MCC to SCF: A New Era in Education for Our Region
On July 1, Manatee Community College officially became State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. The expansion of workforce baccalaureate degrees heralds a new era in education for our region and ushers in a vision for a fundamentally different kind of academic institution.
First, however, it must be emphasized that the change does not discontinue nor diminish the shining accumulated history of Manatee Junior College and Manatee Community College nor does it lessen the contributions of the institution's visionary founders. The 52-year-old mission of open access and legacy of quality education at the two-year level will continue unabated with the aim of doing even better.
While continuing the legacy, SCF will expand greatly the region's educational future. The impetus for this change began in September 2008 when the MCC Board of Trustees voted to pursue four-year workforce degrees and become a "state" college. After thorough needs assessments and with forceful support from regional healthcare providers, the Board applied for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing as the first bachelor's degree. On March 17, 2009, the State Board of Education unanimously approved the application.
With that decision, MCC joined 13 other Florida community colleges with authority to offer workforce baccalaureate degrees. The Florida Legislature instituted the policy of authorizing community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees as a means to meet community workforce needs and expand students' access to quality, affordable baccalaureate education that would allow them to obtain or retool higher level skills and continue to live and work in their communities.
Our college is an exceptional example of the qualities that make this policy wise and practical. Maintaining our community college mission we add needed baccalaureate degrees; sustain quality programs with skilled, versatile faculty adept at change; move quickly to create or alter programs to meet business and industry needs; are open to innovative and collaborative ventures with other educational, public and private sectors; and provide proximity and affordability.
Compared to average Florida university tuition our associate degree courses are about 41 percent lower. Our BSN tuition, only $9.57 per credit hour more than current two-year tuition, is about 35 percent lower.
The authority to offer four-year degrees brought with it the need for a new name. The Board chose State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota to signal the changed status and recognize our entire service area. But the name does much more--it reflects a bold vision for a redesigned academic institution of global stature that merges educational levels from middle school to four-year degrees into a unified continuum of successful academic and career pathways.
Envisioned within the SCF continuum are a collegiate school, two-year associate degrees and four-year workforce degrees. Students will move through middle to high school and upon graduation have both high school and two-year associate's degrees. At the same time, thousands of students will continue to enter our two-year programs. All graduates will have pathways into SCF four-year degrees or to other four-year institutions including our local partners New College, Ringling College of Art and Design and USF Sarasota Manatee.
This model reduces the conventional walls of education. It brings school students into college culture; maintains the "educational Ellis Island" of the community college; continues responding to local needs; provides entry to universities through the effective 2+2 system; and offers, through advanced technologies, access to state, national and international programs.
Just as technology innovators have merged various functions into connected devices, separate educational levels converge to create a supportive and linked culture of academic opportunity and success.
Our region is fortunate to have outstanding educational institutions with distinct missions. Certainly MCC has been a star player in this educational line-up. As SCF we will continue to partner with this local team while changing the area's educational landscape.
Success will depend on community and political support, the cooperation of SCF faculty, the continued generosity of current and new benefactors and ongoing collaboration with our local schools, higher education and business partners. Today State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is a name change but more importantly represents a new way to think about education--a community-based college with global impact through technology and vision that will continue to make transformative changes in the lives of students far into the future.
Let us begin.
SCF Lakewood Ranch held the first event of the day celebrating the name change on July 1.
SCF Vice President of Academic Quality and Success Dr. Jack Crocker, SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner, SCF Venice Provost Darlene Wedler-Johnson, SCF Bradenton Provost and Vice President of Baccalaureate Programs Dr. Mike Mears and SCF Lakewood Ranch Provost and Dean of Nursing Dr. Bonnie Hesselberg stood in front of the newly raised flag in Lakewood Ranch despite the gloomy weather.
SCF Bradenton celebrated the new name, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, on July 1.
SCF President Dr. Lars A. Hafner and SCF Board of Trustees Member Susan Miller Kelly raised the new flag representing the College's name change.
SCF Venice celebrated July 1 with a "Brickyard to Baccalaureate" theme, commemorating the College name change from MCC to SCF.
Lynda Platone, executive assistant II and Diane McGrath, lab coordinator, natural sciences celebrated the name change at SCF Venice.