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InsideSeptember 2015


7 years running: UNF named ‘Best in the Southeast' by Princeton Review

A student working with a professor in a labFor the seventh consecutive year, the University of North Florida is one of the best colleges in the Southeast, according to The Princeton Review.


The nationally known education services company recommends UNF in its “Best in the Southeast” list for 2016. Only 140 colleges and universities in 12 Southeastern states made the “Best in the Southeast” list for 2016.


“I am delighted that UNF is being recognized as an all-around outstanding academic institution within the Southeast by The Princeton Review,” said UNF President John A. Delaney. “This prestigious recognition affirms the tremendous on-going effort UNF has put forth to build one of the finest universities in the state.”


The Princeton Review editors made their selections based on data the company collected from its survey of administrators at several hundred colleges in each region, as well as staff visits to schools over the years, and opinions of college counselors and advisors which the company solicits.


For this project, The Princeton Review also asks current students to rate their own schools on several issues - everything from the accessibility of their professors to the quality of their science lab facilities - and answer questions about themselves, their fellow students and their campus life.


Students at the University say, “There is no typical student at UNF.” Filled with “friendly” people, UNF possesses “all the aspects of a huge state college with a much more laid back feel.” Professors were praised for their accessibility, with students reporting that they've “never had a situation where a professor was unavailable.” Students also say at UNF, “you're not a number, you're a person.”


More information about the study is available online, as well as UNF's other recent rankings.

Around Campus

TLO showcase: Study abroad in Strasbourg

Shira Schwam Baird (bottom right) poses with students during a study-abroad trip to France One of the highlights of a University of North Florida education is the truly transformational learning environment offered to students. UNF scholars travel abroad at far greater rates than the national average, they spend more time in undergraduate research settings than they could at most other institutions and they're able to interact with faculty members on a one-on-one basis thanks to the University's commitment to keeping class sizes small.


President John A. Delaney formalized these core facets of the UNF educational experience by introducing the Transformational Learning Opportunities (TLO) program 10 years ago. Students and faculty who embark on engaging educational opportunities have been able to apply for TLO grants to sponsor their unique learning experiences. For the next year, we'll be spotlighting some of the most dynamic TLOs in UNF history in the TLO Showcase every month in UNF Inside. Read on to learn more about how UNF has helped broaden and deepen students' intellectual and world views while transforming the typical college experience.


There's no substitute for immersion. That's a core belief of UNF French professor Shira Schwam-Baird. Since 1999, she has taken nearly 140 UNF students to Strasbourg, France for four-to-five weeks of intensive language and culture study. Students learn French at the Strasbourg CIEL language school, where native speakers teach the class entirely in French. They also live with French families so their immersion experience continues outside the classroom. Their experience is rounded out with tours into the French countryside and a weekend in Paris - experiences that comprise a culturally diverse glimpse into French society.  


“This is one of the longest-standing study abroad experiences at UNF,” Schwam-Baird said. “I've taken 17 different groups to France, and it's become a real highlight for me every year. I offered this study abroad long before the TLO program was introduced, but now that we have TLOs, the University has helped defray much of the cost for students who want to travel to France and enhance their language skills.”


Laura Shivers first attended college in the ‘70s and regretted never having studied abroad. She made up for that in the summer of 2013 when she joined Schwam-Baird's class in France as a non-traditional student. She said the daily three-hour courses in Strasbourg breezed by because of the in-class dynamic between visiting students from other countries. Despite the different backgrounds of the foreign students who had traveled to the institution in northeastern France, they all found common ground - and a common language - by conversing in French. Shivers also fondly remembers her French host, a retired Geology professor who sponsored her and another student from Japan. They all connected during her stay, making her departure unexpectedly difficult.


“I cried when we all said good-bye!” Shivers said. “You can share a lot of experiences together in five weeks.”


She said the trip enhanced her language aptitude greatly by having her live like an everyday resident of France.


“You can read books, articles and take lectures, but until you plunge in and actually live the French life, you can't truly comprehend everything,” Shivers said. 


Victoria Hayes, a student from the most recent TLO cohort, agrees with Shivers' assessment. A French major, Shivers said she felt that having real, constant immersion was integral to her understanding of the language. This wasn't her first time in France, but it was her most helpful and eye-opening. Much of that could be tied back to the matriarch of Hayes' host family. She was the director of the school the UNF students attended in Strasbourg, and she spoke English sparingly, forcing Hayes to concentrate and assimilate the French language at an even faster rate.


The trip, however, wasn't all work and intensive language training. She fondly recalls strolling around town and taking picnics in the various parks in Strasbourg and Paris. 


“I'm a city girl, but what I love most is taking a break at a nice nature walk or lake near the city,” she said.


Schwam-Baird said the planning has already started for the next TLO study abroad to France, and she would like to keep the program going as long as she is at UNF.

Around Campus

Professor receives NEH award to write a global history of bad habits

Dr. David Courtwright in the LibraryWhen Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs in the early 1970s, David Courtwright was an undergraduate at the University of Kansas. The history, politics and economics of addiction fascinated Courtwright, who subsequently wrote his Rice University dissertation on opiate addiction in America. For the last forty years, he has explored compulsive behaviors and addictions, and how policy shifts, economic systems, new technologies and social changes have been intertwined with them.


