Thursday, August 18, 2011 - UWF Top Stories
|UWF welcomes largest freshman class in school history|
|Author Curtis Bonk talks technology and education at the Fall Faculty Forum|
|Forbes names UWF among America's Top Colleges|
The University of West Florida welcomed its largest incoming freshman class on Move-In Day Aug. 17. This year, 1,500 new students were accepted to UWF, a 17 percent increase over last year’s freshman class of 1,250.
Outside of the university’s freshman dormitory, Martin Hall, students were lined up by the dozens, eager to sign in and begin the moving process. Currently, 1,865 students live in one of the university’s seven dorms.
“I just love my dorm,” said Leigh Hoskins, a maritime studies major. “I’m looking forward to starting classes. I love that the campus is nature-friendly, and I especially love that it’s so close to the beach.”
Music was loud and school spirit was in abundance as fraternities and sororities assisted the incoming students with moving duties and check-in tasks. The day was hot but there was excitement in the air as students hurried to their rooms, parents in tow with their belongings.
“The campus is easy to navigate and it’s absolutely beautiful,” said Blaine Hoskins, Leigh’s mother. “I think she’ll enjoy it.”
When asked what he liked most about the campus, Eric Miller said that he loved the small-school feel.
“Other universities are so large that you don’t feel any connection to anyone,” said Miller. “Here, I know students and the teachers, and they know me.”
Additional sections of courses have been added and new faculty hired to ensure UWF maintains its signature one-on-one relationship between teacher and student.
Many students remarked that they were excited to begin an authentic college experience by living on campus and meeting new people, as well as learning new things. Many were born and raised in the local area, though some came from as far away as south Florida and other states.
“It’s easy to get to know a lot of people here, and I’m excited to start that new experience,” said Tiffany Aviola, a psychology major.
Classes begin Monday, Aug. 22.
To see video highlights of Move-In Day, visit
A crowd of more than 100 faculty members filled the theatre at the UWF Center for Fine and Performing Arts (CFPA)Tuesday to hear Curtis Bonk speak about how technology influences higher education. Bonk is the author of “The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education,” and he is a professor of instructional technology and adjunct in the School of Informatics at Indiana University.
Each fall, UWF hosts a faculty forum and invites each faculty member to prepare for the new school year. President Judith Bense kicked off the forum by giving a warm welcome to Bonk, as well as congratulating the faculty for playing a huge role in our recent distinctions from Forbes and The Princeton Review.
“This is going to be an exciting year, and I thank you all for being here today,” said Bense.
Bonk took the stage and immediately gained the attention of the crowd with his entertaining presentation. He covered topics relating to how technology has greatly transformed higher education and offered ideas for new learning tools to use in the classroom. Podcasting, video blogging (vlogging) and YouTube are all examples of blended learning, and Bonk claims studies show this is the most effective way of learning.
Craig Jones and John Platt, professors in the school of education, said they learned a lot from Bonk’s presentation and that it helped to expand their toolbox.
“We have already been using some of these tools in our classrooms,” said Platt. “Seventy-six percent of students taking courses in the school of education are online students.”
“Soon we will have the ability to do more in the way of technology and offer more opportunities for our students,” said Jones.
Bonk discussed how online tools such as Google Earth, YouTube and podcasts are providing people the opportunity to constantly learn.
“The web is a gigantic learning tool,” said Bonk. “Anyone can now learn anything from anyone at anytime.”
Military members are getting MBAs while being deployed, thanks to mobile learning. Children in Africa who have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS can receive virtual mentoring. A man running across the Sahara Desert can blog and vlog about his experience, virtually taking his viewers along for the ride. All of these scenarios are made possible by the advancements in technology.
“Being at UWF has been eye-opening,” said Bonk. “There are changes taking place here that mirror other universities I’ve been, and not just in new buildings and the appearance of UWF. There has been a lot of thoughtful integration with the use of technology and space. Â As I walked around the campus, I thought to myself, “This is a place I could teach.”
“This year’s Fall Faculty Forum was outstanding,” said Provost Chula King. “The faculty were energized about what Curtis is talking about, and I’ve already heard them discussing new ideas and ways of teaching.”
For more information about Curtis Bonk visit, worldisopen.com.
The University of West Florida is one of America's Top Colleges, according to the annual Forbes poll released Aug. 3. This is the first time UWF has been listed in the Forbes ranking. UWF ranked in several categories, including Top 100 Best Buy Colleges, Best Southern Colleges, and Best Research Universities.
UWF was listed at No. 27 on the Top 100 Best Buy Colleges list for 2011. The 100 Best Buy Colleges are calculated by comparing the Forbes ranking for overall quality to the cost of tuition and fees.
In addition to the America's Best Colleges ranking, and Top 100 Best Buy Colleges ranking, UWF was ranked No. 136 by Forbes in the Best Southern Colleges, as well as No. 168 in the Best Research Universities category.
"This is another significant 'first' for the University of West Florida," said President Judith A. Bense. "It is our goal to provide a first-class education to our students, and this is evidence that we are succeeding. It is indeed rewarding to see our student satisfaction, retention rates, and graduate success at an all time high."
America's Top Colleges is a listing of the 650 best undergraduate colleges and universities in America. With an overall ranking of 490, UWF was ranked above six other Florida public universities.
Forbes ranks universities and colleges each year based on student satisfaction, calculated by using student evaluations, as well as retention rates from freshman-to-sophomore year. Post-graduate success is weighed by calculating salary of alumni, listings of alumni in Who's Who in America and alumni listed in Forbes/CCAP Corporate Officers List.
For more information about the Forbes rankings, visit www.forbes.com/colleges/the-university-of-west-florida/. For a full breakdown of ranking factors and weights, visit http://centerforcollegeaffordability.org/uploads/2011_Methodology.pdf.