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InsideMarch 2017

Around Campus

President Delaney thanks the campus community

President Delaney talks to student in LibraryMonday morning, UNF faculty and staff were greeted by a message from President John A. Delaney announcing his retirement from the presidency at the end of his contract on May 30, 2018. Directed to “the family I have cherished for the past 14 years,” Delaney shared his gratitude to those throughout the campus community.

“John will be greatly missed,” said Dr. Radha Pyati, president of UNF’s Faculty Association and chair of the Chemistry Department. “He accomplished many things at UNF, but his most important trait is a deep caring for the people in his organization — that was a common thread through all his actions.”

Changes on campus since 2003 — when Delaney first became president — clearly reflect the hard work of many and the deep commitment of UNF’s faculty and staff.

“Over the past 14 years, I’ve had the honor of working with a truly remarkable team of people committed to providing the highest quality education to our students and to making our region stronger,” Delaney said. 


There is no doubt that the region and University are stronger.

Academic progress
Since 2003, academic offerings have expanded significantly. The number of accredited programs has nearly doubled, while doctoral degrees have grown from one to five. 

Though UNF sometimes falls short on the complex state metrics — the University ranks high for quality and value when compared to institutions across the county and region, routinely landing on prestigious lists from U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and The Princeton Review.

Today, the University of North Florida’s graduation rate is 24 percent higher than the national average. Staff in Career Services and college career centers prepare students for their next step, and it seems to be working. UNF tops the schools in the State University System when it comes to graduates being employed in Florida. The average salary of a UNF alum 10 years after graduation is 23 percent above the national average, and data shows that a quarter of UNF alums earn more than $49,400 in their first year.


Enhanced recruitment efforts through Enrollment Services have led to a heightened student profile, with first-time-in-college students last fall boasting a 4.17 GPA — the highest in the University’s history. This past year, UNF was the third most competitive among Florida public universities attracting the brightest students from across the region and beyond. In addition, diversity in the student body has increased 63 percent.

Delaney has worked hard with the campus community to ensure that the hallmarks of a UNF education remain intact. In 2003, the student-to-faculty ratio was 22:1. Today, it is 19:1, ensuring that UNF students have the advantage of individualized attention. The average class size at UNF is still only 32 students.

An improved campus
Over the past decade and a half, UNF acreage has more than doubled including a recent wetlands donation for research, and building space has grown 168 percent providing more room for classrooms, labs and more. Generous gifts from civic leaders who believe in UNF's mission have led to the naming of major buildings on campus. 
Careful planning by the Campus Planning, Design and Construction staff has allowed the campus to grow in a positive way while maintaining a strong focus on the environment and sustainability — 13 UNF buildings are LEED-certified for green construction.

Delaney brags that UNF has the prettiest campus in Florida, a shout-out to the hard-working Physical Facilities staff who take ownership and pride in everything they do.

Student life
For Delaney, a college campus should focus on its students, and he is grateful to faculty and staff for providing an inclusive environment that promotes a true college experience.

The smooth transition to NCAA Division I athletics began in 2005, thanks to the dedicated employees of the UNF Athletics Department.

A campus culture of caring led to the improvement and creation of centers on campus that address special needs including the Disability Resource Center, the LGBT Resource Center and the Military and Veterans Resource Center.

Delaney said he is particularly grateful to the campus community for embracing transformational learning — providing students with real-world experience and hands-on learning that change how they view the world and their future.

Ruth Lopez, director of the International Center on campus, said the president’s commitment to providing extraordinary experiences for students has significantly enhanced opportunities to study abroad, which UNF students now do at twice the national average.

“Thanks to President Delaney’s endorsement and continuous support in providing international transformational learning opportunities to our students, UNF consistently ranks in the top 20 nationally in study abroad each year,” Lopez said.

Fundraising efforts
While state dollars have been limited for years, many opportunities for students and improvements on campus were made possible by generous donations from community donors. Development staff have worked hard to secure private dollars for scholarships, programs and infrastructure, securing nearly $250 million since 2003. 
Alumni engagement increased as well, and last year alumni donors were up 30 percent. The University’s endowment has more than doubled in recent years to $100 million.

Delaney’s contract allows him to lead a center at UNF following his retirement as president. With more than a year to think about it, he said nothing has been decided yet, and even mentioned a possible run for public office.

This spring, the UNF Board of Trustees will discuss the search process for a new president.

Around Campus

Student films journey through area parks

UNF student Sean Lahav headshotUNF senior Sean Lahav — photographer, director and narrator — will debut his film series tonight, a project he designed to energize Jacksonville residents to explore the area’s magnificent parks.

From 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Intuition Ale Works, the UNF community and the public will have the chance to see Lahav’s unique look at the 20 parks that comprise Jacksonville’s Timucuan Trail State and National Parks, the largest urban park system in the nation.

The video presentation, titled “Exploring Northeast Florida’s Special Places,” is the culmination of a two-year project that Lahav, a political science major, self-directed as a student leader in the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of North Florida. He was chosen for the project based on his extensive environmental and photography experience.

