Birds + Brains

Here We Are
By Shane Mauss
March 19, 2020 

Scott Husband, UT associate professor of psychology, appeared on the Here We Are podcast discussing the brains of birds. Husband studies brain evolution and how human brains compare to other animal brains, specifically birds. Bird brains are organized differently than mammal brains and are smaller by comparison, but birds are quite smart. According to Husband, birds are capable of tool use, performing cognitive tasks, navigation and advanced visual functions. 

Florida Shutters Bars, Extends School Closures, Suspends Student Testing

My News 13 (Orlando, FL)
March 17, 2020

UT has extended remote instruction through the end of the spring semester in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus. An in-person commencement ceremony will not be held in May. The decision followed a similar announcement from the State University System of Florida and comes after the CDC recommended against gatherings of 10 people or more. “We want to minimize the amount of students on campus so we can minimize the risk to our community,” said Stephanie Russell Krebs, UT dean of students. “This has been completely new and our community is coming together to figure out how to move forward.” 

How to Get New Students When Campus Tours Are Out of the Question

By Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed
March 16, 2020

The coronavirus situation is forcing colleges to teach online for a few weeks or the rest of the semester. Budgets are tight. People are stressed. But for admissions, the timing is just as colleges are rolling out their days for admitted applicants. Most colleges have canceled these days (along with most student activity on their campuses) and are left to recruit students without what for most of them is one of their best assets: their physical campuses. Anthony Pinto, UT assistant director of enrollment management, said that several years ago, after storms struck the New York City metro area, Tampa was left without a way to hold events in a key market. That prompted the shift to creating lots of content online. UT cut the one-hour in-person program to a half hour online with separate videos for students and their parents.

'Edward Scissorhands' Carved His Way into Hearts of Americans from a Set in Lutz, 30 Years Ago

By Aaron Mesmer
March 13, 2020 

It's been 30 years since parts of the Bay area transformed into a Hollywood movie set for the filming of what's now an iconic piece of cinematic history: 'Edward Scissorhands.' It was the summer of 1990 when Tinseltown came to Tinsmith Circle in Lutz. Kathy Lockwood, UT staff assistant I in communication and public speaking, was a cast member and was on the set almost daily during filming. "I'm walking along and I'm thinking, 'I'm walking through this world that right now we're creating, but at some point, it's going to be out there. People are going to be fans of it and it's just cool to think that I'm here in this world."

The same story appeared on WAGA (Atlanta).

Local Bars and Restaurants 'Concerned' About Impact of Canceled and Rescheduled Events

By Liz Burch
March 12, 2020

Major events across the Tampa Bay area have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns. While the full impact has not been felt yet, managers at local bars and restaurants are worried about all of the cancelations. Abby Blanco, UT assistant professor of economics, said it's hard to put an exact dollar amount on the business that will be lost in Tampa Bay. "The pandemic is having very real effect on particular industries. That could have immediate and long-lasting effects on industries here in Florida," said Blanco. "While in the short term things will be a little rough, I think in the long term we'll see a complete recovery." 

Tampa's Jack Wood Out to Show He's 'Not Just an Average Division II Player'

Matt Hamilton
US Lacrosse Magazine
March 12, 2020

Jack Wood, UT first-year student, transferred to UT in December and is already making his presence felt. He led the Spartans with 22 points through five games played. Since the transfer, Wood has established himself as one of the most important offensive players in Division II ... and he’s got three-and-a-half years left. “In Division II, it’s hard to get those guys that can come in and impact the team,” said Rory Whipple, UT men’s lacrosse coach. “He did it, Andrew Kew did it, my son did it. Now, we’re going to get Jack to have a lot of success. He should be one of the best attackmen in Division II.”

Officials Begin Search for Assistant Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life

By Ilena Peng and Shannon Mallard
The GW Hatchet (The George Washington University)
March 12, 2020 

Officials at The George Washington University have begun the search for a new assistant director of fraternity and sorority life. Greek life experts said the new director must be able to serve as an effective liaison between administrators and students, particularly in facilitating conversations about pervasive issues in Greek organizations. Ryne Burds, UT assistant director of fraternity and sorority life, said the new director should have strong institutional knowledge of how different Greek life councils operate and “excellent” leadership skills to effectively advise Greek life leaders.  

