One Year of Boldly Engaging

Guest Correspondence

One year ago, the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, launched its 2015-2020 Strategic Plan to “Boldly Engage” its two-county region and confirm the college’s role as a central feature in the community it supports. While some strategic plans are announced with great fanfare and then left on the shelf to gather dust, at SCF we’re pushing hard to achieve the bold goals we established for our college and our community. After one year, we’ve made strong progress on each of our strategic priorities and set goals for 2017 that will keep us pushing forward.

I would characterize our first year as getting the right people in place to make our strategic plan come to life. The college completed an organizational structure review and added a number of very talented individuals in key staff positions. I’m confident that we have the right people in the right positions to meet the goals of our five-year plan.

As the name of our plan implies – Boldly Engaging – we set four bold priorities to be met during the plan’s five-year duration. For our first year, we set and met goals to build toward those priorities. I’d like to share some of those achievements with you here.

Strategic Priority #1: Ensure that SCF programs are available to students in all geographic locations of our service region.

We made rapid progress on our goal to create flagship programs on our Venice Campus. Gator Engineering at SCF, the Honors Program and the Accelerated Dual Enrollment Program give the Venice Campus unique, signature programs to spur growth and meet the needs of south Sarasota County. The Gator Engineering program is envisioned with two tracks: one of students accepted to the University of Florida who chose to attend SCF for their first two years, and the other of traditional SCF students who mirror the coursework of the UF-accepted students and then apply to UF or another state university to continue on to a four-year degree in engineering.

Strategic Priority #2: Develop a concierge-style student experience focused on enhancing student recruitment and performance outcomes.

The Quality Enhancement Plan, piloted in 2015 on the Bradenton Campus, is being rebranded and expanded to all campuses for fall 2016. The program pairs select first-time-in-college students with academic coaches. Now known as GPS: Guided Plan for Success, the program will feature coaches from the college’s faculty and staff this fall.

Strategic Priority #3: Aggressively engage faculty/program managers/business and community leaders in collaborative curriculum development from start to implementation for programs that are rapidly responsive to workforce needs.

SCF launched multiple new workforce programs in concert with local advisory groups made up of industry professionals to address the region’s workforce needs both now and in the future. The new A.S. programs include Health Services Management, Network Systems Technology (Cyber Security), Mobile Application Technology. New certificate programs include Live Media Event Production and Web Development Specialist.

Strategic Priority #4: Establish SCF's central role in the educational, cultural and workforce development of our service region.

SCF’s Communications and Marketing Department’s contact with the media through news releases, personal contact and by providing subject matter experts has boosted the college’s profile on television, in the newspapers and online media. Our outstanding faculty members now routinely serve as subject matter experts in media coverage of local events.

To enhance the region’s only open-access fine and performing arts program, our Foundation created the SCF Music Excellence Sponsorship Program to assist students in the college’s music programs.

We have already set equally ambitious goals for the 2016-2017 year that will continue to address our priorities and provide even better services and education to our students. If you would like to see more of our strategic plan, please go to and feel free to contact me if you are interested in boldly engaging our future.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

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