University of South Florida

Student-centered initiative will integrate support for USF Health colleges

Fast. Focused. Flexible.

Those three words define the work philosophy of Joe Ford, JD, the recently named assistant vice president of the USF Health Shared Student Services.


They also convey to the newly formed Office of Shared Student Services, a unique initiative that will integrate student support for all students in the colleges of USF Health.

“After a national search, I’m delighted to announce that Joe Ford has accepted the position of assistant vice president of Shared Student Services,” said Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA, CEO of USF Health and Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

“This is a key USF Health-wide appointment. Our students are the core of USF Health – they appreciate that health runs across all of our colleges.”

A USF Health-wide search committee looked for someone who could enhance everything the colleges currently do for students, and lead a joint initiative for student engagement. Ford’s first task is designing potential construction that will link and integrate student services for USF Health.

Ford has more than 28 years of experience in academic and student affairs administration. At New York Institute of Technology, Ford was vice president for student affairs, where he directed a comprehensive program for 15,000 students at two New York campuses, Manhattan and Long Island, as well as global sites in Bahrain, Canada, China, Jordan and United Arab Emirates. He has also served as associate dean for student affairs and associate professor at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Department of Public Health. He received a juris doctor degree from Ohio Northern University and a bachelor of science in political science from Radford University.

The construction initiative looks like this:

Through three phases, the project will ultimately provide seamless and convenient integrated services and programs to all USF Health students in the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences.

Phase I will bridge those communities through a welcome center and proposed common areas and meeting spaces for students.

“We aim to create a community that will improve access for students interested in all USF Health colleges.”

The entire effort is based on input from students, faculty and staff. A two-year study prior to the SSS office opening defined the needs of a support program. And multiple open forums, as well as a meeting with an advisory group made up of students from all USF Health colleges, will further define the implementation of the program.

   A student advisory group held its first meeting to give input for the SSS program.

Phase I includes renovation of the existing space of the old USF Medical Clinic. The 12,000-square-feet space is scheduled to be complete next spring.

Phase II will focus on the use of newly recovered student fees.

“We found that $5 million in student fees is coming back to us so we are hosting several open forums for students to help define how that money will be used,” Ford said. “Should we use it to further enhance services in Phase I in the old clinic? Should we renovate other old space to create other amenities, like a small student union space? These are the kinds of questions the advisory group will help answer.”

The student advisory meeting took place this week. Subsequent students forums will be held twice a week in November and into December.

Phase III, which has no definitive timeline yet, will focus on centralized student services for all USF Health colleges.

   SSS Project Manager Caitlin Wolf explains the program to the student advisory group.

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