Skip to Main Content

InsideJuly 2010

Inside this Issue

Around Campus

Wellness Center construction scheduled for January

Wellness-CenterConstruction on the first phase of a Student Wellness and Sports Education Center across UNF Drive from the Student Union is scheduled to begin in January 2011. The first phase, which will cost an estimated $20 million, including design, is expected to be completed in spring 2012.


Phase one will include an exercise room, mind-body studio, spinning studio, locker rooms, a 45-foot-tall climbing wall, 15,000-square-foot exercise equipment area, a 1/8-mile jogging track and the offices of the Campus Recreation and Health Promotions staffs. It will cover 65,593 square feet. When the second and final phase of what will be a $31 million facility is completed, the building will encompass 114,686 square feet and include two floors and a mezzanine level with an indoor track.


The Dottie Dorion Fitness Center will be demolished and rebuilt inside the Student Wellness and Sports Education Center. Becky Purser, director of Campus Recreation, said the University is still exploring options for a place to temporarily relocate the fitness equipment so UNF will continue to have a fitness center uninterrupted during construction.


Purser said she is looking forward to “having a facility that the students will really enjoy using and finally having enough space to accommodate all the students. I’m looking forward to students having a facility that they deserve.”


Zak Ovadia, director of Campus Planning, Design and Construction, said the Wellness Center would be another notable landmark for the campus, complementing the trend started across the street with the Student Union. 


“This is going to be a very exciting and elegant building that will meet the students’ needs for contemporary exercise and fitness facilities now and well into the future,” he said. “With this building designed to be sustainable and green, UNF continues delivering on its commitment to the stewardship of the environment, sustainability and maintaining the fabric of this unique campus.”


Once certified by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2012, the Wellness Center will become the eighth green building on campus since 2005. It will be built with energy-efficient, sustainable materials and offer lots of natural light.


Purser said the design somewhat mirrors the Student Union and reminds her in an abstract way of an Osprey and UNF’s Healthy Osprey Program. It will have lots of glass and a similar finish as the Student Union.


After years of being unable to secure funding to build a UNF Wellness Center, the Student Government, under the direction of former President John Barnes, approved a $2.94-per-credit-hour student fee to get the project underway. It’s similar to what a previous Student Government did to build the Student Union.


Jim Baur, manager of the Dottie Dorion Fitness Center, said the Wellness Center would render all of the big box gyms within a 10-mile radius of UNF extraneous for students. “The best fitness facility in northeast Florida will be right on campus.”


“In terms of appearance and construction, it could only be compared to new facilities at other universities,” Baur said. “It can’t be compared to facilities currently being renovated [at other universities] because additions are always an after-thought and the end product will seem choppy. Ours will be built from scratch with every detail planned ahead. Our architects and builders are the best in the industry. They have learned from other facilities’ mistakes.”


Everett Malcolm, associate vice president of Student Affairs, said the new facility will be practical and logical, meeting the demands for more fitness space. “It will provide virtually limitless, fitness access for students. Group fitness will have its own dedicated space, and plenty of it.”


The center staff will have the ability to schedule as many as three classes at a time. The fitness floor workout space will be three to four times larger than that in the Dorion Fitness Center, so students working out will have elbow room and will be able to stay on the treadmills and elliptical machines as long as they want and without having to sign up to reserve a space.


A construction start date for the second and final phase of the building will not be set until it the project is funded.

Around Campus

Power of Transformation gift benefits Coggin

Claudia Gorham, Logistics studentClaudia Gorham knows how to deliver all types of commodities in the global marketplace. She is one of the outstanding students in UNF’s Transportation and Logistics Flagship Program benefiting from a recent software donation teaching students how commodities get from point A to point B, anywhere in the world.


Manhattan Associates Inc., an Atlanta-based software development business, made the in-kind donation to the Logistics Information Technology Solutions Lab in the Coggin College of Business. The gift, part of The Power of Transformation campaign, makes the UNF lab one of the best equipped of its kind in the country.


