Best Medical Program
The radiography program is demanding—a total of 22 months including 1,700 hours of clinical rotations. SFCC students have the added benefit of working in a town where they can get experience, thanks to Gainesville’s four hospitals. And a standard X-ray of your bones is just part of the training, as participants learn to perform CT scans, MRIs, and angioplasties.
Associate Professor Michael Fugate says the program has set a standard among its peers for three decades. “Bob Short, who created the program in 1968, had a sense of professionalism and quality that started the whole program, and it’s built on itself since then,” he says. The program brings in 30 students annually and retains the majority, sending out 26 new graduates last year.
“Unfortunately, people’s experience with radiology is less than favorable, just by virtue of the exams,” Fugate says. “But our students get the stringency of curriculum through the science, anatomy, and math, plus our emphasis on patient care. People think that nursing is the great panacea, but our training is just as care-based.” —SRR
Contact Fugate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best Advisor Aid
Ever since 1998, club advisors could get a financial honorarium. But Dan Rodkin, coordinator of student leadership and activities, wanted the money to represent more than a willingness for an advisor to lend a club his name—He and Director Dug Jones wanted to reward performance.
“There were advisors spending five to 10 hours a week advising and advisors spending five to 10 hours a semester, and they were getting the same amount of money,” Rodkin says. “That just didn’t seem right.”
So Rodkin and Jones created a committee that evaluates all club advisors and awards the stipends based on some pretty stiff criteria. The judging was detailed, but the results were simple—advisors who did more would receive more. “In doing this, we were able to kill two birds with one stone—establish some accountability for an advisor to the group and establish some equity in the pay,” Rodkin says.
Club advisors are judged by three yardsticks: the group’s activity, the advisor’s own participation in activities through the Center for Student Leadership and Activities, and the group members’ evaluations.
Under this system, advisors have a real reason to get their club’s voice heard in Student Government. Sponsors who get involved in the optional monthly advisor, budget, and travel workshops through the center set themselves apart from their peers financially and also bring that information back for the good of their groups.
The final component--the students’ evaluation of the advisor--provides necessary feedback for both the advisor and the group to grow. Although student observations of faculty are common, monitored observations of advisors are rare. “When we set ours up, we looked to see if anyone else had an observation we could borrow or steal rather than create it from scratch on our own, and we were unable to find anyone that had a formal evaluation form for student advisors,” Rodkin says.
Community colleges across the nation sat up and took notice of this program through the League for Innovation, a group of 19 colleges in the U.S. that recognize and share best practices with other schools. Along with the benefit of building top-quality advisors, SFCC took home the “Innovation of the Year” award in 2002. —SRR
So he went on a day-long retreat with those he calls “The Giants”—the old-timers, the original faculty that have been at SFCC since its beginning in the 1960s—to soak in their wisdom and immerse himself in the institution’s culture.
A decorous, mild-mannered, retirement-bound bunch this is not—Dr. Sasser spent the day surrounded in staff who got into the spirit of telling the history and stories by wearing the dress of the day. “I wore the bell-bottoms I bought in around 1969 with the pink socks, the print polyester shirt, and the belt that came with the pants,” says Lamar Jacks, a psychology professor who’s been at SFCC for 35 years. “Even more impressive, I drove the gold 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix!”
And some of the stories reflected a spirit of the Age of Aquarius as well, as mathematics professor Cherry Mays recounted the story of looking out her classroom window and seeing a circle of students sitting around a tree. When she asked a student later what they were doing, the student explained they were trying to move the tree with the united forces of their minds. “I asked if they were successful, and she said no, but they were going to try again tomorrow,” Mays says.
English professor Cissy Woods recalled when SFCC was still in the old Thomas Hotel (now the Thomas Center), faculty members and students formed a human chain around the beautiful old azalea bushes to save them from being bulldozed for new student parking. “We were the most hippie, far-out, wild bunch of teachers you could imagine,” Woods says.
Love beads, fringe, and granny glasses aside, many of the stories reflected the motivation of one man—SFCC founding president Joe Fordyce. “He was a true Renaissance man; he was totally out of the box,” Sasser says. “The freedom and experimentation and innovation he encouraged and allowed provided the groundwork for this college to begin.”
Dr. Sasser created the retreat not only to get the perspective of the past but to use that wisdom in the future. “There’s a real sense of urgency to pass on their legacy,” Sasser says of retiring staff. “It was those giants that literally laid the foundation for what we have today, to make us certainly one of leading colleges in the country.” Not that he’s letting them off the hook that easily. “A lot of them are on DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program), so they can teach part-time after they retire.”
This historically-minded look to the future is not an unusual way of setting up shop for Sasser, who expressed admiration for Andrew Jackson’s “Kitchen Cabinet,” his unofficial advisory board. He had a similar group of 14 senior faculty to advise him at his last post at Lee College in Baytown, Texas. And how do “The Giants” view Sasser in comparison to founding president Fordyce? “I think we’re in good hands,” Jacks says. “I think he understands the spirit of the place.” —SRR
Contact Sasser at email@example.com or call 325-395-5164
Best Mentoring Program
“In recruiting, we see potential, and we help a student work at molding potential into performance,” says Pawlowski of the mentoring he and Garcia do with students who take part in the college’s leadership retreats, Student Government, or the Leadership Institute.
