Archive for the ‘William D. Law Jr.’ Category

In a column for the June/July issue of the Community College Journal, SPC President Bill Law offers best practices on how colleges can improve student performance and retention. Touting the experience and results from implementing the “game-changing” The College Experience: Student Success at SPC, Law credits students, faculty and staff for making it work.

Check out details, reports and videos about The College Experience: Student Success on our new website at www.spcollege.edu/collegeexperience.
Or visit the site created for students at www.collegeexperience.com

“Eighteen months into this effort, I couldn’t be prouder of what our students, faculty and staff have accomplished together by being intensely focused on our goals and working together across the organization to analyze what works while making continuous adjustments for improvement,” said Law, in the journal’s Lessons in Leadership section. “It is clear that the day-to-day, boots-on-the-ground, ‘try it, fix it, live it’ approach is working for our students.”

ccj coverLaw’s efforts to improve student success and retention were prompted by a common malady at community colleges: Far too few students finishing their courses with a C or better and low student success rates in the 10 most highly enrolled courses, considered the gateway to an associate degree. SPC’s dismal success rates among minorities mirrored those at state and national levels, and Law found them unacceptable.

In 2012, he instituted The College Experience: Student Success to keep the college focused on giving students the support they need to earn the degree or certificate that will change their lives. Those efforts are paying off, as SPC students, particularly minority males, have improved their academic performance and are returning from one semester to the next to complete their degree.

The Community College Journal is a publication of the American Association of Community Colleges, the primary advocacy organization for community colleges at the national level. AACC supports and promotes its member colleges through policy initiatives, innovative programs, research and information and strategic outreach to business and industry and the national news media.

Read the article.

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Dr. Bill Law

Dr. Bill Law

St. Petersburg College President Bill Law, who completed his fourth year as college president earlier this month, received a contract extension through June 30, 2017 and an exemplary performance review from the SPC Board of Trustees on Tuesday, June 17.

Board Chair Deveron Gibbons praised Law’s leadership, expertise and creativity and his commitment to the college’s mission of promoting student success and enriching local communities through education, career development and self-discovery. Board members reviewed Law on leadership, diversity of initiatives, planning, budgeting and external relations.

“One of the principal charges given to Dr. Law at the start of his tenure was to refocus our efforts on the core mission of this institution,” said Gibbons. “Dr. Law has performed this portion of his responsibilities at the highest level of leadership. (SPC’s) College Experience project has significantly improved the classroom success of our students across the board.”

Law created The College Experience in 2012 to ensure students finish what they start and succeed. The five major components of The College Experience include:
·      Out-of-class support
·      Integrated career and academic advising
·      New student orientation
·      My Learning Plan (a roadmap for graduation)
·      Early alert and student coaching system

Since The College Experience launched, SPC students have shown significant academic improvements, but the greatest advances have been among African-American and Hispanic males. For African American males, success rates jumped from 42% in Spring 2012 to 58% this spring. For Hispanic males, the success rate rose from 53% to 68%.

Law holds weekly meetings with college staff to review progress reports and success metrics and communicates these goals throughout the college.

In his review, Gibbons also noted that Law has succeeded in the past year in:
·      Moving forward with the complex development of the Midtown Campus
·      Renewing SPC’s online education program
·      Formulating a student-focused response to major changes in the state guidelines for developmental education
·      Expanding the college’s commitments to workforce education across all levels of the college’s instructional mission.

“Our consistent, superior audit reviews, budgeting, and strategic planning, have been able to put into motion, a plan for future success,” Gibbons said. “President Law continues to be an effective spokesperson for the college in Tallahassee and our college continues to perform at a very high level in the key areas of postsecondary education policy.”


Board Chairman Deveron Gibbons

Board Chairman Deveron Gibbons

Board Chairman Deveron Gibbons read the following statement regarding the president’s review:

Earlier this month, Dr. Law will be completed his fourth year as president of St. Petersburg College. As you know, one of the responsibilities of this board is to perform an annual review and evaluation of his performance over the past year.