Gorham is keenly aware of the advantages the high-power lab provides students. “It absolutely gives us a competitive advantage in getting jobs. It’s a resume builder because it demonstrates that we have a functional working knowledge of major industry software. This is an advantage few other universities can match,” she said.


An Israeli citizen who has lived in several South American countries, Gorham has already combined her background with her expertise to land an internship at PSS World Medical in Jacksonville. She is a global project specialist and works with the company’s global operations unit to develop new business and suppliers. Gorham obtained the internship during a Transportation and Logistics career day and is convinced the opportunity would not have been available without her lab experience.


The advantages of the lab have also been evident in national competition. Gorham and three other logistics students recently defeated teams from 14 universities across the country to win first place in a Denver supply chain competition. “One of the solutions we proposed in our recommendation involved using one of the technologies we are learning in the lab,” she said.


Gorham is one of the latest but certainly not the only UNF student whose life has been transformed by the UNF’s logistics program. In fact, the connection between UNF and Manhattan Associates started with UNF alum Keith Goldsmith who majored in transportation and logistics and graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Goldsmith is senior vice president of business development for CEVA Logistics, one of the world’s leading logistics companies. Goldsmith also serves on both the Coggin College of Business Advisory Council and the Transportation and Logistics Flagship Program Steering Committee.


Dr. Yemisi Bolumole, director of the Transportation and Logistics Flagship Program, said Goldsmith played an instrumental role in creating opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible. “His dedication to the Transportation and Logistics program and to Coggin College shows his strong commitment to his alma mater and to the transportation and logistics industry as a whole,” she said.


Goldsmith made the initial contact with Manhattan Associations, which ultimately agreed to donate 50 user licenses of its Warehouse Management Systems software for use in the logistics lab.


Goldsmith said CEVA and Manhattan Associates have a very close working relationship. “We simply wanted the next generation of supply chain leaders to be well-grounded in what is happening in the industry. We wanted to put some of these powerful software tools into the hands of the students themselves,” he said.


Dr. Robert Frankel, chair of the Department of Marketing and Logistics, said Manhattan Associates is the largest supplier of warehouse management solutions software in the world. Fewer than half a dozen universities in the nation have such similar software programs.  “Most university programs typically use customized academic simulations to teach,” he said. “Our program will be utilizing not just off-the-shelf teaching tools but the same programs that are used by business executives in the supply chain market.”


Frankel reiterated the experiences of students like Gorham and alums like Goldsmith illustrate the capabilities of the Transportation and Logistics program. “This donation is clearly another step in the direction of improved learning, professional development and recruitment by future employers.”


A bout in-kind contributions to The Power of Transformation Campaign


In-kind contributions to The Power of TransformationCampaign are continuing to benefit students. Whether talking about software donations for the Coggin College of Business, new X-ray equipment for Student Health Services or the recently completed J. B. Coxwell Amphitheater at the Student Union, in-kind contributions are playing a significant role in the campaign’s success.  To date, the $110 million campaign has raised more than $70 million in contributions, of which $5.3 million has been in-kind contributions.

Around Campus

Coggin College of Business gets new dean

Ajay SamantSoon there will be a new face in the Coggin College of Business. The Board of Trustees recently affirmed the appointment of Dr. Ajay Samant as the new Coggin College dean and tenure as a professor of Finance.


“I am looking forward to being a part of the UNF team. I know that UNF has students who are motivated, faculty and staff who are fully dedicated to the University mission, and leadership that is wise,” said Samant. “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of this fine University.”


He starts his new position on campus July 1. Faculty and staff will have the opportunity to meet the new dean at a reception in the early fall.


Students will also have the opportunity to personally get to know Samant. He will be living temporarily in Osprey Fountains until he is able to move his family to Jacksonville from Michigan. “To live among college students for a while is a great way to get to know the University from a student’s perspective and to have a better understanding of student needs,” he said.


