AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 31, 2016 – South Florida State College Library hosts Come Write In events in conjunction with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This program encourages people to write 50,000 words (equivalent to a standard novel) in the month of November.
SFSC’s Library partners with NaNoWriMo to offer support and encouragement for participants. In addition to open writing hours during normal library hours, SFSC Library invites you to join the official kick-off party on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., for fun activities, word challenges, plot bunny: adopt a plot idea or donate to the collection, and prizes. The last day of the month is Sprint Day, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., where writers make a last minute push to hit 50,000 words.
At the end of the month we celebrate our TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) Party, Thursday, Dec. 1, noon – 2 p.m. The SFSC Library will have tea, coffee, and hot chocolate available to help you make word count.
NaNoWriMo began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. An official partnership between NaNoWriMo and community organizations including libraries and bookstores, Come Write In events offer writing space, community, and connection for NaNoWriMo participants.
To register and access to forums, advice, mentors, and connections to local events and write ins., visit: http://nanowrimo.org. For additional information, contact Claire A. Miller at 863- 784-7305, or email, Claire.Miller@southflorida.edu.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 28, 2016 – Basic and advanced firefighting techniques will be taught Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 9-13, when the Great Florida Fire School comes South Florida State College’s Highlands Campus.
The Great Florida Fire School is a cooperative effort between the Florida State Fire College, local emergency services, and educational institutions like SFSC. Its mission is to continue the education and training of the fire and rescue community. Classes are taught by fire school and SFSC instructors.
Courses are geared to firefighters and emergency rescue workers of all experience levels. Students can practice firefighting techniques and learn about aerial operations, rescue maneuvers, use of equipment, medical care for blast injuries, firefighter safety when dealing with explosives, and many other facets of the profession. They can also learn how to recognize stress, protect themselves from HIV/AIDS, and cope with other physical and mental challenges of firefighting.
Classes are scheduled 8 a.m.-5 p.m. for periods ranging from two hours to 45 hours over the course of five days. Many classes provide continuing education credits. For a flat fee of $125, students can take as many classes as they can fit into their schedule.
In the past, the Great Florida Fire School has drawn more than 200 firefighters from all over the state to the SFSC Highlands Campus.
For more information and to register for classes, visit the Great Florida Fire School on the web or call 800-883-4817. You may also call Lorrie Key, director, SFSC’s Corporate and Continuing Education Department, at 784-7033 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 28, 2016 – South Florida State College students will be guaranteed admission to degree programs at the University of South Florida under an agreement described as “groundbreaking” by USF president Judy Genshaft.
The FUSE program guarantees students access to competitive programs at USF by opening seamless academic pathways for students studying at SFSC and six other Florida College System (FCS) institutions.
Any SFSC student can participate in FUSE. By maintaining a 2.0 grade-point average, completing the required course sequences, and earning an associate degree at SFSC, students will secure guaranteed admission to limited access programs at USF. A limited access program uses selective admission criteria to limit enrollment.
SFSC students can begin enrolling in FUSE with the start of the fall 2017 academic term.
“SFSC is excited to team up with USF to provide pathways to university degrees for many of our students,” said Dr. Sidney Valentine, vice president for Academic Affairs and Student Services. “Under this agreement, students participating in the FUSE program will be guaranteed admission to competitive programs at a world-class research institution.”
On Oct 21, Dr. Valentine joined SFSC president Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel at a ceremony launching the FUSE partnership that included representatives from the other participating institutions.
FUSE students will receive academic advising from counselors at both USF and SFSC to ensure they are completing the prescribed sequence of coursework that satisfies the requirements for their associate degree as well as admission requirements to their selected bachelor’s degree program at USF.
FUSE students will be eligible to participate in USF campus activities, events, and sports.
“FUSE is open to all SFSC students,” said Dr. Christopher van der Kaay, executive director of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Technology. “When students opt for FUSE, they are not just SFSC students, they’re also USF students as well.”
