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Spotlight on Education: USF Sarasota-Manatee Signs Agreements with State College of Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design

From left to right: Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld; Dr. Arthur Guilford;
and Dr. Larry Thompson

At a reception held in the USFSM rotunda last week, educational leaders and administrators from USF Sarasota-Manatee, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and Ringling College of Art and Design signed memos of understanding creating an “Artist-to-Teacher” program. Before an audience of community volunteers, educational organization leaders, faculty, arts advocates, administrators and students, the three institutions cemented their shared commitment of cooperation and partnership to improve educational options in higher education and promote economic development and growth.

USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Arthur Guilford, SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld and RCAD President Dr. Larry Thompson praised the creation of a plan that allows arts students to seamlessly transition to teacher preparation programs. After completing their undergraduate degree at RCAD or taking arts courses at SCF in various fields, students can enroll at USFSM’s College of Education and within two years, receive either a bachelor’s or a master’s degree and be certified as public school teachers for elementary positions in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. “I want to personally thank Carol Probstfeld and Larry Thompson and their academic teams for making collaborations such as this a reality, and for being such great community partners,” said Dr. Guilford. “Together we are leveraging our resources and shaping a brighter future for all.”

“The College of Education at USF Sarasota-Manatee is committed to including arts-integration across all of its programs,” said Dean Terry Osborn. “International research and data clearly show that in any educational setting arts-integration works to increase student learning. Our Center of Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT) is working daily to add to that research and advocacy base. Today, we are seeking college students who love and are skilled in the arts, and want to share their skills to motivate and inspire children in the classrooms of our communities.”

The “Artist-to-Teacher” program builds on existing partnerships with the Sarasota and Manatee school districts, ensuring that the children of our region are exposed to the most effective and inspiring teaching methods possible. Sarasota County Schools Superintendent Lori White noted the value of using the arts to enhance teacher quality and learning outcomes. “They are personalizing teaching, adding emotions and context and engaging all parts of the brain with hands-on learning,” she said of the teachers prepared through this program. “We must integrate the arts into every academic program.” In her remarks, Manatee County Schools Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Diana Greene further praised the goals of the Artist-to-Teacher philosophy. “When our teaching candidates have the opportunity to imprint engaging learning with their students from day one, the real winners are the 20,000 elementary students in Manatee County.”

In addition to the three chief executives of USFSM, SCF and RCAD, the memos of understanding for “Artist-to-Teacher” were also signed by the academic officers representing their respective institutions of higher learning: Dr. Bonnie Jones, regional vice chancellor for academic and student services at USF Sarasota-Manatee; Mr. Gary Russell, vice president of academic affairs for State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and Dr. Melody Weiler, vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design.

For more information about “Artist-to-Teacher” and the Center of Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT), contact Dr. Tricia Hunsader, Assistant Professor, College of Education, USF Sarasota-Manatee. Hunsader@sar.usf.edu. 941-359-4226.


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