Samant succeeds Dr. John McAllister, who served as the Coggin dean for five years. McAllister will take professional leave in the fall and return to the University as a professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance in spring 2011.


Samant has established an impressive record of academic accomplishment, including five years as chair of the Department of Finance and Commercial Law at Western Michigan University as well as two years as associate dean and then interim dean of the Haworth College of Business at WMU.


“Dr. Samant is an experienced academic leader and a scholar of distinction,” said Dr. Mark Workman, UNF’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “I have every confidence in his ability to advance the quality, reach and stature of the Coggin College of Business and look forward to working with him as well as the chairs, faculty and staff of the college to achieve these ends.”


Samant was awarded the rank of full professor at WMU in 2003 and, based on his distinguished scholarly achievement, was awarded the National City Endowed Chair in Finance at WMU in 2007.


He had several administrative accomplishments while at WMU, including the establishment of a Global Business Center, Center for Sustainable Business Practices and Entrepreneurship Center. He also raised $2.5 million for the establishment of a Career Services Center for the Haworth College of Business.


Samant has received numerous awards for teaching and research such as the 2002 Zang Professor of the Year by the Department of Finance and Commercial Law at WMU, the Emerald Literati Network Highly Commended Award in 2008 and the Citation of Excellence and Highest Quality Rating by the editorial advisory board of ANBAR, United Kingdom.


He has served as a visiting professor at Massey University and the University of Waikato, both in New Zealand, as well as an administrator and teacher in the Singapore WMU MBA program for nine years. He received his doctorate degree from Indiana University, earning both his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Bombay in India.


With more than 3,800 students, the Coggin College’s mission is to educate and develop business professionals through rigorous, relevant accredited degree programs offered by faculty devoted to student learning and engaged in scholarly activities.

Around Campus

Jaffee appointed Fulbright Scholar in China

David JaffeeDr. David Jaffee is packing his bags and getting ready for an incredible learning adventure, one that will take him across the world to Hong Kong on China’s south coast.


The professor of sociology and assistant vice president for Undergraduate Studies has been appointed a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor at the City University of Hong Kong for a 10-month term starting in August.


Jaffee will be working with faculty and administrators at City University of Hong Kong to develop general education courses, curriculum and teaching/learning strategies as well as programming for first-year students. He also plans on conducting research on Hong Kong’s port economy, the world’s second largest port, during his stay in the country.


He described his Fulbright teaching grant in Hong Kong as an honor. “This is a unique opportunity to work with faculty, administrators and students in a very different institutional environment to advance the cause of liberal arts education,” he said.


The Fulbright Hong Kong General Education Program is a major initiative in support of the development of broad-based general education in the liberal arts as Hong Kong’s universities prepare to introduce four-year undergraduate degree programs in 2012.


Jaffee is among a handful of American experts who will be collaborating with local Hong Kong faculty to design, develop and refine an interdisciplinary, student-centered curriculum, focusing on broad themes of Western and Asian civilizations.


He has been a faculty member at UNF since spring 2000, serving in a variety of capacities, including founding director for the Office of Faculty Enhancement/Center for Instructional and Research Technology as well as associate and acting dean for the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to coming to UNF, he was an associate professor of sociology at State University of New York at New Paltz.


Jaffee is currently involved in a research project on JAXPORT as a port economy and the implications of the port economy on labor market dynamics, organizational strategies, environmental conditions, logistics and supply chain management and regional economic development. Additionally, he is working on a book project applying organizational tensions identified in his book “Organization Theory: Tension and Change” to analyze current issues and trends in institutions of higher education.


He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Sociological Association; Southern Sociological Society; Association of American Colleges and Universities; Association for the Study of Higher Education; and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics.


Jaffee earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and his master’s degree in political science from Washington University-St. Louis. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida.


Get Golf Ready in Five Days

July-GolfFaculty and staff interested in learning to play golf can take advantage of a package deal being offered to UNF alumni by the Hayt Golf Learning Center. The Get Golf Ready in Five Days program is designed for would-be golfers with little or no experience.


