MANATEE — A rivalry seems to be developing over new four-year programs proposed by the State College of Florida.
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee asserts that all but one of the community college’s applications for new baccalaureate programs duplicate existing USF offerings, says Arthur Guilford, USF’s regional chancellor.
SCF contends the degree programs are different, and seeks state permission to offer them.
“I believe we will have received back probably over 2,000 surveys dealing with the needs from the community, and so far … it’s telling us that there’s this tremendous need for these programs,” SCF President Lars Hafner told the Bradenton Herald. “We would not be looking at any of these programs if it wasn’t community-driven; the community asked and we responded.”
An SCF Board of Trustees workshop on the subject is slated for 2:30 p.m. today at the community college’s Bradenton campus.
SCF already has won state approval for its first four-year degree, a bachelor of science in nursing program slated to begin in January. It already has received 124 applicants for 50 spots, Hafner said.
The six new programs SCF wants to add are:
n Bachelor of applied science in energy technology, applying basic engineering principles and technical skills in developing energy-efficient systems or monitoring energy use. This is the only proposed program USF does not consider duplicative.
n Bachelor of applied science in health services administration, developing, planning and managing health care operations and services.
n Bachelor of applied science in public safety administration/homeland security, addressing public safety, homeland security, management, administrative law, crisis and disaster issues, and terrorism prevention.
n Bachelor of applied science in technology management, using technology and management skills in business management procedures, contract negotiations, budgeting, due diligence and quality assurance.
n Bachelor of science in early childhood education, preparing students to be teachers, managers or administrators of programs for children from birth through age 4.
n Bachelor of science in exceptional student education, preparing students to become special education teachers.
“We do believe there is overlap in five of the six areas proposed, and to a certain extent, there is no current need to have the duplicated programs,” said Guilford, adding that USF officials last month submitted an alternative proposal to the state.
USF would like to continue to partner on programs it currently offers, with freshmen and sophomores attending SCF and then finishing their last two years at USF, Guilford said.
SCF is less interested in maintaining such a partnership, he contended.
“The state made the decision we would have both a university system and a college system, but the state indicated the college system would complement the state university system, and not to compete with us,” Guilford said. “In essence, what’s happened is we’ve developed a model of competition rather complementing.”
It is the first time SCF, a community college that for 52 years only offered two-year degrees, has found itself directly competing with USF, a four-year school.
Hafner predicted community leaders will rally on SCF’s behalf because its proposals are rooted in local needs.
“That will really, really tell the story,” Hafner said, arguing that SCF would cost $50 less per credit hour than USF.
But Guilford disputed that, saying USF would cost only $24.40 more per credit hour.