Board Report: March 17, 2010

SCF to Set Sail with Sea|mester

(Bradenton, Fla., March 17, 2010) – State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) is the new academic partner with Sea|mester, a “campus at sea” program offering college-level courses on sailing vessels that circumnavigate the globe. The articulation agreement with Sarasota-based Sea-mester was approved by the SCF District Board of Trustees at its Wednesday, March 17 meeting.

Sea|mester's unique program blends the teaching of practical watermanship skills with academic interests in ocean and earth science while promoting teamwork and leadership. The program attracts students from around the world.

“SCF’s innovative partnership with Sea|mester broadens opportunities for our college and offers greater access than previously available to unique international exploration,” said SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner.

Students will engage in experiential learning beyond a traditional classroom as they embark on a journey aboard sailing vessels Argo or Ocean Star to locations including the Caribbean Lesser Antilles, Mediterranean, Australia, Indonesia, Asia, Polynesia and the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

College credits will be earned in SCF courses including seamanship, oceanography, marine biology, leadership and speech communications. The SCF-Sea|mester program will launch this summer and courses will be taught by SCF-approved Sea|mester faculty whose credentials and experience meet standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“We’re excited to partner with SCF and are confident this partnership will enhance students’ academic experiences,” said Mike Meighan, a Sea|mester director, who attended the board meeting with Travis Yates, Sea|mester director of operations and marine superintendent.

Yates noted that SCF’s new baccalaureate degree-granting status and the ease of working with a local college made SCF an attractive academic partner.

Hafner echoed the local connection appeal. “It’s great to have the opportunity to partner with a local company that has a respected international presence and vision,” Hafner said.

Enrollment and other information will be available soon on the SCF and Sea|mester Web sites.

In other board action, trustees approved a grant proposal for $325,000 from the Florida Department of Education Public Charter Schools Grant Program. If awarded, the grant would assist in funding instructional technology equipment and staff professional development for State College of Florida Collegiate School (SCFCS).

SCFCS has garnered interest from parents in recent information sessions, said Hafner.

“What’s fascinating is that most of those attending the information sessions are putting in their applications the same night. They like what they’re hearing,” Hafner said.

The board also approved:

• A grant proposal for $220,000 in the first year from the U.S. Department of Education for intensive student support services for first-generation-in-college, low-income students and/or students with disabilities. Pending award, the first-year grant with renewals for up to five years would provide dedicated staff and intensive support services to promote academic success among participating students.

• A change in official site designations of SCF’s Venice and Lakewood Ranch locations to bring them into compliance with state designations.

• An articulation agreement with Suncoast Career Pathways Consortium and Manatee and Sarasota County school districts to provide pathway opportunities for students in secondary and postsecondary career and technical educational programs to earn college credits.

The board recognized the following outstanding students:

• SCF’s Brain Bowl team finished the season in a three-way tie for seventh place in the nation at the 2010 Community College Championship Tournament held February 26-27 at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla. Team member Aaron Summers was the 23rd highest scorer out of 105 participants. Other Brain Bowl members Angela Bruno, Sarah Tremper and Paul Cajka ranked in the top 50 and team member Michael Moore Jr. placed 59th. The students were introduced by Brain Bowl adviser Dr. Carole Cole, professor of language and literature, and Christina Dwyer, Brain Bowl co-coach and mathematics instructor.

• SCF music students who excelled in the January Florida Community College Activities Association Winter Music Symposium also were applauded by trustees. Pianist Amy Folkert and horn instrumentalist Cameron Vaadi won in the Student Artist Competition and received renewable $1,000 scholarships to any Florida college or university. Also recognized was SCF dual-enrolled student Samone Hicks, a senior at Westcoast School for Human Development in Sarasota. The top-scoring female vocalist in a competition for the Florida Grady-Rayam Prize in Sacred Music, Hicks won a $3,000 scholarship assistance grant and a $300 cash prize for her performance from the Negro Spiritual Scholarship Foundation. Melodie Dickerson, SCF director of choral and vocal studies, presented the students to the board.

At the request of SCF Board Chair Steve Harner, Peg Lowery, executive director of the SCF Foundation Inc., reminded trustees about the April 10 annual fundraising event, “Evening under the Stars,” with the Venice Symphony held on the grounds of SCF Venice. Information about the event is available at

The next meeting of the board will be held April 21 at SCF Venice.

SCF Brain Bowl team
Front row: Dr. Carole Cole, SCF Brain Bowl adviser and professor, language and literature, SCF Brain Bowl members Angela Bruno, Paul Cajka, Michael Moore Jr., Christina Dwyer, SCF Brain Bowl co-coach and instructor, mathematics. Back row: SCF Board Chairman Steve Harner, Aaron Summers and SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner.

 SCF music award winners
SCF Board Chairman Steve Harner, Melodie Dickerson, SCF director of choral and vocal studies, SCF music students Cameron Vaadi, horn, Samone Hicks, vocalist, Amy Folkert, pianist, and SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner (back row).

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