Interim Director Named for Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2008) – An interim director has been named for the University of South Florida’s Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean (ISLAC), USF Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering Carlos Alberto Smith. He is also Honorary Professor of Engineering at Universidad del Norte in Barranquilla, Colombia.

"In his role as professor of engineering in both universities, he has built strong ties between Latin America and USF," said Eric M. Eisenberg, interim dean of USF’s College of Arts and Sciences. "Dr. Smith is extremely student and community focused. In the weeks and months to come, he will be reaching out to students, faculty, and the community to reinforce our commitment to this area of study and to strengthen relationships among all stakeholders."

Smith started at USF in 1972 as an assistant professor of chemical engineering and became a full professor in 1983. He was chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering from 1988 to 1992. He also served as associate dean for academic affairs in the USF College of Engineering from 1999 to 2005. Smith holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida as well as a master’s and doctorate from Louisiana State University, all in chemical engineering. He has written two textbooks, one of which has appeared in editions in Spanish and Portuguese.

As part of his new role at USF, Smith will be part of the ISLAC Futures Committee whose members include Barbara Cruz, a professor of social science education in the USF College of Education whose research interests include global and multicultural perspectives in education and Scott Ickes, a professor in the Department of History who specializes in the study of modern Brazil, modern Latin America, race, class, gender and identity.

"Dr. Smith is charged with the responsibility of working with all stakeholders to develop a revised vision for the Institute as well as to draft a job description for the permanent director," Eisenberg said.


The Institute for the Study of Latin America and the Caribbean, is an academic unit offering graduate and undergraduate degree programs. ISLAC core and affiliate faculty across USF’s campuses have research and teaching expertise in Latin American and the Caribbean, Latinos in the U.S. and the Americas, in fields and disciplines such as anthropology, history, government and international affairs, sociology, political science, the humanities, world languages and literatures, education, economics, the arts, global and public health, and business.

Within the university and the community, ISLAC organizes and sponsors scholarly, artistic, cultural and outreach events that further the appreciation and study of Latin America and the Caribbean, Latinos in the U.S. and hemispheric relations.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The university offers 219 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 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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