Archive for the ‘St. Petersburg College’ Category

St. Petersburg College wins Phoenix Award

Charles Ray, (far left) with PPM Consultants in Orlando, nominated St. Petersburg College for the 2015 EPA Brownfield Phoenix Award. Also pictured, left to right: Jim Waechter, Associate Vice President, Facilities Planning & Institutional Services; Tonjua Williams, Senior Vice President, Student Services; and Midtown Provost Kevin Gordon

St. Petersburg College has been chosen as the 2015 EPA Brownfield Phoenix Award winner. This prestigious award honors the innovative leadership of men and women working to solve the critical environmental problems of transforming abandoned property into productive sites for new economic and community opportunities and assets.

St. Petersburg College was chosen for this award for the development of the new Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center.

“I could not be more proud to be part of the college’s work in the revitalization of the Midtown community,” said Jim Waechter, Associate Vice President, Facilities Planning & Institutional Services. Every construction project that we endeavor is rewarding, but this project is particularly so because of the significant tangible effect that it will produce in our community for generations to come.”

“What an honor it is for the college to be recognized for its efforts to breathe some life back into an important stretch of 22nd Street in Midtown,” said Tonjua Williams, Senior Vice President, Student Services. “We’re proud to be part of the educational and economic revitalization of this historic area of St. Petersburg.”

The new center includes graphic art installations that tell the story of the rich history of Midtown, and 22nd Street – affectionately nicknamed “The Deuces.” At the recent grand opening of the new center, community members walked the halls and shared their memories of eating at Geech’s BBQ, working at the old Mercy Hospital, and dancing nights away at the old Manhattan Casino. Classes began this fall in the new, 49,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art college campus, located in St. Petersburg’s historic Midtown neighborhood.

“Our enrollment is already up by 50% over last fall, which illustrates the strong desire within the community for increased educational opportunities,” said SPC Midtown Provost Kevin Gordon. “We are also thrilled by the number of community members who are utilizing the services provided at the Midtown Center.”

St. Petersburg College has long been dedicated to providing educational opportunities in Midtown. The original 10,000-square-foot Midtown Center at 1048 22nd St. S., opened in 2003 as part of a $2 million St. Petersburg Housing Authority’s HOPE VI project.

In 2012, as demand for classes and community involvement grew, SPC’s Board of Trustees approved a $14 million expenditure to build the new three-story building on land leased from the City of St. Petersburg. The new center includes multiple classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a book store, a community room and a career center.

The award was presented to the college at the National Brownfields Training Conference, Sept. 2-4 in Chicago. The conference is the largest training and networking event in the nation focused on economic redevelopment and sustainability.

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Achieving the DreamAchieving the Dream today announced St. Petersburg College (SPC) earned Leader College distinction – a national designation awarded to community colleges that commit to improving student success and closing achievement gaps. St. Petersburg College has shown how data can inform policy and practice to help community college students achieve their goals, resulting in improved skills, better employability, and economic growth for families, communities, and the nation as a whole. SPC was the only college in Florida selected to receive the designation this year.

“It is a wonderful honor for St. Petersburg College to be selected by Achieving the Dream as a Leader College,” said St. Petersburg College President Bill Law. “The commitment – and success – that we have seen on behalf of our students reflects the real excellence of our faculty and staff. Making sure that all students can achieve their academic goals is our commitment.  When accomplishments such as ours are recognized, everyone feels good.”

The college was recognized for its efforts to narrow achievement gaps and improve student success rates. From Fall 2011 to Fall 2013, SPC saw course success rates (identified as an A, B or C grade) for First-Time-In-College (FTIC) African American students in all enrolled courses increase by 8 percentage points, while Hispanic students increased 9.1 percentage points. Additionally, St. Petersburg College saw increases in student persistence rates, particularly among minority FTIC students.

The college attributes those increases to its “College Experience,” a collegewide initiative comprised of five core student support measures: new student orientation; integrated academic and career advising; student learning plans; early alerts and student coaching system; and out of classroom supports. The initiative is bolstered through SPC’s business intelligence system, “Pulse BI,” and its robust dashboards. “Pulse BI,” which was designed in-house, allows faculty, staff and college leaders to monitor student data in real-time to make evidence-based decisions.

“Becoming a Leader College is very powerful and affirms the exceptional work and commitment of faculty and staff to their students’ success,” said Achieving the Dream Vice President for Community College Relations Cindy Lenhart. “St. Petersburg College is using evidence to make informed decisions that lead to significant institutional change.”

