Marking a Milestone


Anniversary celebration kick-off takes place Monday, March 29 at 2 p.m. in Marshall Student Center amphitheater




TAMPA, Fla. (March, 22, 2010) –Rocky Tyler is a U.S. Army Reserve colonel and a seasoned instructional technologist – a West Point graduate with a bachelor’s in engineering, a master’s from Yale in international relations, and Chinese language certification from the Defense Language Institute. He chose USF for his doctoral studies because the university’s interdisciplinary program in Second Language Acquisition and Instructional Technology offered a unique opportunity to integrate the diverse elements of his professional experience and to conduct research he hopes will improve how students learn foreign languages.


Attracted by the reputation of the faculty in the Department of Communication, known for its qualitative and ethnographic research in interpersonal and organizational communication, Chris Patti decided to leave his home state of California to pursue a doctorate in communication at USF. The work he has been doing as part of his studies – using innovative and therapeutic approaches to preserve the oral histories of local Holocaust survivors – has been life changing.


Chaitra Gopalappa chose USF’s doctoral program in industrial engineering because it offered an excellent opportunity to participate in interdisciplinary research in cancer engineering. She is currently collaborating with the university’s College of Medicine and the Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute to develop models for identifying specific proteins that can be used for early diagnosis of cancer.


The opportunity to work alongside world-renowned faculty doing innovative research and to participate in programs of study recognized as being among the nation’s best attracts students from across the nation and around the globe to USF. With nearly 10,000 students enrolled in master’s and doctoral programs at the university, the number of graduate students has been steadily growing each year, along with the number of programs that continue to make top 100 lists.


While USF’s first graduate studies program – a master’s in elementary education – was approved in 1964, 2010 marks 30 years since the formal establishment of the university’s Graduate School, which now offers 180 graduate, specialist and doctoral level programs and collaborates with the university’s Office of Research and Innovation in the pursuit of excellence in graduate education.


In celebration, the school has planned a number of events that will take place during the coming months including open houses, a lecture series, development of a Graduate Faculty Mentor Award, and a gala dinner.  The commemoration will kick off on Monday, March 29 at 2 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center amphitheater.


“The Graduate School serves as the hub of university leadership for graduate education,” said Karen Liller, dean of the Graduate School and associate vice president for research and innovation. “Our focus is to offer a broad range of programs in addition to research and teaching opportunities that enable students to put knowledge into action.”


According to USF Provost Ralph Wilcox, the need for and importance of graduate-level education is greater than ever. “Advanced studies are critical in today’s globally competitive economy that demands fresh ways of approaching challenges and new ways of doing things,” he said. “Only through research and graduate endeavors can that new knowledge be created which is essential to not only a vibrant economy but to the continuing advancement of society as a whole.”


Throughout its relatively brief history, USF graduate programs have continually been on the leading edge. USF was the first in the nation to offer a master’s program in aging studies and a Ph.D. in applied anthropology. That trend continues to this day with the creation earlier this year of one of the nation’s first Schools of Global Sustainability, an innovative effort aimed at preparing students for a new generation of “green collar” careers and for finding solutions for a world challenged with the protection of its fragile environment and limited resources. The school’s first degree program is a master’s degree in global sustainability.


In addition, several of USF’s graduate programs are among the top in the nation according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2010 America’s Best Graduate Schools report: eight in the top 50 (industrial and organizational psychology, public health, criminology, audiology, rehabilitation counseling, speech-language pathology, social work and library and information studies) and six others in the top 100 (education, clinical psychology, physical therapy, nursing, psychology and fine art).


“Many of USF’s graduate programs are among the nation’s best, unsurpassed in their ability to prepare students to become future global leaders,” said Liller.


USF’s new Office of Postdoctoral Affairs, for example, is a key player in contributing to that mission. “Our new Office of Postdoctoral Affairs ensures the success of postdoctoral students by providing them with an exemplary professional and personal development experience while at USF,” said Liller.


Meanwhile, another new program, the Interdisciplinary Student Research Challenge Grant, enables graduate students across colleges to work together in teams to conduct research in the university’s signature research areas.


“Clearly,” says Liller, “Graduate education is on a fast trajectory at USF.”



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.