MANATEE -- Two colleges celebrated a "new beginning" this week after the appointment Tuesday of Carol Probstfeld as the president of State College of Florida.
Probstfeld met Wednesday with counterparts at the University of South Florida's Sarasota-Manatee campus, saying, "I firmly believe we are standing at the threshold of a new beginning."
"We have a rich history of partnering with USF throughout many, many years, and we're really looking forward to working together to meet the needs of our students and potential students in the area," Probstfeld said during a phone interview Thursday.
"That's got to be the end goal, whether they're offering a degree or we are. It doesn't really matter as long as we're giving to our community what it needs," said Probstfeld.
She is committed to working with USF's regional chancellor, Arthur Guilford, in order to get it done, she added.
Among the topics they discussed were reinstituting faculty meetings between the two Manatee County colleges, said Probstfeld.
"I had a chance to meet with our faculty today, and they're very enthusiastic about that happening," said Probstfeld.
SCF has a "great partner" in USF Sarasota-Manatee, she added.
Equally upbeat was Guilford, who said, "I think we're looking at a new, energized relationship," and a spirit of much greater cooperation.
"It was just a very positive meeting we had," said Guilford in a separate interview Thursday.
The two schools were occasionally at odds during the bumpy tenure of SCF's former president, Lars Hafner, who resigned Oct. 30 with a $363,000 settlement agreement after months of conflict with some trustees. Among the areas of conflict was SCF's decision to offer certain four-year degrees.
In December, Probstfeld was named SCF's interim president and Tuesday, she was appointed its permanent leader.
SCF operates campuses in Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch and Venice. USF's campus is along U.S. Highway 41, near the border of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com