Taught by PGA/LPGA professionals in a small-group environment, five 90-minute lessons will provide basic skills instructions as well as information about the game’s rules, etiquette and values at a cost of $99. Participants will gain insight into techniques regarding chipping, putting, full-swing, half-swing and bunker play, as well as fundamental guidelines regarding the use and maintenance of golf equipment, keeping score and navigating the course.


Two sessions begin in July. They are:

  • 6 p.m. Fridays, July 23 and 30; Aug. 6, 13 and 20
  • 4 p.m. Saturdays, July 24 and 31; Aug. 7, 14 and 21


For more information or to register, call the Hayt Golf Learning Center at ext. 2050.

Get to Know

Adam Shapiro

Adam Shapiro Department: Sociology & Anthropology

Job title: Professor of Sociology and Chair
Years at UNF: 13


What do you do at UNF? Describe your job duties.

I lead an interdisciplinary department of 16 faculty, teach courses in sociology (primarily aging, family and research methods) and conduct research on understanding how changes in family composition and process affect older persons’ ability to remain independent and healthy as they age.  


Tell us about your family.

I am married to my wife of 10 years, Jami Shapiro, who is a Realtor with Magnolia Properties. I have three beautiful and smart daughters: Gillian, age 9; Alexandra, age 7; and Adyson, age 2. 

What person had the greatest impact on your life?

My late father. He was a jazz pianist and professor. He loved his kids and loved to laugh.

Tell us something that would surprise people to know about you.

I used to tour around Texas in a small van and play honky-tonks with a country western band. 


What is the best thing you ever won?

I won “sexiest eyes” as a high school senior. 

What is your favorite way to blow an hour? 

Playing ice hockey


What are you most passionate about?

My children and my work.


If you could choose any other career, what would it be and why?

I would be a full-time musician and songwriter. I have been a part-time professional musician for nearly 20 years, having put myself through graduate school playing venues in and around Austin, Texas. 


What would you like to do when you retire?

Like most in my generation, retirement will likely mean continuing to work. I also hope to do more international travel, skiing, and I’d like to learn to cook.

What is your favorite thing about working at UNF?

The people. I truly enjoy working each and every day with wonderful faculty, students and staff. 


If you won the lottery, what would do with the money?

Since I don’t play the lottery, it would essentially be Monopoly money. In that case, I’d buy Main Street.


What is the proudest/happiest moment of your life?

My wedding day and the birth of my first child (tie)


What was the first concert you ever attended, and what was the most recent concert you attended?

First concert was probably Miles Davis at the Montreal Jazz Festival when I was 8. Most recent concert was Tito Puente, Jr. at the 2010 Jacksonville Jazz Festival.


What do you hope to accomplish that you have not done yet?

Finish my book; sit in with my favorite band, Tower of Power; travel to every country in the world. 


What’s the last book you read?

Alan Dershowitz’ “The Case for Israel”

Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff regalia Brooks College of Health

No submissions this month


Coggin College of Business

No submissions this month


College of Arts and Sciences

Art & Design: Dr. P. Scott Brown has been appointed to serve as editor of the SECAC Review beginning with the 2011 edition. The SECAC Review is the annual refereed journal of the Southeastern College Art Conference.


Nofa Dixon was invited to participate in the Arts Ventures 20 Year Retrospective, at the Cummer Gallery in Jacksonville.


Jenny Hager juried an exhibition, National Iron, at the Missoula Art Museum in Missoula, Mont. Hager also juried an exhibition, Ironstone, Castle Exhibition, at Kidwelly Castle in Kidwelly, Wales. 


English: Dr. Tiffany Beechy published an essay, "Bind and Loose: Aesthetics and the Word in Old English Law, Charm, and Riddle," in the collection On The Aesthetics of Beowulf and other Old English Poems, edited by John Hill (University of Toronto Press). She also delivered a paper, "In Tension?: Aesthetics and Text in Old English," at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Mich. 


