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SFCC On Track to Become State College

Submitted by on August 16, 2011 – 1:05 pmNo Comment

Dr. Norm Stephens explains the next steps in SFCC's plans to become a four-year college.

South Florida Community College may have an expanded focus – and a new name – one year from now. 

In his annual Welcome Back address, Dr. Norm Stephens announced that the college is on track to begin offering baccalaureate degrees in fall 2012. If all goes as planned, the college’s baccalaureate degree application will be reviewed by the State Board of Education in late September, and a request to upgrade its accreditation – from level one to the required level two – will be submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) on Sept. 15. 

Anticipating that both requests will be approved, SFCC is in the process of changing its name for the third time in 46 years – to one that would reflect its new status as a four-year college. “It’s important that our transcripts indicate clearly and unambiguously that the students got their baccalaureate degrees from an institution authorized to offer them,” Dr. Stephens explained. “That’s why most of the other 19 institutions in the Florida College System that have been authorized to offer baccalaureate degrees have also changed their names.” 

In December, the SFCC District Board of Trustees will decide whether to change the college’s name and what that new name will be.  In the meantime, employees will be asked for their input on the more than 200 proposed names now being listed at www.southflorida.edu/namechange. Several committees will pare down that list to approximately 20. Once trustees select the name, it will go to the Florida Legislature for final approval. 

“It’s not a case of choosing the most popular name,” Dr. Stephens said. “We have to consider this very carefully. The board would appreciate having some input. That’s what this early process is all about.” 

Dr. Stephens also reported that:

  • The college is preparing for its onsite review by SACS, Nov. 8-10, which will be one of the final steps in its reaccreditation process.
  • Despite a drop in summer enrollment, fall 2011 enrollment numbers equal and may surpass those of the previous year.  “Enrollment is up in the arts and sciences programs,” Dr. Stephens said. Enrollment in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and adult education programs is expected to decline somewhat as the state begins implementing fees for those classes.
  • The college saved $40,000 in electrical costs over the past two months with the goal of achieving $100,000 in savings by June 2012. “That’s been accomplished by the people in the maintenance area doing an excellent job of managing our system,” Dr. Stephens said.
  • The college’s new tobacco-free policy is being met with cooperation by most employees and guests, but Dr. Stephens expected it to be tested when students return for the fall term. “We’re trying to deal with this in a positive way,” he  said. “It’s going to take time to reach the goal of being a totally tobacco-free campus, but we’re going to be patient with it – and we mean it. It’s a policy, and we’ll do everything we can to encourage everyone to comply with it.”
  • Through arrangements with Comcast and CenturyLink, the college is increasing its bandwidth from 47 megabytes per second (mps) to 200 mps in the next two weeks.
  • The budget situation is “as good as it can be.”  “Although state revenues have declined, tuition revenues and enrollment has increased,” Dr. Stephens said. “The state of our financial status is: we’re in good shape.” 

Lauren Redick, Sylvia Turner, Renee Smalley, and Lorrie Key enjoy Welcome Back.

Wanita Bates (left), Angie Noonon, and Davida Austin

Cindy Rose gives a Welcome Back goody bag to Fernando Islas.

Over 20 members of the SFCC chapter of the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) energize the Welcome Back audience with a foot-stomping rendition of “Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance).”

Dee Rawlings (left) and Sandi Kleppinger

Kevin Brown busts a move on behalf of the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC).

Dr. Leana Revell and Glenn Little get their groove on for AFC.

Laura White, Kevin Brown, and Jennifer Young sample homecooked dishes at the annual Welcome Back potluck luncheon.

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