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Composer Larry Groupe also will lead a free master class for students and the public Thursday, April 24

When St. Petersburg College’s Community Concert Band takes the stage on May 1, its student members will play a composition written especially for them by two-time Emmy-award winning composer Larry Groupe.

The piece, Heat Lightning, is the first commissioned composition to be premiered by one of the college’s concert bands. The St. Petersburg College Community Concert Band will perform the world premiere of Heat Lightning at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 1. The performance will be in the Arts Auditorium at the SPC Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St.

“Everyone’s really excited about playing the new piece,” said Nathan Muehl, Director of Band and Orchestra at the SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. “It’s a challenging piece but the students have really enjoyed working on it.”

The students also will have a chance to meet and interact with Groupé, whose feature film composition credits include Straw Dogs, Nothing But the Truth, Resurrecting the Champ and The Contender. Some of his other credits include compositions for television series Commander in Chief, Line of Fire and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Groupe will conduct a free Master Class on film scoring from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday in HS 117 on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. The class is open to students and the public. He also will attend the Wind Symphony rehearsal at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 24, at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

The composition was funded by a Faculty Governance Organization Creativity Grant awarded to music professors Jeff Donovick and Nathan Muehl. Throughout the process, Groupe has interacted with students by video conferencing from his Los Angeles office. The goal was for students to learn from Groupe during the beginning, middle and end stages of creating a new composition.

“We were able to pick his brain about what he does when starting a new piece, how he gets direction, and the nitty-gritty of how he works through his type of composing,” Muehl said.

(Watch a clip from one of the interactive internet sessions.)

Groupe has family ties to Pinellas County, where he also attended school as a child. He and Donovick knew one another as youths when their fathers worked for Life Sciences, Inc. a research and development center in St. Petersburg.

Donovick describes Groupe as being a man with a heart for education. Groupe previously has taught several master classes at SPC and has conducted guest lectures at other colleges and universities.

“He is a friend of St. Petersburg College,” Donovick said. “He supports what we are doing here and is very interested in the way we do things.”

“So as a friend of SPC, he was willing to not only write the music for less money than one would normally charge commercially, but he was willing to accept the terms that required an educational component,” he said. 

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Officials from Duke Energy and St. Petersburg College join SPC students Gentian Kruja and Morgan Fouss as they flip the switch on the solar energy panels installed at the Seminole Campus.

It was a beautiful day to showcase solar energy. On Thursday, April 10, officials from Duke Energy and St. Petersburg College flipped the switch on the Seminole Campus’ array of solar photovoltaic panels, highlighting a collaboration that began with a $500,000 SunSense grant from the energy company.

“This partnership is a perfect fit,” said Seminole Provost Jim Olliver. “This project encourages students to get involved with solar energy and supports SPC’s commitment to sustainable design.”

SPC is the first and only state college to receive Duke Energy Florida’s SunSense Schools Post Secondary School Award. Previous recipients include the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida.

The energy company provided $515,803 for two solar installations at SPC – a 50 kW ground-mounted, free-standing structure on the Seminole Campus and a 50 kW array atop walkways at the Clearwater Campus. The installations join two other solar energy projects on SPC’s Clearwater Campus. Find out more about SPC’s use of solar energy and how students are involved.

“Through the SunSense program, this solar project at St. Petersburg College is playing a key role in our efforts to educate our customers on renewable energy production,” Joseph Pietrzak, Senior Program Manager for Duke Energy Florida.

LCD monitors on each campus show how much energy is produced by the arrays, and engineering and environmental technology students use the information for research. Since it was installed in December, the Seminole array has produced 18,488 kWh, enough to power 3.4 million smartphones, offset the use of 1,633 gallons of gasoline and power 770 electric cars. Follow the energy production and installation here.

“It’s going to be a new world,” said James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center, created in 1975 by the Florida Legislature to serve as the state’s energy research institute. “This is no longer the most expensive way to make energy.”

Students from Lealman Intermediate School also attended the event and participated in educational solar activities. Students used handheld solar panels to power small motors and measure energy output.

“The young people here are going to be driving these vehicles powered by solar,” said Fenton, referring to the two alternative energy vehicles Duke brought to the event.

