Monthly Archives: October 2014

COE Students Score Above Average on State-Mandated Test

College of Education StudentsBefore Education Students can be certified as teachers in the State of Florida, they have to pass a number of state-mandated tests, including either the Florida Teachers Certification Examination or the Florida Educational Leadership Examination (see Since these certification tests are taking by all students in Florida who wish to obtain teacher certification, they provide a good data point to assess the quality of in particular an institution’s undergraduate programs in education.

It is therefore with great pride that Dean Heller informed me that our College of Education students beat the state average when it comes to passing the certification examination, as well as on almost every test category and sub-test. This is of course a reflection on the excellence of the COE students, and the COE faculty and staff, and I wanted to congratulate all.


USFSP Hosts Debbie and Brent Sembler Florida Holocaust Museum Lecture

rawickiOn October 29, USFSP hosted the Debbie and Brent Sembler Florida Holocaust Museum Lecture. The event, which was extremely successful, centered around the documentary “Beyond the Wall”, which featured Holocaust survivor Jerry Rawicki’s return to Poland. The documentary was introduced by Dr Carolyn Ellis from the USF Tampa Department of Communication, and one of the recorders of oral histories for the Florida Holocaust Museum. She spoke about how she met Mr Rawicki and how they had become more than just a recorder and a narrator of an oral history and how Mr Rawicki had invited her to accompany him on his trip to Poland, a country he had left in 1949. Following the documentary, there was a brief but interesting question and answer session with Mr Rawicki himself.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Dr Ellis and Mr Rawicki for allowing us to hear their stories, and of course to Debbie and Brent Sembler for sponsoring the lecture series.

Mantilla Paper Accepted

Dr Felipe MantillaDr Felipe Mantilla, assistant professor in political science, has had a paper accepted for publication in the journal Democratization. The paper, which is entitled “Democratization and the Secularization of Religious Parties: The Case of Mexico.” examines the question whether democratization erodes religious political engagement, and, if so, under what circumstances. Based on archival research and on an original data-set on the religious linkages of 302 historic and contemporary leading members of the PAN, Mexico’s largest Catholic-inspired party, this paper shows that democratization is only indirectly linked to the secularization of religious parties, and that its effects are conditional on the resources and opportunities available to religious activists.

Congratulations to Dr Mantilla.

Dixon Published with Students

Dr Barnali DixonDr Barnali Dixon, Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Geography, recently received the news that a paper that she wrote with her student P. Samui has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Urban and Environmental Engineering. The paper is entitled “Determination of Contaminated Wells: A Relevance Vector Machine Approach.”

Congratulations to Dr Dixon and her student.

Open Access Forum

Logo of Open Access MovementOn Thursday October 16, as part of open access week (, and in collaboration with the USFSP Student Government, Dean of the Library Carol Hixson convened a forum to discuss open access textbooks. One of the under-appreciated factors in the public discourse about the rising cost of higher education is the rising cost of textbooks, and the forum heard from a student, a representative from the Library, the USFSP book store manager, and a representative from academic affairs about their thoughts on open access textbooks.

The subsequent discussion, which involved students, faculty and staff, was thoughtful. Thanks are due to Dean Hixson for making this event possible.

Verghese Paper Accepted

Dr Ajay VergheseFollowing the news of the acceptance of his book contract, Dr Ajay Verghese recently received the news that his article “British Rule and Tribal Revolts in India: The Curious Case of Bastar” has been accepted for publication in Modern Asian Studies. Because the journal has a large backlog, the article will not appear in print until 2016, but it will be available online well before then.