“When I’m looking at this and reflecting on my experience,” “it was extremely difficult and a lot of really long days” Lahav said. “But I am very proud of my work, and now people are really starting to take notice.” 

Maria Mark, the ELP coordinator who oversees all the student leaders, said the reaction to the videos has been extremely positive. WJCT is interested in taking this project to television with a 20-week series that would feature one park per week, and Visit Jacksonville and a company putting together a travel channel for Jacksonville hotels also have expressed interest.

UNF established the donor-funded leadership program in the fall 2015 as way to groom the next generation of environmental leaders. “We’ve got great students,” Mark said of the current nine project leaders. “They are there because they want to be there.” In return for their dedication, Mark said the students learn about leadership and benefit from training workshops on public speaking, resume writing and career development. In the end, they have a project portfolio they can show to potential employers, Mark said.Graphic for film project titled Exploring Northeast Florida's Special Places

Lahav’s project came to UNF’s Environmental Center as a request from one of its community partners, the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida. Wanting to promote the parks, the Public Trust also wanted to let the community know about its organization, which pursues legal means to protect and preserve the area’s public lands and waters. 

“They laid out a general vision, but as project leader you really do have full control over what you want to do,” Lahav said. “I came to them for feedback and input, but was able to do almost everything on my own.”

Lahav estimated that he spent hundreds of hours, which included driving to visit each park several times, filming a terabyte of footage (or a trillion bytes of computer storage), hiking miles of trails and editing, narrating and searching for music.

The 20 videos are each two- to three-minutes long, include music and narration, and follow a similar format: introductory scene of Scene from a Jacksonville park by UNF student Sean LahavJacksonville, a map showing the location starting from UNF, icons representing park activities, fees and more. The rest is specific to the particular park, with an emphasis on showcasing the beautiful scenery. Lahav said he wanted to give viewers a close-up view of what makes these parks so special.

With folk music in the background, Lahav urges viewers to take the next step: “Go out and explore it for yourself. Protect our park system, raise awareness and never stop exploring.

“We’ll see you on the trail next time.”

Register to attend the premiere.

Around Campus

Defining UNF’s community impact

UNF student working on reading project with childHeading to a PTA committee meeting after work, or to coach your child's soccer team? Or perhaps you serve on a civic or nonprofit advisory board. Whatever you do to benefit the community, the university wants to hear about it.

This month, all full-time employees campuswide will be asked to share the many ways they make a difference. Whether it's volunteer service at schools, philanthropy or leading a study abroad trip to Belize to work with school children, employees should include all personal and professional community involvement - from fall 2016 and spring 2017 - made to Northeast Florida, the region, state and world.

It's all part of an application process for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, named after founder Andrew Carnegie. In 2010, the Foundation selected the University of North Florida to receive its Community Engagement Classification. Though not an award, it acknowledges a university's commitment to work reciprocally with community partners to improve life in our region and beyond. To retain the classification, the University must reapply, and the Civic Action Plan team, a group of UNF faculty and administrators, is working diligently to gather and prepare the data. In doing so, UNF also will accomplish a 2025 strategic goal set for state universities by the Florida Board of Governors. A chief component of the application is the need to determine what our campuswide impact is on the community.

"Every type of activity matters," said Dr. Marnie Jones, English professor and director of the Center for Community-Based Learning, the department overseeing the project. "Whether you are a parent volunteering at your child's school library, or assisting with a church youth group or serving on a board, it all counts as long as it occurs during this academic year."

Departmental practices and policies that benefit or enhance the community also will be recorded. The inventory has been distributed to senior management who will coordinate the process within their areas. Classes have been scheduled to answer questions. The inventories will be due April 7.

Though UNF enjoys many vibrant partnerships, Jones said that no one on campus knows the whole story. On the academic side, 88 percent of UNF's departments offer community-based learning courses. On the co-curricular side, more than 60 percent of UNF students are involved in some type of volunteering, but there is not a full accounting of their work.

"It's as though we have pieces of an intricate puzzle - and they look fabulous - but we don't have the whole picture," Jones said. "We probably have a handle on most of the large projects going on, but once we have this inventory, I think we are going to be ever prouder of UNF as an institution.

"We will get to see for the first time just how significant the impact is. We're going to see that Ospreys are making a difference."

Visit our Projects Inventory Webpage!


UNF professors create steel giraffe for the zoo

UNF professors create steel giraffe for Jacksonville Zoo, photo by Briana QuayVisitors to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens are now greeted by a 20-foot-tall steel giraffe, thanks to the University of North Florida’s own Jenny Hager, assistant professor of sculpture and her husband, Lance Vickery, an adjunct sculpture professor.

The two sculptors were commissioned by the Zoo to create the massive statue, which weighs an estimated 1,200-1,500 pounds and took more than six months to complete. Hager estimates that more than 1,000 hours went in to bringing the sculpture to life. While the bulk of the work was done by Hager and Vickery, the couple hired both former and current students, to assist in the project.

