Proposals are under consideration in the Florida Legislature that could expand the mission of community colleges in our state and at South Florida Community College. I’m not wise enough to predict which legislation will win the current debate, but it seems clear to me that a consensus does exist among legislators about certain key ideas.
There is a need for more baccalaureate degree opportunities for the people of our state. That need could best be met through the existing system of community colleges. We are the best institutions to accomplish this because we are local, accessible, affordable, and cost-effectively operated. Already, nearly half of the state’s 28 community colleges offer these degrees, or are planning to in the relatively near future. We can do this without abandoning our primary mission, in all its essential comprehensivenss, while maintaining our “open door.”
South Florda Community College hosts a number of universities, public and private, that offer bachelor’s, master’s, and even one doctoral degree. This is done through partnerships with these institutions. This remains the most cost-effective strategy for accomplishing the objective of enhancing advanced degree opportunities for our citizens. In the future, probably five or more years, it may be feasible for us to offer some of the high demand majors that are critical to our area. This would include teacher education, nursing, and some of the applied sciences. We will certainly evaluate our options.