SCF’s Commitment to Quality

Higher Education

BY CAROL PROBSTFELD SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY APR 20, 2019

One of the unique things about a community college is its relationship with its service area. State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is ingrained in our region. The character of our college is reflected in the citizens, businesses and neighborhoods of our community. Our graduates are community leaders, our neighbors and our friends.

This relationship creates an obligation that SCF provide high quality higher education opportunities, academic programs and services to directly contribute to the success and prosperity of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Our commitment to quality is our contract with our community.

That commitment means we will always do what we say, deliver on our promises and provide a strong return on investment to our students, donors and taxpayers. Our best credentials are our alumni successfully leading and working in our region.

I am extremely proud of the education and training SCF provides its students, but I have challenged our institution to broaden the discussion about quality. We must create greater definition of what quality means at our college. We must measure it, achieve it and report on it, and then strive for excellence in those areas.

We need to expand the conversation about quality outcomes. We are already measured by many standards, but these focus too often on outputs. Outputs are easy to measure but do not reflect how effective we are in preparing our graduates to transfer to a university or enter the workforce. We will never lower our standards to increase outputs. We are not serving our community by just graduating students. Our focus will always be creating successful outcomes for our graduates.

When SCF Associate in Arts graduates/transfer students outperform their university peers in their final two years, that is a quality outcome. Our AA-transfer students consistently record higher grade point averages after transferring to one of our state universities than their peers who started at the university. I often get feedback from our graduates that they felt better prepared by their two years at SCF than their peers in the university classroom.

SCF registered nursing graduates pass their national certification exam on their first try at a rate of 98 percent. This is a quality outcome. With the effectiveness of our healthcare at stake, we cannot mass produce nurses to meet output goals. Our focus on quality outcomes for our nursing program leads to highly qualified registered nurses throughout our local health care networks.

Commitment to quality drove the decision to only offer high school dual enrollment on our campuses. Students completing an SCF course must have achieved sufficient learning to be successful in both the workforce and in subsequent college courses. The best way to ensure students are receiving quality college courses is on the college campus with instruction from a college professor. Students’ transcripts must be full of quality outcomes, not just a list of outputs.

As we study the different generations of students who attend classes at SCF, our research has shown us something interesting about Generation Z, the post-Millennial generation born between 1995-2012. Generation Z students expect high quality services and are not impressed with frills and extras. We are already seeing evidence of this as these students have entered our institution and we are working hard to exceed their expectations. We will deliver the quality they expect.

Providing quality higher education outcomes is our obligation to our community. We are committed to delivering those outcomes, improving on them and remaining accessible to our students, partners and supporters. That is our commitment to quality at State College of Florida.

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

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