“My hope is that other students, current and future, will be inspired to learn more about solar energy and build a better future,” said SPC student Gentian Kruja, president of the Student Chapter of The Florida Engineering Society at SPC. After he graduates next month, Kruja plans to attend the University of Central Florida to study computer engineering.

“Through the data collected, students are not only learning about how different conditions of weather and seasons can affect the energy produced, but also how energy efficiencies are determined,” said Morgan Fouss, who will receive her A.S. degree in Environmental Science Technology from SPC next month and plans to attend law school. “We’re glad this investment was made on our campus and hope it’s just one more step in making SPC and specifically the Seminole Campus a model for sustainability practices.”

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This summer St. Petersburg College is offering a second 8-week summer term, providing more options for students taking courses during the upcoming months.

SummerRegistration-BANNER

The extra summer term, which will run from June 2 through July 24, allows those considering summer courses more flexibility with their class schedule. Students now can take two weeks off at either the start or end of the summer and still earn a full term’s credit.

Options for students now include:

  • Study now – play later
    First 8-week term – May 19-July 11
  • Play now – study later
    Second 8-week term – June 2-July 24
  • Spread it out over the summer
    Traditional 10-week term – May 19-July 24

Summer registration for most students starts on March 26.

 

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1780775_10152608847838368_1191305515_nSt. Petersburg College and the Midtown community on Saturday celebrated both the past – the legacies of leaders Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. and Cecil B. Keene Sr. – and the future of education in the community.

An event at the site where the new 49,000-square-foot Midtown campus is beginning to rise honored Mr. Keene’s and Mr. Jamerson’s contributions to education locally and statewide by officially placing their names on SPC buildings.

The new facility, scheduled to open in mid-2015 at the corner of 22nd Street S and 13th Avenue S, will be called the Douglas L. Jamerson Jr. Midtown Center. The three-story building will include classrooms, labs, community space, computer labs, student services areas and a library with a children’s area.

The college’s current facility at 1048 22nd St. S was renamed the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center.

1939457_10152608826423368_12299606_nIn his dedication, Board of Trustees Chairman Deveron Gibbons said he had trouble narrowing down his comments “because both of these two men had such an impact on my life.”

“When I think about Mr. Keene,” he said, “what I think about most was his commitment to people and especially to students.”

Mr. Jamerson, he said, was his uncle and his mentor, a man who worked across the state for others. “He was the best legislator of this district I’ve ever seen. He fought with everything he could for St. Petersburg to be a better community.”

The event marked the official beginning of construction on the new Douglas L. Jamerson Midtown Center.

The Rev. Wayne Thompson, before his invocation, said the new building sits next to the spot where he was born, in the former Mercy Hospital. “I was thinking this morning that maybe today I was going to be reborn,” he said. “In many ways, this community is going to be reborn because of this bold initiative by St. Petersburg College and the Board of Trustees.”

SPC President Bill Law said he has been a college president for 25 years. At the end of his career, he said, “When I’m asked what are the five best days you has as a president, this will be one.”

The day was historic, Dr. Law said. “We stand here in celebration in a location that hasn’t always had reason to celebrate.”

1891212_10152608827338368_1189107867_nThe community, he said, “has had to overcome all the constraints of a segregated society. When the legal and societal restraints were removed, Midtown had to find a new center.”

People like Mr. Jamerson, Mr. Keene and Johnnie Ruth Clarke, for whom the adjacent health center is named, always knew that the community was strong and never stopped fighting for it, Dr. Law said. “Our celebration was put in motion years ago by those who could feel the heartbeat of this community.”

Chairman Gibbons recognized past leaders from the college and the city who fought for years to make the Midtown campus a reality, including former board members Terry Brett, Ken Burke, Ken Welch and Dick Johnston; former mayors David Fischer and Rick Baker; and community activist Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter.

“You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re at,” he said. “Here we are now – we’re going to have a place of learning. We’re going to have people who can go to college right here on 22nd Street, on the Deuces.”

