Eastern Florida State College Accelerates Transition from Community College
By Carl Kotala
The debut of Eastern Florida State College’s first two bachelor degree programs has been an unmitigated success . . . so here come seven more.
April 1 will mark the day students can start registering for August classes to pursue bachelor degrees in public safety management; sales and marketing management; advanced allied health; biomedical sciences; information technologies software development; information technologies program development and project management; and information technologies networking services.
Formerly known as Brevard Community College, the school changed its name on July 1, 2013 and began offering bachelor degrees in addition to its 100-plus associate degree programs. Based on its initial research of other schools in the Florida college system that had made the switch, EFSC had been estimating an inaugural class of 125 for its first two bachelor programs in general business management and health care management. Instead, the first class has drawn more than 300 students, many of them working adults.
“The enrollment for our first degrees far exceeded expectations,” said John Glisch, the school’s associate vice president for communications. “We knew there was a real need and a demand out there for these programs, and we’re really elated to see the number of students in the classroom because it tells us that what we’re doing is the right course.”
Working adults returning to college to get their four-year degrees are taking a path toward higher pay and career advancement. Many of the degrees are being tailored to meet Governor Rick Scott’s “$10,000 degree challenge,” making Eastern Florida an even more appealing option for all students.
The degrees being offered were picked for a reason. The college surveyed more than 3,000 regional businesses, industries and economic development leaders to determine future workforce needs. That kind of evaluation will take place each year so the college can determine if it needs to add any new programs to meet the demand in fast-growth job fields.
The college is also undergoing a major expansion of its Melbourne campus that includes a new 65,000 sq. ft. Public Safety Institute to train students in a wide range of criminal justice and public safety fields. Future plans include construction of a health science building, STEM building for science, engineering, technology and math, and a business building.
While the bachelor degrees continue to get attention, Eastern Florida is continuing to expand its two-year programs as well. In fact, the college has 20 new programs underway. In other words, there is a little something new for everybody to get excited about.
“All of this is happening at the college because of the vision and the dynamic leadership of Dr. Jim Richey, our president,” Glisch said. “He has a very clear and a very strong agenda to continue moving this college forward to provide more educational opportunities for our students and, in conjunction with that, to provide the businesses and industries in Brevard and East Central Florida with the skilled workforce they need.”
“That’s why all this is happening.”