Center for Civic Engagement

Center for Civic Engagement,
Academics Affairs,
USF St. Petersburg
140 7th Avenue South TER 408
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Telephone: (727) 873-4773
Fax: (727) 873-4889

Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership & Community Engagement
USF St. Petersburg
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Terrace 408

Dr. Bill Heller

Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan
Associate Director

Mr. David O'Neill
Program Assistant

Maintained by D. O'Neill


What is the Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership & Civic Engagement?

The Center was designed to make USF St. Petersburg distinctive in its commitment to civic and community engagement through the development of the citizen-scholar model.

The objective of the "citizen scholar" model is to combine academic instruction with implementation of concepts learned in the classroom into the local community. The "local community" is broadly defined to include business, educational and social service agencies as well as the local "laboratories" faculty use to further their research agendas.

Our goal is to ensure that, within five years, every student will have the opportunity to take at least one course with a civic engagement component within in his or her major.

The Center has spearheaded a number of initiatives. During its inaugural year (2006-07 academic year) the Center organized a faculty development workshop series, sponsored a faculty course development grant program (funded by a Campus Compact grant), co-hosted a Civic Engagement Fair (with the Office of Volunteer Services) to assist faculty in providing service learning opportunities for their students, created a Community Partner and Service Learning Placement Directory, compiled a CCE Library of more than 200 books and articles for faculty, co-sponsored a number of service events with the CCE Student Advisory Board (e.g., spring break beach clean up, clothing drive), and hosted a number of events and programs (such as Constitution Day with Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, R. Fred Lewis, and a campus-wide voter registration drive).

In March 2006, the Strategic Planning Committee's Subcommittee on Community Engagement convened to discuss how USFSP will become distinctive in the area of civic engagement. Click here to view the Report and Recommendations document.

The Bishop Center welcomes Carnegie Fellow Larisa Patlis from Moldova!

Larisa Patlis Carnegie FellowLarisa Patlis is a lecturer at Free International University of Moldova (ULIM) in the Department of History and International Relations, where she received her licentiate diploma and M.A. in International Relations in 2005 and 2006, respectively. She teaches courses in International Relations. She is also a researcher at the Institute of History and Political Science (ULIM) and a Ph.D. candidate at the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. She has conducted research and professional development visits in Poland (2008, 2009), Hungary (2009), Austria (2010), Lithuania (2010), Turkey (2011) and the Ukraine (2012).  Her research interests include the following: devolution, geopolitics of borders, Eastern Partnership, Turkey-EU relationship, and political Islam in Turkey. Her Ph.D. research focuses on devolution phenomenon, specifically on devolution in the Republic of Moldova.

She is a Carnegie Fellow in the Department of History and Politics and the Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement at USFSP (for Fall semester 2012), conducting a research on Devolutionary Trends in Moldova: the Case of Gagauz Yeri.


Click here to read Christopher Guinn's article about the Citizen Scholar Program, Outside Learning, in the USFSP Crow's Nest.


Bishop Staff 

Dean Bill Heller

Dr. Bill Heller

Dean, College of Education

Director, Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement

Dr. H. William (Bill) Heller, Ed.D. is currently employed at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg as the Dean, College of Education; Director, Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement; and Professor, College of Education and College of Arts and Sciences. He served two terms (four years) as a State of Florida House of Representatives for District 52 while continuing as a Professor of Special Education, University of South Florida St. Petersburg. He obtained his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado in Special Education and School of Psychology.

He currently serves as Chairman of the Board for St. Petersburg Museum of History, a board member of SPCA TampaBay, Great Explorations; and is a member of the Suncoasters. He is Ex Officio Chairman of Bayfront Health Systems, Great Explorations, and Pinellas County Cultural Arts Council. He has served as a board member for Mahaffey Theater Foundation, St. Petersburg Preservation and Family Resources, Inc. Not only was he a board member, but he served in the capacity of legislative consultant for Benedict Haven and the Friendship Trail Oversight Committee.

Dr. Heller is a Veteran — US Army, 82nd Airborne Division. He and wife, Jeanne, have been married 58 years; have one son, two daughters, three grandchildren, two cats and one dog.

Dr. Scourfield McLauchlan

Dr. Judithanne Scourfield McLauchlan

Founding Director, Center for Civic Engagement

Associate Director, Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership and Civic Engagement

Associate Professor, Political Science

Dr. Scourfield McLauchlan is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where she teaches courses in American Government and Public Law.  Her latest book, Congressional Participation as Amicus Curiae before the U.S. Supreme Court, explores how Members of Congress attempt to influence Supreme Court decision-making in specific cases. In addition to her scholarly activities, Professor McLauchlan has extensive experience in American government and politics. McLauchlan worked at the US Supreme Court, the US Senate Judiciary Committee, the US Department of Justice, and the White House.  A veteran of several presidential campaigns, she has managed statewide operations across the US, from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. During the 2010-11 academic year Dr. McLauchlan was a Fulbright Scholar in Moldova.