Mayor Rick Kriseman praised the college for its commitment to Midtown. He said his administration wants to focus on workforce training and employment in the community. “When it comes to workforce training, there’s no better partner for us than St. Petersburg College.”

See photos from the event on the college’s Facebook page.

Watch the event on SPC’s YouTube channel.

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The Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the EpiCenter.

The full agenda, supplemental materials and meeting video, which is 1 hour, 55 minutes long, are available on the board’s website. The video also is included below.

Meeting highlights included:

Success rates improve for third straight semester

Jesse Coraggio, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research, and Grants, reported that initiatives to improve support for students appear to be paying off. Student success rates — the number of students who complete a course with an A, B or C — increased college-wide for the third semester in a row.

Achievement 2Even more exciting, Coraggio said, are the gains made by minority students, particularly African-American and Hispanic male students. The gap between the success of minority students and non-minority students is narrowing.

“That’s the achievement gap, and we’re starting to close it down,” he said.

Trustee Bridgette Bello asked if any one initiative is responsible for the gains.

Coraggio said he believes it is a cumulative effect of all the efforts of the College Experience: Student Success.

“I think it’s a synergy of things” including the five key areas of the College Experience, Coraggio said. “We’ve made some changes in policies as well to really set expectations for students at the front end…and we work with them through it. What happened before, we didn’t have policiess that had as much teeth and we didn’t have these conversations with students.”

The College Experience efforts, too, he said, creates a safety net for more students, identifying them right away if they struggle.

Learn more: Read the Fall 2013 Course Success Rates or watch this section of the meeting, which begins at the 26:23 mark.

Spring 2014 enrollment trends

Patrick Rinard, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Services, presented a look a enrollment for Spring. The number of students remained relatively steady over last spring, down less than 1 percent, though the number of semester hours students are taking is down about 1.5 percent.

Some of the noteworthy observations:

  • New students increased by 5.4 percent
  • Readmitted students increased 10.1 percent
  • Bachelor’s degree students increased by more than 7 percent
  • Developmental education enrollment decreased by 23 percent

As part of the presentation, too, Coraggio explained how deans are using enrollment data and trend data to build course schedules for 2014-15.

Learn more: Read the Spring 2014 Who’s Here Presentation or watch this section of the meeting, which begins at the 36:58 mark.

Developmental education reform update

Changes in state law, which went into effect this semester spring semester, deem students who graduated from a public Florida high school on or after 2007 college-ready. The placement and developmental education courses are not mandatory for those students.

As a result, almost 500 students are enrolled in college level courses this spring who likely would have been in developmental education courses previously.

“Hundreds of students we believe are misplaced this semester, by their own choice,” Dr. Law said. “The day of reckoning is coming over the horizon. Students who opted to go into courses where we didn’t think they will succeed, that reality is going to brush over them in the next couple of weeks. And I sustpect we will start seeing students saying, ‘How did we get in this mess?’ “

Dr. Anne Cooper, Senior Vice President for Instruction and Academic Programs, said faculty members are going to be watching especially closely for signs that students are struggling in entry-level courses this spring. “We are obviously very in tune to this issue,” she said. “The earlier we can identify those who are in need of more assistance, the better.”

Learn more: Read the Developmental Education Reform Update for Spring 2014 or watch this section of the meeting, which begins at the 46:55 mark.

Grants strong through first half of the fiscal year

GrantsJackie Skryd, Executive Director of Grants Development, gave a midterm report on the college’s grants program. So far this year, the college has recieved $8.5-million from a broad range of sources, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the Florida Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and the Gates Foundation.

Applications are in the works for an additional $4-million in grants for the year.

Learn more: Read the details of the Grant Award Highlights or watch this section of the meeting, which begins at the 1:15:18 mark.

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Jimmie Lee Solomon, former executive vice president of Major League Baseball, will headline the second annual Keys to Manhood conference on Jan. 31. The event, free and open to any St. Petersburg College student, aims to help male students reach their full potential in school and in life.