University of Tampa Coronavirus: Face-to-Face Classes Move Online Starting Monday

March 11, 2020 

UT has announced that all face-to-face instruction will transition to online delivery starting Monday, March 16. This news comes after the State University System of Florida asked all universities to make plans to transition to remote instruction as soon as possible due to coronavirus concerns. Students are being encouraged to not return to campus for now and to continue their coursework online. The campus residence halls will remain open for those who need to stay on campus. 

Similar stories appeared in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa Bay TimesSt. Pete CatalystWTVT, WJXT (Jacksonville, FL), WFXT (Boston) WFTS and WTTA.

Spartan Baseball Program and Players Featured in the Toronto Observer

By Rachael Bishop, Abdulhamid Ibrahim, Hayley McGoldrick, Marco Leal Oliveira, Wade Zanchetta,
Toronto Observer
March 12, 2020

The Toronto Observer's sports journalism post-graduate program recently spent time in Florida covering spring training. In addition to covering Major League Baseball, the Observer staff wrote feature stories about UT’s baseball program dominance as well as UT baseball players Jacinto Arredondo, Nick Derr, Drew Ehrhard and Bo Weiss. 

UT Baseball DominanceBo WeissJacinto Arredondo, Nick Derr and  Drew Ehrhard

Medical Students Care for Mechanical Patient that Simulates Symptoms of COVID-19

By Lloyd Sowers
March 7, 2020

Anna Lorine, UT physician assistant student, is being trained for dealing with COVID-19 using computer-controlled patient simulators. "We want to make sure we are protecting our patients but also protecting ourselves," said Lorine. They can create any scenario using the simulator. In this case, the simulator is exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19. The trainees first learned how to don protective clothing and face masks. Then they began to evaluate the maladies of the humanlike piece of equipment. "When I saw the heart rate going up to 130 and the blood pressure dropping, my heart skipped a beat, as well," Lorine said. "It's really preparing us for the real world."

UT Lacrosse Team Goes Bald for a Cause

By Jamison Uhler
March 6, 2020

 The UT men’s lacrosse team posted pictures on social media of the team with clean shaven heads to raise money for the Boston Children’s Hospital. The team raised $47,000 to support funding for pediatric medical research and awareness.

Univ. of Tampa Student Self-Isolating After Recent Return from Study Abroad Program in Italy

By Wendi Lane
March 5, 2020

Lia Janeiro '22, an animation major, is under self-quarantine in her home after returning from Italy. Janeiro’s study abroad trip was cut short when UT students were sent home after the CDC upgraded its travel guidelines for the country due to coronavirus. Even though she’s feeling fine and has not been tested for the virus, she decided to self-quarantine.

"Considering I have two sisters who go to high school, I don’t want the risk of getting them sick and then them bringing it to school," said Janeiro. 

A similar story appeared on WFLA.

Hand Sanitizer Frenzy Has State Officials Monitoring Price Gouging

By Romy Ellenbogen
Tampa Bay Times
March 3, 2020 

The day after two positive coronavirus cases were announced in the Tampa Bay area, residents ran to stores and left them clean of most cleaning supplies. Some private sellers on Amazon are charging hundreds of dollars for hand sanitizer and face masks. Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a public health emergency on Sunday, but unlike a hurricane, a public health emergency doesn’t fall into the state law that prohibits price gouging. Michael Coon, UT assistant professor of economics, said it’s natural for people to worry they won’t be able to access products later and hurry to the store to prepare. “There’s an increase in demand for the goods, so in a market system there’s a natural tendency for a price to rise,” Coon said. “Now how far it rises, you can argue whether or not we reach the gouging level.” 

University of Tampa Students' Study Abroad Program Cut Short Amid Coronavirus Scare

By Ashley Paul
Bay News 9
March 2, 2020

The CDC raised its travel advisory to Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak. UT’s policy now requires that students return home. As a result, UT students studying in Italy have had their time in the country cut short.

Similar stories appeared on WTVTWFLAWFTS, One News PageTampa Bay Business Journal, Central Florida News 13 (Orlando), WFLA-AM and WTTA. 

Evidence of Life: A Conversation with Gregory Siff and Cassie Greatens about CASS Contemporary's New Residency and Show

Feb. 28, 2020 

Los Angeles artist, Gregory Siff, is completing a residency at CASS Contemporary. In addition to creating art in the CASS gallery, Siff has made time to interact with UT students. “I also got to do some lectures at The University of Tampa and meet some of the students for their senior critiques,” said Siff. “These young artists already understand the power in the practice of painting."

