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INSTITUTIONS IN THE NEWS 

 

February 2018

Three Cheers for SCF!

Congratulations are in order for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF), on its new Bradenton Campus Library and Learning Center, which has opened to great approval from outside observers and that most highly valued of constituencies – students. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports in a Feb. 5 article on the opening, “Students flowed into the new library as if it had been there since they first came to the campus.” As one young man was quoted, “My first impression is that it looks awesome. … It’s creative and inclusive, and I feel like it will generate great ideas for students.”

Director of Library Services Meg Hawkins told the newspaper, “We wanted to make spaces that the students felt good being in. We didn’t want it to be a book warehouse.”

Glass wrapped and featuring copious space for study, the new $17.6 million building was 18 months in the making. Find a video of the structure on the library’s Facebook page.

 

January 2018

New Library Takes a Star Turn

The Bradenton Herald shines a spotlight on State College of Florida (SCF) Manatee-Sarasota’s new Library & Learning Center, set to open in February on the Bradenton Campus, in a Jan. 5 article about the college’s “new brand” focusing on increased community engagement. “We want to position our college at the center of the economic, educational, and cultural life of our community,” SCF President Carol Probsfeld told the Herald. She calls the Bradenton library “the most significant building we have built in the last 25 years and the next 25 years on this campus,” the newspaper reports.

 

November 2017

Sunshine State Digital Network Launch Announced

Florida State University Libraries, Florida International University, and the University of Miami have teamed up to launch the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN). As detailed in an FSU Libraries post on Nov. 17: “The SSDN is part of the Digital Public Library of America, and FSU is proud to be the service hub for the state of Florida. The service hub represents a community of institutions in the state which will provide their partner institutions aggregated metadata for the DPLA and offer tiered services to connect institutions of all sizes to DPLA.”

To learn more about this exciting new initiative, which will “provide digital access to over 72,000 cultural heritage materials from across the state of Florida,” see  FSU Libraries’ full post or visit the Sunshine State Digital Network website.

 

Universities Join EBSCO Open-Access Initiative

Florida State University and the University of Florida are among the institutions named as participants in OpenDissertations.org, a new collaborative open-access initiative undertaken by EBSCO Information Services and partner BiblioLabs, according to a news release.

OpenDissertations.org, which will go live in 2018, is intended to help make electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) “as widely visible and cited as possible” while directing additional traffic to ETDs in institutional repositories. The program is free for authors and participating institutions.

 

October 2017

USF Team Uses 3D Imaging to Document Historic Forts

A team of researchers from the Digital Heritage and Humanities Collections of the University of South Florida (USF) Libraries is working with the National Park Service to use 3D imaging to capture St. Augustine’s historic Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas. The work is intended to aid efforts to preserve and protect the two masonry forts, both designated as national monuments.

Led by Dr. Lori Collins and Dr. Travis Doering, USF researchers will use lasers to create 3D images of the interiors and exteriors of the structures. “We’re basically doing a full-scale 3D documentation survey,” Collins told WTLV-TV for an article posted Oct. 18. “Even things that are very hard to detect or see with the human eye, we can pick out with these types of instruments,” she said. “We can collect everything from really, half a human hair kind of accuracy, all the way up to 330 meters of landscape.”

Hurricane Irma’s recent impact on St. Augustine increased concern about the risk of storm damage to the sites.

 

Donation to Fund Room at New Bradenton Campus Library

The philanthropic organization Together Manatee has donated $25,000 for a community room at the new Library & Learning Center under construction at the Bradenton Campus of State College of Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, according to a news release. The donation qualifies for matching by the State College of Florida Foundation and the college’s Board of Trustees, which will bring total funds for the space to $50,000. The “Together Manatee” community room is intended to serve both campus and community, and will offer multiple visual displays, LED monitors, teleconferencing, and video/audio capture. The multi-use space will accommodate up to 200 people. The new library is expected to open in early 2018. Check out an onsite webcam to see the construction project's progress.

 

OER a Win for Santa Fe College

Today@Santa Fe reports that Santa Fe College, in Gainesville, has saved students more than $1 million in textbook costs through the use of open educational resources (OER) since tracking of the savings began. The number of sections using OER more than doubled from Fall 2016 to Fall 2017, going from 98 to 207.