Besides the keynote address from Solomon, students can participate in seminars on a variety of topics, including:

    • Career Focus by SPC Career Services Department
    • Opportunities, Opportunities, Everywhere by Professor Orlando Pizana
    • Mo’ Money by financial planner Cassandra M. Smalley
    • Juggling Everyday Life by SPC staff members Todd Smith and Marcus Brooks
    • How to get an A in Class by Professor Buddy Farmer
    • Dealing with Legal Obstacles by Judge James V. Pierce and attorney Ronald L. Nelson
    • Top Communication Mistakes and How to Correct Them by Dr. Albert Farr
    • Maximize your Veterans Benefits by Veterans Services Director Jeff Cavanagh
    • Bring your “A” Game by staff member Darryl Henderson

Money Management

    by Todd Romer, founder and president of Young Money Media

Jimmie_Lee_PicKeynote speaker Jimmie Lee Solomon’s passion is giving a voice to minority youths and creating a platform for social change. A double Ivy- League graduate, former Executive Vice President of Operations & Development for Major League Baseball, former partner at a national law firm, and manager and mentor to top-ranked professional athletes, he is the epitome of versatility and life experiences, catapulting his desire to provide the same opportunities for under-represented youths of the nation.

He knew that participating in athletics would leverage opportunity and mentorship, ultimately creating future role models and leaders, as it did him.

He believes that sports help create strong character in people— appreciating hard work and perseverance.

He was raised in a small farming community near Houston. Motivated by the desire to get an education and play sports, Solomon succeeded in getting accepted to Dartmouth College, where he ran track and played football before graduating in 1978.

After he earned a law degree from Harvard in 1981, he was driven by the goal of creating opportunities for young individuals. As partner at the Washington, D.C., firm of Baker and Hostetler, he proposed and started the sport representation arm of the law firm. His clients consisted of NFL and NBA athletes and he promoted socially responsible business practices in sports through this representation.

In 1991, Solomon was hired as the Executive Director of Minor League Operations at Major League Baseball in New York. There he mended broken bridges, brokered multimillion dollar deals between major and minor league owners and created marketing initiatives to earn Major League Baseball nearly $800-million in revenue. Additionally, he developed the MLB Civil Rights Game and created the MLB All-Star Futures Game.

When he moved to the position of Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations at MLB, Solomon was able to utilize his outstanding leadership skills to implement some of his most notable business achievements.

One on the top of the list, which transcended the social issue of the lack of diversity in baseball, was the envisioning and producing of the Major League Baseball Urban League Youth Academies. There are four in operation today, located in Compton, CA; Houston; New Orleans; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The year-round program focuses on men and women, and currently serves approximately 3,000 youths annually – all of whom are encouraged to participate in other aspects of baseball through the academies’ vocational offerings like grounds-keeping, umpiring, journalism, broadcasting, and front office administrative programs. Hundreds have gone on to receive scholarships to major universities.

The Keys to Manhood conference takes place at the Seminole Campus Conference Center and is presented by Transamerica.

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For the third consecutive semester, St. Petersburg College has made significant gains in the success rates of its first-time-in-college students, a positive sign that the intensive efforts to expand student support are paying off.

Overall, first-time-in-college students in Fall 2013 successfully completed 74.1 percent of their courses, compared to 69.4 percent in Fall 2012. Success in a course is defined as a student completing the course with an A, B or C grade.

The increase in success is particularly significant for African-American male students completing their first semesters in college. The African-American male students who began at SPC in August 2013 were successful in 64.8 percent of their classes. By comparison, the success rate for the African-American males who began in August 2012 was 51.2.

Hispanic males also made a significant gain, from a 66.2 percent success rate to 72.6.

“We are intensely focused on student success and, as we begin another new semester, it is gratifying to see hard work beginning to pay off, especially as we work to close the achievement gap for our minority students,” said President Bill Law. “We know degrees and certificates change lives, and we will continue to look for ways to give our students the support and assistance they need to successfully finish what they start.”

While many of the efforts are focused on incoming students, returning students are seeing the benefits of the efforts as well. The course success rate for all students in Fall 2013 was 76.3 and has increased consistently from Fall 2010, when the rate was 74.2.

Classes for the Spring Semester began today (Jan. 13).

Spring 2014 enrollment

The Spring semester opened Monday with 30,755 students enrolled, slightly fewer (less than 1 percent) than the opening day of the Spring semester a year ago.

