Colleges to Allow Cross-Registration
Sarasota college leaders in the past two years have allowed a few students to take classes at other area campuses and earn credit toward a degree at their institution, and dreamed of allowing broader cross-registration efforts. Now, that appears possible thanks to assistance from several foundations in the region. The Consortium of Colleges on the Creative Coast, or C4, announced on Tuesday that students at New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota and University of Florida Sarasota-Manatee will be able to take classes on a space-available basis at other schools in the consortium.
“This is an opportunity to help the colleges maximize the benefits of the combined institution resources for our students,” said Laurey Stryker, who is managing the initiative. “This collaboration is significant.” Stryker, a former president of University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, fills a new position created thanks to financial support from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation.
The C4 Consortium, which also includes Florida State University at The Ringling and Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, was formed two years ago by college leaders in an effort to better brand the area as a college-rich region. Resources have also been pooled for administrative efforts such as emergency response training. The cross-registration effort announced Tuesday, the most public outcome from the consortium thus far, quickly was labeled a game-changer for the region.
Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College, said pilot efforts have already been in place allowing a few students to enroll for classes at other consortium schools. But the effort faced significant logistical challenges, with each college offering vastly different curricula and programs for earning degrees. With the funding for Stryker’s position, those challenges can be overcome.
Stryker noted that in Florida, there is a benefit in that public and private colleges alike offer uniform class designations, i.e. a freshman English class at all institutions would be labels as credits earned for ENC 1101. She also stressed she is part of a team that includes those in registrar offices for all of the schools, and that cooperation between the campuses will be the key to success for the program.