UNF students primarily aided Hager with cutting steel with a plasma cutter from her premade paper templates. The project became a transformational learning experience.

“Many of the students had never plasma cut steel or worked on a large scale sculpture, and some welded/grinded for the first time as well,” said Hager. “They learned new tools, skills and much about the process of creating a large scale work.”

The permanent giraffe sculpture was installed in January and can be found at the new Donor Island right after entering the Zoo.

Around Campus

Local hospitals join UNF to address mental illness

UNF doctoral nursing student Catherine RileyCatherine Riley has seen the impact of mental illness.

A retired Navy veteran who served her country for 33 years, Riley aided both soldiers and civilians as a military nurse witnessing the deep trauma that many experience during and after time served in a warzone.

“I saw firsthand the impact on others,” said Riley, who is now a student in UNF’s doctoral nursing practice program with a concentration in psychiatric mental health. Riley knows from experience that mental illness often goes untreated due to lack of services and available professionals.

In 2014, a study conducted by the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. reported that Florida ranked 49th among the 50 states for per capita mental health funding, and Northeast Florida had the 2nd lowest funding in the state. The study revealed that 24 percent of adults in Northeast Florida live with a mental illness, and about four percent with a severe mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression.

Last week, six Jacksonville healthcare systems joined the Brooks College of Health to address those needs. The area hospitals, St. Vincent’s HealthCare, Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation, Flagler Hospital, Mayo Clinic and Memorial Hospital donated nearly $1 million to support the College’s Mental Health Graduate Nursing Program. The program will develop mental health nurse practitioners with doctorate degrees in nursing practice.

“This is a very meaningful gift,” said Dr. Pam Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health. “Local healthcare organizations are coming together to support a significant need in Northeast Florida — increasing access to mental healthcare. A lack of mental healthcare is a major public health concern,” she said.Healthcare leaders fund new UNF mental health graduate program

St. Vincent’s took the lead by establishing a professorship for the program to pay the salary of a faculty member in the field of psychiatric mental health nursing.

Tom VanOsdol, interim CEO of St. Vincent’s HealthCare, said the program fits in perfectly with the ministry of St. Vincent’s. “Behavioral health is a top priority in our community, therefore it’s a top priority for our ministry at St. Vincent’s,” VanOsdol said. “Supporting this program and professorship at UNF aligns perfectly with our regional strategy and our mission to provide compassionate, holistic care to everyone throughout the communities we serve.”

As a student committed to making a difference, Riley is grateful for the program and the support of the community partners.

“I love this program at UNF,” Riley said. “And I love that I live, work and study in a community that is prioritizing the needs of those who struggle with mental health issues.”


Online bachelor’s degree program earns top marks

UNF student working on a laptopFour years after first offering an online bachelor’s degree, the University of North Florida’s program is ranked among the Top 50 in the country.

In January, U.S. News & World report ranked UNF at 48 among the colleges and universities in the U.S. for the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs,” distinguishing it from 1,300 distance-education degree programs nationwide. The University also landed on the list of “Best Online Education Programs” and “Best Online Criminal Justice and Criminology Programs,” both graduate-level rankings.

Dr. Len Roberson, UNF associate vice president for Academic Technology and Innovation, said the University continues to develop online courses to meet the needs of students. “Our desire is to offer online courses that are not only high-quality but that provide students with greater access to the University’s excellent programs.”

UNF began offering online bachelor’s degree programs in the 2013-14 academic year. All online courses are recorded and archived so students can access lecture material at their convenience.

To compile its annual rankings, U.S. News & World Reports assesses schools based on their performance in four general categories: student engagement, faculty credentials and training, student services and technology, and peer reputation.

Around Campus

Colorful additions expand MOCA’s Permanent Collection

MOCA Jacksonville's Multiverse by artist Maya HayukMOCA Jacksonville received a slew of gifts over the holidays — and did a bit of shopping, too.

Several acquisitions to the Permanent Collection connect to previous exhibitions and longtime MOCA relationships. Some of the additions are featured in The Evolution of Mark-making, now on display on the second floor. Project Atrium artist Shinique Smith donated her Something from Nothing Bundle (2008). The hanging satellite contains clothing and accessories donated to a church in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which came to the artist when New Orleans refused clothing in lieu of funds.

New York artist Jill Nathanson and Berry Campbell Gallery donated Fluid Measure (2015), which appeared in Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction. Preston H. Haskell purchased Maya Hayuk's Multiverse (2014), also from Confronting the Canvas, and donated it to the Museum in memory of Arthur W. Milam, a longtime chair of the Board of Trustees and a leader in moving MOCA to downtown Jacksonville.

Click here to learn about other additions to the Permanent Collection.


UNF department and employees recognized for vocational training

From left: Rhonda Gracie, Brad Richards, Andrew Taylor, William Dunn, David Morris and Laura EdmundThe Physical Facilities Department at the University of North Florida was honored recently for its commitment to vocational training, and five employees were recognized for their efforts in making the program a success.

The Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources Systems, a support system for exceptional student education, honored UNF at its 22nd Annual Tools for Success Family Conference in February with the Duval County Council PTA 2017 Business Partner of the Year Award. Each year, the conference recognizes business partners that provide vocational training sites and employment for students with special needs.

The Alden Road Exceptional Student Center, UNF’s training and business partner since 2014, recognized University employees Rhonda Gracie, Bradley Richards, Andrew Taylor, William Dunn and Alex Davis for the effort, impact and support they provide to students and job coaches who participate in the job vocational training.

The Alden Road – UNF program has created a special relationship each semester between the students, their job coaches and UNF staff. As a testament to the partnership’s success, last June the Physical Facilities Grounds Department hired David Morris, an Alden Road student, as OPS groundskeeper.

Faculty Forum

Dr. Emma Apatu

Dr. Emma Apatu headshotDr. Emma Apatu is an assistant professor of public health in the Brooks College of Health. She teaches Public Health Research, Health Program Evaluation, and Fitness for Health and also participates in study abroad programs. Her most recent research centers on community-engagement, health disparities, community health services and health program evaluation.

What brought you to UNF? A tenure-track position within a growing college and vibrant public health program


What’s one thing in your field of study that people might not know? Many people do not know that public health is the study of the prevention of disease among populations.

Do you have a favorite spot on campus?If so, where is it? What do you like about it? It’s hard to choose one place, because the campus is very beautiful, but I guess I’d say my office; it has a great view of the pond.

What’s the most rewarding academic experience you’ve had at UNF in or out of the classroom? Teaching is about transformation, so when I see students advance in their careers, and they mention that I’ve made a positive impact on them, I am deeply humbled and pleased. But if I had to select just one experience, I would have to say that taking students to Switzerland was a very rewarding experience.

If you weren’t teaching, what else would you be doing? Trying my hand at being a travel YouTuber to foster community around global unity and social innovation.

What is your personal philosophy? Seek a mission that is greater than yourself and that benefits others.

What do you like most about UNF? I like working with my colleagues in the public health program. They are a great group of people.

Describe your teaching style. Do you like to integrate tech, or are you more comfortable with a lecture-style classroom? A common thread in my courses is experiential learning where a hands-on project drives the learning experience in the classroom, so it depends. Sometimes the learning experience warrants course instruction using new technology and other times it does not.

Who has been the biggest role model in your life? It’s hard to just list one, but one of my early role models in my career was Dr. Wiljer now executive director of education and technology at the University Health Network. I worked with Dr. Wiljer for approximately two years before going to graduate school. He has an amazing ability to create tools to further the field in patient and health education. To be able to interact with such an innovative genius, who has been so encouraging throughout my early career, has been a blessing.

What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate? I think self-reflection is important. Take time to understand who you are so you can make good decisions that align with your true self.

If you could witness any historical event, what would it be? I enjoy sports. I think it would be incredible to be courtside watching Michael Jordan play live in any of his championship series.

What is your favorite memory from your undergraduate days? Working with Dr. Touradji Solouki at the University of Maine. His passion for his work, really made me think — “Huh, when I am in the working world I want to be as happy as he is working with a mass spectrometer.”

Who is your favorite fictional character? I can’t say I have one now, but back in the day I really liked Kermit the Frog.

Where is the best place you’ve visited? I really appreciate scenic places. Lausanne, Switzerland, is at the top of my list. It is one of the most visually stunning places I’ve ever seen, with its mix of snowcapped mountains and Lake Geneva.

How do you recharge? Running or playing a team sport

What do you like most about Jacksonville? Where else have you lived? Being able to see all of the new development happening around the city and the revitalization of downtown. I have lived in many places throughout the southeastern and northern U.S., Hawaii and Canada.

What would you most regret not having done by the end of your life? Leaving behind a beautiful flower garden that brings peace to others.

Get to Know

Chris Decent

Chris Decent, UNF's assistant vice president of Development headshotChris Decent: Assistant Vice President, Development

What do you do at UNF? My job at UNF is to engage our alumni and friends to attend events, volunteer and give philanthropically to UNF. Currently I work in UNF Athletics raising money for our capital projects and the UNF Foundation where I oversee our alumni engagement and annual giving efforts.

What do you enjoy about working here? I bleed Blue and Gray, and I love the people who do the same. Whether it is our outstanding academics, unrivaled campus or championship athletics — we have some amazing people behind the scenes who make it all possible.

How long have you lived in Jacksonville? I’ve lived in Jacksonville for about eight years now.