Courtwright, a presidential professor in the UNF History Department, recently received a National Endowment for the Humanities award to support another ambitious book on the subject.  “Very Bad Habits” - the book's working title - seeks to explain the apparent worldwide increase in the variety and frequency of addictive behaviors, from compulsive overeating to digital addictions.


The book is a sequel to “Forces of Habit: Drugs and the Making of the Modern World,” which has sold 20,000 copies.  However, the new book will go beyond drugs to analyze the increase in other compulsive behaviors and vices over time. The grant that supports the work is part of the NEH's new Public Scholar Program, which promotes relevant, well-researched projects intended for broad readership.  


“NEH Public Scholar books will make important and exciting discoveries in fields such as history, literature, linguistics and archaeology accessible to readers everywhere and will serve as an example of how humanities scholarship can benefit the common good,” said William Adams, NEH chairman.


“People are realizing that addiction is not just about drugs,” Courtwright said, pointing to the recent explosion in compulsive behaviors involving social media and Internet use. “We live in an age of addiction.” The new book will seek to explain why there are so many addictions in the world, and why they seem to be multiplying. The NEH grant will allow Courtwright to research and write during academic year 2016-2017, while on leave from teaching.


In addition to “Forces of Habit,” Courtwright has written a number of acclaimed books, including “No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America,” “Dark Paradise:  A History of Opiate Addiction in America” and “Violent Land: Single Men and Social Disorder from the Frontier to the Inner City.” He is spending the current semester at the University of Richmond as the Douglas Southall Freeman Professor of History. He will return to teaching at UNF in the spring of 2016, before beginning his fellowship year in May.

Around Campus

UNF student hones photography skills during residency at MOCA Jacksonville

two people in a shadowy scene all styled up - by Amanda RosenblattVisitors who wander onto the fifth floor of MOCA Jacksonville this fall might witness a glamorous photo shoot worthy of a high-fashion magazine spread. University of North Florida student Amanda Rosenblatt is focusing her photography skills during a residency that includes studio space and an exhibition at the Museum, a cultural resource of UNF, in December.


Rosenblatt, a photography student in UNF's Art and Design Department, is the second scholar to receive the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville's senior student residency. She is working in a studio space on the fifth floor of the Museum to complete a new body of work for her senior portfolio and an exhibition that opens Dec. 13 in the Florida Blue Education Gallery at MOCA Jacksonville.


As Rosenblatt sharpens her craft, visitors will learn about the process behind slick fashion photography seen in publications such as Vogue and Vanity Fair, two of her inspirations. 


“I enjoy every part about making a photograph, and I think that the process is almost as important as the image itself,” Rosenblatt said. “There is so much creativity involved between the lighting, the direction and the clothing. Each photo can be like a tiny movie still.”


She will engage with onlookers, offering explanations about her process and answering questions from Museum visitors. She will also display working proofs of images and perhaps share a live feed of photographs from her camera to a computer screen.


“I like a mostly transparent artistic process because I think sometimes a connection with the artist helps connect a viewer with the work,” she said.


MOCA Jacksonville's UNF Student Residency gives students experience working with a curatorial team and others who work behind the scenes in a museum setting. It helps them learn how to present and market their work to the public. Rosenblatt said she hopes the experience will help transition her from a student artist to the working artist world. The work she creates during her residency will be inspired by the Major Arcana of the tarot deck, a suit of 22 cards that includes characters such as the High Priestess, the Moon, the Sun, Death and the Devil.


“I am fascinated with all manner of visual history, as well as symbolism, and the tarot deck offers me all of those things,” she said. “I am going to create a series rooted in symbolism with additional focus on fashion and aesthetics.”


If you go

MOCA Jacksonville's UNF student-in-residence Amanda Rosenblatt works in her fifth-floor studio from 4-9 p.m. Thursday, 2-5 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 4-9 p.m. during Downtown Art Walk Wednesdays (Sept. 2, Oct. 7, Nov. 4 and Dec. 2). Her exhibition opens at MOCA Jacksonville with a reception from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, and runs through Sunday, March 27, 2016. The reception is free, but a R.S.V.P. is required.


For samples of Rosenblatt's photography, go to

Around Campus

River report shows improvement, but concerns remain

Radha Pyati addresses the crowd at the release of the River Report.Each year, professors from the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University and Valdosta State University pour over a year's worth of data on the St. Johns River to determine its current state. 


The culmination of the analysis is the “Report on the State of the Lower St. Johns River Basin,” which was released last month at the annual Jacksonville Environmental Symposium at UNF. Dr. Radha Pyati, chair and professor of chemistry at the University of North Florida, headed up UNF's team, which included Dr. Stuart Chalk, associate professor of chemistry, Dr. Brian Zoellner, assistant professor/graduate program director of curriculum and instruction and Dr. Peter Bacopoulos, assistant professor of civil engineering.

The report tracks data that make up four indicators of the River's health: aquatic life, water quality, fisheries and contaminants. The 2015 report shows that the river's health is improving, but the current status of various indicators is a mixed bag.


Clearly, plant and animal life can be an important gauge of environmental health. Along the St. Johns River, annual counts of birds living in the watershed, like bald eagles and wood storks, were up. Likewise, manatees seemed to be faring well, while fish measurements were also at satisfactory levels. The proliferation of non-native species continues to be a problem, however, and is getting worse.


Water quality remains the biggest concern, with many measurements still at unsatisfactory levels. Still, two nutrients - nitrogen and phosphorus - did show improvement over the past year.


