USF St. Pete expands for new students and staff

In order to accommodate continuous growth at USF St. Petersburg, the campus is expanding its faculty and leasing office space.

At least 51 new faculty members were hired, and the campus is leasing space in the Bayboro Station office building in downtown St. Petersburg to serve as temporary classrooms.

The new faculty includes 10 administrators, four deans and a number of professors in the departments of education, business and the arts and sciences, said Gary Olson, interim associate vice president of Academic Affairs at the St. Petersburg Campus.

“We have been able to recruit an impressive amount of first-rate faculty,” Olson said.

The new faculty will help accommodate the growing number of students at the USF St. Petersburg campus, which officials expect to grow from 4,000 to 10,000 in the next five years.

Olson said due to the increasing student enrollment, the campus has become strapped for space and needed the addition of new classrooms, as well as more faculty.

The university has leased the third floor of the Bayboro Station in order to relocate its College of Business. The new location will provide students with several new classrooms, computer labs and lounging areas.

Olson said the move will create more space for the education and arts and sciences departments. Now, each department will have its own building.

In addition to the Bayboro Station, the campus will also be opening its first research lab building. Olson said several scientists will be hired to teach environmental science and policy programs in the new lab.

Ronald Hill, the founding dean of the College of Business, said the addition of new faculty and space will allow the College of Business to add several new tracks to the MBA program that focus specifically on corporate social responsibility. The college will also focus more on global business and non-profit organizations and entrepreneurships, Hill said.

“We are going to develop programs that compliment the programs at the Tampa campus, but that also give us the opportunity to offer full degrees,” Hill said.

Hill said he also expects that the university will add more dynamic graduate and undergraduate programs that are multidisciplinary in nature.

The campus is also adding a quiet study area in response to requests made by Student Government, said Karen White, vice president and campus executive officer at USF St. Petersburg. The new area will be located near Coquina Hall and will have furniture for students to rest and study. White said an area for students to gather and socialize, complete with a TV set, will be located just around the corner.

“The new faculty and space should provide our USF (St. Petersburg) students with an extraordinary opportunity for learning and research,” White said.

As the USF St. Petersburg campus expands, it is also becoming semi-autonomous through state legislation. The campus will still be independent from USF, but USF St. Petersburg staff will perform all of the activities on the campus, Olson said.