“Obviously, we like to see our enrollment numbers increase or remain stable,” Law said. “But just adding numbers isn’t our chief goal. Our mission is to help the students who are here be successful, and we believe we are doing that better all the time – without lowering our academic standards.”

The College Experience: Student Success

collegeexperience logoTo help increase student achievement, SPC in Fall 2012 launched an initiative called The College Experience: Student Success with five components:

  • Expanded Out-of-Class Support
  • Integrated Career and Academic Advising
  • Improved New Student Orientation
  • My Learning Plan
  • Early Alert and Student Coaching.

The college this week introduced a new website, CollegeExperience.com, to give students more information about the resources available to them.

Some results of the College Experience initiatives:

Out-of-Class Support:

Learning-Center-1-9Almost 14,000 SPC students visited a Learning Support Center during the Fall 2013, a 63 percent increase over last year, when 8,600 students came to a center. Total visits climbed to nearly 95,000, up from 68,988 during Fall 2012, as students took advantage of individual tutoring, workshops, small-group learning sessions and computer assistance.

“A full 62 percent of students who come to the learning centers do so as a routine part of their learning experience,” said Joe Leopold, Director of Learning Resources. “It’s part of what they do when they come to campus now.”

Leopold credited the increase in visits to SPC’s push from faculty and staff to get students the help they need. While many students came to simply use a computer, 9,609 came for help in one or more subject areas during the fall semester.

“The quality of our free tutoring is excellent,” Leopold said. “We are doing really great work and it shows.”

And students are responding, particularly to peer tutoring. According to recent survey results from Leopold’s office:

  • 99 percent said they would return to a Learning Center
  • 97 percent said they would recommend the Learning Center to other SPC students
  • 94 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that tutors and other staff gave them enough help to be successful in their courses

According to one: “The tutors are absolutely amazing! I do not know how I would be managing my first semester of college without these guys!”

Math is, by far, the most common subject requested for tutoring, followed by writing and science. In all, more than 150 tutors offer instruction at 11 locations in nearly every subject at SPC.

Faculty members also spent more of their office hours in the Learning Centers this year. During Fall 2013, more than 130 full-time faculty spent 2,402 office hours in a Learning Center, up from 2,132 hours during Fall 2012.

Integrated Career and Academic Advising:

career2-revised-791x1024career1-revised-791x1024

Research shows that students are more likely to be persistent and successful in their education if they have a clear career goal in mind. That’s why SPC intensified its integrated career and academic advising with students as they enter college for the first time.

About a third of the 3,468 first-time-in-college students at SPC in the Fall 2013 term indicated that they did not have a clear career goal. Advisors and career staff worked doggedly with those undecided students throughout the fall, and by the end of the semester, 84 percent of first-time-in-college students had identified a career path.

Most important, more than 80 percent of those with an identified career returned for the spring semester, compared to 69 percent of the undecided.

New Student Orientation:

In Fall 2012, the college moved from an online orientation to a mandatory face-to-face orientation for students considered most at risk.

NSO-300x175In addition to covering all aspects of the College Experience, the hands-on activities in the new presentation were strategically designed to give students on all campuses a consistent experience navigating SPC’s web systems, including finding and reviewing tools available for out-of-class support and exploring academic programs and degree options.

First-time-in-college students who tested into one or more developmental classes for Fall 2013 were required to participate in the four-hour orientation.

The success rates for first-time-in-college students in Fall 2013:

  • Developmental students who completed face-to-face orientation (considered more at risk for success) – 71.2 percent
  • Students who did not test into developmental courses  – 76.3 percent
  • Overall success rate – 74.4 percent

“We feel confident our newly designed face-to-face Student Orientation is a positive step in preparing our new students for the rigors attending college brings,” said Lynda Womer, Seminole Associate Provost. “We throw a lot of information at them in a short period of time. We realize they may not retain all of it, but hopefully the next time they need to register or use the tutoring center or see a career counselor, they will have at least heard about the services SPC provides for students.”

In addition, 89.5 percent of students surveyed said the face-to-face Student Orientation prepared them for their first semester in college.