Dr. van der Kaay noted that FUSE revolves around two critical elements of university education: access and affordability.
“SFSC FUSE students get guaranteed access to programs at a top-ranked research university close to home,” he said. “What’s more, FUSE enhances affordability because SFSC students earn their associate degree at a much lower cost than by taking classes at USF during their freshman and sophomore years.”
With the start of FUSE next fall, SFSC students can choose psychology, biomedical science, business and finance, accounting, and an engineering degree with an emphasis on information technology, according to Dr. van der Kaay.
“The beauty of FUSE is that it will be easy to implement,” said Dr. van der Kaay. “USF will facilitate the training of our advising and counseling staff starting next month.”
In addition to SFSC, students at six other FCS colleges can enroll in FUSE: Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College, College of Central Florida, Pasco-Hernando State College, Polk State College, and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
“SFSC students and their parents will benefit tremendously from FUSE,” said Dr. van der Kaay. “As admission to USF’s programs becomes increasingly competitive, our students now have the advantage of guaranteed access once they earn their degree at SFSC.”
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 28, 2016 – In 2017, South Florida State College will do something it hasn’t done in years. But this time around SFSC with do it with a twist: offer college credit classes on Friday.
The twist is the classes will meet only on Fridays.
With the Jan. 4 start of the spring academic term students can take an introductory psychology class that meets only on Friday morning and an introductory speech communication class that meets only on Friday afternoon.
“Many years ago, a class at SFSC would meet either Tuesdays and Thursdays or Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” said Lynn MacNeill, interim dean for the Division of Arts and Sciences. “In 2017, we’re going to experiment with two classes that meets only on Fridays.”
Students can take the psychology class 9 -11:45 a.m., break for lunch, and take the speech communication class 1-3:45 p.m., MacNeill said. “At the term’s end, they’ll earn six credit hours with just one day on campus each week.
At present, all college credit classes at SFSC meet Monday through Thursday. Occupational certificate classes like automotive services technology and cosmetology meet Monday through Friday.
MacNeill said the experiment come about as a result of a community survey that gauged the interest of residents in SFSC’s service district.
“The survey data showed residents wanted class offerings they could attend on Fridays only,” MacNeill noted. “So, we’re putting it to the test with the hope it will prove a success and lead to more classes offered on Friday.”
MacNeill observed the Friday-only classes are an opportunity for prospective students who haven’t taken a class to get on campus and acclimated to a college setting.
Spring term registration for all students, new and returning, begins on Nov. 18. MacNeill said now is the time for new students interested in the Friday classes get an admission application started. Current students with more than 20 credit hours can start registering on Nov 4.
“New students need to get admitted, registered, and complete the orientation process,” MacNeill said. “These next several weeks are just the time to get that out of the way before classes start on Jan 4.”
No prerequisite courses are required to enroll in the two Friday classes, making them ideal offerings for new students who want to start earning college credit hours. MacNeill also noted both classes will count toward the degree requirements for an associate degree.
New students can start an admission application by visiting the SFSC website www.southflorida.edu and clicking the “Apply Now” link. Speak with SFSC’s Financial Aid Office, as financial aid is available to those who qualify.
Onsite guidance is available at the SFSC Advising and Counseling Center located on the SFSC Highlands Campus, 600 W. College Dr., Avon Park, from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday; or, from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fridays. Prospective and current students can call the center at 863-784-7131.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 27, 2016 – Dr. Ellen Catherine Cover calls herself the gypsy biologist of U.S. Highway 17.
Dr. Cover is now in her fifth year teaching biology at the DeSoto and Hardee county campuses of South Florida State College. Monday through Thursday, she shuttles up and down the road linking Arcadia and Bowling Green, taking students through the paces of introductory biology, microbiology, and anatomy courses.
For Dr. Cover, there have been two passions in her life: biology and teaching it to students eager for careers in the life sciences—the first passion started early for her.