Marcus Pactor’s short story, “Sharkey Dreams,” was published in Quiddity. 


Music: Dr. Nick Curry recently performed as a soloist live on WJCT public radio. He also performed with members of the Jacksonville Symphony as a part of “Music Paradigm with Roger Nierenberg.”  

Physics: Dr. James Garner gave a research talk at the University of Technology of Troyes (UTT), France, in May.


Sociology & Anthropology: Dr. Adam Shapiro published "Generational Jeopardy? Parental Marital Transitions and the Provision of Financial Transfers to Adult Children" in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences.


In April, Dr. Gordon F.M. Rakita presented a paper titled “Mortuary Rituals, Performance and Social Identity in the Post-Chacoan World of the Middle San Juan Region” in the Performance of Mortuary Ritual in the American Southwest symposium at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meetings in St. Louis. Rakita was also third author (with T.L. VanPool and C.S. VanPool) on a poster titled “Excavation of the 76 Draw Site, Luna County, New Mexico” at the same meetings.


Dr. David Jaffee presented a paper (with Adam Rowley, undergraduate student) titled “Hauling Containers: Port Drayage Drivers in the Logistics Supply Chain” at the annual meetings of the Southern Sociological Society in Atlanta.


Jennifer Spaulding-Givens, in collaboration with Steve J. Lewis and Jeffrey R. Lacasse, published “Mental Illness Beliefs Inventory: A Preliminary Validation of a Measure of the Level of Belief in the Medical Model of Mental Illness” in the journal Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry.


College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

Construction Management: Dr. Mag Malek and James Sorce along with 11 construction management students participated in a study-abroad trip to Montreal and Ottawa, Canada, in May. The students visited various historical and construction sites such as a metro tunnel project and a state-of-the-art educational facility project. The students engaged in discussions with architects, builders, project managers, safety managers and site superintendents at the various project sites.


Dean’s Office: Rebecca Johnson was recently recertified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). SPHR recertification criteria include time devoted to education, leadership and community involvement in the profession.


Distance Learning: Elaine Poppell video-recorded the Center for Global Health and Medical Diplomacy's 2010 Quality Forum, an all-day collaboration workshop held at the University Center. Poppell also recorded Dr. Jennifer Bryant’s chemistry lecture for hosting in Blackboard, which meant the 185 chemistry students did not miss a lecture while Bryant was off campus.  

College of Education and Human Services

Dean’s Office: Dr. Marsha Lupi represented the COEHS in May at Graduation Now, an Education Summit hosted by United Way of Northeast Florida and America’s Promise Alliance, a national dropout prevention initiative. More than 150 top CEOs and regional business leaders met to develop action plans at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront. The Summit provided a rare opportunity for top executives and their business teams to join with community partners and education officials to discuss and strategize the critical role they play in ensuring that the students in Jacksonville receive the mentoring and educational support they need to be successful now and in the future.

Leadership, Counseling & Instructional Technology: At the 25th Annual North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) Conference held at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa in June, Drs. Jennifer Jackson-Kane and Jason Lee co-presented with faculty from Texas Women’s University a session titled “Distance Education in Sport: Strategies for Designing and Managing the Virtual Classroom.”  Also at this conference, Dr. E. Newton Jackson, Jr. was a session co-presenter and served at the annual meeting as a member of the editorial review staff for the NASSM peer-reviewed journal, Sport Management Education Journal (SMEJ). Kane and Lee also participated in the Teaching and Learning Fair with a poster presentation on Community Based Transformational Learning.

In May, Dr. Marcia Lamkin presented “Workings of a Partnership Grant to Preparation Leaders for Underperforming Schools” at the Southern Regional Education Board’s Annual Leadership Forum: Working Together to Develop the Leaders Our Children Need in Atlanta, Georgia.  Also in May, Lamkin presented “Coaching Developmental Students Through Online or Blended Coursework” at the Intellectbase International Consortium Academic Conference in Nashville.

