Monday, April 01, 2008 - - DRAFT - - FINAL VERSION:
Complexity and ME!

Last term my Complexity Position Statement was about my relationship to my career in Civil Engineering. I discovered how Complexity Science described the River Modeling that I have done as a CAS. Rivers are a very dynamic complex natural system. In engineering; a great multitude of simple linear calculations (Agents) are combined to create the dynamic - - hydrodynamic computer model - - representing the rainfall, runoff and stream flow of water into a river and ultimately the ocean. As a professional who models the dynamic natural processes of the rivers in Florida I discovered how each individual Agent can affect the CAS of the river. Changing individual Agents in a river model allowed for a very detailed analysis of the complex organic systems. The Complexity Sciences gave me a new perspective of my personal expertise which brought new levels of understanding to my work as well as a new vocabulary for explaining it to others.

Now this term I’ve been able to explore my own deeper connection to the Complexity Sciences. Rivers are very natural complex system, as are most organic processes we find around us. Complexity Sciences are very effective at defining organic relationships found in the natural environment. To make this a more personal position statement I have been exploring the complexity of my own life to discern and understand what is emerging here. This has given me the opportunity to explore myself and my scholastic investigations here at USF in a lot more detail. I will now begin with a brief history to define the context before expanding into what has emerged within this last semester.

I started at USF in 1983 developing my own Patents as student projects for the Engineering Expo. The Engineering Dean mandated “extra credit” to support the annual college exposition. We soon started a student group to help others to also complete projects for academic credit in any school setting. This created a serious conflict between Dr. Newkome and Walbolt in the President's Staff meeting as the new State mandates for faculty patents had just come through after the GaterAid controversy. Dr Newkome, the VP over Sponsored Research, was hired to limit and control faculty patent development. While Dr Walbolt, VP of Student Affairs, sought to encourage new student innovative progress. Subsequently the Research Foundation was started as we incorporated our concepts as STARS USA Inc. (Students Taking an Active Role in Society).

I graduated from engineering and became a stormwater expert before returning to USF for an MBA in 2004. My first MBA class was "Leadership and Teams;" where the class project was to redesign a business system construct. I lead a team to redesign USF's Patent Process and soon found out the professor was the President's Assistant during the 1983 conflicts. This odd synchronicity inspired the innovative concept that I was in fact returning to College precisely to complete what I had started years before.

Thus, I had to really define what I started during my undergraduate education before starting my graduate work. What was STARS really all about? The first Academic who I spoke to in the early 1980’s about it was the Founder of the Anchin Center and current Dean of the College of Education who called me a “Social Engineer.” He determined that the STARS mission to “create projects for credit” was in essence a fundamental school reformation technology destined to change the place and purpose of the public education system from the current “baby-sitting operation” into a social reorganization tool. This coincides with our readings this term where “Social entrepreneurship combines the passion of a social mission with an image of business-like discipline, innovation, and determination.”