The college’s president Dr. E. Ann McGee announced the news Monday at SCC’s Heathrow campus site. This is not just a name change, but also an evolutionary process for the 44-year-old school. Whatever the new name may be, the school will no longer be known as a “community college.”
“We are evolving with the current Florida college system,” McGee said. “This is a time to move on.”
The school’s new era begins in September. Students, faculty, staff and the community have until Sept. 1 to submit school names by going to www.scc-fl.edu/namechange. The website specifically set up for name submissions went live on Monday along with a name review committee made up of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The committee will narrow the selections down and pass them off to SCC’s District Board of Trustees to vote on a name at its Sept. 21 meeting. The chosen name will then be sent to Florida’s Legislature for final approval.
“We want the name approved before the completion of the new construction at the Sanford/Lake Mary campus to save on signage costs,” McGee said. School officials said that current signs with the old name and logo will be phased out over time at its six campus sites.
McGee said the college will not change its mission with the new name, but is looking into offering more 4-year degrees over time. SCC has been provided a list of courses that will no longer be offered at University of Central Florida that could be taught at SCC’s new $30 million University Partnership Center. The four-story, 100,000 square-foot center is scheduled to be completed in February of 2010 as part of SCC’s Sanford/Lake Mary campus current $85 million makeover.
“We have been talking about picking up some of UCF’s degrees,” McGee said. “The programs at UCF make sense, but we want to look at what the need is in our community.”
McGee is looking at SCC as a “boutique of bachelors programs” that will pick and choose 4-year degrees over time. According to her, it’s hard to plan for a set number of 4-year degrees without the funding in place.
“If you could tell me the funding in 10 years I could tell you how many bachelor degrees we will offer,” McGee said. “When the money is there we will phase in more [bachelor degrees] over time.”
The first 4-year degree, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Interior Design, will start in January. SCC applied in May to Florida’s Department of Education asking to change the interior design degree into a bachelor’s program to meet current accreditation standards. SCC will have to follow the same process for each 4-year degree, submitting applications to state officials for approval.
Legislation was passed last summer to allow community colleges to offer bachelors degrees in fields with high demand. SCC will be the only school in Central Florida to offer a 4-year degree in interior design. There are currently 72 students enrolled in the new program.
Since that legislation passed, changing the Community College System to the Florida College System, seven of the 26 community colleges in Florida have removed the “community college” label.
The name “Seminole State College” already exists. A former junior college in Seminole County, Okla., has gone by that name since 1931.
Whatever the new name turns out to be, for McGee it is the signal of a “new era” for the school.