MCC Board Meeting Report: Aug. 6, 2008

Trustees Elect Officers, Approve Five-Year Capital Improvement Program, Hear Presentation by President Hafner

At its annual organizational meeting held Aug. 6, the Manatee Community College (MCC) District Board of Trustees re-elected Venice resident Steve Harner as board chair, elected Bradenton resident Ron Allen as vice chair, and approved the board's meeting calendar for 2008-09.

The August meeting was the first for new MCC President Dr. Lars Hafner, who took his position July 1. Calling MCC a "jewel of an institution," Hafner thanked trustees for the opportunity to serve as its president.       

Board action included approval of the college's five-year capital improvement program (CIP), a state-required work plan to guide new buildings, major and minor remodeling projects and infrastructure renovations at MCC's three campuses from 2009 through 2014. Highlights of the CIP include construction of the Medical Technology and Simulation building at MCC Lakewood Ranch, a major remodeling of the Library at MCC Bradenton, and a request for funds to build a Science and Nursing Classroom and Lab building at MCC Venice. 

Hafner informed the board that with the opportunity provided by the pending remodel of the Library, he had a preliminary discussion with the Manatee County administrator about the potential for a joint use library that would leverage available funds and enhance library offerings both for MCC and the community. He hopes to have a similar discussion with the Sarasota County administrator when an opportunity presents itself.

In other board action, the quarterly report of the Foundation for MCC Inc., was approved as presented by foundation director Peg Lowery.

In his announcements, Hafner updated the board about several important issues:

  • MCC is recruiting a vice president of academic quality and success, a new position created by merging two former vice president positions. Dr. Mike Mears, dean, will serve as the interim vice president of academic affairs until the new vice president is hired.
  • The College's redesigned Web site was presented.
  • Information was presented about Amendment 8, which was placed on the November ballot by the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission to allow community colleges to seek funding from their service district counties via local referendum. After Hafner briefly described pros and cons, trustees asked that the topic be placed on the September board agenda.
  • The board heard about changes that have been made to preserve the College's efficient operations and avoid staff layoffs while the College experiences rapid enrollment growth. One new initiative is the creation of a volunteer office. Another is the likely participation in Lambda Rail, a high-speed system that will elevate MCC's technology delivery.

Prior to the regular board meeting, Hafner conducted a workshop for the board about the history and status of the statewide articulation agreement, known as the 2+2 articulation agreement, and how changes might impact MCC. Presentation highlights include:

  • The original intent of the agreement was to assure associate in arts degree graduates from Florida community colleges that they could transfer credits to a state university. However, universities historically have varied in their recognition of common prerequisites and admissions criteria.
  • Eighty percent of MCC transfers travel outside the MCC service district to pursue their baccalaureate degree.
  • USF receives the majority of MCC transfer students but of the 62.7 percent that choose USF, only about 20 percent of those attend the USF Sarasota-Manatee branch campus.
  • Currently, with budgets being cut at the state level, many universities are capping enrollment, raising entry-level grade point averages and moving up application deadlines, thus limiting access to baccalaureate programs. 
  • Decreased access to upper-level programs has led to the creation of a third level of higher education, the Florida College System. The hybrid college, called a state college: (1) maintains open access for students and (2) honors the mandate to respond to community needs and (3) provides both associate and baccalaureate degrees to best meet the state's employment needs.
  • Hafner explained the related potential implications to MCC of Senate Bill 1716, which effectively ended the Florida Community College System as of July 1, 2008.

Trustees thanked Hafner for the information, asked to be kept informed about timely issues and agreed to resume discussions at a future board meeting.


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