 “Our study reveals some improvement in the river's health as well as the importance of the continued monitoring of the river and its ecosystem,” Pyati said.


As an unbiased group of scientists, the professors analyze statistics gathered by the St. Johns Water Management District, City of Jacksonville, JEA, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and others. The Report is funded by the City of Jacksonville's Environmental Protection Board.


“We've been extremely grateful to UNF for leading the team doing the work,” said James Richardson, EPB administrator.  “Recognizing the importance of this annual report and the very capable leadership of Dr. Radha Pyati, the board has committed to continued funding for the next three years.”


The Report is released annually at the Jacksonville Environmental Symposium - another partnership between UNF's Environmental Center and the EPB. James Taylor, coordinator of the Center said the Symposium brings together members of the community, local businesses and government agencies who are all interested in the river and other environmental issues.


“It's a great atmosphere of collaboration,” Taylor said.


The River Report is available at


‘Why Do You #LoveUNF?' contest returns

Logo for UNF social media contestDo you follow UNF on Twitter? If not, the University is going to give you something to tweet about. The Department of Public Relations is kicking off the fall semester with its third annual “Why Do You #LoveUNF?” social media contest for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends.


The weeklong contest runs from Monday, Sept. 28, through Friday, Oct. 2, with prizes to be given away to several lucky winners each day. This all culminates with a pair of grand prizes that will be awarded the last day of the contest. To enter the contest, first you need to follow the University on Twitter @UofNorthFlorida, tweet why you love UNF, in words or with a photo, and include the hashtag #LoveUNF.

Participants will then be entered into a random drawing for several daily prizes, including gift cards/certificates from Applebee's, Chartwells, VISA (donated by Community First Credit Union - UNF Branch), Sweet by Holly, the Division of Continuing Education and UNF Athletics. Two lucky people will win the grand prizes - two Samsung Galaxy 4 tablets, provided by the UNF Bookstore!

All contest winners will be announced via the University's official Twitter page @UofNorthFlorida. Visit the website for the official contest rules.


CRDC earns 5-star rating from Early Learning Coalition

A CDRC staff member reads a story to childrenThe University of North Florida's Child Development Research Center, one of the best childcare facilities in the region, recently received a perfect score from the Early Learning Coalition of Duval County's Guiding Stars  program.


The Guiding Stars voluntary rating system was created 10 years ago to help parents locate quality child care and preschool centers and to encourage providers to train themselves to better prepare youngsters for kindergarten. UNF's CDRC received a perfect, 5-star rating in July, indicating that the facility provides the highest standards and quality of education to the hundreds of students who pass through its doors. The Guiding Stars analysis determines the facility's staff-to-child ratio, reviews the staff's credentials, looks into the quality of the classroom programming and logs how much interaction the children receive from the Center's trained educators. The CDRC excelled in every category, said Director Pam Bell.


“The rating validates that we are one of the leading preschools in the area and a model for the community,” Bell said. “It tells the parents that they have their child in a program that implements the latest proven research techniques, works with the whole child, not just the academic side. The children who come to the CDRC build their social, emotional and academic skills in a safe, healthy environment.”


More information about the CRDC is available online . Discount rates are available for UNF students, staff and faculty.  


Swoop Summary

UNFs cross country teamsWelcome to the Swoop Summary. Every issue of Inside, we'll be bringing you a recap of all the UNF Athletics accomplishments you need to know from the past month. These are just a few highlights of the past month in UNF Athletics. For a full breakdown, head to UNF Athletics  for all the latest Osprey news, stats and info.    


Both UNF cross country teams picked 2nd in A-Sun preseason poll - 

The Atlantic Sun Conference released its Cross Country Preaseason Poll, and both UNF teams were tabbed to finish second this season by the league's head coaches.  The Ospreys are coming off a strong year in 2014 that saw both the men's and women's squads participate in the NCAA South Regional. The UNF men followed up a third-place showing at the Atlantic Sun Championship with a program best fifth-place finish at the regional meet. After a runner-up finish at the conference meet, the women's team earned a 10th-place finish in the regionals.


Read on for more about this year's crosscountry teams.


Osprey women's soccer takes season opener 4-0 against Francis Marion -


The North Florida Women's Soccer team started off their 2015 season with a 4-0 win over Francis Marion. "It was great to start the season off with a win and score some goals. I think we could've been a little better in possession, but we continue to create some good chances," said head coach Robin Confer. The Ospreys (1-0) took just 52 seconds to score their first goal of the season when freshman Krista Colubiale took a long pass from junior Sonia O'Neill into the box and beat the keeper to bury her first career goal.


Click here for more on the team's first win of the season.


Men's basketball announces 2015-16 schedule -


In a follow-up to their historic accomplishments last season, the North Florida basketball team embarks on another challenging schedule in 2015-16 featuring 14 home games highlighted by several match-ups against prominent national programs. The Ospreys captured the Atlantic Sun regular season and tournament titles for the first time in program history a year ago and also participated in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Four starters and eight letterwinners, including All-Atlantic Sun performers Beau Beech and Dallas Moore, along with A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year Demarcus Daniels, return from the squad that posted a program best 23-12 (12-2 A-Sun) record.


Read more about what's in store for this years men's basketball team.  

Faculty Forum

Jim Gelsleichter

Dr. Jim Gelsleichter (left) works with a student during a lab experimentWhat brought you to UNF?

