Student-Athlete Success Soars

USF’s inventive Anytime, Anywhere Learning initiative for student-athletes is named an Apple Distinguished Program.


By Kevin Burke

Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2013) — The University of South Florida’s inventive Anytime, Anywhere Learning initiative for student-athletes has been named an Apple Distinguished Program (ADP) for 2012-13, positioning USF as a national leader in educational technology within an athletics department.


The ADP designation is reserved for programs that meet exacting criteria for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence, and demonstrate Apple’s vision of exemplary learning environments.


Since 2009, USF has provided all of its student-athletes, both scholarship and walk-on, with access to a MacBook Pro 13-inch notebook computer, allowing them greater flexibility to connect to class, work on course assignments, view academic materials, and/or communicate with academic advisors and tutors at any time and from any location in the world with Internet availability.


In conjunction with the Anytime, Anywhere initiative, the university has added new lectures to its space on iTunes U, an area of the iTunes Store dedicated to educational material, and developed and integrated other technology tools in support of student success such as Classroom Capture.


In congratulating USF on its achievement, Apple executives applauded the university for providing a learning environment that supports the way today’s students live and how they want to learn, joining U.S. News & World Report and the Guide to Online Schools in recent praise of information technology advances on campus that seek to ensure all students are prepared for future success in work and life.


As both the world’s largest (by market capitalization) and most-admired corporation, according to Forbes magazine, Apple’s imprimatur of Anytime, Anywhere Learning is especially satisfying for USF President Judy Genshaft, who, together with Athletic Director Doug Woolard, traveled to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., in 2009 to help establish the 1-to-1 computer program and learning assistance partnership. The game-changing initiative was made possible by an allocation from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Academic Enhancement Fund, private funds raised through the Bulls Club annual auction, and a grant from the Verizon Foundation.


“The Apple brand is synonymous with quality, innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, and global impact — attributes that resonate particularly well at USF,” said Genshaft. “Earning Apple’s endorsement for Anytime, Anywhere Learning is further proof that our investments in student success and supporting technology, demonstrated elsewhere in the Library’s new Science, Math, and Research Technology (SMART) Lab and the Advanced Visualization Center, are the right priorities for the university as students and faculty increasingly use computers and mobile devices for education, information collection and exchange.”


Augmented by the efforts of Athletic Department administrators, coaches, trainers, and advisors, the Anytime, Anywhere Learning project has enabled the nearly 500 student-athletes competing for USF each year to raise their collective grade point average from 2.89 before the start of the program to 3.04 in 2012.


At the same time, USF’s composite score in the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate (APR) report — measuring how scholarship student-athletes are performing term by term throughout the school year — increased from 956 to 974 (out of a top score of 1000).


All told, five Bulls teams have posted perfect 1000 APR scores since the outset of Anytime, Anywhere Learning (men’s soccer, 2010-11; women’s volleyball, 2010-11; women’s tennis 2009-10 and 2010-11; and men’s golf, 2010-11). During the same span, 634 USF student-athletes were named to their respective BIG EAST Conference All-Academic Teams.


“Our aspiration has been to become a model program by every measure used to gauge Division I athletic excellence, including championships at the highest levels, as well as graduating student-athletes who are well prepared for post collegiate success,” said Woolard. “This Apple Distinguished Program recognition is an important landmark in our ongoing academic enrichment efforts, and we are immensely pleased and proud to be acknowledged for our work to extend the learning experience for student-athletes through the use of technology both in and out of the classroom.”


As an ADP honoree, USF has agreed to host program visits by other organizations interested in learning more about the success of Anytime, Anywhere Learning.


Kevin Burke can be reached at 813-974-0192.