Beyond textbooks

Centers and labs enhance educational experiences

USF Sarasota-Manatee made headlines in 2016 as home to the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT), a statewide resource where teachers learn to infuse the arts with academics to help public school students.

But that’s just one research-centric success story at USFSM. Others include the M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation, a new anatomy lab and the upcoming social sciences lab.

The M3 center grew out of a partnership with M3 Accounting Services five years ago. The center was funded by Tampa businessman John McKibbon III’s JB McKibbon Foundation. It functions as a repository for research and home to three academic journals. It also helped develop educational programs that integrate real-world hotel software into the hospitality curriculum.

Now, USFSM is planting seeds for additional research centers and academic laboratories. The anatomy and physiology lab, which debuted last fall, uses 3D software to explore the human body. “Students can perform virtual dissections of any region,” said Instructor Aron Owen.

Still in development is the social sciences lab. Fully equipped, the lab will include six research stations with computers and other technology where students and faculty can conduct surveys and qualitative and quantitative research projects. One station is equipped so far, and USFSM is seeking funds for the remaining stations.

“This lab will allow us to support faculty projects, offer students an opportunity to get hands-on research experience and expand our ability to engage with community partners by helping them with needed research,” said Sandra Stone, PhD, professor and interim chair of the department of social sciences.

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