I came to UNF after a decade working as a staff scientist at the Mote Marine Laboratory's Center for Shark Research. Mote is a nonprofit research laboratory that has a public education department and regularly offers research training internships to college students but is not a formal academic institution. I came to UNF to pursue my love of teaching while still conducting my research on shark biology.


What's the most rewarding experience you've had with a student in one of your classes?

I absolutely adore teaching at UNF and have many rewarding experiences on a regular basis. One of my favorites includes watching a formerly struggling student turn themselves around due in part to my assistance. Another favored experience is watching students become obsessed with topics that they select for special projects, such as review papers, because it illustrates their interest in the course material and their dedication to and active participation in the learning process.


What is the most rewarding academic experience you have had out of the classroom?

Outside of the classroom? Nothing compares to watching my research students - undergraduate or graduate - rock a presentation and impress leaders in the field of shark biology or the other fields that my research program focuses on, such as reproduction and toxicology. My research program has already established UNF as a leader in shark biology, and it is largely due to the impressive performance of my research students.


What's your inspiration for teaching?

I love biology, especially my areas of expertise. I love sharing my love of science with students, and it inspires me to see them “catch the science bug” and become motivated - sometimes obsessed - with figuring out ways to address mysteries about the natural world. 


What do you enjoy most about being a professor?

Being a professor is a wonderful job because I get to share my love of biology with other people. That is why I, like most of my colleagues, work abnormally long hours (usually 50-60 hours a week), but really don't mind because we love what we do. 


If you weren't teaching, what else would you doing?

The thing about science that motivates me is that I love to solve mysteries. If I wasn't a professor and working with marine biology, I would probably try my hand as a crime laboratory analyst.


Describe your favorite UNF memory.

There have been many already. Probably the best has been sitting in a hotel lobby bar in Boston, Mass. and watching myself and my students represent the University in a documentary on bull sharks on National Geographic Wild. 


Do you have a favorite spot on campus? If so, where is it? What do you like about it?

LOL! My favorite spots include Starbucks, the Boathouse, and the Dottie Dorion Fitness Center for a few different reasons. One - it takes a lot of caffeine to fuel a 50-60 hour work week. Two - I love working out, and I am a former fitness trainer, formerly certified with the American Council on Exercise and formerly employed as a personal trainer for more than six years. And three - it takes a lot of beer to decompress from a 50-60 hour work week! I also regularly schedule informal “help sessions” at the Boathouse (based on a program called “Pitchers with Professors” from my B.S. alma mater, Eckerd College.)


What's your stance on extra credit?

Not supportive. In my limited but growing experience, the majority of people who have pursued extra credit in my classes have been students who have underperformed in most of their earlier assignments or exams due to low effort and only “re-dedicated” themselves to doing well in the course when it was more than halfway done and they were in danger of receiving a poor grade. There's just no way to justify giving an individual in this situation extra credit, especially when there are people who HAVE been trying hard throughout the class but perhaps just can't seem to “get” the material. Because of this, if you offer extra credit to even just one person, you have to offer to everyone else in order to be fair, and that's just not practical.    


What's one thing in your field of study that people might not know?

It is probably that a lot of the stuff that you see promoted as “shark research” on the popular documentaries, especially Discovery Channel's Shark Week, often has a very poor foundation in true science and is not a good reflection on our field.


What's your favorite class that you teach? Why?

Hands-down, my favorite course to teach is the upper-level biology elective, endocrinology, which focuses on the roles that hormones play in regulating human physiology. This is because my own first course in endocrinology at the College of William and Mary absolutely fascinated me, causing me to change my focus from fisheries ecology to physiology. I love sharing my knowledge about this interesting field with students, many of which develop similar passion for this topic because of their own interest in becoming a medical professional.  If you read the reviews, they say the same thing: Endocrinology rocks.


What is the biggest change that you've encountered in higher education since you entered the field?


Since I have only been a professor for only six years, there really haven't been that many changes in higher education since I entered the field. However, one significant change that has occurred since I was in school (that is, graduate school) is the overdependence on Powerpoint by both instructors and students, which I think is a problem that impedes the learning process. Instructors that depend too much on Powerpoint frustrate students because they often bore them or make them feel as though they are “wasting their time” since they could simply view the presentation at home. Students that depend too much on Powerpoint may tend to skip class since “the slides are on Blackboard” or fail to take notes when they do come to class, resulting in poor retention of material even when they do understand it during the presentation. In my own efforts to address this problem, I only provide “barebones” slide presentations on Blackboard, which necessitates student attendance, and make extensive use of the actual blackboard or dry-erase board to push students to take notes and not be so passive in class. 


Describe your teaching style. Do you like to integrate tech, or are you more comfortable with a lecture-style classroom?

I do use a lot of videos and animations in my presentations, but I teach primarily by lecture.  I am a bit of a ham though, so it is not uncommon for me to hop up on a desk, do a goofy dance or make use of props to get a point across. I also make use of a number of student-centered activities, such as case studies, to illustrate key points in upper-level courses. 

What is your favorite thing about working at UNF?

UNF is exactly the type of school that I always wanted to teach at, one that has a strong focus on both teaching AND research rather than one or the other. I am also very fond of my colleagues in biology because we generally share common values about education. 


What advice would you give to a student who is about to graduate?

Remember that, to be truly great, you always have to keep on learning. 


When do you work best? Are you a night owl or an early riser?

