Daytona State College President Carol Eaton held one of her periodic town hall-style meetings on Tuesday, Nov. 27, updating the college community on recent accomplishments and initiatives that include a proposed $10,000 baccalaureate degree opportunity for first-time-in-college students.
Responding to a challenge by Gov. Rick Scott for Florida’s state colleges to offer $10,000 bachelor’s degrees, Daytona State this week proposed to launch a fast-track program that would target high-achieving high school students. The cost of a Daytona State bachelor’s degree under the current two-plus-two model is approximately $13,000.
“This is a partnership challenge with our high schools, to bring in qualified first-time-in-college students,” Eaton said. “We think this is a challenge worth taking and we think we have the programs and faculty that can make it happen.”
While still in development, the initiative would apply to all seven of the college’s baccalaureate degree offerings and would adjust the cost of bachelor’s-level courses to associate-level prices. Eligible students would be required to enroll at the college immediately upon graduation from high school with a minimum of 15 college credits having already been earned through dual enrollment, Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses. Students would then be required to commit to enrolling in 18 credit hours per semester, which would allow them to complete the typically four-year bachelor’s degree in three years.
“Some critics might say that this would be cheapening or lessening our degree,” Eaton said, “but we think this rigorous fast-track program will attract the kind of student who is highly motivated and capable.”
Admission criteria for the fast-track baccalaureate program is still being developed, but Eaton said she envisions that eligible students would be required to have earned a minimum 3.2 grade point average in high school and at least 500 on all three sections of the SAT or ACT test.
If the legislature approves the proposal, high school students graduating in May 2013 could qualify to begin the program next fall semester.
“This is not a done deal,” Eaton said, noting that the Legislature would have to approve the tuition adjustment and entrance requirements.
Eaton described the program as an “alternative pathway” for motivated students. “This is a parallel program,” she said. “It will not be in competition with our current two-plus-two format.”
Six other colleges also have accepted the governor’s challenge to offer their own versions of the more affordable four-year degree program. They are Broward College, College of Central Florida, Santa Fe College, Seminole State College, St. Petersburg College and Valencia College.
Eaton also provided an update on the college’s shared governance model, which has been in place for about a year. She said the college’s executive staff and constituent groups have reviewed all college policies, which have been approved by the board. About two-thirds of college procedures have been reviewed, with the remainder expected to be completed and brought to the board for approval during spring semester.
Eaton thanked the college community for its work on the policies and procedures revisions. “You all have been involved with this initiative through your constituent groups, and I want to thank the constituent heads for your leadership,” she said. “This has been no small task.”
Regarding Daytona State’s proposed requests for state funding, Eaton said that, while state budgets are expected to be austere, the college on Thursday will seek board approval to request legislative funding for a number of capital projects, the most substantial being $24 million to fund demolition of the Theater Center on the Daytona Beach Campus and construction of a new classroom/student center in its place. Last year, the Legislature allocated $2.4 million to the college to begin plans for the new building. This year’s Legislative Case Statement also includes requests for $2.1 million for renovations and remodeling projects at all campus locations and an additional $532,678 to complete a new classroom building on the Flagler/Palm Coast Campus.
Eaton also noted that a draft of the SACS reaffirmation document has been completed. Anyone wishing to review it should contact Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness Nancy Morgan. “This has been a tremendous effort,” she said. “It’s an incredible thing to see the work come together and the ideas that are shared.” Speaking on development of the college’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a separate component of the SACS reaffirmation process and is being led by professors Tom Bellomo and Max Nagiel, Eaton commented, “This is a marathon, not a sprint, and right now I think we are at the 20-mile mark. But there is enough energy, enthusiasm and commitment to this project that we are going to come out shining in the end.”
Eaton’s executive staff also provided updates for their areas:
Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Mike Vitale:
- Introduced Laura Stegall as the college’s new volleyball coach. Noted that 12 players have signed letters of intent and expects two others to join the team as walk-ons. Season starts in August.
- College is seeking state approval to offer the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. Currently it is offered as a concentration of the Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology, but in order to receive full accreditation from the national Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), it has to be offered as a stand-alone degree. Vitale said no local colleges have opposed the new degree proposal.
- The college is monitoring state proposed rule revisions for faculty continuing contracts
- Vice President for Information Technology Roberto Lombardo:
- The college is researching a new ERP system that would replace the CARS system, which is nearly 20 years old. Currently, the department is in the “documentation phase” and is considering bringing a consultant on board in the spring to help with developing criteria for selecting a new system.
- Cautioned the college community about an increase in phishing scams. Said college
employees should use caution when opening suspicious emails. “IT will never ask for
your password, so if you see an email that requests one or that you feel is suspicious,
do not respond. Just forward it to the Help Desk and we will investigate it.”
Senior Vice President for Student Development & Institutional Effectiveness Tom LoBasso
- Applications for the Graduate Tuition Reimbursement Program are being accepted through Friday, Nov. 30. All full-time employees seeking a graduate degree are eligible to apply through the human resources section of the college portal. Employees are encouraged to review the guidelines, also available on the portal, prior to applying. There is a fixed amount of money available and the amount to be awarded to approved applicants depends on how many applications are approved. Award announcements are anticipated on Dec. 14 for those applicants seeking to begin classes during spring semester. The application window for summer and fall semester classes will open in April.
- Spring enrollment shows an increase in new-student applications, which bodes well for fall, he said. On another positive note, enrollment is tracking at 6 percent above the expected 16 percent down.