To that end, board members have had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Law individually, and to complete a comprehensive, written evaluation assessing his performance. The categories we reviewed included, but were not limited to: Leadership, Diversity Initiatives, Planning & Budgeting, Board Relations, and External Relations.

I have had an opportunity to review all of the evaluations, and am pleased to report that they are exemplary.

One of the principal charges given to Dr. Law at the start of his tenure was to refocus our efforts on the core mission of this institution. Dr. Law has performed this portion of his responsibilities at the highest level of leadership. The college’s College Experience project has significantly improved the classroom success of our students across the board.

His efforts included support for students beyond the classroom, improved systems to support intake, counseling, advising and student activities, renewing community and school district relationships, technology enhancements, facilities maintenance, remodeling and repair, and support and development for our faculty, administration and staff.

Our consistent, superior audit reviews, budgeting, and strategic planning, have been able to put into motion, a plan for future success. President Law continues to be an effective spokesperson for the college in Tallahassee and our college continues to perform at a very high level in the key areas of postsecondary education policy.

In the past year, Dr. Law has been successful in moving forward with the complex development of the Midtown Campus, the renewal of our online education program, and formulating a student-focused response to major changes in the state guidelines for developmental education. President Law continues to expand the college’s commitments to workforce education across all levels of our college’s instructional mission.

In view of Dr. Law’s superior performance, as chairman, I would like to move that we extend his employment contract an additional year, as we did last year at this time. This one year extension, would be added on to his existing 3 year contract, thereby extending his employment agreement with the college to June 30, 2017.

While our review is limited to the performance of the president, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the tireless efforts of all the faculty and staff. Dr. Law prepared a written summary of progress over the last year, and in it, he specifically mentioned many of you individually, and did so with high praise. Our faculty, administration and support staff do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’, and we know that. While Dr. Law provides the leadership, expertise and creativity to set the plan in motion, our success would not occur without your continued commitment to SPC and our students. On behalf of this board, we thank you.

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St. Petersburg College will be able to maintain its open door policy and commitment to student success while tuition remains unchanged.

At its May meeting the Board of Trustees approved an operating budget for the 2014-2015 year, calling for a freeze in tuition increases. Additional resources to support the college’s student success initiative were funded through the college’s existing budget.

“It’s our commitment to ensure that all students have the resources they need to be successful and to finish what they start. We uphold that commitment again this year by holding the line on our tuition,” said SPC President Dr. Bill Law.

SPC’s tuition was 53 percent less than state universities in the 2013-2014 year. The college will be able to support student access and success, and renew and refresh important instructional technologies. This approach will allow students to benefit from support beyond the classroom and ensure that all students have access to quality and affordable education.

Students can apply now online at spcollege.edu/apply.

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ListeningPost2St. Petersburg College President Bill Law answered questions for an hour Nov. 12 during the college’s first live online Listening Post. The topics included orientation, financial aid, bus service, veterans’ issues, student government, developmental education, housing, football and more.

Some questions were submitted in advance, but many came in via chat during the event.

More than 150 people viewed the session live, including those at watch parties at several campuses.

Questions that the president didn’t get to during the live session will be answered on Direct Link as soon as possible.

If you missed it, you can watch the video and read the live chat on Direct Link.

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LPfinal1Do you have questions about developmental education reform, new student orientation or other topics related to St. Petersburg College?

SPC President Bill Law will offer employees, students and community members an opportunity to ask him those questions and others directly Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. through the live online Listening Post.

The new online question-and-answer format continues the Listening Posts Dr. Law and other top administrators began when they traveled to the college’s various campuses to hear face-to-face from staff and students. Now SPC’s leadership team will offer more people the chance to participate by expanding the Listening Posts to live streaming video and online chat.

The Listening Post is part of an effort by SPC to provide more information to students, employees and the public about higher education topics and to engage them in the conversation

In October, SPC launched the Direct Link blog to showcase higher education topics such as legislative changes that radically change the requirements for placement testing and remediation for certain students.

Posts on the blog come from the president and other members of the college’s leadership team, including SPC vice presidents and deans.