The 2015 Achieving the Dream Leader Colleges are:


Bakersfield College

(Bakersfield, CA)

Kingsborough Community College

(Brooklyn, NY)

Bellingham Technical College

(Bellingham, WA)

Lorain County Community College

(Elyria, OH)

Century College

(White Bear Lake, MN)

Muskegon Community College

(Muskegon, MI)

College of Southern Nevada

(North Las Vegas, NV)

North Lake College

(Irving, TX)

Columbus State Community College

(Columbus, OH)

Paris Junior College

(Paris, TX)

Cumberland County College

(Vineland, NJ)

Southwestern Oregon Community College

(Coos Bay, OR)

Delta College

(University Center, MI)

St. Clair County Community College

(Port Huron, MI)

Gaston College

(Dallas, NC)

St. Petersburg College

(St. Petersburg, FL)

Grand Rapids Community College
(Grand Rapids, MI)
West Los Angeles College

(Culver City, CA)

Jefferson Community & Technical College (Louisville, KY)

The 2015 Leader Colleges are making strides in the national movement to increase student completion and close achievement gaps, demonstrating the power of the Achieving the Dream Approach. With the guidance of Achieving the Dream Coaches, colleges not only systemically change the way they operate, but also implement key student supports that align with their overall policies and institutional systems, such as college readiness programs, mandatory new student orientation, student-success courses, developmental course redesign, curriculum redesign, and intensive, individualized advising.

Achieving the Dream grants Leader College designation for three-year cycles. After three years, institutions must undergo a recertification process to maintain Leader College status.

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SPC’s Veterans Services received a nearly perfect review in their annual federal audit of GI Bill Processing and Certification records. In fact, Florida’s Department of Veterans Affairs was so impressed with the school, they would like SPC’s Veterans Services staff to assist other colleges around the state in preparing for future audits. SPC will share their processes, organization, record keeping and layout of SPC’s Veterans Student Centers with other schools.

“The bottom line: Our Centralized Certification and Processing is working as we hoped it would, again keeping the number of discrepancies or errors to a bare minimum while ensuring a 99.4% error-free certification rate,” said Veterans Services Director Jeff Cavanagh.

Audit results indicate that all areas of Post 911 GI Bill certification and compliance were covered with three minor area discrepancies being noted. Among other results, auditors found:

  • SPC’s record keeping was among the best in the state
  • VA officials wished that all compliance audits could go as smoothly as SPC’s
  • All “discrepancies” were minor and corrected on the spot
  • SPC’s Veterans Services staff was noted as being exceptionally knowledgeable as were their work-study students

During the 2014-15 academic year, SPC served a total of 1,966 Veteran students.

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Attesting to the college’s national reputation for using ‘real-time’ data and information to improve student outcomes, Bill Law, SPC President, and Jesse Coraggio, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services, shared some of SPC’s best practices at the inaugural Data and Analytics Summit Sept. 9-10.

The summit, held in Cary, N.C., was sponsored by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history and SAS, a global business intelligence software company. Since 2012, SPC has been a member of the Achieving the Dream Reform Network, which includes more than 200 institutions, 100 coaches and advisors and 15 state policy teams in 34 states and the District of Columbia, helping nearly four million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

The summit, using the theme Leveraging Analytics to Optimize Student Success, brought together nearly 200 representatives from about 80 community colleges to deepen understanding of data as a strategic asset to improve student outcomes. Attendees gained insight on strategically using analytics to:

  • optimize student success
  • improve student engagement and outcomes
  • analyze workforce data
  • advance institutional research.

The end game for all data techniques and efforts is putting students on a path to rewarding careers.

“Achieving the Dream network colleges owe much of their success in strengthening student achievement to their use of data,” said Karen A. Stout, president and CEO of Achieving the Dream. “As analytics software becomes more sophisticated and easier to use, its potential to drive even more student success is skyrocketing.”

In their presentation, entitled “Uphill Challenge in a Flat World: Moving the Organizational Needle,” Law and Coraggio discussed the 12 Steps to Create a Data-Informed, Values-Based Culture. They include:

  1. Start with strategic guiding principles
  2. Provide a mission focus
  3. Create a unified student experience
  4. Make data available to everyone
  5. Empower front line staff
  6. Make sure your money follows your values
  7. Be collaborative and transparent
  8. Provide ongoing training on new and existing initiatives
  9. Develop the next generation
  10. Encourage innovation
  11. Involve others in the conversation
  12. Keep forging ahead

To further lead the movement for accountability and student success in higher education decision making, SPC will host the second annual Moving the Needle Conference on Oct. 28-30 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront Hotel. Last year’s conference drew more than 150 attendees from 26 colleges and universities, including eight presidents and 37 vice presidents.

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Find the major that's right for you.

Find the major that’s right for you at the upcoming:

Midtown Majors Exploration Fair
Wednesday, Oct. 14
11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

This event will be held at the new Douglas R. Jamerson, Jr. Midtown Center, 1300 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg, FL 33710.

During the event you can:

  • Explore different majors . . . and the careers they lead to
  • Hear from SPC alumni and community leaders as they share how their college majors helped shape their careers
  • Hear students describe the benefits of their majors
  • View student work
  • Learn about the college’s many academic programs

St. Petersburg College offers more than 100 degree options. Learn about majors in science, math, business, humanities, fine arts, public policy, social sciences, paralegal studies, computer and information technology, nursing, health sciences and more.

Reserve your spot online today for the Midtown Majors Exploration Fair. For more information call 727-341-7980 or email sarver.rebecca@spcollege.edu.

