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AVON PARK, Fla. – Sept. 3, 2021 – South Florida State College (SFSC) has been awarded a $2.7 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education. The monies will fund the College’s Heartland Pathways 2 Success Project (HP2SP) over a period of two years.
SFSC is one of 61 colleges and universities across the United States to receive such funding. In fact, SFSC is one of only three Florida educational institutions to receive this funding, along with Palm Beach State College and North Florida State College in Madison.
HP2SP has been developed to increase educational access and opportunity for low-income, minority students through the creation of technology-enabled courses and targeted dual enrollment offered directly in five high schools in SFSC’s rural service district of Highlands, Hardee, and DeSoto counties. Dual enrollment is a program that allows high school students to take college courses and earn college credit while still attending high school. SFSC will partner with school districts to address critical educational gaps experienced by students.
“The COVID-19 pandemic presented SFSC and other educational institutions with challenges to educational access, delivery, and continuity of instruction,” said Dr. Thomas C. Leitzel, SFSC president. “As an institution that continuously seeks to expand and improve its services to meet the changing needs of prospective students, current students, and the community, this grant offers the College an opportunity to do just that. With the ability to provide students with a combination of degree pathways, expanded HyFlex and online courses, virtual SIM labs, and increased dual enrollment opportunities, SFSC can ensure instruction that promotes access and equity throughout its rural central Florida district.”
Through HP2SP, the College will create an infrastructure for effective HyFlex course delivery. HyFlex (or hybrid-flexible) courses combine online and classroom-based instruction to maximize flexibility and course accessibility. Upgrades of classroom hardware, software, and interactive technologies will facilitate student engagement. Faculty and staff will be trained and supported in learning how to use the technology effectively. Through the use of HyFlex course delivery, SFSC will be able to expand the number and variety of dual enrollment courses offered at five high schools in its service district.
A virtual SIM lab will be created at SFSC. Health science degree programs require patient interaction hours and these hours can be partially completed by using high-fidelity simulators (SIMs). The virtual patient simulators assist in training students in clinical skills, such as making diagnoses. To maintain academic quality for critical health care training programs, such as registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), paramedic and emergency medical technology (EMT), and health care certifications, SFSC will upgrade its SIM Lab to facilitate virtual simulation to support online, remote access.
The College will expand and promote degree pathways. Guided pathways provide students with clear academic program maps, help students choose and enter pathways, provide support services to help students stay on track, ensure that students are learning, and provide students with career development support. SFSC has established Panther PATHways for Health Sciences, Public Safety, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees and careers. However, pathways for five remaining metamajors will be created: Arts, Humanities, Communication, and Design; Business; Education; Industry/Manufacturing and Construction; and Social and Behavioral Sciences and Human Services. Emphasis will be placed on bridging them to dual enrollment options and workforce/job opportunities.
For more information on SFSC’s Panther PATHways, visit Panther PATHways.