Where else have you lived? Tallahassee, Memphis, Tennessee, Washington, DC, Buffalo, New York and Watertown, New York. I’m originally from Watertown — which is nicknamed “Snowtown USA”

What one memory do you most treasure? One comes to mind for my daughter and one for my wife. The first that comes to mind is when I coached my daughter’s soccer game and she scored three goals — the only three goals she scored all year. ☺ I still have the picture of her holding up her three fingers when she scored her 3rd goal. For my wife, I will never forget the day we got engaged. It was at the Sandestin Food & Wine Festival, and I organized a flash mob as a huge surprise. She had no idea until the dancers started to bring her roses and no other women! It was a day I will always treasure.

If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, from the past or present, who would be on your guest list?
1. Phil Foti — my grandfather and still the greatest man I’ve ever known
2. The 17-year-old version of my Dad — he became an emancipated minor at 17 and joined the U.S. Navy. I’d love to have him at dinner.
3. My daughter Claire — I would want her to get to know my grandfather, and also she’s awesome. ☺
4. Babe Ruth — I come from a family of Yankee fans, and I think he would be fascinating.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? I would go back to being a high school baseball coach. Having an impact on young people was the most rewarding job of my life.

What superpower would you like to have? How would you use it? I would choose flying for my superpower, for two reasons. First, I wouldn’t ever have to sit in traffic. And second, I would be able to see the world from all different (and new) angles!

If you ruled the world, what would you change on Day 1? I would immediately increase funding for education at all levels, especially elementary school. In addition, I would mandate increases in federal, state and local funding to at least keep education on par with standard cost of living increases. By not investing in our educators, we are saying that our children do not matter. That is a sad state and one that I would immediately change.

What would be the title for the movie version of your life? “A Lucky Man” — I have a beautiful wife and daughter, and I “work” every day in a job I love. I consider myself blessed.

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Go to Australia and dive the Great Barrier Reef. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and it doesn’t hurt that there are great golf courses nearby too!

What one food do you wish had zero calories? Flipz — chocolate covered pretzels

Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I did stand-up comedy in Buffalo, New York, for about three years.

Where would you like to go on a dream vacation? My dream vacation is Ireland with my wife and some of my closest friends. We have discussed it for a few years now and are hopeful it will happen soon. Amazing golf, great history, castles, amazing scenery and maybe a pub or three!

Tell us a few of your favorite things.
Band: Pearl Jam
Book: "I Am Legend"
Color: Blue and Gray of course!
Movie line: “I brought you flours” — "Stranger Than Fiction"
Quote: “Not all who wander are lost” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Faculty and Staff

Brooks College of HealthRegalia for UNF faculty and staff accomplishments

School of Nursing
Dr. Cindy Cummings and Dr. Linda Connelly will present their work with simulation experiences at the CAE Healthcare Simulation conference in Ponte Vedra Beach in March.

Coggin College of Business

Dr. Mina Baliamoune
, professor of economics, attended the International Conference on Economics and Business Research (ICEBR) in Rabat, Morocco, where she chaired a session, received a plaque for serving as keynote speaker on “Women and globalization,” and presented a paper entitled “Women and development: evidence from Tunisia.” Baliamoune received a certificate of excellence for best presentation and best content paper, which was published in the conference proceedings. Baliamoune also attended the AES/ASSA meetings in Chicago and had two papers accepted: For the Feminist Economics session, “Gender and firm performance in Middle-Eastern and African countries,” co-authored with Stefan Lutz; and for the National Economic Association session, “The relationship between fertility and development: the case of North Africa.”

Janice Donaldson, director of the Small Business Development Center, presented two best practices at the 39th Annual Small Business Institute Conference in February: “Best Practices in Face-to-Face Consulting: Lessons from a Florida SBDC at the University of North Florida Partnership,” with Diane Denslow; and “Best Practices in Virtual Consulting: Lessons from a Florida SBDC at the University of North Florida Partnership,” with Lakshmi Goel. Donaldson also presented historical documents complied by Lowell Salter, a founding faculty member. 

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Political Science and Public Administration
Dr. Matthew Corrigan, department chair and professor, was honored as Board Member of the Year for his significant volunteerism by Family Support Services of North Florida, at its annual board meeting Jan. 24. Corrigan, who serves as board vice chair, worked closely with young adults in FSS’s Independent Living program to help them determine what classes at UNF were appropriate for their educational goals and arranging for them to sit in classes to integrate them into the college atmosphere.

College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

School of Computing
Dr. Sandeep Reddivari and Jason Smith’s paper “Virtual Reality-Based Visualization of Medical Datasets” was presented at the 2017 Florida Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted by Florida Atlantic University, Feb. 24-25, Boca Raton.

Dr. Swapnoneel Roy published a book chapter “Denial of Service Attack on Protocols for Smart Grid Communications” in Security Solutions and Applied Cryptography in Smart Grid Communications, IGI Global Publications, 2017.

Dr. Swapnoneel Roy, with Charlene H. Crenshaw, published “Towards designing and implementing a secure one time password (OTP) authentication system” in Performance Computing and Communications Conference, December 2016.

Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy, with P. De Jong and O. Schnusenberg, published “From Returns to Tweets and Back: An Investigation of the Stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average” in the Journal of Behavioral Finance, 18 (1), 54-64, 2017.

School of Engineering
Dr. Stephen Stagon, with Matthew P. Davies, Casey S. McKinney, Joel M. Serrano and Thomas J. Mullen, published “Effects of adhesion layer on growth mode and morphology using glancing angle physical vapor deposition” in Applied Physics Letters, 110, 053109, 2017.

College of Education and Human Services

Department of Childhood Education, Literacy and Tesol
Dr. Katie Monnin, associate professor, has been an organizing committee member of the annual Will Eisner Week celebration since 2015. Monnin and colleagues will host “Eisner Week at Tommy G's” at the Thomas G. Carpenter Library on March 1 and lead a workshop that not only celebrates Will Eisner as the world's first graphic novelist but also explores the basic differences between comic books and graphic novels, graphic novel literacy 101, as well as UNF’s growing and diverse graphic novel collection. The annual Will Eisner Week celebration is organized every year by a group of international scholars selected by the Eisner family for their contributions in promoting graphic novel literacy.

Drs. Soonhyang Kim, Katie Monnin, Stacy Boote, Katrina Hall, Christian Winterbottom, Ms. Jeania Jones and Mrs. Vicki Cornett participated Feb. 17 in a session led by Dr. Chris Weber to brainstorm ways to improve teacher education, titled “Tomorrow’s Teacher Education Program: UNF Perspectives.”

Office of the Dean
COEHS participated in an inaugural UNF Showcase held prior to the annual 1972 Emeriti and Friends Luncheon scheduled Feb. 6 during Homecoming Week. Each year, more than 200 retired emeriti and alumni return to campus to reconnect with UNF, learn about exciting updates and recognize their peers for exemplary support of the university.

Department of Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education
Dr. Caroline Guardino presented “SmartSignPlay: A Sign Language App for Toddlers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing and their Families” at the annual international conference of the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in San Antonio. This collaborative research project with Dr. Ching-Hua Chuan, associate professor of computing, has created an app that teaches families functional signs so they can immediately, from birth, begin to communicate with their child. Guardino also participated in a panel discussion titled “Finding the Middle: A Radical Perspective on Research and Practice,” addressing the longtime disagreement among professionals over which type of therapy to use with deaf children. Guardino, along with her colleagues, founded The Radical Middle (TRM), with the goal of ending the divide and helping parents, families, educators and individuals make choices based on evidence and not opinion. Guardino also received a national award from the Association of College Educators for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in February for her innovative use of technology in teaching and research in deaf education. She founded and continues to administer a website, Understanding Deafness and Diversity,, which has become a national resource for parents and professionals working with children who are deaf and diverse (with disabilities and/or come from a home where the parents speak a language other than English).

Tara Rowe, COEHS doctoral student and THRIVE coordinator, UNF students Tyler Charles, Logan Mathieu, Gage Cipriani, Drs. Janice Seabrooks-Blackmore, Karen Patterson, and Kristine Webb (DEDIE) presented “Four Years Later: Listening to Voices of College Students in THRIVE,” at the international Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities Conference in Clearwater Jan. 20. The presentation offered information about the evidenced-based practices that have guided the growth of THRIVE, UNF’s program for college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. After four years, 127 students are involved with the program that represents a partnership between Students Affairs (Disability Resource Center) and Academic Affairs (COEHS - Department of Exceptional, Deaf, and Interpreter Education).

Department of Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management
Dr. Liz Gregg, with Drs. Jason Lee and Andrea Buenano, presented the benefits of creating partnerships with K-12 schools and, with Dr. David Pierce from IUPUI, also presented on the utilization of CATME Software to enhance group work at the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation Conference, or COSMA, in Tampa Feb. 2.
At the same conference, Dr. Jennifer Kane, who serves on the Board of Directors for this sport management accreditation granting organization, presented “Where Does Sport Management Belong?”

Dr. John Kemppainen conducted a workshop on “Adult Learning for the Business Faculty” at the University of Belize in February for 22 faculty in attendance.

Student Affairs
Jake Moore, coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center, has been named an honoree for the 2017 Rainbow Awards, Jacksonville’s LGBT award event that will be held April 1.

Bill Delaney, assistant director of student affairs, co-presented “Nor Did They Know Anything Were God: Southeastern Aspects of the Timucua Worldview,” and discussed the historical Native American culture of Northeast Florida at the Timucuan Preserve Science and History Symposium on Fort George Island in January.

Cody Lewin, Residence Life coordinator, and Tarah Trueblood, director of the Interfaith Center, presented “Restoring Trust & Rebuilding Community Through Cultural Competency Pursuit,” which focused on UNF’s Cultural Competency Pursuit Committee, at the Dalton Institute for Student Values in Tallahassee in February.

Steven Montesinos, mental health counselor at the UNF Counseling Center, presented “Using social media to connect with your college/university community,” at the American Annual College Counseling Association Conference in Tampa in February.