 

September 2017

Florida’s ‘Best Colleges’ Get Even Better

U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2018” rankings are out, and congratulations are due to several of Florida’s public institutions of higher education. As the State University System Board of Governors announced in a news release, the University of Florida and Florida State University each moved up five slots on the list of Top Public Schools – National Universities, with UF reaching No. 9 and FSU climbing to No. 33. “The jumps in the rankings mark significant achievements for both institutions, with UF meeting its long-standing goal of breaking into the prestigious list of Top 10 public universities and FSU making remarkable progress toward its goal of landing in the Top 25,” the release states.

The University of South Florida made the greatest statistical leap among Florida universities in the rankings, moving up 15 spots to No. 68, News Service of Florida reports.

Also representing the state on the Top Public Schools – National Universities list for 2018 are:

  • University of Central Florida, 90
  • Florida A&M University, 113 (also 6 on the Historically Black Colleges and Universities list)
  • Florida International University, 122

In the category of Top Public Schools – Regional Universities South, the University of North Florida came in at No. 18 and Florida Gulf Coast University at No. 27. For Top Public Schools – Regional Colleges South, Pensacola State College and South Florida State College are tied at No. 4. New College of Florida, in Sarasota, ranks as No. 6 in the category Top Public Schools – National Liberal Arts Colleges.

U.S. News & World Report publishes its rankings annually in a “Best Colleges” guidebook and online. The magazine’s rankings are based on widely accepted indicators of excellence, including undergraduate academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.

 

Four Schools Honored for Diversity Efforts

Still on the subject of honors for Florida’s public colleges and universities, four institutions have been chosen to receive 2017 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Awards from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. Eighty schools were picked this year for the national award, which recognizes outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. The magazine’s November issue will feature the honorees, including Florida State University, Seminole State College, University of Central Florida, and University of North Florida.

 

Great Renovations at USF, FAU Libraries

Work is now complete on the University of South Florida Tampa Library’s “blissfully quiet and exquisitely modern” fifth floor, shown at left, which features more than 400 seats for students seeking quiet study space. Check out the fifth floor via a super-cool 3D tour or see photos on Instagram.

Big changes also have  been underway at Florida Atlantic University’s Wimberly Library. Dean of Libraries Carol Hixson offers a glimpse of the newly redesigned first-floor lobby in her blog, which features photos taken during a recent “Meet and Greet” with students. The Dean explains that her position doesn’t include much interaction with students, so she makes a special effort to reach out several times a semester. “I provide coffee and munchkins from Dunkin Donuts and stand there for an hour and talk with whoever happens to come by,” she writes.

 

August 2017

An Impressive Grant and Two Digital Milestones

The University of Florida (UF) George A. Smathers Libraries has been granted at $310,000 supplemental award by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to fund a third digitization cycle for the Florida and Puerto Rico Digital Newspaper Project, according to an Aug. 2 news release. Since 2013, the project has received a total of $923,000 in funding from the NEH, the single largest direct award ever received by the UF Libraries.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) Libraries’ STARS digital repository has surpassed half a million downloads in less than two years of operation, according to a recent news release.  The Showcase of Text, Archives, Research & Scholarship (STARS) contains content “by, for, or about UCF.”  Its 500,000-plus downloads have come from all over – 22,504 organizations and institutions in 223 countries.

Florida International University (FIU) Libraries’ Digital Commons, established in 2008, hit a milestone earlier this year when it surpassed 2 million downloads. The Digital Commons is “full-text, online, open access repository and publishing platform for the scholarship, creative output and history of FIU with over 12,000 items across 820 disciplines.” 

