SCF Board Report: Friday, March 30

Board Reviews Continuing Contracts Policy

(Bradenton, Fla., March 30, 2012) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) District Board of Trustees held its regular meeting on Friday, March 30, following a board workshop on continuing contracts.

The workshop and meetings were attended by several dozen faculty members and students in addition to administrative staff.

Dr. Jack Crocker, SCF vice president of academic quality and success, provided an overview of continuing contracts followed by a presentation from Peg Beck, SCF executive director of human resources, who explained that continuing contracts are governed by Florida statutes and guided by administrative and college policies. 

Unlike some other colleges, continuing contracts at SCF are not awarded automatically. In addition, faculty members on continuing contract status are evaluated annually. The rigorous process starts in the classroom with faculty members demonstrating effectiveness in teaching as the main factor. College and community service and professional development contribute to faculty portfolios. Recommendations advance from the department level to the college president and SCF board for approval.

“We do an excellent job of screening. We believe in hiring the right people from the beginning,” Beck said.

A significant percentage of SCF’s professors receive high evaluations from students, and faculty members who are not able to maintain positive evaluations are not retained, said Gary Russell, associate vice president of academic quality and success.

“One hundred percent of student evaluative data is the main factor in recommending someone for continuing contract. It doesn’t matter how smart or credentialed someone is, if they can’t teach and communicate with students, then SCF is not the place for them,” Russell said.

Dennielle True, SCF Faculty Senate president and associate professor in language and literature, noted that continuing contracts provide academic freedom for professors beyond free speech rights.

“The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it doesn’t protect you from losing your job for exercising freedom of speech,” True said, adding that continuing contracts also preserve the integrity of grades issued by professors.

Board members were receptive to the presentations.

Trustee Charlene Neal said, “Thank you to the staff and faculty for educating us about this so that we can help explain it to the community.”

Trustee C. J. Fishman said, “What we learned today is that we have a good system in place with checks and balances. It is working and keeping us competitive to attract the next generation.”

The board agreed that new continuing contracts could be placed on the agenda at the April meeting.

At the regular meeting, the board approved SCF administrators beginning negotiations with Desire2Learn Inc. for a new educational technology platform, called a Learning Management System.

Regarding the SCF A+STEM Collegiate School at SCF Venice, the Board approved SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner’s recommendation to continue the planning phase in the 2012-13 academic year by preparing the facilities and curriculum, hiring teachers and recruiting students.

Chairman Carlos Beruff said, “I applaud Dr. Hafner for his prudence in the decision to start the Venice charter school in Fall 2013.”

The Board voted to authorize the College to terminate contracts with vendors on the new library project and stated their intention to review the bidding process while reconsidering the future design and scope of the library.

Traci Steen, SCF associate vice president of facilities management and government relations, requested approval to proceed with the renovation of chemistry labs at SCF Venice. The board tabled the decision and decided to hold a special board meeting in mid-April to review the contract.

The board also discussed staffing and performance, vacation leave policy, the SCF mission statement and core mission, associate and bachelor nursing programs, and a former evaluation form. The board asked college staff to bring more information about these topics to future meetings for the board’s further review and possible action.

Kelly Monod, head of school at SCF Collegiate School, presented a report showing that SCFCS have made significant gains in reading comprehension.

The board also approved a $13 student fee for the Dental Anatomy Course for student liability.

In comments, Dr. Hafner recognized:

  • SCF’s partnership with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) to facilitate the admission of SCF graduates into LECOM’s Doctor of Pharmacy program. The articulation agreement establishing the SCF-LECOM School of Pharmacy Early Acceptance Program was signed March 13 at SCF’s Bradenton campus. Click here to read the release.
  • All of SCF’s 2011 Physical Therapist Assistant Program graduates for passing the national licensing exam with a 93 percent first time pass rate, which is above the pass rate of 81 percent in Florida and 82 percent in the nation.
  • Two SCF professors for winning prestigious awards from the Florida Section of the Mathematical Association of America: John Waters, SCF mathematics professor and department chair, Distinguished Service Award; and Altay Özgener, SCF mathematics associate professor, Distinguished Teaching Award.
  • SCF Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) Business Club Advisors Amy Santos, mathematics professor, and Dr. Louis Okonkwo, accounting and business professor, for leading students’ success at the 2012 State Leadership Conference held in Tampa on March 15-18.
  • SCF Collegiate School for receiving a $77, 812 grant from the Florida Department of Education based on student performance.
  • SCF music students for winning awards and scholarships at the Florida Community College Activities Association Winter Music Symposium at Florida Atlantic University. Click here to read the release.
  • SCF’s Film Department for hosting several film screenings at Neel Performing Arts Center for the 14th Annual Sarasota Film Festival. Click here to read more.
  • SCF students and employees whose quotations were among 39 selected by Embracing Our Differences 2012 for the display at the Sarasota Bayfront Park from Sunday, April 1 – Monday, May 28. More than 4,502 entries were submitted by individuals in 53 countries and 40 states. Click here to read the release.
  • SCF Manatees teams for their successes. SCF Tennis is ranked No. 2 in the nation and SCF Softball is No. 10 in the nation. SCF Baseball will play an exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles at 1:05 p.m., Tuesday, April 3, at Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th Street, Sarasota.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at SCF Venice, building 800, in the Selby Room at 8 a.m. on April 25.

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