Lucy Croft, assistant vice president of student affairs, transitioned into her role as chair of the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) at the national convention in Baltimore in February. Croft served as chair-elect last year and after her current term will serve as immediate past chair, the final portion of the three-year position.


Dateline balloons to celebrate our faculty and staffMilestone anniversaries
Congratulations to the following employees with a milestone anniversary at UNF in March:

35 years
Janice Donaldson, Director, Small Business Development Center

30 years
Rosalyn Gilbert, Office Manager, ORSP

20 years
Decato Burke, Coordinator Instructional Technology, ITS-Academic Technology

15 years
Linda Cason, Program Assistant, Training and Services Institute

10 years
Ann Hamlin, Assistant Director, Physical Facilities, Facilities Planning
Serra Kekec, Financial Aid Specialist, Financial Aid Office
Deborah Kochanowski, Assistant Director, Academic Support Services, Brooks College of Health Advising
Stephanie Wehry, Coordinator, Research Program Services, Florida Institute of Education

5 years
Margaret Clements, Senior Advisor, ACE
Samantha Dabbs, Head Coach, Volleyball
Jerome Haynes, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management
Cristina Helbling, Assistant Director, Academic Support Services, Undergraduate Studies
Cheryl Lynch, Coordinator, Research Program Services, Small Business Development Center
John Pickett, Locksmith, Maintenance and Energy Management

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

Denise Anderson, Administrative Secretary, Psychology
Mitchell Arthur, Maintenance Mechanic, Housing and Residence Life
Joshua Barthuly, Course Media Developer, Distance Learning Fee
Lori Collins, Program Assistant, Continuing Education Non-Credit
Brian Eisenhauer, Program Assistant, University Center
Katharine Engel, Coordinator, Student Affairs, Student Affairs
Ean Gomez, Coordinator, Admissions
Victoria Jones, Program Assistant, University Housing
Jennifer Joyce, Coordinator, Admissions
Nicole Kent, Office Assistant, Quality Control and Work Management
Kayla Kirby, Budget Associate, Advancement Services 

Joel Lamp, Senior Associate Athletic Director, Development and External Operations               
Amy Lehnhoff, Coordinator, Admissions
Constance Morris, Technical Support Specialist, Enrollment Services Processing Office
Mikayla Murray, Academic Advisor, Brooks College of Health Advising
Jennifer Nabors, Assistant Director, University Budgets, Office of Planning and Budget
Tyshawn Pringle, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Paul Robinson, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Eric Turner, Coordinator, Admissions, Welcome Center
Alexis Waite, Human Resources Associate, Human Resources
Jade Yuen, Coordinator, Admissions
Viktoriya Zalozh, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Gage Ziehmn, Coordinator, Student Affairs, ELP-Faculty Grants and Initiatives

Great Job
The following employees were promoted recently:

Meghan Alexander, Senior IT Support Tech, User Services
Daniel Byrd, Academic Advisor, BCH Advising
Leah Case, Assistant Director, Alumni Engagement
Patricia Dombroski, Office Manager, Mathematics and Statistics
Brian Durham, IT Support Specialist, SG Business and Accounting Office
Jody Morgan, Academic Advisor, Advising
Jennifer Perkins, Director, Alumni Engagement
Kenton Strickland, Office Assistant, Parking and Transportation Services
Lucy Tison, Office Manager, SG Business and Accounting Office
Deborah Williams-Watson, Senior Academic Advisor, Arts and Sciences

Heartfelt well wishes in their new endeavors for the following employees who left UNF recently:

Donald Cloninger, Custodial Worker, Housing and Residence Life
Lily Dzakpasu, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Scott Fitzgerald, Coordinator, Athletic Communications
Norma Gainers, Senior Applications Programmer, Enterprise Systems
Greshka German-Stuart, Academic Advisor, Advising
Jeremy Hall, Virtual Services Librarian, Library
Catherine Johnson, Administrative Assistant, Florida Institute of Education
Eugena Jones, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Chan Luu, Custodial Worker, Physical Facilities
Sheila Montemayor, Registered Nurse, Student Health Services
Marria Nelson, Office Assistant, University Housing
Zachary Schaad, Parking Services Tech, Parking and Transportation Services
Casie Simpson, Assistant Director, Creative Services, MOCA-Administration
John Touchton, Senior Library Services Associate, Library
John Yancey, Director, Continuing Education Non-Credit
Jarrett Zongker, Applications Programmer, Enterprise Systems
Wendi Zongker, Associate Registrar, Registrar's Office

In Memoriam
With sadness, we announce the passing of our former UNF colleagues:

Dr. Gerson Yessin, pianist and 1986 recipient of UNF’s Distinguished Professor Award, died Jan. 25. He worked at UNF from 1971 until his retirement in 1998, founding the UNF Council of the Arts and serving as professor, UNF’s chair of Fine Arts and the founding chair of UNF’s Music Department.
Dr. Linda Foley, social psychology scholar and Professor Emeritus, died Jan. 30. She taught at UNF from 1974 until her retirement in 2008, served as chair of the Department of Psychology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and was the 1982 recipient of UNF’s Distinguished Professor Award.
Judy Smith, UNF administrative secretary for philosophy and religious studies for more than 17 years, died Feb. 6. She cared for students and lent a helping hand to those in need.


