Archive for the ‘degrees’ Category

In the annual assessment published this week by Community College Week, St. Petersburg College again was 13th in the nation for the number of associate degrees awarded during the 2011-12 academic year. That is the same position the college held the previous year.

Among four-year institutions, SPC ranked 10th in the nation for the number of associate degrees awarded, up one spot from the previous year.

SPC ranked fifth among Florida state colleges behind Miami-Dade, Valencia, Broward, and Florida State College at Jacksonville in the number of associate degrees awarded. The college graduated 4,019 associate degree candidates, a 14.2 percent increase over the previous year. Miami-Dade graduated 11,959; Valencia, 7,974; Broward, 6,218; and Florida State at Jacksonville, 5,744.

Some other interesting facts from the national rankings —

SPC was:

  • 6th in the number of associate degrees awarded in liberal arts & sciences, general studies and humanities (2,590)
  • 19th in the number of associate degrees awarded in health professions and related programs (618)
  • 12th in the number of associate degrees awarded in nursing (392)
  • 61st in the number of associate degrees awarded to African-American students (316)

The rankings were published in Community College Week’s June 24 issue.

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A recent story in the Tampa Tribune talks about St. Petersburg College’s plans to offer a four-year degree in technology development and management. Subconcentrations would be data analytics or software development, according to the article.

“We did it; the whole program is in place,” said Sharon Setterlind, Dean of SPC’s college of computer and information technology, said in the article. “I’m excited about it. I really am.”

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott challenged the state college system to create a $10,000 degree program. SPC was the first to take on the challenge.

“The spirit of the $10,000 degree was how we as institutions can change our processes to make it cost less,” said Jesse Coraggio, Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants, said in the article. “Not just charge less, but make it cost less.”

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Area college presidents meet to sign “reverse credit transfer” agreement on Monday, Feb. 4.

A new agreement among several area colleges including SPC and the University of South Florida could help hundreds of students through “reverse credit transfers.”

SPC administrators estimate about 1,000 students over the past three years may benefit from the new agreement that allows certain colleges to work together to identify students who have earned enough credit for an associate degree but haven’t received it because the credit is spread among two or more institutions.

SPC, USF, Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando Community College and Polk State College are part of the partnership. Presidents from the institutions met Monday, Feb. 4, and signed agreement.

Several media outlets covered the signing or carried reports about the agreement and its impact.

“This is an important piece,” said SPC President Bill Law in an article in the Tampa Bay Times. “It documents success. It gives us another way for a student to demonstrate what he or she has achieved. … All of us know life intrudes for many of our students, and it’s never a straight line from one place to another, academically. If life intrudes and they don’t have this, then they really have nothing.”

Changing times have left some students in limbo as their four-year degree plans are delayed or derailed, Law said in an article in The Tampa Tribune. “I think there’s a big difference in a resume that says, ‘I went back to school, I got an associates’ degree, and then went on to USF, I’m working on that and expecting to graduate,’ compared with one that says, ‘I’ve got a handful of credits at a couple of colleges.’ “

In an article from USF’s student newspaper The Oracle, USF President Judy Genshaft said she believed the agreement could have potential benefits for the local economy because an associate degree can make a difference in helping someone to get a good job or promotion.

In January, the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment released a report urging colleges and universities to help students get all the way, not some of the way, to graduation, according to the article in the Times.

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SPC entered into an agreement with several area colleges Monday that will allow “reverse credit transfers.”

The agreement allows the colleges to work together to identify students who have earned enough credit to be awarded an associate degree but who haven’t received the degree because the credit is spread among two or more institutions. Other institutions entering the pact are the University of South Florida, Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando Community College and Polk State College.

SPC President Bill Law met with presidents from other institutions at USF’s Patel Center for Global Solutions in Tampa to sign the agreement.

The agreement builds on a partnership, established by USF, HCC, PHCC and SPC in November 2011, to provide students with a clear pathway to earning associate and bachelor’s degrees. It follows a report released in January by the National Commission on Higher Education Attainment that called on colleges and universities to find ways to provide students with credit for previously completed coursework, in hopes of improving graduation rates.

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83 Degrees mentioned SPC and other area community colleges in an article looking at the value of a college degree.

The article reported about information presented by a panel called “The College Advantage,” which drew attention to the issue during both the Republican and Democratic national conventions in Tampa and Charlotte, N.C. It also discussed how SPC has signed an agreement with the University of South Florida guaranteeing graduates of two-year institutions admission to the university.

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83 Degrees featured an article this week on the Sustainable Environment Research Foundation or SERF, a nonprofit that incorporates preservation, education and sustainable technology into one facility in Tarpon Springs.