“I guess you can say I was born to be a biologist,” Dr. Cover said. “My mom tells the story of me at 3-year-old dragging home a dead bird and asking her to explain its parts to me.”
Putting her childhood story into the language of a scientist, Dr. Cover said, “I was genetically programed to be a biologist.”
Dr. Cover plays a vital role in the lives of SFSC students living in the two rural, sparsely settled counties that, along with the more densely populated Highlands County, comprise the college’s service district. She is the only source of college-level biology and anatomy instruction for students working toward a degree.
Without Dr. Cover playing the gypsy biologist, students looking to get the science credits they need to begin careers in the health sciences or technology, would have to travel to the Highlands Campus.
Her fascination with one dead bird was just the beginning of life devoted to biology.
“As I got into high school, I knew with absolute certainly my academic path lay with the sciences,” Dr. Cover said. “I just had a love and a singular interest for my biology and chemistry classes.”
After graduating from high school in her hometown of Beaumont, Texas, Dr. Cover remained close to home. She worked toward completing bachelors’ degrees in biology and chemistry at Lamar University, only a few miles from home. Immediately after earning her degrees, she enrolled in Lamar’s graduate school, earning a master’s degree in biology.
At this juncture in her academic journey, Dr. Cover had settled on field biology, particularly limnology, or the biology of fresh water species. She moved to Oklahoma State University for her doctoral studies because it was one of the few universities to place an emphasis field biology.
Like most academic biologists, Dr. Cover thought her career would revolve around research. Indeed, in its early stages, her work centered on studying the effect of pollution on freshwater species and disease resistance in cotton. But Dr. Cover discovered she took special pleasure from teaching biology to undergraduates, a task typically assigned to young researchers like her.
But research funding soon dried up and Dr. Cover opted to teach full time. “I sent out 60 or more resumes and the only college that offered me a job was Florida Keys Community College, so, of course, I moved to the Keys,” she recalled to her own laughter.
What followed was a near three-decade span of teaching biology to students in the Keys, at what is now State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, at a school of natural medicine, and her alma mater, Lamar. Through the years, Dr. Cover discovered her passion for biology also extended to opening young minds to its wonders.
Throughout those years, though, SFSC was on Dr. Cover’s radar screen. “Everything I had heard about SFSC was good—that it was a student-oriented institution, which is something that appeals to me.” She said she applied for teaching positions but that SFSC never bit.
In 2011, she sent in another resume and got the answer she had been waiting for. SFSC needed a biologist who was willing to work at its campuses in DeSoto and Hardee counties and was willing to drive the 30 miles back and forth between them.
“For me it’s an absolute pleasure doing my gypsy biologist thing,” Dr. Cover said. “The students I teach in DeSoto and Hardee stand out for their willingness to learn—they just try harder and seem to care more because they know it matters more to them, very much unlike students from more affluent areas.”
For the past 30 years, Dr. Cover has focused on her zeal for teaching but she never lost her love for research.
“With a stream of funding for the sciences coming to SFSC from a newly awarded grant, I’m aiming to work with my students to show them biology in action, not just from a textbook,” she said.
Dr. Cover sees opportunities to get students working on projects growing tissue cultures and genetics, all geared toward agricultural-oriented research.
The gypsy biologist calls Zolfo Springs, in Hardee County, home, where she lives with her beloved dog Biscuit. When not tending to her dog, Dr. Cover said she also enjoys reading, especially, naturally enough, science-related literature.
Dr. Cover said she’s a big booster of the DeSoto County Relay for Life cancer walk and she sits on the board of directors for the ARC Desoto, a nonprofit that aids residents with developmental disabilities.
“As much I love science I do have a softer side,” Dr. Cover said wryly. “I am also a big fan of horror films, especially movies about Frankenstein.”
