Page 2• Monday, August 31, 2009• Florida State College at Jacksonville
How does this transitionmake you feel as college president?
There’s a tremendous amountof pride in the fact that this institu-tion is among the first communitycolleges in America to evolve fullyinto baccalaureate education. Ithink most community collegesand community college systems inthe United States will follow thissame evolution as we go furtherinto the knowledge age. We areexcited because we are way aheadof the future.
When classes start Aug. 31,what does the name change mean for currently enrolled students?
Our name has changed, but ourfocus on learning and the qualityof instruction remains the same.Our focus on preparing studentsfor success in this community isunchanged. Our focus on afford-ability remains the same. Ourfocus on accessible education,leveraging educational technolo-gy to meet increasing studentdemand on our campuses — thatremains the same. Even thoughwe are not a community college,we are still community focused.For students, graduating from astate college is going to carry ahigher level of prestige and willlead to more opportunity. We’reaccredited now as a four-yearinstitution, and that says a greatdeal about the quality of what ishappening here.
What would you tell highschool students entering their senior year and thinking about where to go to school?
That they are among the mostfortunate high school graduates inAmerica because they have accessto a phenomenal opportunity.Almost every job in the knowl-edge economy requires educationor training beyond high school, sothey should take advantage of theopportunity we are offering.Everyone with a high schooldiploma can start here and earn acollege degree. If their academicskills need help, we have anexceptional program for that. Ifthey need to connect to morehands-on, skill-based training, wehave many outstanding programsthat will be of interest. We willcontinue to offer an extraordinaryvalue proposition to individualsentering higher education — the best quality of programs andinstruction at the lowest possibletuition cost. As a state college, thearray of programs will get largerand larger over time.
What about more non-traditional, working adult students?
I’d say to them, 'We’re what youhave been waiting for.' You nolonger have to settle for an expen-sive, questionable education expe-rience from a school that has noconnection to our region or to thespecific employment demands ofour region. Now, you can have theflexibility of our scheduling andthe flexibility of our multiple loca-tions and online instruction, andhave affordability, a strong com-munity connection, and credibilityin your degree. The state college baccalaureate degrees fill this verylarge need in our community, asmore and more working adultscome to the conclusion that theyneed higher credentials for a high-er quality of life.
How do you deal with thestudents who are twosemesters from earning their associate degrees and aren’t quite sure what they should bedoing, or where they should bein school a year from now? How do you convince them tostay?
We don’t try to convince them.The important thing is the studentmakes an informed choice andunderstands all of the differentopportunities that are available inpublic higher education and pri-vate higher education. In the past,that didn’t involve our institution.Now, for the students who areinterested in one of our bachelordegrees, it can. The importantthing is they continue their educa-tion and that they are well-served.If they go on to UNF, that is a greatoutcome. If one of our programssuits their needs, we are thrilled.
Is the College still a feeder program for the state’suniversities?
Absolutely. Because we haveonly four bachelor degrees andthree awaiting final approval, themajority of our associate degreegraduates will continue to matric-ulate to one of the state universi-ties. Most of them go to UNF andthey are very well served. Most ofour students are working adults.They have families and jobs here,so it works best for them to contin-ue at UNF.
Do you envision a timewhen Florida State College at Jacksonville will offer enoughbachelor degrees that studentswon’t need to transfer?
Our degrees will always be dif-ferentiated from UNF’s. The stu-dents who will remain with us,even as we expand, will be stu-dents who are interested in themore practitioner-orienteddegrees, more immediate careerentry. Those students more inter-ested in theoretical preparation,particularly for advanced degrees,will continue to go to the state uni-versities.
What’s your next big goal for the College?
For right now, we are complete-ly focused on the new organiza-tional model and ensuring that itis optimally successful. That willkeep us busy for a great number ofyears. We strongly believe, theway we have evolved, this institu-tion makes the most sense in aknowledge economy where ourcitizens require increasingly high-er levels of education. The greatthing from our perspective is thatthis is all additive. Our communi-ty has not lost a single thing. Theyhave gained access to high quality baccalaureate programs thatpreviously didn’t exist. In aknowledge economy, that’s a verypositive thing.