Early Alert/Student Coaching:

The SPC Early Alert system, which launched Fall 2012, identifies any student who is experiencing difficulty in class early in the term.

An instructor alerts an advisor, who contacts the student to identify any personal or academic problems and get necessary resources to the student. The student retains the same advisor throughout his or her time at the college.

The goal is to get students the support they need early in the term to keep them from withdrawing from the course. In Fall 2013, almost 90 percent of students remained enrolled after receiving an Early Alert. More than 1,998 early alerts were issued to 1,497 individual students that term.

Phil Nicotera, Provost at the Health Education Center, attributes the increased student retention to a combination of several College Experience initiatives.

The Early Alerts now are primarily used in developmental courses and in the “gateway” classes, the first most students take as they begin their studies. The goal is to eventually have Early Alerts in every class at SPC, Nicotera said. He identified several findings from the fall term that will help improve the system:

  • The highest recipient group for early alerts are students ages 19-21.
  • Two-thirds of all students who have received alerts have since used out of class support.

My Learning Plan:

MLP-successMy Learning Plan is an online tool that allows students to map out the order in which they will take courses several terms in advance.

In the Fall 2013 term, nearly 11,650 students became users of the My Learning Plan tool by entering at least one term into their learning plans. By comparison, 11,660 students competed at least one term in the entire 2012-13 academic year.

The bottom line is that students with a plan are more successful. For Fall 2013, the first-time-in-college students who used My Learning Plan to outline their courses for at least one term in advance had a 78 percent success rate. Those who did not had a success rate of 69 percent.

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The St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees on Tuesday met for its annual strategic planning session, spending much of the morning working in small groups in the Collaborative Labs with faculty and staff to pinpoint expectations and priorities for the coming year.

Three major themes emerged:

  • Online education
  • Workforce development
  • Student recruitment and retention

Online education

The college is in the midst of an evaluation and revitalization program for online education programs.

Board members said the effort needs to include how ensure students are prepared for online courses; how students in online courses can be engaged and receive the same consistent instruction and support as in-person students; and how to use online education to grow the college’s enrollment.

“We have to not just increase the programming but be sure we have a quality program going forward,” board chairman Deveron Gibbons said.

Workforce development

Board members spent much of their time discussing the college’s role in developing the local workforce and in providing the training and skills in demand for both employers and employees.

Trustee Bridgette Bello said the college does a better job than most in meeting the needs of the workforce. “But we’re still not there,” she said. “We have companies leaving the area because they can’t find the talent they need.”

All the trustees said the college needs to partner with other industries in the way the nursing program has partnered with the local health care industry. It is hard to walk into a hospital or care facility in Pinellas County and find a nurse who wasn’t trained at SPC.

“We want to know how we can re-engineer what we did with the nursing program in other areas,” Gibbons said. “We are the folks who can provide the quality person for the workforce.”

Trustee Lauralee Westine said workforce education also needs to extend to “soft skills” graduates need to be successful employees.

“What are our success rates with job placement?” she asked. “I’d like to see more of a focus, to see us taking the lead in job placement. Once they get jobs, let’s listen to employers. What skills do our graduates need that they aren’t coming out with?”

Student recruitment and retention

The college has set a goal of increasing enrollment by 3 percent a year for the next three years. To reach that goal, the board members said, the college will need to continue refinements of marketing, recruitment and retention efforts.

Vice chairman Robert Fine said it is going to take concerted efforts to determine how to achieve enrollment growth.

“Where is that enrollment growth coming from,” he said. “Is that coming from online? We’ve really got to dig deep and break it down.”

As part of recruitment, board member Dale Oliver said, “We need to talk about our successes in placing people and people moving up in the companies who are SPC grads.”

For retention, he said, the college needs to take a cue from business. The No. 1 priority, he said, “is the job you do when somebody is here and how engaged you are in making them want to come back and get more.”

The quality of the engagement needs to be analyzed constantly and frequently, he said. That’s what successful businesses do, he said. They recognize that they cannot take the attitude that “we’ve got your business. We don’t need to follow up any more. We’re good.”

Watch and listen to the entire discussion, including presentations by staff.