The article mentions talks with SPC about sustainability training for high school and college students and plans for students from the college’s sustainability management program to intern at Tampa Bay area companies in the fields of marine science, engineering and environmental science and to work on community projects. Dr. Lynn Grinnell, a professor of sustainability management at St. Petersburg College, is quoted in the article. SPC’s sustainability management program offers nine core classes where students can attain skills that will give them a unique edge in a competitive job market, Grinnell said.

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From left: President Bill Law, Public Policy and Administration graduates Amy Griffith and Trinity Anzur, and Jeffrey Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge, Public Policy and Administration Baccalaureate Program.

Trinity Anzur and Amy Griffith made college history on July 21 when they became the  first Public Policy and Administration graduates.

The Public Policy and Administration program launched in fall 2010. The four-year degree program, which began with 10 students and now has about 75, offers an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of policy development and implementation through direct government action. The primarily face-to-face courses are offered at the Seminole and Clearwater campuses but some blended courses and limited online courses also are available.

“The success of the program has been extraordinary,” said Jeffrey Kronschnabl, Instructor in Charge for Public Policy and Administration at the Seminole Campus. “We’ve had students interning all over the county — in the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Belleair — and they have been doing extremely well.”

Kronschnabl worked extensively with Anzur and Griffith in several classes.

“These two ladies worked very hard and have shown a strong commitment to their education,” he said. “They took an overload of classes. They were successful in every endeavor.”

Meet the graduates

Trinity Anzur

Trinity Anzur

As a single mother, Trinity Anzur recognized the importance of an education. It would help make a better life for her and her 6-year-old son, Cooper.

After moving to St. Pete Beach around 2000, the northwestern Indiana native began taking classes for an associate’s degree the following year.

“I was trying to look for something that I could do that is close to home, and something that would be good for me and my son,” said Anzur, 36.

Although she then moved away for about seven years for employment opportunities, she returned to pick up where she left off with her degree.

While visiting with an academic advisor in 2010, the new Public Policy and Administration baccalaureate degree came up.

“They told me about the program and I thought it sounded interesting,” she said. “I think having a bachelor’s degree is a big benefit. Especially in the job economy today, it’s just an advantage.”

With the program being so new, the classes were smaller, helping Anzur and her fellow students form study groups and develop relationships that will last beyond the July 21 graduation day.

“It really made things more comfortable when there were speeches that had to be done and stuff like that,” she said. “Knowing everybody made it a little easier.

“I had a friend that graduated from USF and she didn’t have the group connection that I have here with my classmates,” Anzur said. “With my classmates, we still talk on the phone and text. We’re even going to lunch in the next couple days.”

She hopes the example she has created of getting a bachelor’s degree will leave a good impression on her son.

“I think it will have a positive effect on him,” she said. “He didn’t like that I was gone at school all the time, but he understands that I was doing it to benefit our family.”

Anzur  is interested in pursuing a law degree with a focus on family law.

“It’s something I’ve thought about but I’m a little burned out on school right now and I might take a semester or two off,” she said. “But it’s still something in the back of my mind.”

Amy Griffith

Amy Griffith

After taking classes at institutions such as Temple University, La Salle and even Penn State University, Amy Griffith’s academic path took a turn when her Coast Guard engineer husband, Steve, received relocation orders to St. Petersburg three years ago.

When the Philadelphia native began looking into the programs at St. Petersburg College, she was impressed.

“Even from just calling SPC and actually talking to a real person,” said Griffith, 29. “It beat the other schools hands-down.”

She enrolled at SPC and began working toward an associate’s degree in nursing when an advisor told her about the new Public Policy and Administration bachelor’s degree program.

“I thought that would be perfect because I wanted to work in hospital administration and not really patient care,” Griffith said. “So the Public Policy and Administration really looked good for me.”

Only needing a few more classes to get a general Associate in Arts degree, she changed her major to liberal arts and graduated with her associate’s degree. She then enrolled in the bachelor’s degree program.

“The program itself is great. The classes build upon each other, and the way they have them scheduled is perfect,” she said.

“I loved it here,” she said. “I’ve been through bigger universities in Philadelphia, and this program, and the college, was the best experience out of all of them.”

She already has received two job offers from the state of Florida and from a hospital. She next wants to pursue a master’s degree in health administration from Penn State or St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.

“All of the counselors I’ve talked to for master’s degree programs said the public policy and administration degree looks really good for doing any kind of health administration.”


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Florida may become the first state in the nation to open an all-online public university, TBO.com reported. Nicknamed “Online U,” it would be the state’s 13th university and is one option under consideration by the state’s Board of Governors.

Christian Lemus, a college student who has taken two courses online at SPC, is quoted in the article. While enthusiastic about one-stop shopping for online offerings statewide, he did not approve of an all-online university. “I absolutely would not do that,” Lemus said in the article. “You need a sense of belonging and a support group. I would need guidance and a place that sees me as an individual, not as an account.”