LOL, er…both? I'm up at 7 a.m. to take my daughter to school and at UNF from 8:30-9 a.m. until about 5 p.m. on week days. Then I head home and pick up my daughter and devote time to my family until about 10 p.m., and then back to work on my home computer until about 2-3 a.m. Total sleep time - four to five hours max. 


Do you ever hold class outside?

I teach a hands-on summer course in shark ecology, in which students are directly involved in the collection, tagging and release of sharks in local waters, so technically, yes. I don't hold lecture outside though.  I get it, it's “too pretty to stay indoors.” However, education has a goal to promote learning. When you make choices, such as changing the learning environment, you do have to ask yourself whether learning will be improved by the change (certainly the case with the shark field course) or whether it will be impeded. That's potentially the case by moving lecture outside and losing access to the board and videos and increasing distractions. If it is the latter, then you have to ask - to what end?  Is it so that adults, who could go outdoors on their own when class is over, get to “play outside?” Sorry - I don't think so. Learning should be fun, but the goal of learning isn't to have fun - there's a difference.


Are there any places around Jacksonville that you frequent?

Yup, we love to get out and about in Jacksonville. Any given weekend, you are likely to find me somewhere near the beach or at the library with my family. We are also regulars at the Jacksonville Zoo, MOSH and a number of local restaurants. Walking in on me up on the karaoke stage is also possible.


Do you have any rituals that help get you in the correct mindset for grading papers?

I grade papers best when they are in electronic format.  Because of this, I no longer request or accept hard copies. I always try to assign papers in which the student selects the topic so that I learn something new with each paper.


What was the best topic for a paper submitted by a student you ever read?

That is hard to say because I require a paper for all of my upper-level courses, of which I teach three in drastically different areas of study. However, from my most recent course in environmental toxicology, I received a number of papers with really interesting topics, such as one on the contributions that firing ranges (via use of lead-based ammunition) make to environmental contamination, one on the effects that pesticides commonly used for treating scabies can have on male reproduction and one on the relationship between pollutant exposure and endometriosis.

Get to Know

Jenny Johnson

Jenny Johnson headshotDepartment: Internal Auditing 


Job title: Senior Internal Auditor 


What do you do? I help departments stay in compliance with rules, regulations, policies and procedures. Before moving to Internal Auditing, I worked in Campus Recreation for 16 years. I didn't realize the fear that some people on campus have of this department. I would like to let everyone know we really are nice people. 


Years at UNF: 17 1/2 


Tell us about your family. I am married to former UNF baseball coach, Dusty Rhodes. My parents live in Jacksonville, too, so I spend a lot of time with them as well. 


If you could choose any other career, what would it be and why? My dream job would be something outdoors in Montana. A fly-fishing or hiking guide. I love the mountains and the quiet. 


What would you like to do when you retire? I'd like to spend more time fishing and hunting the Northwest – Montana, Alaska and the Canadian Rockies. I also have a list of baseball stadiums where I want to see a game. That's not just major league, but minor league ballparks as well. I was able to check off Camden Yards this year, but I need to make more than one a year if I'm going to cover them all. 


What is your favorite thing about working at UNF? The students I have seen come through are the best part. I am still friends with some that worked in Recreation 10 or 12 years ago. They are married and have careers and families now. It's nice to see how they turn out from the nervous 18 year olds that come to campus. 


What is the best thing you ever won? I am not a lucky person. I'm not sure I've ever won anything other than a few dollars at the roulette table in Las Vegas! 


What band(s)/musician(s) would perform the soundtrack to your life? I love old country music - Faron Young or Ferlin Husky. Frank Sinatra's “My Way” is my ringtone. And there have been times when belting out Andrew Lloyd Webber's songs have gotten me through bad days. 


Who is your favorite fictional character? What makes them your favorite? Winnie the Pooh. I loved reading the books as a child, and then watching the cartoon when I got older. Now I read some of the quotes of A.A. Milne, and he still speaks to me. When Christopher Robin says to Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” How can you not love that? 


If you won the lottery, what would do with the money? I would help the family and friends that helped me when I needed it. Then buy some property in Montana and watch the deer and antelope walk by. 


If you were not working at UNF, what would you be doing? I'd probably be working as a fraud examiner somewhere, maybe in law enforcement. I would also love to do some research into the psychology of fraudsters and white-collar crime. I find that field fascinating. 


Describe your favorite UNF-related memory? I've been here a long time, so that's hard. The Wellness Complex being built was great for the Recreation department and students. It was also pretty great when the UNF baseball team played in the championship game at the Division II World Series during UNF's final year in Division II. Also, there's the first time we played Florida downtown at the Baseball Grounds, and we won. There were thousands of people in the stands chanting “UNF, UNF.” It made me proud. 


What is your favorite way to blow an hour? Read. I'll read just about anything. 


If you were asked to paint a picture about anything you wanted, what would you paint? I recently painted two floor cloths for friends, and both have a mariner's compass on them. I love the beauty of the compass, but the symbolism of what it represents is what draws me to it. It is a tool that can take you anywhere, and it can help you find your way back, if that's where you want to go. 


What was the best money you ever spent? Soon after I started at UNF, I was talking about wanting to go west and see the mountains one day. I suddenly realized we wait for that magic moment to do something special, but what if that moment is now - we just don't recognize it? So I bought a plane ticket, rented a car, got a map of Montana and Wyoming, and spent a week by myself driving around. 