Dr. Katherine Kasten was named the 2010 Florida Times-Union Education EVE Award winner. The award was announced June 4 at a local luncheon. Kasten was recognized for her work in providing leadership to the Ed.D. program, providing direction to COEHS students, working collaboratively with the Florida Institute of Education to lead valuable community projects and providing quality service to the University of North Florida.  Go to to read the Times-Union article.

Good Question

Dogs not allowed without approval Q: From Timothy Cheney, assistant director of research programs for the Center for Community Initiatives -- Where can I find information on UNF’s policy concerning dogs on campus? Are dogs allowed? Are they not allowed? If not allowed, it is just in certain areas or is it the entire campus?

A: From Dan Endicott, director of Environmental Health and Safety -- Dogs (and other pets) are not allowed on any part of the UNF campus without prior approval. While it may seem harmless to allow pets on campus, their behavior can be unpredictable, and the University’s stand is to avoid any potential danger through this regulation. Service animals are permitted on campus. To review the entire policy, go to


Q: From Kathy Westberry, events planning associate in the Office of Admissions -- Will we ever install misters around campus to give some relief to our students and visitors during the heat of the summer?


A: From Chuck Hubbuch, assistant director of Physical Facilities -- The University has invested considerable resources in overhangs and other architectural methods of shading walkways, and in trees and other landscaping. By their shade and the natural evaporation of water from their leaves, trees can cool their surrounding areas by five degrees [Fahrenheit] on a hot and humid Florida day. Generally, misters are used in outdoor venues where people do not have many opportunities to enter air-conditioned space. However, mister installations bring several maintenance problems, such as algae on walkways. Also, many people prefer to avoid the water on their hair, make-up, clothing and shoes whenever possible. Certainly, misters would not help the University in its ongoing efforts to conserve water and electricity.


Employees who have UNF-related questions they would like to have answered in the next issue of Inside are encouraged to send them to  Submitted questions will be considered for publication in the "Good Question" column, which is designed to help inform the campus community about relevant issues. When submitting questions, please include your name, department and job title, which will be included if your question is selected. The submission deadline is the 15th of each month. For more information, contact Julie Williams at .


Balloons-celebration! Milestone Anniversaries

Congratulations to the following employees who will celebrate a milestone anniversary at UNF in July.


25 Years:

Janet Hartney, Program Assistant, Training & Services Institute


15 Years:

Stephen Shedd, Laboratory Manager, Chemistry


10 Years:

Pamela Bell, Director, Childcare Development and Research Center

Heather Burk, Community-Based Instruction Coordinator, Academic Affairs

Larry Daniel, Dean, College of Education & Human Services

Faye Parker, Program Assistant, Training & Services Institute

Mohini Rohatgi, Senior Library Services Associate, Carpenter Library

James Warnick, Senior Library Services Associate, Carpenter Library


Five Years:

Susan Boyette, Coordinator of Academic Support Services, Academic Center for Excellence

Maris Brien, Assistant Director of Foundation Scholarships, Institutional Advancement

Michelle Bronner, Director of Athletic Compliance, University Compliance

Annabel Brooks, Adjunct and Manager of Marketing Publications, Student Affairs

Sammy Cardoza, Accounting Associate, Intercollegiate Athletics

Bethany Dibble, Coordinator of Academic Support Services, Nursing

Joel Graham, Senior Library Services Associate, Carpenter Library

Daryel Gullett, Program Assistant, Teaching Gymnasium

Joy Magnon, Office Manager, Women's Center

John McAllister, Dean, Coggin College of Business

John McDonough, Associate Professor, Nurse Anesthesia

Sarah Mitchell, Accounts Payable Receiving Associate, Controller’s Office

Wanda Scarbrough, Program Assistant, Student Health Services



The following employees were either hired by UNF or accepted new positions at UNF from mid-May to mid-June:


David Cooper, Pest Control Technician, Physical Facilities

Katrina Lathrop, Laboratory Tech, Art and Design

Justin Lovins, Coordinator of Records and Registration, Enrollment Services

Karna Monger, Custodial Worker, Physical Facilities

Eliezer Perez, Custodial Worker, Physical Facilities

James Reid, Auto Equipment Mechanic, Physical Facilities

Robert Rihel, Maintenance Supervisor, University Housing

Donald Simmons, Custodial Worker, Physical Facilities

John Simms, Assistant Director, Student Government

Danielle Worth, Administrative Secretary, Small Business Development Center



Faculty or staff who have information they would like to share with the campus community in the Dateline section of the next issue of Inside are encouraged to send it to Julie Williams at Information that can be published includes employees' promotions, birth and wedding announcements, achievements, farewells, etc.  Photos also can be submitted. The submission deadline for Dateline is the 13th of each month.






The shark files

Jim GelsleichterShark-related injuries occur with regularity on Florida’s East Coast, but many injuries have been no more severe than a dog bite. Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, an assistant biology professor and manager of the UNF Shark Biology Program, discusses these toothy predators lurking in our First Coast waters.


What risk do Northeast Florida residents have from great white sharks?


First, while it’s clear that great white sharks are lurking off of our coast, it’s important to remember that these much maligned but poorly understood creatures are seasonal visitors, likely occurring in North Florida waters only during the winter and at considerable distances from the coast. So, the likelihood of a First Coast beachgoer encountering one of these animals is extremely low. This is clearly why there has never been a Florida shark attack attributed to a great white shark.


How about other shark species using Northeast Florida waters?


It’s true that we do share our beaches, bays and even portions of some rivers with a diverse array of other shark species, including blacktips, spinners, sandbars, blacknose sharks, scalloped hammerheads, bonnetheads, finetooth sharks, lemons and Atlantic sharpnose sharks. This impressive (and likely still incomplete) list of local shark species has been compiled by UNF’s Shark Biology Program from only one full year of research on the diversity and abundance of sharks that use the waters surrounding Jacksonville and St. Augustine. While many of the individual sharks captured in our survey have been small in size (less than 1.2 meters or 4 feet), the occasional capture of a greater than 2-meter or 7-foot shark in nearshore Jacksonville waters should be reason enough to remind local residents as well as visitors that it’s important to always exercise caution when using ocean waters. In fact, many of the shark-related injuries that occur in Florida waters can be attributed to smaller sharks that may mistake a leg or arm for a potential prey fish.


What is the relative risk of being wounded in a shark-related injury?


Only 47 of the 629 confirmed unprovoked shark attacks in Florida from 1882 to 2009 occurred in Nassau, Duval and St. Johns counties combined, two of which resulted in fatalities. While this may seem like a sizeable number, it pales in comparison to the greater than 300 shark-related injuries that occurred in Volusia and Brevard Counties combined during the same period and the considerable number of injuries that befall local beachgoers due to causes other than sharks such as swimming accidents, dehydration and other factors. Simply put, while Jacksonville is as sharky as most other locations in Florida, shark-related injuries are still uncommon events in our waters.


Why do we hear so much about sharks in the Florida news?


Whether it results in a wound no more severe than a dog bite or a heart-rending loss of life, Florida shark attacks will always attract considerable attention from the media and general public. However, without minimizing these events, it’s also critical to note that sharks have much to fear from us as well, illustrated in a number of recent press articles about large, pregnant sharks found dead on South Florida beaches as a result of recreational fishing mortality. In light of such events, it’s important to applaud recent, highly publicized efforts to promote conservation-oriented approaches for shark fishing such as the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge, in which recreational fishermen and shark researchers teamed up to conduct a solely catch-and-release shark fishing tournament in Southwest Florida. A good deal of the media attention devoted to sharks in Florida focuses on the scientific research conducted by what is likely the nation’s largest collection of scientists in a single state that are devoted to managing and conserving these fascinating and ecologically important animals.


