Monday, June 16, 2008

Florida College System

Gov. Charlie Crist officially sanctioned a bold and controversial plan that will change higher education in Florida.

At a ceremony Thursday -[June 12, 2008]- Crist signed a bill that establishes a new college system in Florida, where a population boom has outpaced the growth and funding of the university system. For supporters, the creation of the “Florida College System” is a reasonable step toward stimulating degree production at a lower cost to the state and would-be students.
New! Chipola College. Other state Colleges include: Daytona Beach College, Edison College, Indian River College, Miami Dade College, Okaloosa-Walton College, Polk College, Santa Fe College and St. Petersburg College.

Critics, however, call the idea yet another rushed plan (in a state that has a history of college governance on the fly) that threatens the traditional missions of community colleges and creates competition with their university partners.

Linda Serra Hagedorn, professor and chair of educational administration and policy at the University of Florida, says she’s concerned that expanding the missions of community colleges could eventually cause the institutions to drift away from core principles, including open access admissions policies. Hagedorn, who studies community colleges, is also curious about what such an expansion says about the state’s priorities.

“Why is it that we feel that we can fund community colleges to do this, but we can’t fund the universities to do it? That’s another problem that I’m having,” said Hagedorn, whose university is undergoing layoffs and program eliminations after a $47 million budget reduction.

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