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 27, 2016 – Dance auditions for children who will perform in the Florida premiere of the ballet “Beauty and the Beast” will be held on Nov. 6 at the Alan Jay Wildstein Center for the Performing Arts at South Florida State College, Avon Park.
“This is the same company that performed ‘The Nutcracker’ last December,” said Cindy Garren, director of Cultural Programs at SFSC. Garren said William Starrett, artistic director of Columbia City Ballet, will conduct the auditions. Nancy McDuffee, with Dance Unlimited of Highlands County, will serve as the local dance director.
The Beauty and the Beast ballet is a new production that will be staged at the Wildstein Center on Feb. 7, with one performance at 7 p.m.
Auditions for girls and boys ages 4-6 will be held on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2-3:15 p.m.; ages 7-10, 3:15-4:30 p.m.; age 11 and older, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Dancers who have been on pointe over two years should bring their pointe shoes.
Girls should wear a black leotard, pink tights, and ballet shoes. Hair should be taken back in a bun. Boys should wear a white leotard or plain white T-shirt, black tights, and black shoes. Or, boys can wear black tights with white socks, and white shoes. Dancers should not wear sneakers or flip-flops.
A $10 audition fee is payable to the Columbia City Ballet. The children should arrive at the Wildstein Center 30 minutes before the audition to complete registration forms and to warm up.
“This isn’t a Disney version with dancing tea pots and candlesticks,” Garren said. “This sumptuous ballet tells the age-old fairy tale where the good-hearted Beauty overlooks the Beast’s ugliness and grows to love him.”
Sponsors of the performance are: Dr. Andrew and Beth Kulick, Terry and Michele Heston, Carol Emery, Dr. Witford and Inga Reid, Dr. Catherine P. Cornelius, Joan Hartt, All Around Septic and Sewer, and Dr. Donald, Ruth, and Kimberly Geldart.
SFSC presents more than 30 national and internationally touring artists at the 1460-seat Wildstein Center and the 250-seat SFSC University Center Auditorium located on the SFSC Highlands Campus at 600 W. College Dr. in Avon Park.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 25, 2016 – South Florida State College has been awarded a nearly $5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education to launch a postsecondary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) project called “Re-Engineering Our Future.” This project will create educational opportunities for Hispanic and low-income students in the college’s service district of Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto counties.
“SFSC is thrilled and honored to have been awarded this grant,” said Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president. “It is imperative to the economic health of our service district that we prepare our students for an increasingly high-tech world. A STEM education is critical as new and emerging jobs require expertise in these disciplines. This grant has given us the means to strengthen our efforts in providing workforce skills that are essential in attracting advanced manufacturing industries to locate in the tri-county region.”
For this project, the college will focus on four major activities. They are to develop a high-tech degree pathway with transfer into the University of South Florida and Florida Polytechnic University, to improve pre-collegiate services to better prepare low-income Hispanic students for these programs, to improve college academic support and students services to better support low-income Hispanic college students, and to create a more culturally sensitive campus culture to increase student engagement and success at the college.
Funds from the grant will allow SFSC to create new degree programs in engineering technology, mechatronics, and biomedical science. Mechatronics is a combination of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer control, and information technology that come together in the design of “smart” products, such as robots or sensor-driven windshield wipers. These high-tech degree pathways will make it easier for students to transfer directly into the biomedical science degree program at the University of South Florida and one of several engineering programs at Florida Polytechnic University. In fact, SFSC will be the first college to set up such an articulation agreement with Florida Polytechnic University.
SFSC’s engineering technology, mechatronics, and biomedical science programs are scheduled to begin in August 2017.
Through the grant, $1 million’s worth of new, state-of-the-art technology will support these programs as well as enhance the lab sciences courses at the Hardee and DeSoto campuses. Included will be a series of mechatronics and engineering-specific lab equipment. The biomedical science program will make use of a negative 80 degrees freezer, phase contrast microscope, fluorescent microscope, illuminometer, and nuclear magnetic resonant spectrometer.