To RSVP for the Nov. 12 Listening Post or submit a question in advance, you can use the response form .

During the Listening Post, the president will talk about the questions he’s received. He also will take questions and comments through a chat feature on the video. People can watch the streamed video, take part in the chat and comment on it through the Direct Link blog.

The college’s Life and Leadership Offices will hold watch parties for the first Listening Post this month. College leadership hope to hold a Listening Post with various speakers each month.

“SPC faculty, staff and students will be able to have access to the data, discussion and thought processes that go into the decision-making at the college,” Law said in a welcome video on the blog. “Get involved in the conversation and let your voice be heard as we all work toward a common goal: The continued success of SPC and our students.”

Check out the latest posts on Direct Link

Direct Link logoDon’t want to go into student loan debt? Use scholarships!

How SPC is reacting to Developmental Education Reform and what it means for students, faculty and advisors

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DirectLinkLogoA new blog, launched this month at St. Petersburg College, aims to open a direct line of communication between the college’s leadership and students, college employees and the public.

Direct Link focuses on higher education issues and new initiatives at SPC. It features weekly blog and/or vlog (video blog) posts from members of the college’s leadership team, including SPC President Bill Law, Dr. Anne Cooper, Dr. Doug Duncan and Dr. Tonjua Williams.

The start of the blog also signals the return of the Listening Post, although in a new format.

The Listening Post initially involved college leadership traveling to various campuses to hear students’ suggestions, comments and concerns. That idea has expanded with this blog, which will promote and feature a monthly, virtual Listening Post. Each will be hosted by various members of college leadership. Students, employees and community members will have the opportunity to submit questions and RSVP for an upcoming Listening Post through the Direct Link blog. The first Listening Post with the college president is scheduled for the week of Nov. 11. More details about this upcoming event will be available later this month.

“With the creation of this site, SPC faculty, staff and students will be able to have access to the data, discussion and thought processes that go into the decision-making at the college,” Law said. “This site is one way to bring you into the conversation.”

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The following report from the Leadership Florida Conference last month was provided by David Klement, Executive Director of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC’s Seminole Campus.

The annual meeting of Leadership Florida included SPC President Bill Law as a featured panelist. Held at the Yacht Club & Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World from June 27-30, the meeting of Florida’s premiere leadership organization brought together some 450 Leadership Florida alums from across the state to hear interesting speakers, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Dr. Law, a Leadership Florida alum, was part of a panel on higher education and pointed out that the Florida College System is “the envy of America in the way students can move through the system.”

Law said a particular strength of FCS is the attention paid to helping students prepare to enter the workforce, especially in the health care sector. In response to a question about trends in higher education, Law said Florida is fortunate to have a public and private sector that works “hand in hand” to provide a variety of choices for students. He identified a gradual shift in higher education in Florida. “As our colleges mature, the universities are moving to more research and we (the State College System) are sharing the undergraduate burden more evenly,” he said.

Another featured presentation was by Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president for corporate citizenship, environment and conservation for the Walt Disney Co. She focused on the importance of preserving Florida’s natural resources for future generations and the growing disconnect between children and nature. Today kids spend on average just 1 percent of their time doing things in nature and 27 percent of their time using electronic devices, she said. Yet a connection with nature is extremely important in childhood development.

Disney is in Year 5 of a proactive program to promote conservation of natural resources and to provide visitors with connections to nature. It has created a 12,000-acre wilderness preserve in Kissimmee with the Florida Nature Conservancy and partners with 350 non-profits worldwide dedicated to nature conservation.

Scott focused on economic issues, especially his job-creation efforts. “No state in the U.S. should be in a better position economically than Florida,” he said. Its low tax burden, geographic proximity to the Panama Canal, resurgence in tourism and expansion of many of its ports all contribute to “a dramatic turnaround” in the Florida economy in his 2½ years in office, he said.

In response to questions, the governor dashed hopes that he might call a special session of the Legislature to reconsider joining the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid plan. “I can’t do anything,” he said, because the Legislature has spoken by rejecting the plan and it is unlikely he could compel legislators to reconsider that decision.