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St. Petersburg College ranked 13th in the nation for the number of associate degrees awarded during the 2010-11 academic year, Community College Week reported in its rankings this month.

Each year the publication lists the top 100 community colleges according to associate degrees awarded. In the rankings, SPC placed 13th overall and 11th among four-year institutions. During the last academic year, the college placed 14th overall and eighth among four-year institutions.

SPC ranked fifth among Florida community colleges behind Miami-Dade, Valencia, Broward, and Florida State College at Jacksonville in the number of associate degrees awarded. The college graduated 3,518 associate degree candidates, a 7.2 percent increase over the previous year. Miami-Dade graduated 9,445; Valencia, 6,627; Broward, 4,881; and Florida State at Jacksonville, 5,409.

Looking at associate degrees involving nursing, the college ranked fourth overall and third among four-year institutions. There were 392 associate degrees awarded under the category of registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research, and clinical nursing. The figure represents a 17 percent increase over the past academic year when the college ranked eighth overall and sixth among four-year institutions.

SPC ranked 20th in the country for four-year institutions awarding associate degrees to minority students. The college graduated 632 minority associate degree-seeking students, up 11 percent compared to the previous academic year, according to the report. In the 2009-10 academic year, it ranked 19th in the same category and 70th overall, compared to 69th overall for the 2010-11 year. The college ranked 54th in the country among African-American associate degree seekers with 316 graduates, up 21 percent.

The rankings were published in Community College Week’s June 11 issue.

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Signifying a strong commitment to student success and completion, St. Petersburg College is one of 25 institutions selected this year into the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network – the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. SPC will begin immediately to identify strategies to close achievement gaps and increase student retention, persistence and completion rates.

“The opportunity to become an Achieving the Dream college includes a commitment to align resources – current and future – to the programs, activities, and services determined the most impactful in improving the success of our students,” said Bill Law, President, St. Petersburg College.

The college’s planning is still in the early stages. A kickoff conference is scheduled for early June in Portland, Ore., and SPC representatives will attend.

“This new cohort of colleges will collectively help 270,000 students succeed,” said Beverly Fletcher, Senior Director of Organizational Development and Change for Achieving the Dream. “And the success of each student means much more than just a personal goal secured. It means improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for their community and our nation as a whole.”

As an Achieving the Dream Institution, SPC will develop and implement research-based policies and practices based on quantitative and qualitative analyses of its institutional strengths, problem areas, and achievement gaps. SPC is committed to assessing the effectiveness of these policies and practices, institutionalizing the approaches that prove successful, and sharing the findings widely. Through Achieving the Dream, SPC will have the opportunity to learn from other Achieving the Dream Institutions, and receive assistance from experienced practitioners in building a culture of evidence campus-wide, using data to identify problems, setting priorities, and measuring progress toward increasing student success.

The Achieving the Dream 2012 Cohort

Albany Technical College (GA) Columbia Gorge Community College (OR) Oregon Coast Community College (OR)
Arkansas Baptist College (AR) Columbus State Community College (OH) Pierce College (WA)
Atlanta Technical College (GA) Columbus Technical College (GA) Southwestern Oregon Community College (OR)
Gaston College (NC) St. Petersburg College (FL)
Augusta Technical College (GA) Georgia Piedmont Technical College (GA) Stanly Community College (NC)
Blue Mountain Community College (OR) Klamath Community College (OR) Tillamook Bay Community College (OR)
Central Alabama Community College (AL) Kingsborough Community College (NY) Umpqua Community College (OR)
Central Georgia Technical College (GA) Linn-Benton Community College (OR) Wallace State Community College (Hanceville, AL)
College of Southern Nevada (NV) Miami Dade College (FL)

“The work of closing achievement gaps and improving student success is extremely difficult and critically important,” said Beverly Fletcher, Senior Director of Organizational Development and Change for Achieving the Dream. “Being an Achieving the Dream Institution takes courage, discipline, and a tenacious institution-wide commitment to student success and equity. St. Petersburg College should be applauded for helping tackle one of society’s most daunting challenges: success for more college students.”

The Achieving the Dream Model

Each new college will commit to the Achieving the Dream Student-Centered Model of Institutional Improvement. Based on four principles, the model frames the overall work of helping more students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Each college will approach the work differently, but Achieving the Dream’s five-step process will provide practical guidelines for helping keep the focus where it belongs and building momentum over time. Throughout the process, Achieving the Dream coaches will offer customized support and help each college’s core team implement data-informed programs and policies that build long-term, institution-wide commitment to student success.

Achieving the Dream is a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. The Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including nearly 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams – working throughout 32 states and the District of Columbia – helps 3.75 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

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