Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions
Inaugural Distinguished Public Service Award Dinner

Inaugural Distinguished Public Service Award Dinner
Honoring Senator Dennis L. Jones

Held on Feb. 21 at 6 p.m.

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About the Institute

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College provides a forum to help people deal with the uncertainty around them. Housed on the Seminole Campus, the Institute seeks to be a major participant in public policy debate.

What is the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions?

The Institute addresses real-world problems and the needs of the community served by St. Petersburg College in a strategic and technologically savvy way. The Institute also prepares its students for careers in a global marketplace and builds on SPC's reputation as a source of innovation, academic excellence and community involvement.

The government institute, founded in 2010, also serves as a repository for Congressman Bill Young's papers and related works, awards and honors. In recognition of his leadership in Congress and the Florida Legislature and his commitment to educational and economic development initiatives, the Florida Legislature in 2007 and 2008 appropriated a one-time $7.5 million endowment to establish the government institute at St. Petersburg College. It was envisioned as a way to offer a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis to support activities at the local, state, regional and national levels of government.

Mission statement

Congressman Bill Young explains the purpose of the Institute

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College is dedicated to advancing academic excellence, community engagement, economic vitality and public understanding through high-quality, solutions-directed public policy programs. Its purpose is to enrich the education experience, engage with local government to promote unity and efficiency, facilitate economic activity, and involve citizens in their college and government.

Academic enrichment

The Institute supports and enhances SPC's new Public Policy and Administration bachelor's degree program. Students will gain hands-on experience with experts. The Institute also will provide internships and foreign exchange opportunities.

The program is seeking collaborative opportunities with the University of South Florida master's and doctorate curricula in Public Administration and Diplomacy. It also hopes to connect students with academic opportunities in Environmental Science, Consular Training, Business Administration and International Business.

Civic engagement

The Institute works with local governments to improve communication and collaboration. The goal is to advance the level of professionalism among local elected officials.

The Institute also promotes efficiencies and professionalism among various units of government and seeks to improve the quality of overall government leadership.

By raising awareness, the Institute hopes to increase citizens' participation in government-- from informed voting to attending government meetings to running for office.

Public discourse

The Institute is a leading center for discussion of key policy issues on topical issues that are difficult to resolve. For example, the Institute has hosted recent forums on federal health care and the impact of the Gulf oil spill on Tampa Bay.

Economic vitality

The Institute will identify key economic activities in Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area that best fit with the college's programs. It will then focus on becoming a center of excellence for that activity. One target area will be sustainable practices, including renewable energy, green building standards and enabling business development.

State and national connection

Because of the involvement of Congressman Bill Young, the Institute and St. Petersburg College have statewide support and the potential for national attention.