Another speaker, Peter Kageyama of St. Petersburg, offered ideas on how to make our cities more safe, functional and fun. Especially fun. In a fast-paced presentation, he showed dozens of examples of what cities have done to add life to the streets and boost municipal morale. For example, spray-painting weeds in a vacant lot and labeling it a “weed garden” or turning that lot into a “barking lot” mini-dog park. One city created an inexpensive water park with a garden hose. Another urged citizens to attach post-it notes to derelict or under-used buildings. The notes bear the title “I wish this was. . .,” and people write in their idea for improving the structure. One city turned the problem of gum litter into an attraction by declaring a vacant stone wall the “bubble-gum wall.” Instead of tossing gum on the grass or walks, citizens are encouraged to stick their used bubble gum wads on the wall. Somewhat gross but also interesting.

Kageyma’s message: “Play is central to our relationships with other people.” It’s a good takeaway for our community.

Follow the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions on Facebook or on Twitter at #polisol.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education featured SPC President Bill Law in a report that is part of its series called The Idea Makers: Ten Tech Innovators 2013.

“Mr. Law, president of St. Petersburg College, has long argued that colleges can improve student performance with a little number crunching, just as many businesses increase efficiency by looking for trends in all the contacts they have with their customers,” the article stated.

Interviewed for the article was Jesse Coraggio, Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants. “It has completely changed our culture,” Coraggio said in the article. “It is now a data-centered culture.”

The next step, the article states, is to open the college’s Pulse system to an even wider audience on campus. The system currently allows Law and other administrators, through a simple Web interface with the college’s databases, to get answers to questions such as how students in online courses are doing compared to those in traditional courses.

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About 70 people attended Pizza with the President at the EpiCenter Wednesday. In addition to lunch, students were able to have face-to-face time with SPC President Bill Law and talk about concerns at the college’s campuses and among students.

Students raised a variety of issues with Law including questions about undergraduate research opportunities, public transport options and campus parking issues.

Pizza with the President is held twice a year at SPC, once in the spring and again in the fall. The event is open to all students. To attend, students should contact their campus Life and Leadership Coordinator’s office.

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

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott at St. Petersburg College Monday

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott was joined by St. Petersburg College President William D. Law Jr. and Brad Jenkins, SPC Associate Dean of Engineering Technology & Building Arts, to announce the “Governor’s $10,000 Degree Challenge.”

At the press conference, Dr. Law announced that St. Petersburg College would be the first Florida college to accept Scott’s challenge to create a $10,000 degree program targeted at making higher education more affordable and results-oriented for Florida families.

Scott said, “I am issuing a challenge to our state colleges to find innovative ways to offer a bachelor’s degree at a cost of just $10,000 in fields that will provide graduates with the best opportunity for employment. As I travel the state, families tell me that they care about three things – getting a good job, a quality education and enjoying a low cost of living. As a former community college student myself, I know how important it is for us to keep costs low while working to connect students with degree fields that prepare them for great careers. Working with the Florida Legislature, this ‘$10,000 Degree Challenge’ will help us continue to improve the value of our higher education system for Florida families and we are pleased that St. Petersburg College is the first school to step up to the plate.”

Law said, “St. Petersburg College is once again excited about the opportunity to be part of a statewide college pilot program that lowers the cost of a college education for the citizens we serve. Affordable education always has been at the forefront of the college’s mission. SPC is uniquely positioned to build on its bachelor degree commitments and will be offering its Tech Management Program.”

Deveron Gibbons, Chair of St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees, said, “As the first community college in the state to offer four-year degrees, St. Petersburg College is thrilled to be part of a pilot program that lowers the cost of a bachelor’s degree for Florida’s students and their families. As Chairman of the Board at St. Petersburg College, I’d like to express our appreciation to Gov. Scott for choosing St. Petersburg College as one of the pilot project sites and as the location for making this historic  announcement. Affordable education has been the goal of St. Petersburg College throughout its 85-year history and we are prepared to work with other colleges in this challenging venture.”

Watch a video of the announcement on the college’s YouTube channel.

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