Progress and research were the focus of USF President Judy Genshaft’s Spring Address on Wednesday, during which she highlighted some of the main ideas used to form USF’s new strategic plan and touted USF’s accomplishments as a Carnegie Foundation Tier One Research University.
A crowd of around 200 looked on as faculty senate President Michael Barber introduced Genshaft, praising her for the progress USF has made during her tenure.
Citing a growth of student enrollment of more than 7,000 students and an increase in research funding of around $140 million since July 2000, Barber called Genshaft a leader with “commitment, passion and energy.”
After thanking those present, Genshaft started her address by announcing that Gov. Charlie Crist had revealed his recommendation that the state budget include $20 million for “non-evasive” stem cell research.
This announcement and Crist’s plans to house the Tampa Bay branch of his governor’s office on USF’s St. Petersburg campus were made from USF’s College of Medicine on Wednesday.
Genshaft used the announcement as an opportunity to highlight USF St. Petersburg’s recent accreditation and the strength of USF’s satellite campuses in general.
“Unequivocally, the state of the University of South Florida is strong,” she said, mentioning USF’s Lakeland and Sarasota branches as examples of this strength.
Research, however, was the main focus of Genshaft’s address. She emphasized the accomplishments of specific faculty members and congratulated them for their advancements and fundraising abilities.
“The single largest research grant we received was more than $20 million from the National Institutes of Health, thanks to our colleague Dr. Jeffrey Krischer and his team,” she said. “Dr. Krischer was recognized by the journal The Scientist as one of the 20 highest federally funded researchers in the nation, one of the top 20 here at USF.”
After focusing on individual efforts, she extolled USF as a whole for its advancements in research.
“There are projects in every stage of development in every department on every USF campus,” she said.
Genshaft not only spoke about internal evidences of USF’s success, but cited a number of external studies, many of which rank USF among the upper echelons of higher education in the country.
She focused heavily on studies released by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, one of which places USF in its highest category of research universities, “very high research activity.” Only 95 universities in the nation made it into this category, and only three other Florida institutions are included. Another study released by the Carnegie Foundation included USF in its “community engagement” classification.
Though she spent much of the speech addressing the state of the University, Genshaft also touched on the beginning stages of USF’s Strategic Plan, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees later in the semester.
“Our goal is very simple, but very ambitious: We plan to meet the criteria formembership in the Association of American Universities,” Genshaft said.
“AAU is an association of 62 leading research universities in the United States and Canada. They’re distinguished by the breadth and quality of their research programs and graduate education. Membership is by invitation only.”