A similar story appeared in the Tampa Bay Times and  WTVT

Leap Day 2020 Sales and Deals: Look Before You Shop

By Courtney Jespersen
Feb. 27, 2020

Discounts that appear only every four years must be hard to beat, right? Maybe. Or, maybe not. Leap day adds an extra day to the shopping calendar, and marketers will use every holiday as an excuse to host another sale, says Jennifer Burton, UT assistant professor of marketing. After all, retailers “have to give customers a reason to leave work or leave their homes and go pick out some new stuff,” said Burton. 

Similar stories appeared in NasdaqSFGateSan Antonio ExpressNews and St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Tampa Artist Honors Kobe Bryant with Touching Mural

By Aubrey Jackson
Feb. 25, 2020

UT student, Bianca Burrows, was on a trip when she heard Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, tragically died in a helicopter crash. Burrows chose to honor Bryant by painting a mural onto a 6-by-8-foot vinyl tile. "I remember being in shock... and for the mural, I had originally thought to paint Robin Williams. It was sketched and marked, all I had to do was paint. But as soon as I landed back in Tampa I said, 'Oh no I have to do Kobe,'" Burrows said. Spending more than 15 hours to finish the mural entirely, she incorporated the Laker's team colors and even added clippings of newspapers where Kobe and Gianna were the headlines.

Coronavirus Concerns: University of Tampa Cancels Study Abroad Trip to China

By Sarafina Brooks
Feb. 21, 2020 

As the coronavirus continues to spread, travelers are on high alert. The CDC has even urged the public to avoid all nonessential travel to China. UT has taken that warning into consideration and has canceled its upcoming study abroad trip to China. “We would never put our students at risk. Looking at the situation in China with the CDC warning, travel warnings, flight cancellations, it just was not feasible to take students there,” said Kristen Foltz, UT professor of instruction I of speech.

A similar stories appeared on  WFTSWTSPTampa Bay Times, WUSF, WFTS, WTTA, Bay News 9, WDBO-FM (Orlando) and WUSF-FM.

Mormon Church Introduces Transgender 'Restrictions' While Softening Stance on Gay Members

By Nicholas Rowan
Washington Examiner
Feb. 20, 2020 

The 2020 handbook for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints introduces "restrictions" regarding transgender people while stressing that they are to be treated with "an abundance of Christlike love." The handbook places restrictions on transgender people who pursue sex reassignment surgery and discourages "social transitioning." The church does, however, make some concessions to transgender members. Yet changes to Mormon teaching in this area can only go so far before they begin altering the fundamental nature of the religion, said Ryan Cragun, UT professor of sociology. "The church would have to change its concept of salvation," said Cragun. "It would be like the Catholic Church saying that Mary is not a virgin." 

Marijuana Use: Poses Risks with Heart Disease

Feb. 19, 2020

Mary Martinasek, associate professor of public health, appeared on Bloom to discuss the recent research that has shown that smoking marijuana carries increased cardiovascular risk for individuals with heart disease. “It is legal in some states, but I think the public confuses legal with safe,” said Martinasek. “It’s not approved by the FDA, and recent reviews suggest that it’s one of the top triggers of heart attack in people who have existing heart disease.”

University of Tampa President Ronald Vaughn Named ‘Outstanding Citizen of the Year’

By Dan Sullivan
Tampa Bay Times
Feb. 7, 2019

Ronald Vaughn received the Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award at the governor’s luncheon in recognition of his leadership of The University of Tampa the past 25 years. When Vaughn became the president of The University of Tampa in 1995, the student body numbered 1,500, school finances were shaky and the buildings on the small campus badly needed repair. He has built the University into a bustling hub of 10,000 students who live and study in a collection of modern buildings as well as historic ones on a 110-acre campus and produce an economic impact of more than $1 billion per year.

Social Media Posts Can Make a Lasting Impact

By Hannah Shalleli
KTNV (Las Vegas)
Feb. 2, 2020

Teens turn to social media to further themselves and their careers. But not all followers are supportive. Jennifer Blessing, UT assistant professor of psychology, studies the effects of social media on college students. She says that students are searching for their identity online but are often left feeling empty. “It’s not about the social media, it’s about ‘who am I,’” said Blessing. 