The college will send two instructors to Berlin, Germany, for Level One and Level Two Siemens mechatronics training and certification. Siemens is known for offering the gold standard of training in the field of mechatronics.
“This grant will enhance academic and support services for students seeking STEM degrees,” said Dr. Timothy Wise, dean of Student Services, and project director for the STEM grant. “It will provide resources to hire specialists who will provide support who can assist students, such as academic advisors, recruiters, tutors, coaches. Because SFSC is considered a Hispanic-serving institution, the grant will allow us to reach out to students and their families.” In fact, SFSC’s student population is 30.6 percent Hispanic.
Resources will expand SFSC’s campus-based services and support for Hispanic students. For instance, the college will produce Spanish language versions of key student services materials focused on graduation and transfer. The college will create a more culturally-sensitive institutional environment through employee professional development sessions.
Because mathematics serves as a firm foundation in preparing students for STEM majors, a summer program called MathSteps will be available to recent high school graduates, first-year-in-college students, and dually enrolled students. It will prepare students for college-level mathematics and all the way through pre-calculus, if needed.
Other student support will be expanded tutoring opportunities for the college’s Hardee and Highlands campuses. Students will be able to participate in a residential program developed in conjunction with Florida Gulf Coast University so SFSC students can learn more about what engineering students do. So families of students can learn more about the first year of college, SFSC will create a Spanish language version of its new student orientation and develop an orientation specifically for parents of potential students.
SFSC will employ an early alert program so instructors, coaches, or support personnel can better identify students who are running into academic or personal stumbling blocks. Through the program, they can give students encouragement and help them get back on track.
Students who have graduated from SFSC and encounter the challenges of transition to a university will be able to rely upon Inside Track coaching for support. This nationally recognized, distance-based coaching service assists students in navigating through the academic experience. For example, Inside Track coaching can guide them through the financial aid process, course mapping, or tutoring.
To sustain the momentum of the “Re-Engineering Our Future” project, SFSC will kick start a $250,000 endowment to go hand in hand with the SFSC Foundation’s Partnership Project. Donations to the endowment would be matched one-to-one and used to support ongoing programs and student scholarships for Hispanic and low-income students.
“The ‘Re-Engineering Our Future’ project is a perfect example of how education and economic development can work together,” Dr. Leitzel said.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 25, 2016 – South Florida State College will open spring academic term class registration on Nov. 4 to current students who have already earned 20 college credit hours. Registration for all students, new and returning, begins on Nov. 18. Spring academic term classes begin on Jan. 4, 2017.
Some classes have limited seating, said Dr. Timothy Wise, dean of Student Services. So, opening registration in advance to students who have earned 20 or more college credit hours ensures they remain on track to complete their degree requirements, he noted.
While registration for all students, regardless of the number of credit hours they’ve earned, opens on Nov. 18, students can meet with a guidance counselor now to map out their course plans for the spring academic term, Dr. Wise said.
“Students don’t have to wait until mid-November to start planning for January classes,” he said. “They can meet with a guidance counselor now by visiting any SFSC campus in Highlands, Hardee, or DeSoto counties.”
Students can self-register online, or use Degree Works to audit progress toward their degrees, at SFSC’s student portal Panther Central, he added.
SFSC will host an open house on Thursday, Nov. 10, 4-6 p.m. to showcase its academic and occupational programs to prospective students. Dr. Wise said the open house is an ideal opportunity for students who may not be sure of their academic or career path to explore SFSC’s many offerings.
The open house will be held in the lobby of Building B on the SFSC Highlands Campus located at 600 W. College Dr, Avon Park.
Information about SFSC’s academic and occupational programs, including entry requirements and class schedules, can be found on SFSC’s website: www.southflorida.edu.
For more information about the open house, contact Summer Miller at 784-7447 or email her at email@example.com.