Every month, the column “Ask UNF” runs in Inside and The Florida Times-Union, promoting the expertise of UNF faculty and staff. If you have questions about this topic, contact Dr. Gelsleichter at







The Goods

Grapes are a native fruit and a beneficial source of nutrients

Dr. Catherine ChristieLike other berries, grapes are highly nutritious and come in a variety of sizes, colors and tastes. Dr. Catherine Christie, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, gives the juicy details on this beneficial fruit.


Myth: Grapes are not native to North America.

Fact: Grapes are one of three fruits native to North America along with blueberries and cranberries. Grapes are also considered a berry, and California is the largest U.S. producer of grapes—both for wine and for eating fresh as fruit or dried as raisins. There are thousands of grape varieties divided into color categories of white or black (also called red).  


Myth: Grapes are high in sugar and low in nutrition.

Fact: One cup of grapes contains 110 calories and 25 grams of sugar or five teaspoons. However, along with that natural sugar, those grapes contain vitamin C, carotenes and small amounts of vitamin A as well as potassium, iron, copper, manganese, calcium and 1.5 grams of fiber. In addition, research has identified that grapes contain antioxidant pigments; anthocyanins in red grapes and catechins in white grapes. Regular consumption of these antioxidants has been associated with health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and cancers of the colon and prostate. 


Myth: Grapes should be stored at room temperature.

Fact: Grapes tend to spoil early and may ferment at room temperature, so they should always be stored in the refrigerator. Before eating, grapes should be washed to remove pesticide residues by rinsing for several minutes and then submerging the whole bunch under cold water for several minutes.


Myth: Most of the world’s production of grapes is used for fresh fruit.

Fact: The vast majority of the world’s grape production is used for making wine. The surface area dedicated to vineyards is increasing at a rate of approximately 2 percent per year. The top 10 grape producers in 2009 were Italy, China, United States, France, Spain, Turkey, Iran, Argentina, Chile and India.  


Myth: Seedless grapes are more nutritious than grapes with seeds.

Fact: Grape seeds contain anthocyanins, tannins, polyphenols and polyunsaturated fatty acids all of which may play a role in health promotion. Grape seed oil from crushed seeds also contains vitamin E, phytosterols and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linoleic acid, oleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. It’s primarily produced in France, Italy or Switzerland with a few producers in the United States. Most grape seed oils have a fairly bland taste and a high smoke point, which make them good oils for sautéing. 


Summer Grape and Chicken Salad

8 pieces of romaine lettuce

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/3 cup sliced almonds

20 red grapes, halved

¼ cup low fat mayonnaise

¼ cup fat free sour cream

2 tablespoons orange juice

½ teaspoon dill weed

¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

Place two pieces of romaine lettuce on each dinner plate.

Combine chopped chicken with chopped celery, almonds and grapes in a small bowl and add low fat mayonnaise, fat free sour cream, orange juice, dill weed and black pepper. Stir gently until well mixed.

Spoon mixture onto romaine lettuce and serve.

Serves 4. For more grape flavor, serve with a glass of white or red wine.


Nutrition Analysis per serving:

Calories: 311

Protein: 39 gm

Carbohydrate: 7 gm

Fat: 14 gm

Sat fat: 3 gm

Mono fat: 5 gm

Poly fat: 5 gm

Fiber: 1.5 gm

Sodium: 202 mg

If you have a question about grapes, contact Christie at . The Goods runs monthly in The Florida Times-Union Taste section. In each article a faculty member from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics discusses facts and myths about a particular food and includes a healthy recipe. The UNF Department of Nutrition and Dietetics is made up of eight full-time faculty and several adjunct instructors, with approximately 215 UNF undergraduate students and 30 graduate students. Areas of faculty research include obesity prevention and treatment, eating disorders, cultural food patterns, nutrition education in underserved populations, metabolic syndrome and HIV/AIDS.