Pawlowski created a feedback system after retreats and presentations where students give their peers a specific list of strengths and weaknesses. From the feedback cards, he and Garcia help students review their strengths and get them involved in leadership areas that maximize those areas. “Also, we review their weaknesses and see if they agree with them,” Pawlowski says. “Then, we really try to figure out what causes those weakness and talk about strategies about what they could do to minimize those problems. You may not be able to turn a weakness into a strength, but you can learn to minimize it and build on the good.”
This can be tough information for some students to swallow. “We do have some students who have melt-downs,” Pawlowski says. “But if they move ahead, we come up with a game plan for how to perform better in the next retreat, the next meeting, the next leadership situation.
“The mentoring helps students have ‘Aha!’ moments and have some realizations about how to improve,” he says. “It’s often not about people’s ability—they have the ability if they only try. It’s about putting in time and effort and not giving into the mediocrity they’ve been able to get by with.” Whether helping students look past deep-seated behaviors such as shyness or controlling attitudes or bad habits such as interrupting, Pawlowski counsels with students to help them be aware of them and move on. “We’re focused on performance and leadership development, and sometimes that applies to their classroom performance or personal lives,” he says
But he doesn’t want to take the place of Dr. Phil. “I want to see students bring their ‘A-game’ to everything they do,” he says. “I’ve seen students who are afraid of success and more afraid of failure, and once you can show them a way past it, they can demonstrate their skills. Usually, after a retreat, students have a huge confidence jump.” —SRR
Some highwaymen also were landscape artists who sold their work from the back of their trucks. And without the South Florida Community College Museum of Florida Art and Culture, few would know of them. MOFAC not only has a highwaymen art collection, but it’s also responsible for discovering this art form and sharing it with the world.
“Three or four generations from now when Floridians look back and they say, ‘OK where is the art work that represents mid 20th century Florida?’ we have it in our collection,” says Jim Fitch, museum director.
MOFAC takes pride in ensuring Florida artists a place in history, Fitch says. The museum has a niche market for presenting Florida artists in its exhibit space of about 4,000 square feet. It has more than 300 pieces in the permanent collection and an additional 40 to 60 pieces for the current exhibition.
“Our responsibility is to provide credibility and visibility for the genre of Florida Regionalism,” Fitch says.
More than just preserving art, MOFAC also benefits SFCC students. Art instructor Cathy Futral says that her students tour the museum and write responses to the art and artifacts.
Cody Coltharp, a sophomore fine arts major, says he often visits the museum. “I know all of the art students are in love with it,” he says. —BF
Contact Coordinator of Marketing Kathleen Border at firstname.lastname@example.org
In a speech he’s given before chambers of commerce, civic clubs, leadership seminars, and students, McLendon makes it clear that positive thinking is a choice and one that too few people embrace. “Where have all the John Waynes gone?” he demands of his audience and students, challenging them to view themselves as people of character and ability, not define themselves by their limitations and problems. He views the “John Wayne” image as an icon of independence, self-reliance, and success. “These qualities represent, along with integrity and civility, the most admirable characteristics of our lives.”
McLendon knows this challenge is one that doesn’t always sit well. “Since I don’t feel that this is the prevailing philosophy in American society, I probably step on toes in almost any audience where I share my thoughts on this topic,” he says. However, he perseveres because he says positive attitude needs a voice in our negativity-permeated world. “This philosophy works,” he says. “It helps to make you both happy and successful.” —SRR
Contact McLendon at email@example.com.
The college offers a class that allows students to communicate directly with students half way around the world at San Hsin High School in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, which is TCC’s sister-school. In 1993, two San Hsin teachers came to Florida hoping to establish a new learning program uniting their students with those at TCC. Nine years after that trip, students in Tallahassee are communicating via long distance video conferencing, e-mail, and phone.
The class, offered once a week at 8 a.m. in Taiwan and 8 p.m. in Tallahassee, teaches students the language and culture of those around the globe. Because the program is funded by the Taiwanese Department of Education, the class is offered free (although students don’t earn college credit). Students can communicate with assigned pen pals through e-mail, and eventually everyone meets through video conferencing. “It’s much more meaningful and interesting,” says Dr. Jeanne O’Kon, sister school liaison. “It enhances knowledge and relationships by allowing real communication.”
In addition, every year Taiwanese students and teachers come to Florida for two weeks and live with families in Tallahassee. “Over the years, hundreds have been involved,” O’Kon says. “Students really enjoy this type of learning.”
Each summer, about one dozen TCC professors go to San Hsin to teach English to the school’s 6,000 Mandarin-speaking students. —CA
Contact Communications Specialist Rob Chaney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2006 Oxendine Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved