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InsideNovember 2020

Around Campus

Campus Unity March for Social Justice and Equality

North Florida Ospreys Unity March

Student-athletes and staff serving on the new UNF Athletic Diversity and Inclusion Committee want to make their position known. As a sign of unity, these Athletics representatives will lead a Unity March through campus to show they stand together for social justice and equality for all.

They invite everyone from the campus community to participate in the march, which begins at 4:30 p.m. today at the Amphitheater. Masks and physical distancing will be required all along the route, which ends at Hodges Stadium.

The idea for the march began during one of the group’s weekly meetings, according to Ervin Lewis, committee chair and recently appointed Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for Athletics. With 18 members, half of them student-athletes, the group began meeting in September to serve as a platform for open dialogue. Several people mentioned that the Jaguars organization had held a march in downtown Jacksonville. 

“We have seen other sports organizations stand firm, but we had not taken a stance one way or another, and we talked about having a march here on campus,” Lewis said. “It’s not a protest, just something simple to show that we stand in unity here within our department. The idea just took off from there.”

When Lewis created the committee, he selected student-athletes based on suggestions from department staff as well as input from coaches. The march is the first event the group has planned, but they also are trying to set a schedule for spring semester in order to continue meeting and sharing ideas once sports return. Lewis sees Athletics as being a catalyst on campus, and he wants to see the energy continue.

Having served as a senior associate athletic director at UNF for the past decade, Lewis continues those responsibilities in addition to his new role. He oversees the operations and maintenance of all Athletic facilities, serves as a liaison for women’s basketball, men’s soccer, and indoor and beach volleyball, and oversees those who have a direct impact on our student-athletes, such as athletic trainers and strength and conditioning staff. 

In his new role, Lewis said he will serve as an advocate for diversity and inclusion and focus his efforts on bringing people together to learn from one other. What Lewis said has always been an underlying issue will now be openly discussed. These are the conversations that he believes will lead to a better tomorrow for everyone. 

“I really feel that the future is bright, not only for this committee, but for the University,” Lewis said. “I’m finding that not only are we making a commitment to diversity and inclusion within Athletics, but you see it across campus. You see it in upper administration with Whitney Meyer’s new role, and I’m learning that many other areas of campus are taking the initiative to promote diversity and inclusion throughout. I think this is really only the beginning.”

Around Campus

Public Opinion Research Lab Again in the Spotlight

Dr. Michael Binder

For weeks now, Michael Binder has been talking with journalists from around the state, the nation and the world. As faculty director of the UNF Public Opinion Research Laboratory, Binder has been discussing Florida’s close presidential race with local media, national outlets such as C-SPAN and reporters from Ireland, France and even China.

The world, it seems, is focused on Florida, especially since the release of UNF’s final state poll that showed the presidential candidates separated by a mere percentage point. With numbers that close, there’s bound to be a lot of media attention. “This election is close and Florida is a pivotal state,” Binder said. “But it’s Florida. It was always going to be close.”

Binder, an associate professor in Political Science and Public Administration, joined UNF in 2011. He became the third faculty director for the Public Opinion Research Lab in 2013, reopening the Lab after it had been closed to outside clients for two years. Since then, he has grown the operation from conducting a few internal projects a year to a round-the-clock research organization that has collaborated with 37 unique clients, 33 UNF faculty members and brought in nearly $2 million in revenue.

Projects in other statesNext year will mark 20 years of operation since its opening in March 2001. In commemoration of that milestone, UNF has been invited to host a conference of the Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations, Feb. 25 and 26, which will now be held virtually due to the pandemic. 


Since it opened, the Public Opinion Research Lab has conducted 241 research projects. With student workers as the majority of the callers, Binder said the operation provides both employment to students and introduces them to research and understanding data. In addition, the surveys include questions from faculty members, thus giving them access to original data.

Though political polls are just a portion of the Lab’s work, Binder said the media attention makes that research most familiar to the public, and as a result has thrust the Lab into the election spotlight. “We’ve really kind of put ourselves on the map,” Binder said. “I think it’s great not only from the perspective of us and the callers, but also seeing that recognition for the University as well.”

Binder also believes that the research surveys provide an important voice for residents. “Often times elected officials are not really hearing from everyday American folks,” Binder said. “I think that’s where surveys matter. Not everybody goes to city council meetings and speaks, not everybody is a lobbyist and has hundreds of thousands of dollars to donate to candidates, so that creates a voice for the everyday regular person.”

Did You Know?

  • UNF is one of only a couple universities in Florida doing sponsored political research. Several universities have centers to conduct polls, but most do not sponsor political research.
  • The UNF Lab also is one of the highest rated public opinion research institutions in Florida, as rated by FiveThirthyEight, an organization that focuses on opinion poll analysis, politics and economics.
  • The Lab has provided research on many local issues, including the proposed sale of JEA, the area’s publicly owned utility company; the one-half cent tax to support local schools; the Click it or Ticket campaign of the Florida Department of Transportation, the economic impact of the Jacksonville Jazz Festival and more.
  • Political polling, now common during elections, began with a different purpose. Researchers in the 1930s were trying to find a way to prove that their mathematical sampling could be trusted. Because election outcomes showed the results of all ballots cast, those doing the polling could prove that their 500 or 1,000 surveys actually did represent millions of voters. Today, political polling has evolved and the math is well accepted; with a truly random selection, polls allow users to draw inferences to the entire population.
  • Though many media reports use polls to make election predictions, they are not designed for that purpose. Those who conduct polls will tell you that it’s a snapshot of a moment in time rather than a predictor of what will happen a week, a month or a year from now.

Public Opinion Research Lab in 2019 ― By the Numbers:

  • 215 days calling; 1,135,919 total dials; 17,644 phone interviews completed
  • 1,569 online surveys completed
  • 48 days in the field for in-person Intercept Surveys; 2,553 Intercept Surveys completed
  • Sponsored research projects brought in more than $420,000 in revenue
  • UNF students working at the Lab, representing all the colleges, earned $350,000 in total wages.


    Around Campus

    UNF Launches MedNexus

    President David Szymanski at MedNexus ribbon-cutting

    With a ribbon-cutting in October, UNF stepped into the future of healthcare education in Northeast Florida.

    The ceremonial event in Flagler County kicked off UNF MedNexus, a state-funded initiative that aims to combine resources in Duval and surrounding counties. UNF’s academic strengths will be integrated with additional sites for clinical experience, technological innovation and medical research. Using the advantage of pooled talent and funding, UNF plans to direct this multi-county effort to achieve an important statewide goal: educate more students for careers in health. Looking to the future, trained professionals will be needed to fill about 200,000 new jobs expected by 2024.

    As part of this first county connection, UNF MedNexus will work with Daytona State College campus in Palm Coast to add courses in January 2021 and a nursing cohort in the fall. Scholarships also will be made available. Additional Flagler County partner support includes a financial commitment from the City of Palm Coast, a new nursing simulation lab from AdventHealth, and the building of a teaching facility from Allete Energy, through Douglas Properties. Local secondary schools also will work together to develop career pathways from high school through to job placement.

    These are first steps for the new program that will expand over several years and phases. Many decisions about locations, partnerships, management and directions have not been made. What has been established, according to Dr. Curt Lox, dean of the Brooks College of Health, is that UNF MedNexus will focus on three primary aspects: workforce development, medical technology innovation and the advancement of healthcare research. Brooks is now involved in the workforce development, though the other aspects of the program are in the planning stages.

    “The workforce development piece is really exciting,” Lox said. “We are constantly being told, for example, we need more nurses and physical therapists. We need healthcare analytics and informatics and genetic counselors. Addressing these needs takes a lot of time and money, both of which are in short supply. And so to be able to have the potential to add new areas of study moving forward is exciting, because they are desperately needed in the field.”

    The Palm Coast nursing cohort, then, is an important first step, according to Lox. In spring 2021, the University will also be working on agreements with Daytona State College to find ways to transition nursing students into UNF’s graduate programs. UNF ultimately plans to have computer labs in Palm Coast as well as classrooms, offices and staffing.

    Brooks College of Health is currently in the curriculum development phase and preparing for the hiring of faculty and staff. In addition to a simulation lab in Palm Coast, a new simulation center in Jacksonville will be vital to the success of the College’s existing programs, Lox said. The University is now looking at spaces off-campus that will provide 6,000 – 8,000 square feet of space at a minimum for much-needed simulation training for nursing, physical therapy, athletic training, nutrition and clinical mental health counseling.

    “A very flexible space that will allow us to do simulated training is absolutely critical to our future,” Lox said. “So this is a huge project and probably the most important piece of the MedNexus initiative for the Brooks College of Health.”

    Around Campus

    Introducing our Youngest Learners to STEM

    Preschooler explores her world

    STEM learning has become a buzzword in education. The acronym that groups together science, technology, engineering and mathematics is now associated with a nationwide effort to prepare students for jobs of the future.

    What if that training were to begin in Pre-K through second grade? What would it look like? How would we train teachers to reach these youngest learners?

    The College of Education and Human Resources is now exploring those questions and recently received a $4.1 million grant that will significantly help uncover the answers. The three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education will not only help fund teacher training, but also provide support and ideas for project-based activities that complement existing classroom instruction. 

    Dr. Diane Yendol-Hoppey, who as dean was instrumental in obtaining the grant, sees the chance to include young children in a hands-on learning approach as a great way to complement all the existing efforts underway with older students in the region. “This provides our youngest children the opportunity to explore interesting and relevant STEM ideas in a project-based, hands-on-way,” Yendol-Hoppey said. “We are thrilled to be collaboratively elevating the teaching profession and empowering teachers.” 

    The grant-funded program is now being developed under the name Project InTERSECT. The College expects its first cohort of students to participate in summer 2021. 

    Another COEHS project that begins this month, however, may actually provide a preview of what’s to come. Dr. Meghan Parkinson, assistant professor of Childhood STEM Learning at UNF, is working to train several teachers from Seabreeze Elementary in the Duval County Public School District. These teachers will then teach third through fifth graders in computer coding in an after-school setting. “It’s very similar to the work that will be done with the grant in that it’s a project-based approach, and teachers will use hands-on learning.” Parkinson said. “We’ve just started with third through fifth grade students, but will eventually include Pre-K through second grade.”

    Funding for Parkinson’s project is from 5C Academy, a Jacksonville nonprofit that has partnered with UNF to help train teachers to bring problem-solving and computer skills to young children. The teachers complete an online professional development to earn an instructional badge at no cost to them, and 5C Academy pays for their after-school teaching time.

    In the same way, the grant behind Project InTERSECT will fund Pre-K through second grade teacher badge training and pay for teachers to explore and expand upon what they teach students. Those educators who are interested can take advantage of scholarships to earn a certificate or a master’s degree.

    Parkinson said that going forward the badge will also be available at UNF for all teacher candidates. “If they want to go further, they can return to earn a certificate at UNF,” she said. “In addition to training, the grant also provides a lot of intensive coaching and feedback for the teachers, who will get support from the people on the grant team. It’s super exciting because we can now prepare early childhood teachers to use engineering and computer science as a context for what they already teach in literacy, science and mathematics.”

    Around Campus

    Students Perform Opera’s Greatest Hits

    Production of the Opera Gala

    Friday evening marked UNF’s first Opera Gala performance. Under the direction of Dr. John Daugherty, assistant professor of music, the voices of 25 UNF student singers joined together in a prerecorded video to perform a wide range of opera favorites, from music created by 18th century composers to arias new to the 20th century. The repertoire was performed in four languages: Italian, German, French and English.

    Creating the video during a pandemic presented a full range of challenges, according to Daugherty. The process began with a crew filming the opera scenes with masked singers in various locations. To add the opera choruses that were to include all the voices, the crew then videotaped the conductor and recorded the pianist with no singers. That video was sent to the students, who added their individual voices from home. Speaking before the presentation, Daugherty, who hadn’t yet seen the final product, said syncing the voices was the final step to create the virtual choir.

    The experience was new to students and Daugherty, an experienced director of live theater who took on his first role as movie director. Whatever the final outcome, Daugherty said the students had done a remarkable job. “I’m pleased with how they responded to me as a new professor coming in and being very demanding,” he said. “I knew I was, but I also knew they could do it, and they proved me right. They’re a remarkable group of young people, and they are so much fun to work with.” 

    Daugherty plans to add another performance in the spring, and hopes to direct a live gala each fall. “The gala model is basically a festive greatest-hits opera variety hour, often used as a fundraiser” he said. “It’s basically a huge party in black tie that we invite VIPs to, and we perform pieces that everyone likes. I hope we are able to do this in person next fall.”

    Daugherty joined UNF this semester to teach opera and applied voice, most recently serving as visiting assistant professor at Furman University. He is a frequent recitalist and accomplished baritone with degrees from the University of Michigan and Texas Tech.

    The prerecording was released Friday evening, Oct. 30, but is still available for viewing on the School of Music’s YouTube channel

    Around Campus

    UNF to Honor Veterans with Week of Valor

    UNF's Veteran's Plaza


    New service flags are flying in UNF's Veterans Plaza as Veterans Day approaches and the Military Veterans Resource Center prepares for its annual tribute.

    Bob Buehn, director of the MVRC, said campus restrictions on large gatherings during the pandemic brought about changes to the traditional tribute that UNF has held for years. “The staff of the Military and Veterans Resource Center instead created an innovative, week-long virtual event that features something different every day,” Buehn said. “We feel it is important to take the time to recognize and thank veterans for the sacrifices they have made today and through history in protecting and preserving our freedoms. We invite all to check out the daily offerings.”

    Here is the Week of Valor schedule:
    Monday, Nov. 9
    Kickoff at 9 a.m.: Veterans Day display of small flags all week on the Green, each one representing a military-affiliated student currently enrolled at UNF
    10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cookies and bracelets at the John A. Delaney Student Union

    Tuesday, Nov. 10
    10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Marine Corps celebration, plus cookies and bracelets at the Student Union

    Wednesday, Nov. 11
    Noon: A special message from President David Szymanski on social media in honor of Veterans Day (@UNFMVRC)

    Thursday, Nov. 12
    Noon: Service branch recognition on social media (@UNFMVRC)

    Friday, Nov. 13
    Noon: Military Student of the Year announcement on social media (@UNFMVRC)
    1 p.m.: Student Veterans of America video on social media
    3 p.m.: Veterans Day display on the Green ends

    Faculty Forum

    Dr. Tru Leverette

    Dr. Tru Leverette is an associate professor of English and director of Africana Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. She teaches various African-American and American literature courses, an interdisciplinary course on the African Diaspora, and general education writing classes.

    As part of her research interests, Leverette recently finished editing a collection on the art and aesthetics of the Black Arts Movement, which will be published next year. As a certified yoga teacher, she also has been interested in the ways mindfulness and holistic awareness of students can help teachers facilitate uncomfortable conversations in the classroom. Leverette is currently writing a book that explores the role and possibilities of mindfulness in classrooms that focus on race and social justice issues, which is slated to be published next year.

    She and Drs. Laura Heffernan and Clayton McCarl also are starting a digital archive of the Viola Muse papers. This project will involve students in the transcribing and annotating of the papers as well as in researching the Jacksonville-based Negro Division of the Federal Writer’s Project.

    What brought you to UNF? I was hired as a visiting assistant professor, specializing in African-American literature in 2005. The following year, I was hired in the tenure track position.

    Tell us about your role as the director of Africana Studies. Africana Studies is a new interdisciplinary major that is being created in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am working with a steering committee of faculty who teach in areas relevant to the emergent major to determine the new program of study. I will be responsible for completing the APC paperwork for this new major, helping to guide its programming, and working with departments on additional faculty hires who will contribute to the curriculum.

    What’s one thing in your field of study that people might not know? The study of literature is a strong basis for many career paths. This discipline really develops critical thinking and close reading skills, as well as the skill of empathy, all of which are applicable to and even essential for much of life.

    What’s the most rewarding academic experience you’ve had at UNF in or out of the classroom? The community-based learning experiences students and I have participated in have been incredibly rewarding. Students and I have worked on the Sankofa Narrative Project with CUEP director Dr. Chris Janson; worked with local elementary school students; created a podcast; and visited local sites of historical importance. Currently, I’m finding that helping run The Justice Sessions and the Baobab Black Arts series is vitally rewarding. All of these experiences have enhanced broad-based learning and community connections.


    Describe your teaching style. Do you like to integrate tech, or are you more comfortable with a lecture-style classroom? I prefer a discussion-centered classroom and community-based, experiential learning. The former helps develop critical thinking — which I see as the top skill students should learn in college. And I think the latter provides more authentic learning, integrating knowledge with practice. I agree with this paraphrase of something Alice Walker wrote: “I imagine good teaching to be a circle of earnest people gathered together to ask questions; I don’t see it as a handing down of answers.”
    If you weren’t teaching, what else would you be doing and why? I would still be teaching yoga and meditation, gardening and working with herbs, but I’d also love to work for the National Park Service as a park ranger. That’s a goal I have for my retirement. 


    Do you have a favorite spot on campus? I love the natural elements on campus, from the nature trails to the organic garden and the native landscaping.

    What is your personal philosophy? I think it’s summed up well by this poem from Hafiz, a 14th century Sufi poet:
    “How did the rose ever open its heart
    And give to this world all its beauty?
    It felt the encouragement of light against its being
    Otherwise, we all remain too frightened.”

    I want to be a light like that, encouraging those around me to enact their best selves while striving to enact the best within myself too.

    What do you like most about UNF? By far, my colleagues and students are my favorite part of UNF. Both groups contain outstandingly smart and engaged people from whom I learn a great deal.

    Who has been the biggest role model in your life? My mother has been strong model for me in terms of women’s independence, resilience and courage in the face of life’s challenges. In many ways, she’s been a nontraditional mother, which helped me see a broader vision of what’s possible and to not limit myself with other people’s assumptions.

    What advice would you give a student who is about to graduate? Stay true to your purpose, which is often discovered through your passions. Finding and fulfilling that purpose isn’t incompatible with financial success, but shouldn’t be sacrificed for it either.

    Who is your favorite fictional character? This is too hard for me, and probably most bibliophiles, to answer! My favorite writers, though: Toni Morrison, Charles Johnson, Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver.

    Where is the best place you’ve visited? All of them! I love to travel, but I think my favorite place has been Seville, Spain.

    How do you recharge? As an introvert, I recharge through solitude. Yoga, meditation and being in nature recharge me. I enjoy hiking, bike riding and being near the ocean.

    What do you like most about Jacksonville? Where else have you lived? I love the energy for positive change among many people here; I love the work of local artists and musicians; I love the river and natural spaces. I’ve lived in a number of U.S. states — Michigan, New York, Massachusetts, Colorado, North Carolina and in Montreal, Canada.

    What would you most regret not having done by the end of your life? I would regret not acquiring more smile lines than frown lines.

    Get to Know

    Michael Maroney

    Meet: Michael Maroney 

    Michael Maroney is the manager of Maintenance Utilities. In that role, he oversees the Physical Facilities Maintenance Shops, which include electrical, plumbing and general maintenance as well as the North and Southside maintenance crews. This fall, he oversaw and coordinated the installation of all the campus COVID-19 signage.

    What do you enjoy about working at UNF? I enjoy working with our campus community and assisting with making their work and learning area pleasant to work in.

    How long have you lived in Jacksonville? 40-plus years. 

    Where else have you lived? California, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Texas and Germany

    What one memory do you most treasure? Marrying my wife, 37 years and counting.

    If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? Astronaut and explore the unknown.

    What superpower would you like to have? Mindreading, because I could help people get through their personal struggles.

    If you ruled the world, what would you change on Day 1?
    I would like to see peace on earth, because I’d love for everyone to be happy.

    What’s at the top of your bucket list? Traveling the entire U.S coastline on a motorcycle. I want to feel the wind in my face and smell the salt air.

    Tell us something that might surprise us about you.
    I love to do crafts and love a finished project.

    Where would you like to go on a dream vacation? I would travel to Alaska because I would love to hunt and fish there.

    Tell us a few of your favorite things.
    Band: Led Zeppelin
    Season: Winter
    Smell: Salt air
    Sound: Helicopter rotor blades
    Sport to watch: baseball/ football

    Around Campus

    10 Free November Events

    How Soon Is Now Annual Art, Art History, and Design (AAHD) Faculty Exhibition
    Now through Thursday, Nov. 12
    “How Soon is Now?” at the UNF Gallery of Art
    Showcasing AAHD faculty artwork responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and crisis. Gallery hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Other times by appointment. Send an email for more information.

    Lawson Ensemble Concert
    Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7:30 – 9 p.m.
    Live streamed on the School of Music YouTube page
    Featuring ensemble musicians Nick Curry, cello; Clinton Dewing, violin; and Aurica Duca, violin.

    Justice Sessions
    A virtual webinar and discussion series developed by an interdisciplinary group of UNF departments will feature speakers who will discuss Jacksonville’s history of racial and civil rights struggles. Here are two November sessions:
    Wednesday, Nov. 4, noon: Dr. Natasha Christie, UNF political science and public administration chair/associate professor, will discuss the disproportionate impact of felon disenfranchisement laws on communities of color.
    Friday, Nov. 13, noon: The final session for the semester, “How to Research Local Black History,” will feature various voices in a roundtable discussion hosted by UNF’s Digital Humanities Institute. 

    Register online for both sessions. 

    Science CafeScience Cafe
    Dr. Peter Kranz: ‘Human Conflict: Black and White’
    Friday, Nov. 6, noon − 1 p.m., online via Zoom

    Dr. Peter Krantz taught at UNF from 1972−77 and created a unique course called Human Conflict: Black and White that received national media attention. He is now a professor in the College of Education Department of Counseling at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. Register to receive a Zoom link.

    Jon HuntsmanDistinguished Voices Lecture Series
    Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6-6:30 p.m., online
    Speaker Jon Huntsman, former governor of Utah and U.S. ambassador to Russia, China and Singapore, will present “The Russian Bear: What’s It Up to Now?” Ambassador Huntsman began his career in public service as a staff assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He has served for five U.S. presidents since then in critical roles, most recently as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. Free, but registration required


    Music Recital: Carlos Enrique Santelli With Pianist Denise Wright
    Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

    Live streamed on the School of Music's YouTube page.
    The Cummer Family Foundation Chamber Music Series presents 2018 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Winner, Carlos Enrique Santelli, tenor. Dr. Jimmy Hall, artistic director.

    UNF Wind Symphony presents Our Response Will be Music
    Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 16 −17, 7:30 p.m.
    Live streamed on the School of Music's YouTube page
    Performing music by William Bolcom, Jodie Blackshaw and Kathryn Salfelder. Dr. Erin Bodnar, conductor; Moses Evans, graduate conductor.

    33rd Annual Great American Jazz Series 33rd Annual Great American Jazz Series presents 
    Trumpeter Carl Fischer: Remembering Maynard Ferguson
    Tuesday through Thursday, Nov. 17 – 19, noon – 2 p.m
    Live streamed on the School of Music's YouTube page
    Subjects include Remembering Maynard Ferguson; The Business of Music; and Jazz Improvisation and Arranging. J.B. Scott, artistic director

    Printmaking Exhibit at MOCAMULTIPLE ONES: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia
    MOCA Jacksonville: Exhibition runs through Jan. 24, 2021
    Find MOCA hours online
    This exhibition, curated by Sheila Goloborotko, professor of printmaking at UNF, features the work of contemporary printmakers, highlighting the multitude of possibilities that printmaking holds as a medium. The works featured here demonstrate how contemporary artists are breaking away from the traditional techniques associated with the art form, to produce unique works through unconventional methods, materials and display. Museum admission is free for UNF employees and one guest.

    Around Campus

    Inside News Roundup

    Ana Roman-Dominguez Here’s a recap of UNF news that you might have missed:

    UNF employee recognized as an Osprey Hero

    Ana Roman-Dominguez, assistant coach for the women’s tennis team, is honored and profiled as an Osprey Hero for her commitment to leadership development of the student-athletes she coaches. She not only works to help students develop on the court as tennis players, but also off the court as future leaders in all aspects of their lives. Read the full story about the coach online.

    November is Indigenous Peoples' Heritage Month

    UNF celebrates Indigenous Peoples' Heritage Month with a series of events that include talks by UNF faculty such as Denise Bossy, history; Keith Ashley, sociology, anthropology and social work; David Sheffler, history. There will also be talks by distinguished scholars from other institutions, trivia contests, film screenings and more. Read about all the planned activities.

    UNF School of Computing ranks Top 20 in the nation in global programming competition
    Four student teams from UNF’s School of Computing ranked top in the nation in a global computer programming competition in October known as IEEEXtreme, a 24-hour programming challenge with 3,706 teams from more than 70 countries. Two of UNF’s student teams, Osprey4 and OspreyOverflow, ranked within the top 20 in the nation. A third UNF team, BirdProgrammers, ranked in the top 25 in the nation and UNF’s fourth team, LANBeforeTime, ranked in the top 30. Read more about the competition.


    Annual State of the St. Johns River Report released in October
    The City of Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board released the 2020 State of the River Report Oct. 22. The release included a presentation featuring several of the report’s authors, including UNF’s Dr. Charles Closmann. The River Report is a collaborative project between faculty and staff at UNF, Jacksonville University (JU), Florida Southern College and West Chester University. Read the report on the UNF Environmental Center’s website

    Dr. Tara RoweUNF THRIVE program director recognized with National Innovative Practices in Transition Award
    Dr. Tara Rowe, UNF THRIVE program director and Disability Resource Center (DRC) adjunct instructor, was recognized with the Marc Gold Innovative Practices in Transition award from the Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT) at the national DCDT conference in October for her demonstrated innovation in transition services. Learn more about Tara Rowe and the award

    UNF art professor featured at 10th Biennial of Douro in Portugal and other exhibitions
    Dr. Sheila Goloborotko, printmaking associate professor in UNF’s Department of Art, Art History and Design, is currently showcasing her art in multiple exhibitions around the world. Goloborotko is one of the international artists and curators featured at the 10th Biennial of Douro at the Coa in Portugal. Her work also was selected for “A Peculiar Proximity to Spiritual Mysteries” at the Zuckerman Museum of Art (ZMA) in Kennesaw, Georgia. Read more about Sheila Goloborotko and her featured work.

    UNF School of Computing receives $500K NSA award for healthcare cybersecurity curriculum development
    The University of North Florida School of Computing has been selected to receive a $500K grant from the National Security Agency (NSA) to develop curriculum and train transitioning military personnel and first responders in healthcare cybersecurity systems. UNF’s team will be part of a coalition led by the University of Louisville who received $6 million in federal funding to develop a healthcare cybersecurity online certificate program. Read more about the UNF project led by Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy.

    Dr. Adam RosenblattFirst-ever study of urban alligators completed
    UNF researchers recently published results in the Scientific Reports journal from a year-long survey of Jacksonville’s urban alligator population across nine tributaries of the St. Johns River. The team of UNF students, led by Dr. Adam Rosenblatt, assistant professor of biology, will continue to track how alligator distribution across the city changes as the dredging project continues in the St. Johns River. Read more about the research online.

    UNF instructor joins the Board of Trustees for the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind
    June Ann LeFors, an instructor in UNF’s Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education program, has been appointed to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) Board of Trustees by Gov. Ron DeSantis. In addition to teaching at UNF, LeFors is a freelance deaf interpreter and ASL translator in the northeast and central Florida areas. Learn more about June Ann LeFors’ background.

    Archaeology digUNF archaeology program looking to uncover 16th century community
    Archaeologist students have recovered Indigenous pottery that dates to the 1500s and early 1600s along with animal bones and shellfish remains as they work on land at the southern end of Big Talbot Island this semester. The students, led by Dr. Keith Ashley, UNF Archaeology Lab director and assistant professor, are trying to pinpoint the exact location of the Indigenous community of Sarabay. Learn more about the project. 

    Around Campus

    Presidential Excellence Awards Announced

    Congratulations to the recipients of the spring 2020 Presidential Excellence Awards, who will be recognized during the 2021 Professional Development Forum.

    Presidential Excellence Award ― Administrative and Professional
    First Place:
    Vivian Senior, Associate Director, Career Success Center, College of Arts and Sciences
    Second Place (Tie):

    • Amanda Lovins, Associate Director, College of Arts and Sciences, Dean's Office
    • Ashley Smith, Coordinator Employment, Human Resources


    • Shannon Bellemare, Academic Advisor, College of Arts and Sciences Advising
    • Carolyn Carley-Richart, Buyer, Procurement Services
    • Courtney Chambers, IT Coordinator, User Services
    • Ricarla Jackson, Coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office
    • Marianne Jaffee, Executive Assistant, Academic Affairs
    • Whitney Meyer, Director, Community Alliance for Student Success; now VP and Chief Diversity Officer
    • Matthew Ohlson, Director, Taylor Leadership Institute
    • Michele Verkerk, Office Manager, College of Education and Human and Service Dean’s Office
    • Brandi Winfrey, Associate Director, Department of Diversity Initiatives

    Presidential Excellence Award ― USPS
    First Place
    : Michael Trotter, Supervisor, Central Receiving

    •  Patricia Dombroski, Office Manager, Mathematics and Statistics

    Presidential Quality Customer Service Award

    Winner: Global Engagement

    • Center for Instruction, Research and Technology
    • Controller
    • School of Music
    • University Development and Alumni Engagement
    • Welcome Center

    Presidential SPOT Award
    Award Winners:

    • Anjeanette Alexander-Smith, Adjunct Instructor, English Department
    • Jeremey Baker, Academic Advisor, Coggin college of Business Advising
    • Walter Bolen, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management
    • Courtney Chambers, IT Coordinator, User Services
    • Christopher Dann, IT Coordinator, User Services
    • Michelle Davis, Office Manager, Biology Department
    • Annie Gomez. IT Full Stack Engineer, Enterprise Systems
    • Theresa Hammock, Coordinator, Military and Veterans Resource Center
    • Don Harris, Senior IT Systems Engineer, Systems Engineering
    • Thomas Higginbotham, Office Assistant, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management
    • Richard Huffman, Coordinator, Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
    • Katherine Kamback, Assistant Director, Office of the Dean of Students
    • Angela Lee, Coordinator, Center for Professional Development and Training
    • Amy Lehnhoff, Strategic Sourcing Analyst, Procurement Services
    • Kelly Marton, Academic Advisor, Coggin College of Business Advising
    • Brittany Santos, Office Manager, Music
    • Michael Trotter, Supervisor, Central Receiving
    • Whitney Washington, Victim Advocate, Department of Diversity and Inclusion
    • William Whittaker, IT Coordinator, User Services
    • Emily Williamson, Director, University Development and Alumni Engagement


    Balloons with UNF logo

    Congratulations to the following employees with a milestone anniversary in November:


    25 Years
    Alice Davies, Office Manager, Accounting and Finance

    20 Years
    Mina Baliamoune, Professor, Economics
    Timothy Maddox, Associate Director, Network Telecommunications, Networking Services

    10 Years
    Michelle Davis, Office Manager, Biology
    Jennifer Hunter, Coordinator, IT Support, User Services
    Jeannie Jacobs, Senior Academic Advisor, Undergraduate Studies
    Patricia Kapcio, Director, UNF Online
    Anthony Morrison, Radiologic Technologist, Student Health Services
    Jenny Neidhardt, Office Manager, Chemistry
    Shawn Ochrietor, Maintenance Supervisor, Physical Facilities
    Peter Rivera, Coordinator, Research Program Services, Small Business Development Center
    Melinda Rojas, Coordinator, Instructional Support, Writing Center
    Midori Stephens, Education Training Programs Coordinator, Small Business Development Center

    5 Years
    Teresa Nichols, Associate VP, University Development and Alumni Engagement
    Andrew McCharen, Fine Arts Production Specialist, Fine Arts Center

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

    Bethany Albritton, Support Services Coordinator, COAS Advising
    Jack Anorue, Admissions Coordinator, Welcome Center
    Victoria Armenta, Executive Secretary, Stewardship and Donor Relations
    Brittany Beal, Office Manager, Marketing and Logistics
    Stephanie Boilard, Library Services Specialist, Library
    Lisa Brunson, Administrative Secretary, Small Business Development Center
    Rayanna Campbell, Academic Support Services Coordinator, Undergraduate Studies
    Pam Fletcher, Accountant, Training and Services Institute
    Melissa Freirich, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
    Thomas Hensler, Manager Maintenance Utilities, Maintenance and Energy Management
    Lena Hernandez, Library Services Specialist, Library
    Kristine Herrington, Director, Annual Giving
    Mimi Jefferson, Associate Director, Research Programs and Services, Florida Institute of Education
    Marvin Mchellon, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
    Joseph Robison, Groundskeeper, Grounds
    Karla Sotelo-Blanco, VPK Regional Facilitator, Florida Institute of Education
    Williams Toledo, Fire Alarm Technician, Maintenance and Energy Management
    Gjergj Vatnikaj, Groundskeeper, Grounds
    Alexandra Zuffoletti, Admissions Coordinator, UNF Online

    Great Job
    The following employees were promoted recently:

    Anissa Agne, Assistant VP, Enrollment Financial Aid Office
    Scott Curry, Senior Director, Career Services, Academic Affairs
    Claritza Day, Assistant Director, Project Management Office
    Leshare Demps, Admissions Coordinator, UNF Online
    Ryan Duzon, Associate Director, Academic Support Services, Enrollment Services 
    Stephen Marmash, Senior Groundskeeper, Grounds
    Daniel Orel, Assistant Director, IPTM


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

    Carrie Cragun-Atchison, Psychologist, Counseling Center
    Adonna Gattis, Police Records Clerk, University Police Department
    Kathleen Gram, Coordinator, Administrative Services, OneJax
    Debra Lenahen, Assistant Director, Disability Resource Center
    Blair Litwiller, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Center
    Jessica Lumpkin, Coordinator, COAS Career Success Center
    Betina Malhotra, Associate Director, Academic Support Services, College of Education and Human Services
    Lauren O'Toole, Office Manager, Athletics
    Megan Rudelitsch, Coordinator, Research Integrity, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
    Kya Stotler, Academic Support Technician, Center for Instruction and Research Training
    Kenton Strickland, Office Manager, Office of the Dean of Students 


    In Memoriam

    UNF is saddened to learn of the recent death of William J. Wilson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Statistics and a former Distinguished Professor.

    Faculty and Staff

    Osprey Fountain(2)Brooks College of Health
    Dr. Helene Vossos
    , director of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-DNP Program, submitted “Building Resiliency and Well-Being in A Stress Reduction Mindfulness Program: The NP-RAMP” in the category of DNP curriculum and instruction to the Program National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), 47th Annual Conference Abstract 2021 submission.

    Coggin College of Business
    Global Engagement won the Quality Customer Service Award for the Spring 2020 semester. The selection is based on several factors: contributing to the enhancement of quality customer service at the University, showing exceptional initiative, responding to the needs of students, patrons or customers and demonstrating improvement of customer service and satisfaction. Learn more about the awards.

    College of Arts and Sciences

    Art, Art History and Design
    Sheila Goloborotko's work is featured at the 10th Biennial of Douro at the Coa in Portugal. Her work also was selected for “A Peculiar Proximity to Spiritual Mysteries” at the Zuckerman Museum of Art in Kennesaw, Georgia, and “Multiple Ones: Contemporary Perspectives in Printmedia,” currently on display through January at UNF’s Museum of Contemporary Art.


    Jenny Hager, professor in sculpture, in collaboration with other AAHD faculty, organized and participated in the ArtWork(ers) United, an International Exhibition of Interdisciplinary Art related to Activism, presented as a socially distanced drive-in movie art event in September. 

    Stephen Heywood, professor of ceramics, participated in The Vessel: Variations of Form and Surface - Invitational Group Exhibition at the Artlink Contemporary Gallery, Fort Wayne, Indiana, in October. 

    Kally Malcom, associate professor of photography, organized and participated in the ArtWork(ers) United event in September. 

    Lance Vickery, assistant professor of sculpture, received UFF-UNF: 2020-21 Mini-Grant in October. Lance also was a team member and artist of the ArtWork(ers) United, an International Exhibition of Interdisciplinary Art related to Activism, presented as a socially distanced drive in movie art event in September.

    From communication studies, Dr. Christa Arnold, associate professor, Dr. Margaret Stewart associate professor, and Dr. Christine Holland, associate instructor, published an article titled: "Emerging Themes in Physician-Patient Communication from the Physician's Perspective" in the Carolina's Communication Annual, 26, 9-23, September.

    Criminology Criminal Justice
    Dr. Holly Miller, professor, and Dr. Mitch Miller, professor, in partnership with Bowling Green State University and the Toledo Police Department, have received a $750,000 award from the US Bureau of Justice for an evaluation of the effectiveness of medication treatment to disrupt the drugs-crime trajectories of opioid dependent offenders.

    Dr. Jennifer Wesely, professor in criminology and criminal justice, published the article titled, "Skimming the surface or digging deeper: The role of emotion in students' reflective journals during an experiential criminal justice course" in the Journal of Experiential Education, August. Read the article online.

    Dr. Charles Closmann, associate professor of history, with Professor Emeritus James Crooks gave a talk titled: “The History of UNF in Context with that of Jacksonville” for UNF Lead, on Sept. 23.

    Philosophy and Religion Studies
    Dr. Sarah LaChance Adams
    , Florida Blue Distinguished Professor working in the area of ethics, feminist philosophy and critical existential phenomenology, participated in a book release for her new book, "The Maternal Tug: Ambivalence, Identity and Agency" at the online conference International Association of Maternal Action and Scholarship, September.

    Dr. Andrew Buchwalter, Presidential Professor, published "Religion in the Public Sphere: Habermas, His Critics, and Hegelian Challenges" in a special issue of the "Berlin Journal of Critical Theory", 17-53, July.

    Dr. Devki N. Talwar, visiting instructor, published a peer-reviewed research paper titled “Carrier recombination dynamics in green InGaN-LEDs with quantum-dot-like structures" in the Journal of Materials Science Electronic Materials, September.

    Dr. William B. Lane, physics instructor, published a Letter to the Editor in The Physics Teacher, “When order matters,” The Physics Teacher 58, 373, September. Read the Letter to the Editor online.

    Political Science and Public Administration
    Dr. Josh Gellers
    , associate professor of political science, participated in the “Virtual Roundtable on the Interlinkages between Artificial Intelligence and Earth System Governance” at the Earth System Governance Virtual Forum, September.


    Dr. Juliana Leding, professor, was awarded an Academic Technology Grant for her project “Are Animate Items Given Priority in Cognitive Processing?” 


    Philosophy and Religious Studies

    Dr. Sarah Mattice , associate professor and director of Interdisciplinary Studies,  was awarded an Academic Technology Grants for her project “Technology to Measure Meditation.” 


    Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

    Dr. Keith Ashley, assistant professor of anthropology, with current UNF graduate student Lacy Priest, (History) published “Grant Mound (8DU14): The Other Mill Cove Complex Mound” in The Florida Anthropologist, September.


    The Social Work program, with funds provided by the German Academic Exchange Service, will partner with Fulda University (Germany) and institutions in Australia and Namibia to develop online social work classes for international students.

    College of Education and Human Services
    Dr. Carolyne Ali-Khan
    , associate professor, and Dr. John White, associate professor, published “Between hope and despair: Teacher education in the age of Trump” in Educational Philosophy and Theory, 52(7), 738-746, 2020.

    Dr. Laura Boilini, clinical assistant professor and program director, orchestrated several guided painting sessions for students on campus, including the Women’s Tennis Team and for First Generation Students’ to De-stress through Art and she will assist virtually with TLI and Ronald McDonald House’s virtual painting party Oct. 28. Read more about the program online.

    Dr. Daniel Dinsmore, associate dean and professor, Dr. Meghan Parkinson, assistant professor, and Luke Fryer, published the book “Handbook of strategies and strategic processing,” Routledge, 2020. Learn more about the book online

    Dr. Caroline Guardino and Dr. Katrina Hall along with Dr. Erin Largo-Wight, published “Cultivating healthy schools: The feasibility of an outdoor classroom in a public elementary school,” in Florida Public Health Review: Vol. 17, Article 7, 2020. 

    Dr. Rudy Jamison, assistant director of Urban Education and Community Initiatives for the Center for Urban Education and Policy, and Rodney L. Hurst Sr. recently published their book “Never Forget Who You Are: Conversations About Racism and Identity Development.”

    Dr. Dilek Kayaalp, published “Transnational identities in the Canadian context: Kurdish refugee youth as actors and citizens,” in Race, Ethnicity and Education, 2020. Read Dilek Kayaalp’s article.  

    Dr. Matt Ohlson, associate professor and faculty coordinator for the Taylor Leadership Institute, was recently selected to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville’s Board of Directors. His official announcement will come in the form of the Jacksonville Business Journal’s “People on the Move” section. In addition, Ohlson with doctoral student Natalya Bannister, published an article titled “Trauma to Triumph in Leadership for Girls: The Power of Mentorship,” was featured in the International Mentoring Association’s latest e-newsletter, IMA CONNECT Magazine.

    Dr. Tara Rowe, UNF THRIVE program director, was recognized with the National Innovative Practices in Transition Award. Read more about the award.

    Dr. Nile Stanley, associate professor of literacy and arts education, published “Language learning with a side of art: the Potential of using art-focused apps to inspire language learners” in the October issue of Language Magazine: Improving Literacy and Communication. Read Nile Stanley’s article

    Dr. Madalina Tanase, associate professor, published “Dealing with student misbehavior in urban settings” in the Journal of Education and Practice, 11(7), 61-67, 2020.

    Civil Rights Learning Exchanges
    The Center for Urban Education and Policy is partnering with Leadership Is For Everyone to host 11 Civil Rights Learning Exchanges. The first of the year-long series was held Wednesday, Sept. 30, online via Zoom, Youtube and Facebook live. Guests of all ages can participate in this virtual experience online.

    OCT to host Virtual Open Houses
    Saturday, Nov 14, 10 a.m. – noon. Those interested in attending can RSVP online or send an email.

    Thomas G. Carpenter Library

    Dr. Brent Mai wrote the chapter "Wolgadeutsche Siedlungen in Nord- und Südamerika” (English: "Volga German Settlements in North and South America") for the journal  Russland-Deutsche Zeitgeschichte (English: Russian-German Contemporary History), Band 17 (Nürnberg: Bayerisches Kulturzentrum der Deutschen aus Russland, 2020): 260-278.


    Courtenay McLeland, head of digital projects and preservation, reviewed the New Museum Digital Archive for the October 2020 issue of Multimedia & Technology Reviews. Read Courtenay McLeland’s review.

    Around Campus

    Swoop Summary

    Jazz Bond

    ASUN Coaches Select Bond as Preseason Player of the Year
    Senior forward Jazz Bond was selected as the ASUN Preseason Player and Defensive Player of the Year, while North Florida women's basketball was picked to finish third in both the coaches and media polls. North Florida also received three first-place nods in the coaches poll. Read more about Jazz Bond and the recognition she received.

    Celebrating a Successful "FORE" Scholarships Golf Classic
    For the sixth consecutive year the Osprey Club and the Office of Alumni Engagement partnered to host the UNF "Fore" Scholarships Golf Classic, sponsored by Geico. This year's event, held Oct. 19, saw a few minor changes due to COVID-19 protocols with a total of 136 participants enjoying a comfortable day at Jacksonville Golf & Country Club. Learn more about the Golf Classic event.

    Hodges Stadium Selected Host Site for 2023 and 2025 NCAA Track and Field East Prelims
    The NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Track and Field Committee announced Oct. 14 that the University of North Florida will host one of two preliminary rounds for both the 2023 and 2025 NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships. Learn more about the competitions.

    Around Campus

    Pumped-Up Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

    Pumpkin muffinsIt’s finally that time of the year again — leaves are falling, the weather is changing and pumpkin spice is everywhere. What is it about pumpkin spice that makes everyone so excited this time of the year? Is it the pumpkin or is it the spice? 

    Pumpkin is more than just a flavoring; pumpkins, among other winter squashes, are rich in vitamins and minerals that help boost our health through the cold months. Not only are pumpkins free of cholesterol and saturated fats, they have protein and fiber too. One cup of cooked pumpkin has 2g of protein, 3g of fiber and 245 percent of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for Vitamin A. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye health and can act as an antioxidant to help our immune system. 

    Pumpkin also has copper, which helps maintain healthy bones, vitamin B12 for a burst of energy and vitamin E to promote healthy, radiant skin. There are so many reasons to include pumpkin in your holiday flavor profile. Although coffee is one way to fit pumpkin into the season, check out this pumpkin muffin recipe that is sure to pump up the holiday spirit at your next gathering.

    Pumped-Up Pumpkin Muffins
    1 cup rolled oats
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    1 cup Greek yogurt
    2 large eggs
    ½ cup protein powder (optional)
    1 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. baking powder
    ½ tsp. baking soda
    ½ cup dark chocolate chips

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line a muffin tin with 12 liners and spray with baking oil spray.
    • Add oats, pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda into a blender or bowl and mix until well combined.
    • Pour batter into 12 sprayed muffin liners, about ¾ way full.
    • Bake muffins in preheated oven for 25 – 30 minutes or when you stick a toothpick in the center and the toothpick comes out clean. 
    • Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!  

    (Source: Recipe modified from a protein muffin recipe on Eat The Gains website.)  
    Submitted by Kristen K. Hicks-Roof, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health, and Marissa Schwam

    Around Campus

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    Diversity Champion logo

    UNF recognized as 2020 Diversity Champion

    For the fourth year, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine has recognized the University of North Florida as a Diversity Champion, adding it to the list of colleges and universities from across the country that are committed to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs and at the highest administrative levels.

    Earlier this year, UNF received its sixth Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, another recognition of the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.


    Spread the Word!


    Inside UNF is a monthly publication produced by UNF Marketing and Communications
    Marsha Blasco, Editor

    Contributing writers:  Kristen K. Hicks-Roof, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Brooks College of Health, and  Marissa Schwam