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St. Petersburg College President Bill Law was notified this week by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ regional Vice President that the college has successfully completed the Fifth Year Interim Report.

The college’s accreditation is in effect through 2018. However, SACS-COC now requires an extensive review at the midpoint to ensure that colleges remain committed to their standards of excellence throughout the 10-year accreditation cycle.

SPC successfully fulfilled all the accrediting organization’s expectations in the report. No further action is required.

“The decision from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges was not a surprise, but it was definitely well-received,” Dr. Law said. “Everyone at St. Petersburg College knows how important the focus on quality in instruction and in services is to the success of our students.”

Dr. Cynthia Grey, Veterinary Technology faculty member and faculty chair for the Fifth Year Interim Report, and six others from the college got the good news at the SACS-COC annual meeting in Atlanta this week.

“We received the words we were waiting to hear . . . No further action required,” Grey said. “Those words – No further action required – are, in essence, the seal of approval. I am certainly pleased with SACS’ response to our report. I’m also excited about the changes that have come about as a result of SPC’s continual commitment to improvement and the accreditation process.

“This commitment from leadership, faculty, and administration was evident throughout SPC,” she said.

The report, submitted in September, consisted of five parts, including an abridged compliance certification of 17 standards.

sacs team

Members of the SACS-COC Working Group

The SACS-COC Working Group and Core Writing Team, led by QEP Director/SACS-COC Accreditation Liaison, Dr. Janice Thiel, and Dr. Grey have worked together over the past several years to study the standards, document compliance, and advocate for improved college-wide practices that foster success for SPC students.

“The accreditation process is rigorous, and the team that pulled together the extensive accreditation self-study deserves our special thanks,” Dr. Law said. “We are proud that our students and community can continue to feel secure that the educational experience at the college has been judged to be first-rate. When excellence such as ours is recognized, we all feel good.”

The Impact Report of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on critical thinking was Part V of the Fifth-Year Interim Report.

Dr. Thiel, who headed the QEP initiative, commented on SPC’s project. “Faculty were key to our successful QEP Impact Report. The report showed that our QEP wasn’t just a five-year project. We were able to demonstrate sustained support for the critical thinking initiative through events like Saturday’s ‘Making Thinking Visible’, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus and our Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CETL).”

Dr. Tom Furlong, Policy Consultant for SPC, congratulated the SACS-COC Working Group for its great work and acknowledged the positive result.

“Reviewing and responding to accreditation standards is a long and difficult process,” he said. “This is a well-deserved outcome earned by the entire college. The leadership and support of the president was a must to achieve these results. His encouragement was critical to the process.”

Look for more activity of the SACS-COC Working Group in the coming year. Though we are celebrating the success of the Fifth-Year Interim Report, as part of our continuous improvement cycle, we will be transitioning our momentum toward completion of SPC’s full accreditation compliance document due in 2018.

The narratives and associated artifacts that were prepared for submission to SACS-COC can be viewed at www.spcollege.edu/sacs_coc.

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St. Petersburg College’s Community Concert Band will perform at the college’s Music Center on Thursday, Dec. 5.

college_bandThe Community Concert Band, directed by Nathan Muehl, is for college music majors, college non-music majors, advanced high school musicians and community members. The Community Concert Band promotes musical growth through quality music, focused rehearsals and a respectful environment.

Community Band member Kelsey Eberle said “My husband and I attended this concert, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. After enjoying the music of the SPC College Band, we knew we had to join an ensemble again. Both of us are musicians, but have not actively participated in an ensemble in a while. Wanting to be a part of this growing ensemble, Corey and I joined the band this semester. We are excited to perform our second and final concert of the semester this Thursday evening. We hope you enjoy it!”

Listen to a sample from the band when members performed at a concert on April 26.

Thursday’s performance will feature the SPC Woodwind Quintet, Small Percussion Ensembles, and wind ensemble music of Ticheli, Bartok, Daehn, and Mackey.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Music Center, 6605 Fifth Ave. N., St. Petersburg

Admission: Free, donations accepted

Phone: 727-341-7984

Get more information about upcoming events on our website.

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