Chancellor shares the importance of language

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 11:39 AM

Chancellor2When Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska immigrated from Poland to America at 10 years old, she didn’t know a word of English.

She instantly realized the importance of language.

Wisniewska appeared at the Dali Museum on Sept. 25 for a segment of Our Town.

The monthly conversation series hosted by Dr. Carol Mickett creates a space for community leaders around St. Petersburg to discuss their achievements, current involvement with the community and their visions for it.

Wisniewska shared the importance of language education.

“For those folks who don’t have a master of the language,” she said, “it just really defines your career path.”

Her early recognition of the importance of language prompted her education in language studies.  But before she received her Master of Arts in Russian, she discovered her love for the education administration system. She walked on to a college campus and fell in love.

“They were just smart, smart people; caring people doing noble work,” said Wisniewska. “The students had faith and hope and optimism and such promise. I thought, ‘I love it here, I want to make a career out of this.’”

Wisniewska was able to obtain the career of her dreams. She now works with at USF St. Petersburg, putting USFSP’s new strategic plan in place. The plan focuses expanding the student population and refining the school’s identity.

“We wanted an identity that brought together the city (and) the campus,” Wisniewska said.

She wants the campus’ identity to be defined by success academically and professionally, while growing in numbers, programs, and community partnerships.

Wisniewska said that USFSP’s great location and scenery would mean nothing without its students.

Wisniewska thinks that the stories of students who graduate from the university are going to shape its identity.

“It’s going to be students that graduate (from) here who do wonderful things in the world and say, ‘Oh my God, I came from USFSP,’” said Wisniewska. “So the success of our students is going to rebound to us.”