Florida’s State Board of Education unanimously approved Florida Keys Community College’s proposal to offer its first bachelor’s degree at their monthly meeting in Tallahassee today.  John Padget, Vice Chair of the Board and 26 year resident of Key West, made the motion to approve the new degree.

“Today is unquestionably a historic moment for the Florida Keys and FKCC, the only institution of higher education to call the Keys home for over 50 years,” noted FKCC President Dr. Jonathan Gueverra.  “The approval of this first baccalaureate program for FKCC is a recognition by our statewide leaders that our residents and businesses need to have access to four-year degrees—an opportunity that can be taken for granted in other parts of the state.”

The new degree, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management (BAS-SM), is scheduled to launch in August pending approval from the College’s regional accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  Such approval is anticipated in June.  Subsequently, the College will change its name to the “College of the Florida Keys” to reflect the higher level educational opportunities.

The BAS-SM program includes coursework in management, finance, marketing, human resources, and leadership.  It will also include field experience in supervision and management settings to enable students to integrate theory with practice.  The bachelor’s degree builds upon the associate degrees already offered at FKCC; students must complete an associate degree prior to applying to the bachelor’s degree program.

The College’s decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in supervision and management arrived after an extensive workforce needs assessment in Monroe County.  The College found that there are currently more than 1,000 job openings that require supervision and management skills, a number that is expected to grow 14 percent over the next eight years.  Without a local source of baccalaureate level training, a significant employment needs gap will persist.

Multiple surveys of employers throughout the Keys conducted in recent years further supported their need for a baccalaureate level degree.  Student surveys also provided overwhelming support for a bachelor’s degree at FKCC—particularly in the field of supervision and management.  Because a majority of FKCC students live and work full-time in Monroe County, many indicated that having a bachelor’s degree available in their local area is the most important factor in deciding whether to continue their education.

“We need this program for the continuance of our strong economy and to reverse the brain drain that plagues our string of islands as our young people are forced to leave to experience a traditional campus.  In other cases, our adults cannot leave and are sometimes relegated to lower level jobs because they lack the educational credentials for advancement,” said Gueverra in his address to the State Board of Education.

In addition to the supervision and management degree, FKCC is developing two more bachelor’s degree programs: a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Bachelor of Applied Science in Marine Resource Management.  In December, proposals for both degrees were approved by the College’s Board of Trustees and submitted to the Florida College System for review and feedback.  They are expected to go to the State Board of Education for approval in the near future.

The College will begin accepting applications to the Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management today.  The application can be downloaded at www.fkcc.edu/apply-now/. uk dissertation writing services