 

July 2017

Summer's Under Construction

Pardon their dust, but libraries are busy getting better this summer. Some beautiful renovations and nifty spaces have recently debuted or are in progress at public college and university campuses across the state. Here’s news of a few, gleaned from posts on libraries’ Facebook pages and websites:

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) pulled up old carpet in the first-floor lobby of Wimberly Library at the Boca Raton Campus to reveal concrete, then had that industrial surface ground, stained, and buffed until it gleams like polished glass. See the result at left, photo courtesy of FAU Libraries. There’s more construction to come, as the library’s Reference Desk was removed to prepare for the building of a single service point that will combine the three service desks on Wimberly’s first floor. For more photos, check FAU Libraries on Facebook

Also at Florida Atlantic’s Wimberly Library, a new multi-purpose study and presentation space for students, faculty, and staff recently opened on the fifth floor. “We are taking what money we can find and are using it to create spaces that are more inviting, functional and conducive for our students,” Dean of Libraries Carol Hixson said in a university news release. “The Libraries and everyone in them are here first and foremost to help the students of this university succeed.”

At Lake-Sumter State College’s (LSSC) Leesburg Campus Library, the “Ideation Lounge” opened June 19 for students, faculty, and staff. No reservation is required to use the colorfully decorated space. See the lounge on Facebook.

A fifth-floor makeover at the University of South Florida (USF) Library in Tampa will create 400 new seats of study space by fall. Furnishings are designed for individual study, and workstations are equipped with electrical outlets – one of students’ most-wanted features according to USF’s furniture testing. The library has shared an infographic showing the findings.

Thomas Cetwinski, Director of Planning and Accountability for the USF Library, spoke with The Oracle about the renovation and the evolution of libraries on campuses.  “The use of libraries has changed,” he told the student publication. “It was originally just a warehouse for books. Now, however, it acts as more of a social aspect. The library has become a destination point for students.” 

College of Central Florida (CCF), meanwhile, has a whole new campus opening July 24. The Jack Wilkinson Levy Campus, in Chiefland, replaces the storefront Levy Center, which closes July 18. The Levy Campus is the first permanent higher education facility in Levy County. Its comprehensive student center, shown below in a photo courtesy of CCF, will house enrollment services, counseling and advising, financial aid, testing, computer stations, a campus bookstore, student lounge and student life office, a health and wellness area, five fully equipped multi-purpose classrooms, a large multi-discipline science lab, three state-of-the-art computer labs, faculty offices, and adjunct space.

 

June 2017

FIU Partners Up for OER

Florida International University (FIU) is one of 11 universities and colleges across the nation recently selected to be part of the 2017-18 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program.  OpenStax is a nonprofit organization based at Rice University with a mission to improve student access to education through open access textbooks and educational resources. As a Rice news release details: “Institutional partners receive school-specific consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of 26 other colleges and universities advocating widespread use of open educational resources (OER) on campus. Partner schools commit to student success by reducing high textbook costs while still presenting quality content and protecting academic freedom. Last year’s institutional partner schools saw a 150% increase in the amount of students using OER and will save an additional $4.9 million in the coming academic year.” Along with consultation services to help Florida International assess and improve its OER efforts, the university will receive tech support for adoption of OpenStax content, webinars, and more. The university’s application to the program was authored by Gus Roque of FIU Online, in consultation with the FIU Textbook Affordability Committee and the FIU Libraries, Dean of Libraries Anne Prestamo reports. FIU’s OpenStax OER Task Force will include participation by librarians Valerie Boulos and Sarah Hammill.  

 

Florida Poly Granted Initial Accreditation

Florida Polytechnic University has been granted initial regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a significant milestone the university has diligently worked toward since its founding, according to a university news release posted June 16. The decision means that Florida Poly's graduates from earlier this year and in the future will have a degree from a regionally accredited university. “Our university has achieved a number of significant milestones in our short history, but this is the biggest yet,” said Florida Poly President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “Accreditation signals to prospective students and faculty that we are serious and legitimate contenders in the world of higher education.” Gov. Rick Scott also weighed in on the achievement, saying, “I was proud in 2012 to sign the bill creating Florida Polytechnic University, and today’s announcement furthers the university’s goal of providing students with a world-class education."

 

USF Top-ranked for Patents

With 114 patents to its credit in 2016, the University of South Florida (USF) ranked fifth among American public universities in generating new U.S. patents for the year, according to a recent report from the National Academy of Inventors and Intellectual Property Owners Association. USF ranked 11th among universities worldwide. As the Tampa Bay Times notes, USF’s total made it first in the state for patents generated. Next in line is the University of Florida (UF), with 91 patents. The University of Central Florida was credited with 56, and Florida State University with 48.

