We have just received confirmation that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has officially approved our Bachelor of Applied Science in Interior Design program that will begin in January. This is a huge, historic moment for our college ... enabling us to begin offering our first bachelor's degree in answer to a community need. Dr. McGee received the news from SACS while visiting our Heathrow Center and was able to deliver the news in person to professor Jill Smith. Many thanks to Jill and the other Interior Design faculty / staff, to the BAS Core Team, and to so many others throughout our College who have worked so hard to secure this approval.
Last year, Florida's Legislature renamed the Florida Community College System as the Florida College System. This legislation also gives each college the opportunity to change its name, particularly as it relates to expanding the college mission to include baccalaureate degrees. Now that SCC has official approval from SACS to begin offering our first baccalaureate degree -- plus the fact that the conversion of our Sanford / Lake Mary Campus to an academic village requires a significant quantity of permanent new signage to accompany this renovation -- it seems that now is the time to consider changing our College's name. This is phrased as a “potential” name change, because we don’t have any preconceived ideas about a new name. We are developing what we believe is an inclusive process that will involve our faculty and staff, our students, and our community over the next few months with the anticipation that the Board would vote on a name change in September. Before the conclusion of our Summer Term in early August, we will post the final details about a timeline and process for exploring a name change.
At the same time that applications are currently being accepted for SCC's new Bachelor of Applied Science in Interior Design -- online at http://www.seminolestate.edu/bas-interiordesign/ -- there are new developments in Central Florida's higher education community that are generating conversations about other baccalaureate degrees. UCF recently announced that they may be closing several of their baccalaureate programs. Since some of those programs parallel SCC's current offerings and there are SCC students in the pipeline who were expecting to transfer to UCF and pursue those majors, SCC is beginning very preliminary talks with UCF and the other regional community colleges about the feasibility of migrating some of those degrees to SCC. But, this is very much in the exploratory phase. Please look for future communication should there be any concrete developments about additional baccalaureate degrees coming to our College.
At the June 22 Board Meeting, our Trustees approved the 2009-10 Budget for SCC. Included in this budget are an 8% increase in tuition and a new technology fee for community college students which, when combined with our increased enrollment, will enable us to balance our projected 09-10 expenditures. The approved budget also includes a 2009-10 SCC Salary Schedule which does not provide salary increases or step advancements for any College employees. However, as discussed during this spring's Open Forums on the budget, we will re-examine the possibility of raises for 2009-10 -- probably in a January timeframe -- dependent upon our financial condition and enrollment patterns.
A three-member SACS Accreditation Team will visit our Altamonte Springs Campus on July 15th and 16th. Their goal is to determine whether the institution has adequate personnel, facilities, and resources to operate the Altamonte Campus. The SACS visitors also will be ensuring that we demonstrate sufficient comparability of student learning outcomes at that site with similar programs at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. Many thanks to a collaborative team of SCC constituents, led by Dr. Christine Robinson, who have been preparing all kinds of documents and making all the arrangements for our July visitors. We expect that the visit will go well and that SACS will find that we are in full compliance with all the Standards of the Principles of Accreditation. Also, in preparation for SCC's fifth-year SACS Report due in September, a new website has been launched to help faculty and staff understand the processes related to SACS. The site includes frequently-asked-questions, an organizational chart, minutes from recent committee meetings and more. It is available at www.seminolestate.edu/sacs.
Governor Crist has now signed a bill that was passed by the Legislature this spring which impacts those currently enrolled in the Florida Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP.) This bill essentially requires that those DROP participants who will retire on or after July 1, 2010 will have to sit out for 6 months before being able to be rehired, and cannot earn a second pension. However, those DROP participants who retire prior to July 1, 2010 will be grandfathered in via the current process and there will be no change for them. Our HR department is getting exact clarification on the changes resulting from this bill, and will be sending very specific communications to individuals directly impacted by these changes. Additionally, HR will be scheduling employee forums with FRS staff here at SCC in October and February to accommodate questions / answers for all interested and affected employees.
Seminole State College
100 Weldon Boulevard
Sanford, Florida 32773-6199