Renowned Conservationist Jane Goodall Will Speak at The University of Tampa This Spring

By Kyla Fields
Creative Loafing
Jan. 31, 2019 

Jane Goodall is UT’s first speaker for its new Distinguished Speaker Series, where she will discuss her life’s work of studying the behavior of chimpanzees and other primates. She’ll also be discussing the legacy of the Jane Goodall Institute, which has continued her work through the Gombe Stream Research Center—host to the world’s longest-running chimpanzee study. Along with talks about animal conservation, Goodall also discusses innovative tactics that we can apply to our lives to help combat climate change.

Dad Becomes Coach for UT Spartans Freshman Shortstop JD Urso

By Andrew Keesee
Jan. 29, 2020 

In coach Joe Urso's 20th season, his son JD joins The University of Tampa Spartans baseball program. There’s very little Urso hasn’t seen or accomplished. His 831-242-1 overall record would back that up, but coaching his son at the college level will be a brand new experience. JD considered going elsewhere so he could, as he put it, “carve his own path,” but he just couldn’t see himself in any uniform other than a Spartans uniform. “I mean, I've watched so many games from this field and rooted for the Spartans for so long, it was just going to be so tough playing for a different college team,” said JD. “My heart will always be with the University of Tampa.”

Good Day Tampa Bay

By Lloyd Sowers
Jan. 18, 2020 

This year marks the 114th Gasparilla invasion. The first Gasparilla celebrations were all held at the Tampa Bay Hotel, now UT’s Plant Hall. “It started as a May Day celebration where some of the leading citizens would ride in on horseback and invade the city,” said Lindsay Huban, UT membership, museum relations and operations manager at the Henry B. Plant Museum. While much has changed in Tampa over the last century, Gasparilla remains an iconic event. 

This Young Lady from Trinidad is Using Condoms to Paint Sexual Abuse Victims to Raise Awareness
By GloriousMane06
Lipstick Alley
Jan. 17, 2020 

Nneka Jones, UT senior art major from Trinidad and Tobago, took a chance to pursue her passion for art, and it is paying off as her recent works are a mixture of contemporary portraiture fused with media artwork that have an embedded message pertaining to social issues. The reason why Jones does what she does is to “raise awareness, to speak and to give life and attention where it is needed.” 

Mushroom Volume Hits Record High; Prices Continue to Rise
Jan. 17, 2020

Mushroom growers are entering 2020 with record sales volumes, increasing retail prices and solid demand for fresh mushrooms, according to the American Mushroom Institute. Mushrooms are also trending in the food service sector. The National Restaurant Association named mushrooms the top produce item of 2020. “As mushrooms become a staple item for many Americans and more people start consuming them, demand has risen steadily for the past decade,” said Mark Lang, UT associate professor of marketing.

University of Tampa Will Launch M.A. in Professional Communication Starting in Fall

Florida Daily
Jan. 15, 2020 

The University of Tampa announced this week that it will begin offering a master’s of arts degree in professional communication starting in Fall 2020. Through a unique schedule of accelerated seven-week courses, students take one course at a time, allowing them to engage fully with each topic and build close connections with their peers during lively classroom discussions. Chris Gurrie, UT associate professor of speech, said all classes in the program will have immediate, real-world applicability, making the program ideal for both working professionals and those beginning or changing careers.

Florida Faith Leaders, Religion Scholars Weigh in on Proposed Methodist Church Split

By Laurie Davison
Bay News 9
Jan. 3, 2020 

The United Methodist Church has announced a proposal to split following an impasse over same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. Ryan Cragun, UT professor of sociology, said it will be interesting to see how resources are divided and if doctrines change. "You'll probably see the more progressive splits accepting LGBTQ individuals be more accepting of a variety of different things, probably changing a number of their polices and values very quickly. Then, the more conservative side really doubling down on its opposition to equality for LGBTQ individuals," said Cragun.

Linden Native Writes About Loyalist Women During American Revolution

Texarkana Gazette
Jan. 1, 2020

Kacy Tillman, UT associate professor of English, has written a book "Stripped and Script." Tillman's point in her book is to have the reader understand that women loyalists during the American Revolution were often punished for their views. And since they were regarded almost like property of their husbands in that period, they had little recourse. Tillman makes the point that the American Revolution is better understood when the views of women loyalists — as uncovered in their writings — are included in the history.