 

May 2017

FSU Libraries Win FLA Award for Web Presence

The Florida State University Libraries have received the 2017 Florida Library Association Web Presence Award. This statewide award promotes awareness of the importance of good design and usability in web page development and recognizes outstanding examples of effective library web pages, as well as a library's overall web presence, including blogs and other social media. “This honor is a result of the hard work and dedication of numerous faculty and staff who develop and maintain our website and our other online services,” said Julia Zimmerman, Dean of University Libraries. The FSU Libraries website, lib.fsu.edu, gets more than half a million visitors a year and was recently redesigned by the Libraries’ Web Development and Marketing Teams. For more on  the award, see FSU Libraries’ full post.

 

Grab a Front-row Seat for Bradenton Library Project

State College of Florida, Sarasota-Manatee, has installed a webcam monitoring the progress of its new Bradenton Library & Learning Center Construction Project. Right now, walls are rising and the $17.68 million facility is taking shape. The scheduled completion date for the project is January 2018. Groundbreaking was Oct. 3, 2016. 

 

Enlisting Ties and Peeps for Outreach

In other library news, we’re just catching up with a couple of creative outreach efforts:

The Valencia College West Campus Library, in Orlando, is now offering a Tiebrary. Students can check out neckwear for two or three days, plus the library offers a video showing how to tie a tie on Facebook. Librarians might note: The ties are not in Aleph.

The Florida Gulf Coast University Library received 13 submissions for its First Annual Literary Peeps Diorama Contest in honor of National Library Week, April 9-15. The competition cast the little marshmallow confections as characters in dioramas based on works such as Plato’s Republic, Stephen King’s It, and the stories of the Brothers Grimm.  See photos of the entries on the library’s blog

 

April 2017

FSU iSchool Programs Recognized

The school library media program offered by the School of Information at Florida State University (FSU) was ranked No. 1 for the fifth year in the 2018 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools,” published March 14. The program is offered within FSU’s Master of Science in Information degree program, which moved up a spot to be ranked 12th in the nation overall.

 

CF Among Best for Adult Education

The College of Central Florida (CF) ranks as one of the nation’s best colleges for nontraditional undergraduates, according to GreatValueColleges.net. CF – with campuses and centers in Ocala, Lecanto, and Chiefland – is No. 30 on the site’s newly released list of "50 Best Colleges for Adult Education.” For the purposes of the list, nontraditional students are defined as those who have children and did not enroll in college immediately following high school. Data from the National Center for Education and U.S. News & World Report was used in determining rankings.

 

March 2017

A Rockin' Renovation at Polk State College

 

The bright orange chairs are attention-getters, but they’re only a small part of the picture at Polk State College's James W. Dowdy Library, which has undergone a transformational renovation during the past several months. The official ribbon-cutting for the revamped structure took place Feb. 28.

Planning for the project at the Winter Haven campus began years ago with “making wish lists and collecting ideas from students, staff and faculty,” says Christina Fullerton, Director of the Teaching, Learning and Computing Center (TLCC) & Learning Resources at Polk. “Last year the real action began, with architects visiting, watching us in our natural habitat, and listening,” she explains.

In Spring 2016, the library was moved to a temporary location with the most used portion of its collection, a bit more than half of the total. The rest of the collection was boxed and placed on pallets. “The new space was built around them,” Chris says.

By winter break last year, work was mostly complete, and the laborious process of moving back in began. Now, “we are still working on a lot of things, but we are functional,” Chris says.

They are also thrilled. “Overall, we love the space and how people are responding.”

The renovation completely modernized the library’s existing structure. “Everyone says the new space is so much bigger, but it is the exact same footprint, just more efficiently used,” Chris says.

She lists some of the best new features:

  • Two entrances, north and south.
  • One easy-to-find services desk for circulation and reference.
  • Sky lights! “We now know if it is day or night or raining or sunny! Such a mood booster for all!”
  • A variety of study and work spaces for individual and group needs.
  • Study carrels around the side and behind the collection for quiet needs.
  • A writing tutor office.
  • Couch with bar and charging station for homework, lounging and hanging out.
  • Mobile shelving units that will adapt to changing needs.

The space is also thoughtfully arranged:

  • All library staff offices face out into the library or service desk area so everyone can see when assistance is needed.
  • Staff who work closely to tech services or instruction have offices that also connect to those areas.
  • Windows that were previously hidden by shelving now let in light all around.

FAMU to Host News Network

Florida A&M University will become the home of one of the largest African-American news networks in the nation early next year, according to news reports. The Black Television News Channel (BTNC),  set to launch in February 2018, will be based on the FAMU campus at the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication. The Tallahassee Democrat reports: "The BTNC is being touted as the first 4K Ultra HD newsgathering and production infrastructure of its kind. It is expected to include a multi-million-dollar, media-training center for aspiring journalists."

 

Seminole State Program Tops Rankings

The Seminole State College of Florida nursing program has been ranked as the best in the nation by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, the college reports. The ranking is based on the passage rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam from April through Septemeber 2016. Out of the 1,946 nursing programs nationwide, Seminole State ranked first with a pass rate for the time period of an impressive 100 percent.  

 

February 2017

New College Cited for Return on Investment

New College of Florida has again been named one of the country’s top colleges for return on investment by the respected and long-running Princeton Review. The ranking comes in the just-released 2017 edition of Princeton Review’s book “Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck.”  New College, “the Honors College,” is located in northern Sarasota County.

 

NWFSC Center Renamed for Benefactor

The Learning Resources Center of Northwest Florida State College will become the Susan Myers Learning Resource Center following a $1 million bequest to the center by Susan Pryor Sloat Myers, described in a college news release as a “lifelong champion of education, philanthropist, and community activist.” Myers also intends to endow, through a planned gift, six scholarships to memorialize loved ones, according to the news release. “The college has a permanent presence in Northwest Florida, with deep roots in the community, much like my family,” Myers said of her support for NWFSC. Along with a main campus in Niceville, where the Learning Resources Center is located, the college operates a joint campus with the University of West Florida in Fort Walton Beach, the Chautauqua Center in DeFuniak Springs, the Robert L.F. Sikes Education Center in Crestview, and centers at Hurlburt Field and in South Walton County.

 

January 2017

ACRL Honors Miami Dade for Excellence

Learning Resources at Miami Dade College is one of three recipients of the 2017 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award from the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL). Sponsored by ACRL and GOBI Library Solutions from EBSCO, the award recognizes the staff of a college, university, and community college library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institution.

"These three deserving recipients demonstrate a commitment to student learning and a user-centered, data-driven approach to developing programs and services, with a focus on campus diversity and creative and transformative services, that exemplifies today's best academic and research libraries," ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen K. Davis said. "Receiving an Excellence in Academic Libraries Award is a national tribute to each library and its staff for outstanding services, programs, and leadership."

Learning Resources at Miami Dade College won in the community college category. It impressed judges with "its campus collaboration and marketing efforts, as well as its academic support," a news release states. 

"The Learning Resources department at Miami Dade is dedicated to the success of its highly diverse, global student body of more than 165,000," said Karen A. Williams, chair of the 2017 Excellence in Academic Libraries Committee and interim Vice-President for Information Technology, CIO, and Dean of University Libraries at the University of Arizona. "The libraries are the heart of student support on campus, housed in Learning Resources along with technology and academic support centers. The committee appreciated their needs assessment, campus collaborations, proactive marketing, strong instruction program, strategic redesign of their learning commons, and embedded librarians, tutors, and technologies."

"This award is a validation and a timely recognition of the valuable work that the Miami Dade College libraries have done over the years to support and enrich the learning process at our institution," Erick J. Dominicis, College Director, Learning Resources at Miami Dade College, told ACRL. "The award, moreover, corroborates the importance of the collaboration and partnership developed by the library and the faculty at the college in the development of strong collections and an even stronger information literacy instructional program for the benefit of our students. The ACRL Excellence Award will further motivate librarians and Learning Resources staff to continue the great work for which they are now recognized."

The Excellence in Academic Libraries Award also went to Columbia College Chicago Library in the college category and Santa Clara University Library in the university category.

 

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