Swoop Summary

Ospreys Edge Dolphins 77-74 to Reach ASUN SemifinalsUNF men's golf team photo after Hayt win
The No. 3-seeded North Florida men’s basketball team got 37 points from two-time ASUN Player of the Year Dallas Moore and turned back the upset bid by sixth-seeded rival Jacksonville, earning a 77-74 victory in quarterfinal action of the ASUN Championship Tournament Feb. 27. Learn more about men's basketball.

Men’s Golf Rallies to Claim Team Crown at the Hayt
The North Florida’s men’s golf team overcame a three-shot deficit on the back nine Feb. 26 to claim the team title of the Hayt played at Sawgrass Country Club. The sophomore trio of Philip Knowles, Andrew Alligood and Travis Trace all finished in the Top 15 in leading the Ospreys to victory. Learn more about men's golf

UNF student Eden Meyer running hard for the recordEden Meyer Shatters 5k ASUN Record
Junior standout Eden Meyer blistered a record-setting pace in the 5000m in the ASUN Indoor Championships Feb. 24, finishing in a time of 16:32:53. Her time was not only a PR but broke both the ASUN Championship and JDL Fast Track facility records. Learn more about Eden Meyer.

Men’s Tennis Ranks No. 49
The first computerized national team rankings were revealed Feb. 21 by Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, and North Florida Men’s tennis sits at its highest ranking in program history at No. 49 in the Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis National Team Rankings. Learn more about men's tennis.

The Goods

Bowl of red apples There are more than 7,500 varieties of apples. Washington State produces most of the eight varieties popular in the United States. Although most apples are harvested between August and November, storage technologies enable us to enjoy them year-round. Dr. Judith Rodriguez, Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program director, discusses myths and facts about apples. In order to add apples to your diet, a recipe is included.     


Myth: Eating an apple at night is unhealthy.
Fact: Although some people believe that eating an apple at night causes indigestion, makes it difficult to sleep and is unhealthy, the science doesn’t support this myth. Apples are a healthy source of fluid, fiber, vitamins and potassium and are relatively low in calories. While eating too much or eating fatty or spicy foods before going to sleep may make falling asleep difficult for individuals who don’t tolerate this well, an apple has none of these properties.

Myth: The popular variety known as the Red Delicious apple is best for all types of consumption and use.
Fact: There are many varieties of apples and their individual characteristics make them ideal for different things. For example, the crunchy and sweet Red Delicious apple is great for eating as a snack and in salads, the Golden Delicious can be a snack or used in baking and sauces, while the crunchy but tart Granny Smith is a favorite for pies.

Myth: The best way to grow apples is by planting seeds.
Fact: Although one can plant an apple seed, the cultivation process is long and tedious and not likely to produce the same fruit. The grown apple may be less sweet, a different color or texture. Grafting is a better way in that it’s more likely to result in the same apple.

Myth: Once picked, apples don’t ripen.
Fact: Actually, apples ripen about 10 times faster in room temperature. It’s best to store them at a constant refrigerator temperature, so they can keep for a few weeks. But, if you want it to ripen faster, leave it out at room temperature; however, keep in mind that if you leave it out too long, the apple will start to lose its crunchiness and crispness.

Myth: A bad or spoiled apple will float.
Fact: Apples are actually about 25 percent air, so they will float on water. That’s probably what made them appealing for the game of apple bobbing!

Apple, Cheese and Nut Salad

8 cups mixed salad greens, torn
2 medium Fuji apples, halved, cored and sliced about ⅛-inch thick
¼ cup crumbled blue or feta cheese
¼ cup walnuts or almonds
⅓ cup balsamic dressing
Toss together salad greens, apples, cheese and almonds. Then mix in dressing or serve on the side.
Servings: 8 (side salad)
Calories: 100

(Recipe adapted from

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 “Taste” section of The Florida Times-Union. Have a question about apples? Contact Rodriguez at 

Bright Birds Know

Five presidents have served at the University of North Florida:


  1. Thomas G. Carpenter (1969-1980) managed the building of the university from the ground up.
  2. Curtis McCray (1982-1988) led the university into its second decade, emphasizing controlled growth and academic excellence.
  3. Adam W. Herbert (1989-1998) was a dominant force in the building of UNF.
  4. Anne H. Hopkins (1999-2002) led the university's devolution from the Florida Board of Regents.
  5. President John A. Delaney, who joined UNF in 2003, will conclude a 15-year term - the longest to date - in May 2018.

For more information, check out our Past Presidents' Webpage.


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