Interview With President Steve Wallace
Bachelor of Applied Science Degrees
Computer Systems Networkingand Telecommunications
Provides students with the requisite knowl-edge and skills essential for management ofchallenging network engineering roles. Includesinstruction in operating systems and applica-tions; systems design and analysis; networkingtheory and solutions; types of networks; net-work management and control; network andflow optimization; security; configuring; andtroubleshooting.
Fire Science Management
Educating, training and developing success-ful leaders to manage the ever-increasing com-plexities of a fire department. Learn advancedfire science technical skills, administrative andmanagement skills, and critical skills in commu-nication, quantitative analysis, and organiza-tional/systems understanding.
Information TechnologyManagement (New!)
Providing students the opportunity to attain adegree that will enhance their placement to man-agement and supervisory positions within theinformation technology field. Apractical hands-on application approach. This degree program ispending final approval by the Southern Associa-tion of Colleges and Schools.
Public Safety Management (New!)
Enabling students to pursue and obtain place-ment in higher-level management and superviso-ry positions within the public safety community.This degree program is pending final approval by the Southern Association of Colleges andSchools.
Supervision and Management
Providing students with a practical hands-onapplication approach to understanding super-vision and management with the result ofenhancing graduates’ placement in higher-levelmanagement and supervisory positions in the business community.Bachelor of Science Degrees
Creating competent, ethical and confidenthealth care practitioners committed to profes-sional development through lifelong learning.The program emphasizes critical-care nursing.
Early Childhood Education (New!)
Creating the highest quality, early childhoodeducators. The program emphasizes develop-mentally appropriate approaches to preparingchildren for school and continued developmentof literacy, creative and cognitive skills in theearly primary years. This degree program ispending final approval by the Southern Associa-tion of Colleges and Schools.
Four Year Degrees Offered
“FCCJ as we knew it has been important to our workforce and raisingeducational standards in our city. Now, with its expanded role and newname, we have even greater expectations for what the College will do tomake Jacksonville better. We look forward to your continued success.”
— Mayor John Peyton, Jacksonville
Florida State College at Jacksonville can train you to become an air traffic controller
“It was a no-brainer,” saysFrances Roberts, about the deci-sion to enroll in the Air TrafficControl program at Florida StateCollege at Jacksonville. “My dadwas in the Navy, in Air TrafficControl, so I’ve been around it mywhole life.”Roberts graduates from the pro-gram in December 2009, and wasamong the first students to enrollwhen the program took off in Fall2008. Because of a special govern-ment-funded grant, her tuition ispaid in full — a fact she didn’teven know until after she hadenrolled and paid her tuition.People are surprised when theyfind out this is what Robertswants to do for a career, becauseas she says “I’m very social andoutgoing,” and a woman. Air traf-fic control can be very stressfuland challenging, and not a lot ofwomen enter the field — yet. Butshe sees it as exciting and chal-lenging — and likes that shecould be making up to $100,000 ayear in the near future. It alsohelps, too, that she knows otherair traffic controllers and everyone she knows loves it.She also loves the program andthe facilities.“The simulators are just likeyou are in the tower and talkingto the pilot. The instructors haveexperience and know what theyare talking about,” she said.“They give us real-life experiencesfrom their day at work.”These real-life experiences may be a help when she goes to takethe AT-SAT, a step in the processof becoming employed by theFAAas an air traffic controller.What would she say to anotherwoman — or anyone else — con-sidering pursuit of a career as anair traffic controller? “If you wantto, do it.”Entry-level air traffic con-trollers earn about $40,000 to$50,000 annually, with theprospect of earning close to$100,000 in eight years. Locally airtraffic controllers are employed atthe Air Route Traffic Control Cen-ter in Hilliard and at JacksonvilleTraffic Control Center at Jack-sonville International Airport.
Want to Earn$100,000 a Year?