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SPC Workforce Institute

To help meet the demand for job training in north Pinellas County, the City of Oldsmar is partnering with the Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College to open a training center at 127 State Street West. A ribbon cutting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the new center.

Classes will begin later in September at the newly named Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College in Oldsmar, formerly the Oldsmar Senior Center.

“This is a birth of a great relationship between St. Petersburg College and the City,” stated Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis. “The educational opportunity for our residents, businesses and manufacturers afforded by this new location is unlimited.”

The new center will feature courses in manufacturing, business management and technology. Many will be offered through SPC’s Learn to Earn program, where participants can upgrade their job skills in specific software for as little as $25 in short-term courses. Industry-recognized certification classes will also be available. The goal is to bring training options to a specific area of the county, where local businesses have expressed the need to close skills gaps, and to expand educational opportunities for residents in north Pinellas.

“SPC is proud to be able to bring training close to home for individuals looking to advance their skill sets,” said Jim Connolly, Director of the Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College.

Of the 13,400 people who work at 2,362 businesses in Oldsmar, more than 1,800 or 13.5% work in manufacturing, making it the third largest employment sector, according to the most recent data provided by Pinellas County Economic Development.

Only two other sectors are larger: professional, scientific and technology services employ more than 1,969 and administrative and support services employ 1,922.

“We’re excited about this new partnership, which will benefit the City and surrounding areas with a skilled workforce, and give students the ability to take classes tailored to meet the needs of these specific industries,” Connolly said.

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Three internationally recognized scientists will address ocean-related impacts of climate change at a two-day conference at St. Petersburg College in October.

water-rising-2Presenting papers and debating their assertions with a panel of local experts at the Oct. 2-3 conference, titled “Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move?” will be:

  • Harold Wanless, a University of Miami researcher who has studied the last 8,000 years of coastal environment evolution and has done extensive research into coastal geology
  • Andrew Keeler, whose Coastal Studies Institute at the University of North Carolina has delved into the economic aspects of coastal adaptation to rising seas.
  • John Englander, oceanographic consultant to government and industry who addresses large-scale financial and societal impacts of climate change.

The conference will focus on linking scientifically credible information to the formulation and implementation of sound, effective public and private-sector policies. It is being convened by the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP), in coordination with the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College (ISPS), and a local committee of interested citizens. It will be held at the Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N. The public is invited, but advance registration is required.

The local event is one of a series of similar ISGP-sponsored conferences held around the country during 2015 aimed at engaging local communities in useful debates and caucus discussions concerning various aspects of climate issues. The goal is to reach consensus on practical options for mitigating and adapting to anticipated changes in the climate, all of which seek to define a sustainable future.

Dr. Wanless, Professor and Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at U-M, advises policy makers at the local, state and federal levels. He was among five of Florida’s top climate scientists to brief Gov. Rick Scott on climate change in early 2015. His work includes documenting the geologic and historical evolution of coastal and shallow marine environments, and influences of sea level rise and anthropogenic stresses.

Dr. Keeler served on White House climate change policy teams under both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush. He was Senior Staff Economist for Environment at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in 2000-2001, where he was a member of the U.S. negotiating team for climate change. His research is on adaptation to environmental change, hazard insurance, ecosystem service assessment, integrated modeling of coastal real estate markets with environmental risk, ocean energy policy, climate change mitigation, and incentive-based policy design and implementation.

Englander, whose broad marine science background coupled with degrees in geology and economics allows him to see the big picture on climate, has served as CEO for such organizations as The Cousteau Society and The International Sea Keepers Society. His best-selling book, “High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis,” explains the science behind sea level rise.

The “Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move?” conference emphasizes critical deliberation and extended caucus discussions among the scientists, policymakers, students, and the public. On the first day, the examination of concise policy position papers prepared by the three scientists seeks to clarify the scientific and technical understanding of climate issues for non-specialists.

The caucuses that will convene on the second day will provide all participants and subject-matter experts with opportunities to candidly identify both areas of consensus and the corresponding actionable next steps relevant to climate issues in St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. Together, the deliberations and caucuses will provide a unique forum in which the climate issues observed worldwide can be viewed through the personal life choices and community-wide decisions facing the Tampa Bay region. The conference also confronts the often-challenging tasks required to formulate and implement effective policies related to scientific and technological understanding, especially when broad community support is required.

The debate/caucus format pioneered by the ISGP has been successfully used to examine a wide range of contemporaneously critical issues related to science and technology, including Emerging and Persistent Infectious Diseases and Food Safety, Security, and Defense.

The ISGP and St. Petersburg/Pinellas County Working Group are committed to ensuring that those participating are representative of the communities in Pinellas County, especially with respect to the diverse views and perspectives concerning climate issues.

Due to limited space availability and high interest in the topic, participants must attend both days of the conference.

The public may register for “Sea Level Rise: What’s Our Next Move?” at www.scienceforglobalpolicy.org or at solutions.spcollege.edu. For additional information, call the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at 727-394-6942.

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