilford.

Guilford said the building’s mission is to provide education to the department’s 1,800 majors in studies from basic neural science to social work.

Edward Levine, psychology professor and former chairman for the Psychology Department, said the campaign to start the building began in 1986. Faculty and graduate students of the Psychology Department made administration aware of the department’s need for a new building.

Levine said before the Psychology and CSD building was completed, the Psychology Department had to spread their laboratories throughout the Human Services building, Behavioral Sciences building and Social Sciences building.

Levine said the new building is nicer and provides laboratories that are more spacious for research.

“I am happy with the facility’s 21st century teaching technology,” Levine said. “It gives a bigger allocation for lab classes and to improve the science of psychology.”

Levine said the labs have been in full operation for medical school studies such as Alzheimer’s disease, fetal development issues, visual systems in the brain and the aging effects on hearing.

Levine said Stamps played an important part in moving the building forward to receive funding from the state.

Stamps said he was placed on the Public Education Capital Outlay list, which is a funding list for the state, last year when he was the dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. He said future buildings were listed in a priority order in which they would be built.Stamps said he was instrumental in moving the Psychology and CSD building near the top of the list.

“This is a wonderful building,” Stamps said. “With the strong Ph.D. program in psychology here, it helps the university as a whole move forward.”

Scott Husband, a doctoral student in the Psychology Department, said the new laboratory space for students and faculty allows research to be done “more efficiently and effectively.”

Husband said some research labs were difficult to do in the basement of the Social Science building.

“I have a good perspective on the good and the old building,” Husband said. “It will be more enjoyable to do our work here as we pursue our degrees.”

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