David O'Neill Photo

David O'Neill

Program Assistant

David O’Neill is Program Assistant for the Bishop Center. David takes a great interest in organizational development and creating cultures of open learning. He has put such interest into action while developing USFSP’s Student Green Energy Fund Committee. He is a champion for sustainability and creative problem solving, and recognizes the tangible and intrinsic values of civic leadership and experiential learning. A recent graduate of USFSP, David strives to put his degree in Environmental Science & Policy to work on issues that impact his community - the city of St. Petersburg and the campus of USFSP. In his spare time, you might find David studying “what is” and thinking about “what could be.”

Micaela Robinson

Student Assistant

Erica Gordon

Student Assistant





Jay Sokolovsky, Ph.D.

Jay Sokolovsky

College of Arts & Sciences Liaison


Dr. Sokolovsky is the Anthropology Program Coordinator, a cultural anthropologist with specialties in urban anthropology, the anthropology of aging, rural development in Mexico, and video documentation. His book, "The Cultural Context of Old Age" (1997) won the Kalish award in innovative publications. This past summer Dr. Sokolovsky was awarded a Senior Investigator Grant ($6496) from USF St. Petersburg for "Globalization and the Transformation of An Indigenous Region in Mexico," a study on how globalization is affecting youth and the elderly in a Mexican village. This will allow him to regionally expand his work surrounding the central Mexican Municipio of Texcoco. During his upcoming research trip to Mexico this May/June he will be presenting a talk on this research at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City and presenting and discussing his new ethnographic video "Urban Garden: Fighting for Life and Beauty" at the Colegio de Postgraduados Desarrollo Rural in Montecillos.

Jay is continuing his ethnographic video work on ethnic identity of immigrants to Tampa Bay with a focus on Thai Americans and their connection to Buddhist Temples in the area. He is working on this project with undergraduate student Mike Meyers who is a dual major in Mass Communications and Anthropology. He has previously completed videos on West African and Italians in St. Petersburg.


Philip J. Troccia, Ph.D.

Dr Troccia

College of Business Liaison

Dr. Philip Trocchia joined USF St. Petersburg in 2003 after graduating from The University of Alabama with a PhD in Marketing and earning tenure at Kansas State University. Research interests include impact of technology on consumer behavior, services marketing, and marketing education.  Dr. Trocchia has published in such journals as Psychology & Marketing, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Service Industry Management, Journal of Services Marketing, and Journal of Consumer Marketing, among others. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence at USFSP in 2011 and holds the Bank of America Chair for Civic Engagement for 2011-2012. Local and regional firms that he and his marketing students have worked with as class projects include Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, American Stage Theatre, Men’s Direct, Urban Gardens, Ready-for-Life Pinellas, St. Petersburg Museum of History, Accelerated Waste Management, Commercial Bedding, and others.

Charles Vanover, Ph.D.

Dr Vanover

College of Education Liaison

I graduated with a BA from the University of Chicago, and I worked as a teacher and a teacher-librarian for eight years in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) before receiving a fellowship to study educational administration and policy at the University of Michigan. At CPS, I was elected to my high school’s local school council, and its professional problems committee.  I helped found Helping Hands small school and served on the leadership committee of Chicago Librarians United for Education. 

            At Michigan, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant on the Study of Instructional Improvement under the direction of my advisor, Brian Rowan.  I was then selected to work on the Consortium for Policy Research in Education’s (CPRE) longitudinal evaluation of the federally funded National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality.  I served for five years as lead qualitative analyst. The completed five year evaluation report was turned into the U. S. Department of Education in the spring of 2011. At USFSP, I am the head of the evaluation committee for the Sunbay Digital Mathematics Project and  recently presented two papers discussing implementation, first at the 32nd annual Penn Ethnography Forum at the University of  Pennsylvania, and then at the 9th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning at the University of Hong Kong.   I presented my dissertation work to Division C at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AREA) and serve as a reviewer for AERA’s sections on school improvement and teacher quality.  

            I work as program faculty for the USFSP Department of School Leadership and teach ‘Foundations of Curriculum’ and ‘Program Evaluation’ among other courses.  I was elected head of the College Council for the School of Education in the spring of 2011.  I also serve as a representative to the university’s research council and was elected to the  Pinellas County Public Schools, ESE Advisory Committee.

Bishop Center Staff

The Center's efforts in promoting civic engagement at USF St. Petersburg has been mentioned in USF Magazine.

USF Magazine Fall 2007

See Holly Kickliter's article on pages 12 and 13.

Click here to view the document.






Click here for the USF St. Petersburg homepage