USF Name Change Story Hits Traditional Media

The Ledger picked up the USF name change story today. You can find it online at USF Lakeland May Get Name Change. I liked What’s Wrong with USF Lakeland better, but I can understand why the Ledger headline writer didn’t go in that direction.

They did print an incorrect survey URL. It’s at https://survey.lakeland.usf.edu/naming_project/naming_project.htm. They missed the underscores.

I missed seeing Crouses’s follow-up questions to a couple of points:

USF VP/CEO Marshall Goodman is quoted, “”USF isn’t just about Tampa or Lakeland or Winter Haven. It’s much bigger than that.”

The logical follow-up question is: “What about USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee? Does USF believe those campuses are not bigger than the cities where they’re based?

Then there is this:

He explains that the University of Florida brings to mind an immediate association with the Gator Nation as the flagship research university in Florida and an elite public institution.

USF Lakeland wants that type of name recognition, he said.

“The name has to focus on our product rather than necessarily what our zip code is,” Goodman said.

Was someone suggesting USF 33801? Florida isn’t a geographical location, but a product? Why hasn’t UF become University of Gator Nation? Is it possible that by not limiting itself years ago, that UF grows in any direction it needs?

I’d also like to ask a follow-up from on one local Lakeland leader:

As long as the campus is within Lakeland’s city limits, the name doesn’t really matter, said Steve Scruggs, executive director of the Lakeland Economic Development Council.

“I’m not really concerned with what it’s called as long as it gets built where it is,” he said. “We’re just glad to have it here.”

I’d ask if the LEDC isn’t concerned at all about city name recognition. Doesn’t having a university named after the city give subtle, and not so subtle, hints to the public that we’re a city interested in higher education?

Dr. Goodman reports that reaction to the name chnage has been positive: “Goodman reports that preliminary feedback has been “positive and largely predictable.” The Lakeland zip codes skew toward keeping the school as USF Lakeland. Those outside of Lakeland tend toward something less place-bound, he said.”

The question to ask here is who the University polled before the survey became widely known? The results of a survey are skewed depending on the selection of your survey group. Who received the original survey questions and why that group? Why wasn’t the survey locally advertised?

The possible name change came about as a plan develops for the new campus including what kinds of program will be offered, when they will be offered and what types of students will enroll.

Although still in its draft stages, the plan for the new campus leans heavily toward science and technology. Goodman hopes the new campus will be a polytechnical institution that focuses on lab and seminar-based instruction with small groups rather than large lecture halls filled with hundreds of note-taking students.

So do I, Dr. Goodman. I hope those lab students get the opportunity to study logic, philosophy, creative writing, history, and even journalism. I hope USF Lakeland grows to become a full curriculum university, and not settle for being only a technology institute.

Filed from Lakeland Local’s Jacksonville Bureau.

4 thoughts on “USF Name Change Story Hits Traditional Media

  1. Um, I believe that USF Sarasota-Manatee is referring to the geographic area it serves as those are both counties. In that particular case USF/Polk or Heartland would more accurately denote its intended service area. But more importantly, if they do intend to excel as a polytech university then branding as such could be very valuable.

    When there was one community college campus in Polk it wasn’t referred to as PCC/Winter Haven or, worse yet, Winter Haven Community College. Let’s think more globally and less parochially.

  2. Um, I believe that USF Sarasota-Manatee is referring to the geographic area it serves as those are both counties. In that particular case USF/Polk or Heartland would more accurately denote its intended service area. But more importantly, if they do intend to excel as a polytech university then branding as such could be very valuable.

    When there was one community college campus in Polk it wasn’t referred to as PCC/Winter Haven or, worse yet, Winter Haven Community College. Let’s think more globally and less parochially.

  3. • When there was a single USF campus it wasn’t referred to as USF Tampa. We don’t need additional identifiers until we have multiple locations.

    • I guess I haven’t lived here long enough to consider Central Florida the “Heartland.” It sounds like an advertising gimmick to my ears.

    • Parochial: “very limited or narrow in scope or outlook”

    And that’s exactly my concern with USF Lakeland turning into USF Polytech.

  4. • When there was a single USF campus it wasn’t referred to as USF Tampa. We don’t need additional identifiers until we have multiple locations.

    • I guess I haven’t lived here long enough to consider Central Florida the “Heartland.” It sounds like an advertising gimmick to my ears.

    • Parochial: “very limited or narrow in scope or outlook”

    And that’s exactly my concern with USF Lakeland turning into USF Polytech.

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