Students can visit the SFSC Advising and Counseling Center, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, or 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Fridays. Students can call the center at 863-784-7131. The center is located in Building B of the SFSC Highlands Campus in Avon Park. Or, students can visit the Hardee Campus in Bowling Green, the Lake Placid Center in Lake Placid, or the DeSoto Campus in Arcadia.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 25, 2016 – Heartland residents who want to gain a foothold in the automotive service business now have their chance at South Florida State College. In Spring Term 2017, SFSC will launch evening Automotive Service Technology classes. Students interested in the program can learn more at an evening open house on Nov. 17.
The 30-month-long evening program kicks off with the start of classes on Jan. 4, 2017. Classes run 6–10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on the SFSC Highlands Campus in Avon Park.
“SFSC’s new evening automotive service technology classes are a great fit for folks who work daytime jobs,” said Tom Bush, SFSC’s chair of Technical-Industrial Education. “This is the first time we’ve opened the program to evening students.”
Bush said a career in automotive technology is recession-proof. “No matter how bad the economy gets, people in a region like ours need a working vehicle to get around. So there’s always a need for well-trained automotive service technicians,” he said.
Students can complete the daytime automotive service technology class in approximately two years. The 30-month evening class, though, will accommodate students who work during the day.
On Thursday, Nov. 17, SFSC will host an open house to showcase the program to prospective students. Bush said individuals interested in starting the program are welcome to attend the open house any time between 5 and 7 p.m., in Building M, Room 110.
During the first year, students will receive instruction in brake maintenance, engine performance, and steering and suspension.
Bush noted that, because of the program’s length, students may qualify for financial aid, including Pell Grants. They can get their financial aid questions answered at the open house, he said.
The SFSC Highlands Campus is located at 600 W. College Dr., Avon Park.
Information about the automotive technology program, can be found on SFSC’s website: www.southflorida.edu. Visit the page and type “Automotive” in the search box at the top of the screen.
For more information about the program or the open house, contact Bush at 863-784-7117 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about financial aid, contact the college’s Financial Aid Office at 863-784-7134.
PLEASE NOTE (Feb. 24, 2021): SFSC does not currently offer evening HVAC courses.
AVON PARK, Fla. – Oct. 21, 2016 – South Florida State College is opening its air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology program to evening students starting in Jan. 2017. Students interested in the program can learn more at an evening open house on Nov. 17.
The 22-month long evening program kicks off with the start of classes on Jan. 4, 2017. Classes run 6–10 p.m., Monday through Thursday, on the SFSC Highlands Campus in Avon Park.
“This is a great opportunity for folks who work low-wage 9 to 5 jobs but who want to enter a well-paying career,” said Tom Bush, SFSC’s chair of Technical-Industrial Education. “These individuals see themselves as underemployed, and this program will offer them the opportunity to learn the skills of an in-demand profession.”
Bush said a career in HVAC—the shorthand for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning— offers stable employment. “There’s one job that can never get outsourced abroad and that’s showing up at Florida home to repair an air conditioner or grocery store’s freezer,” he said.
Students can complete the daytime HVAC class in approximately one year. The 22-month evening class, though, will accommodate students who work during the day.
On Thursday, Nov. 17, SFSC will host an open house to showcase the program to prospective students. Bush said individuals interested in starting the program are welcome to attend the open house any time between 5 and 7 p.m., in Building N, Room 210.
Bush noted that, because of the program’s length, students may qualify for financial aid, including Pell Grants. They can get their financial aid questions answered at the open house, he said. Tuition is $720 each academic term, with lab fees varying by term.
The SFSC Highlands Campus is located at 600 W. College Dr., Avon Park.
Information about the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology program, can be found on SFSC’s website: www.southflorida.edu. Visit the page and type “HVAC” in the search box at the top of the screen.
For more information about the program or the open house, contact Bush at 863-784-7117 or email@example.com. For information about financial aid, contact the college’s Financial Aid Office at 863-784-7134.