Petersen to Launch USF World

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 3, 2009) – The University of South Florida system has asked its dean of public health to lead and mobilize the university's strategic initiatives in global affairs.  After extensive study by a faculty task force, USF President Judy Genshaft, has appointed Donna Petersen as the interim executive director of USF World and of the Patel Center for Global Solutions. Petersen is dean of the USF College of Public Health and will launch the new role. She will make recommendations for a permanent position.


"Today's university is a global university," Genshaft said. "Every goal in USF's strategic plan includes global engagement, and what faculty told us is we need to mobilize, organize and advance opportunities for education and research on an international scale.


"I'm deeply pleased that Donna Petersen has agreed to launch the USF World initiative. Her experience in public health gives her a critical perspective for international education, research and service."


The interim executive director of USF World and the Patel Center for Global Solutions is charged with the responsibility of exhaustively assessing the opportunities and the existing assets for internationalizing the University of South Florida and from that assessment, devising and recommending the necessary infrastructure, systems, policies and procedures to support the university's strategic plan around global initiatives.


"It's impressive how many people at USF want to be part of a global university," Petersen said. "I'll work with USF's faculty, deans and chairs to create the most efficient and effective structure for present and future global initiatives. We'll put together a communication plan, a rigorous risk management system, and begin the process of carrying out the recommendations of the USF World Task Force."


USF World is an umbrella initiative that captures USF's strategic efforts to provide opportunities for USF students to study abroad, for international students to come here, for faculty to do research and create sustainable projects around the world, and to bring ideas of globalization into the classrooms and laboratories of the university.


Petersen also will direct the Patel Center for Global Solutions, a unique center aimed at applying knowledge to solve problems around the globe. It was launched with gifts from Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, and recently broke ground on a building near the front of USF's Tampa campus.  Petersen will remain dean of the College of Public Health.


The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $360 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2007/2008. The university offers 224 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 46,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.