Is there a piece of technology that you just couldn't live without? No. I'm not a big fan of technology. I lose my cell phone all the time, my laptop quit working a week ago and I'm OK with that. 


What is the proudest/happiest moment of your life? The proudest moment would be when I passed all three parts of the CPA exam in six months. That was a lot of studying! The happiest was when I got married five years ago. We had a fun wedding with a lot of friends. 


Tell us something that would surprise people to know about you. I am terrified to speak in public. Even small groups scare me. There are times when just one person focusing on me will make me blush. 


What was the first concert you ever attended, and what was the most recent concert you attended? The first was Hank Williams, Jr. at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. The most recent was Toby Keith, but that was years ago. If it counts, I can hear all of the concerts that are scheduled at the Coxwell Amphitheater from my house. 


What person had the greatest impact on your life? My parents have had a huge impact on my life, each in their own way. I talk to both of them every day. 


What are you most passionate about? Making sure to do the things I want to do. When I hear people say “One day ...” or “When I can ...” I cringe. Do it now. The only thing that holds us back from the things we want to do is ourselves and our excuses. 


Who is the most famous person you ever met? I think famous is subjective, but I did meet Russell Crowe when he was here with his rugby team. But being a baseball junkie, I was more impressed when I met some baseball stars – Tim Wakefield, Roger Clemens, Clint Hurdle and Tommy Lasorda. 


Tell us something about you that even your friends don't know. In a misguided attempt to overcome my fears, I signed up for my high school pageant my senior year. I was to deliver a soliloquy from Camelot for the talent portion. The morning of the show on my way to school, I was in a car accident and had to get 26 stitches in my mouth. I still remember how relieved I was to not have to get on stage! 


What do you hope to accomplish that you have not done yet? I want to confront my fears and teach a forensic accounting class. I am a Certified Fraud Examiner and would like to have a student chapter of the ACFE here, and a good start would be to offer the class to get students interested in the subject. 


Last book read: ”Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work” by Paul Babiak and Robert Hare

Faculty and Staff

 Brooks College of Health  UNF regalia


 Nursing: Dr. Debra Wagner presented a poster entitled “Patient Satisfaction with Postpartum Teaching Methods” at the 2015 Florida Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Conference in Sanibel, Fla.


Dr. debran L. Harmon-O'Connor presented a poster at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Annual Congress in Salt Lake City, Utah in August entitled “Anesthesia Safety: Filter Needle Use with Glass Ampules.”


Nutrition and Dietetics: Jackie Shank and Jenifer Ross, published “The Science and Fundamentals of Food Preparation, A Laboratory Manual.”


The Flagship Program of Nutrition and Dietetics was recently selected as a 2015 Duval County Healthy Hero. Jenna Braddock was the faculty lead on the project.



College of Computing, Engineering and Construction


Computing: Dr. Kenneth Martin has been named to represent the Computing Sciences Accreditation Board on the ABET Board of Delegates for 2015-18.


Dr.Karthikeyan Umapathy presented a paper at the Americas Conference on Information Systems 2015 in Puerto Rico last month. The paper was titled “A Preliminary Study of Information Technologies Usage in Non-Profit Organizations.”


Dr. Swapnoneel Roy published a paper “Security Analysis of ECC Based Authentication Protocols” in the​ IEEE International Conference on Computational Intelligence and Communication Networks with student co-author Chanchal Khatwani.

Dr. Behrooz Seyed-Abbassi was awarded $80,000 from Florida Blue to continue the long-standing Florida Blue/UNF Partnership for Educational Collaboration.

Dr. Behrooz Seyed-Abbassi and Jamie Gordon had their paper, ''Distributed XML With Tag Shuffling in Cloud Computing,'' published and presented at the 2015 International Conference on Grid and Cloud Computing and Applications in Las Vegas, Nev. in July.


Dr. Behrooz Seyed-Abbassi and Vivekanand Madesi had their paper, ''Data Warehouse Design Using Row and Column Data Distribution,'' published and presented at the 2015 International Conference on Information and Knowledge Engineering in Las Vegas, Nev. in July.

Engineering: Dr. William Dally was awarded the 2014 Morrough P. O'Brien Award from the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association. Dr. Dally was also was chosen as the 2015 recipient of the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Association's rarely bestowed Bob Dean Coastal Research Award.


Dr. Patrick Kreidl was invited to join the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office (BTO) for an interactive one-day workshop on biocomplexity in June in Arlington, Va. Dr. Kreidl was also invited to present at the Big Data Jax Meetup in July to discuss “Some Problems Under Study in UNF's Signal Processing and Network Science Lab.” Additionally, Dr. Kreidl was awarded $83,500 by Vac-Con, Inc. for a project titled “Adaptive Control Strategies for Self-Tuning Dynamical Systems” in August. Finally, Dr. Kreidl received  $300,000 from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (via sub-contract to Apogee Research, LLC) for a project titled “Fundamental Research in Network Analytics and Decision Systems for Distributed Enclave Defense Using Configurable Edges” in August.



College of Education and Human Services


Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL:  Dr. Gigi Morales David was the keynote speaker for the Early Learning Coalition of North Florida Summer Reading Conference on July.  


Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education:  Dr. Caroline Guardino accompanied 11 UNF deaf education students and alumni on a trip to Athens, Greece to learn about deaf education at the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED). The students met teachers, researchers and administrators from around the world and learned international sign language, as well as signs from visual languages from various countries around the globe. Another cultural highlight of the Transformational Learning Opportunity was attending the Congress Gala where the students dressed in Greek attire, joined in traditional Greek dance and enjoyed local food.


Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management:  Over the summer Dr. Terence Cavanaugh worked with the Confucius Institute and taught a summer course on electronic books at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi'an China, one of COEHS's partner schools. The course had 45 students and took place over two weeks. Their special summer session had six classes devoted to e-book lectures and activities, as well as three “salons,” which are a form of open discussions and activities.  


Dr. Luke M. Cornelius published a chapter on the legal rights of non-academic employees in Contemporary Issues in Higher Education Law.


UNF-branded balloonsMilestone anniversaries

Congratulations to the following employees who will celebrate a milestone anniversary at UNF in September:


20 years

Michael Fritts, Classification and Compensation Specialist, Human Resources


15 years

Thomas Bullock, Parking Attendant, Parking and Transportation Services 

Mauricio Gonzalez, Vice President of Student and International Affairs

Matthew Taylor, Police Communications Manager, University Police Department


10 years

Maria Castro, Career Development Services Coordinator Career Services 

Lucy Croft, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs 

Pamela DeLoach, Accounts Payable Receiving Associate, Controller 

Richard Elmore, Assistant Director, Facilities Planning

Khareem Gordon, Coordinator, Internal Auditing


Five years

Amy Bishop, Academic Advisor, Coggin College of Business 

Paul Bushmann, Groundskeeper, Physical Facilities 

Wilma Case-Starks, Academic Advisor, Arts and Sciences 

Carrie Cragun-Atchison, Psychologist, Counseling Center

Deatrice Kennedy, Associate Athletic Director, Intercollegiate Athletics 

Adam Margulies, Student Financial Services Coordinator, Controller 

Tamatha Thomas, Senior Buyer, Procurement Services



The following employees were either hired by UNF or were promoted from OPS positions recently:


Andrew Barth, Assistant Athletic Coach, Men's Soccer 

Lauren Brooks, Marketing Publications Coordinator, Intercollegiate Athletics

David Bryan, Assistant Professor, Accounting and Finance 

Michael Cain, Student Financial Aid Coordinator, Financial Aid Office

Jan Camino, Recycle Refuse Worker, Recycling 

Elmer Combs, Assistant Professor, Nursing 

Hannah Croft, Academic Support Services Coordinator, International Business

Shannon Eaves, Assistant Professor, History 

Jason Edgar, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Student Services

Suzanne Ehrlich, Assistant Professor, Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education 

Sheila Goloborotko, Assistant Professor, Art and Design 

Pramod Govindan, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering 

Felicia Griffin, Office Assistant, Quality Control and Work Management 

Jason Haraldsen, Assistant Professor, Physics 

John Hewitt, Assistant Professor, Physics 

Naomi Karp, Student Affairs Coordinator, Intercultural Center 

Dilek Kayaalp, Assistant Professor, Foundations and Secondary Education 

Charles Kennedy, Academic Support Services Coordinator, Distance Learning 

Jennifer Kilpatrick, Assistant Professor, Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education

Soonhyang Kim, Assistant Professor, Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL 

Ashton Lewandowski, Coordinator, Wellness Complex Memberships 

Kristina Lopez, Assistant Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice

Sarah MacPherson, Assistant Professor, Psychology 

Hannah Malcolm, Assistant Professor, Chemistry 

Robert Marble, Parking Services Technician, Parking and Transportation Services 

Bridgette McQuaig, Assistant Professor, Nursing 

Andrea Mestdagh, Public Relations Specialist, Public Relations 

LaDonna Morris, Assistant Professor, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management

Matthew Ohlson, Assistant Professor, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management

Mariel Ozuna, Administrative Secretary, Coggin College of Business 

Anne Pfister, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work 

Fatima Rehman, Assistant Professor, Biology 

Derrick Robinson, Assistant Professor, Economics 

Nataliya Roman, Assistant Professor, Communication 

Tara Rowe, Student Affairs Coordinator, Disability Resource Center 

Michelle Selph, Assistant Director of Human Resources Data Management, Human Resources 

Scott Shoemaker, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management

Ferdinand Silva, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management

Sericea Stallings-Smith, Assistant Professor, Public Health

Margaret Stewart, Assistant Professor, Communication

Susan Strickland Ripple, Assistant Professor, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management

Anne Swanson, Assistant Professor, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management 

Luciann Tappin, Office Manager, Child Development Research Center

Julie Van Laere, Office Assistant, Education and Human Services

Todd Vatter, Communications Coordinator, Administration and Finance

Gregory Wurtz, Associate Professor, Physics 

Franklin Young, Athletic Operations Coordinator, Men's Basketball 


Great job

The following employees were promoted recently:


Robin Allerding, Office Manager, MOCA

Michelle Artiga, Program Assistant, English Language Program

Terry Brown, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management

Joshua Dunn, Associate Athletic Coach, Soccer

Christopher Johnson, Associate Dean/Professor, Coggin College of Business 

Patricia Kapcio, Assistant Director of Online Programs, Distance Learning Fee 

Andrew Morse, IT Support Coordinator, Student Government

Katherine Tower, Student Affairs Coordinator, English Language Program 

Celeste Watkins, Director, Student Government




Best wishes in their new endeavors for the following employees, who left UNF recently:


Robert Bohle, Professor, Communication 

James Broomall, Assistant Professor, History 

Stephanie Bruss, Executive Secretary, Coggin College of Business 

Jin-Suk Byun, Assistant Professor, Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL

Robyn Cortello, Academic Support Services Coordinator, Honors 

Brian Fisak, Associate Professor, Psychology

Zachary Fitchner, Assistant Professor, Art and Design 

James Heisner, Assistant Director, University Compliance

Jeffrey Hoskins, Assistant Professor, Physics

Jose Jimenez, Assistant Professor, Chemistry

Daniel Kraus, Teaching Laboratory Specialist, Art and Design 

Joseph Marino, Athletic Development Coordinator, Intercollegiate Athletics 

Diane Maxfield, Administrative Services Coordinator, Institute of Police Technology and Management

Kimberlee Oakes, Research Program Services Director, Exceptional Deaf and Interpreter Education

Jean Perras, IT Systems Engineer, Systems Engineering 

Luisa Rodriguez, Grants Specialist, Exceptional Deaf and Interpreter Education 

Antoya Shuler, College Advisor, Jacksonville Commitment

Heather Strange, Student Financial Services Manager, Controller 

John Timpe, Director, Spinnaker Media 

Ryan Walker, Coordinator, Admissions

Allen Walters, Construction Project Specialist, Physical Facilities 

Elizabeth Willis, Research Program Services Director, Exceptional Deaf and Interpreter Education

Jeff Wolfgang, Assistant Professor Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management

The Goods

Canola Oil

Canola flowers in a fieldCanola oil is one of the healthiest oils available, and it's important to include heart healthy oils, such as Canola, in the diet in an amount that's appropriate to total calories and caloric needs. Dr. Judy Rodriguez, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, discusses myths about Canola oil and provides tips for including it in a healthy diet. A recipe is included.


Myth: Canola oil contains harmful saturated fat and trans fat.


Fact: Canola oil has the least amount of saturated fat of the common edible oils, such as corn, olive and safflower and contains no trans fat. Only 7 percent is saturated fat - the rest being the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Canola oil also is a source of vitamins E and K and has plant sterols, which are associated with heart health.


Myth: Canola oil can't be used for cooking.


Fact: Canola oil can be used in marinades, dressings and any recipe in which oil is an ingredient. It can be used for sautéing, grilling, wok cooking and frying because of its high smoke point, similar to that of peanut oil. Both oils have smoke points of 396  to 414 degrees.


Myth: Canola oil comes from the harmful rapeseed.


Fact: Canola oil is made from a hybrid plant developed in Canada, using traditional hybrid propagation techniques. While the original rapeseed plant is high in erucic acid, the Canadian Canola plant is healthy and safe.


Myth: Canola oil is best used when strong flavor is desired.


Fact: Canola oil has a light, mild flavor, so it works well in recipes where you don't want the oil to overshadow the other ingredients and impact the dish's essence. For a strong flavor, try using sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil.


Myth: Canola oil was developed using genetic modification or GMO (genetically modified organism) techniques.


Fact: Canola was originally developed using traditional plant-breeding techniques. Some of the plants grown in Canada have been modified using biotechnology to make them tolerant to some herbicides. However, no modification is made to the oil, so it to be as safe and healthy as the Canola oil from conventional plants.


Myth: Canola oil is banned in Europe.


Fact: European Union countries also produce Canola. The plants are called “oilseed rape,” and the oil is known as “rape oil” or “rapeseed oil.” Canola oil is very popular in Europe and is commonly used as a healthy alternative to olive, corn, safflower and sunflower oils.


Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette


Yield: 1½ cups (375 mL)

Serving size: 1 tablespoon




½ bunch cilantro

2 garlic cloves

¾ cup canola oil (175 mL)

¾ cup lime juice (175 mL)

¼ cup granulated sugar (60 mL)

2 ginger, grated

3 to 4 dashes fish sauce




In a food processor, mix cilantro and garlic. Add canola oil, lime juice and sugar. Add juice squeezed from grated ginger. Discard grated ginger. Add fish sauce. Process everything for 5 to 10 seconds.


Use as a dressing for salads, as seasoning for fish and seafood or as a marinade for barbecuing.


Nutrition information per serving: 71 calories; 7 grams fat (.5 grams saturated); 0 milligrams cholesterol; 15 milligrams sodium; 3 grams carbohydrate (0 grams dietary fiber); 0 grams protein.


(Recipe source: CanolaInfo Virtual Test Kitchen from at\) 


The Goods is a monthly column about food myths and facts by faculty members in the Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program and runs monthly in The Florida Times-Union's “Taste” section. Have questions about canola oil? Contact Dr. Judy Rodriguez at .

Bright Birds Know

A student using a hydration station to refill a bottleIt's easy to stay hydrated on campus and help support the environment at the same time. UNF has about 30 hydration stations strategically located around campus to ensure thirsty Ospreys are able to stay cool without having to purchase and dispose of multiple plastic bottles. Since they were installed, the University's hydration stations have helped reduce the use of plastic water bottles, by an estimated 1.5 million bottles!


Bright Birds Know is a monthly feature highlighting interesting facts, figures and stories about the University of North Florida. Do you have a thought-provoking entry that you want to share with the campus community? Get involved by submitting your own Bright Birds Know item to Matt Coleman at .