President’s Update–February 2018

Feb. 27, 2018

Good morning, CF Team,

As we get caught up in the whirlwind of everyday responsibilities, I am thankful for students like those above from the African-American Student Union. The students researched Ella Fitzgerald, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Fred Hampton, Jesse Owens, Alice Walker and Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and each Monday during Black History Month have been sharing the contributions these individuals made to society. Thanks to the students for sharing the stories of these historical figures and a special thank you to their advisor, Keith Bracey, for his leadership with our students.

I shared our CF story with business partners at the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership monthly breakfast last Wednesday. While we are transforming the lives of our students, we are also impacting our community. Here are a few details that I shared:
•         95% of our students are found working in their field or continuing their education within a year after graduation.
•         We have awarded more than 10,600 certificates and degrees in the last five years.
•         Students have earned 1,422 industry certifications in the the last five years.

Earlier this month, I traveled with Trustee Rusty Branson and CF Governmental Relations Manager Jessica Kummerle to Washington, D.C., for the Association of Community College Trustees National Legislative Summit. While there, we met with Congressman Neal Dunn who represents the 2nd district of Florida serving the panhandle, all of Levy and Marion County west of I-75. We discussed economic development in the CF’s tricounty area and how Pell Grant funding for short-term, workforce-oriented programs can greatly benefit our region.

On Tuesday, the Ocala City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the college and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to create a law enforcement training center at the Ocala International Airport. We are early in the process and have many details to work out, but look forward to working with our partners. The facility will serve as a lab for specialized training and would enhance training at the Ocala Campus. The StarBanner published a story on the agreement Wednesday.

Last week, I had the honor of meeting Poet Laureate Juan Filipe Herrera, who was at the Ocala Campus for the Debra Vazquez Poetry Series. His visit was on the heels of the shooting tragedy at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in south Florida and he engaged his audience in a collaborative writing exercise as part of the healing process. Student Katelyn James said: “When a poet actually says the words that everybody is looking for, it does heal.” Special thanks to Ron and Sandra Cooper for their leadership in putting this wonderful event together.

Our men’s basketball team is playing tonight to earn a spot in the state tournament. Winner goes to the tournament and loser goes home.  Tipoff is 7 p.m. in Ocala,  so please come out to support and cheer on your Patriots!

In 2017, CF achieved student satisfaction scores of 90% or higher for all five service standards (Professional, Responsive, Informative, Dependable, Engaged).  This is the highest score to date and the first time we exceeded 90%.   As a big thank you to everyone, there will be free celebration breakfast for all faculty and staff on the Ocala Campus on Friday, March 2, from 8:00 a.m – 9:00 a.m.   Breakfast will also be provided at the Citrus and Levy campuses at the same time. Overall satisfaction scores have risen every year since the 2013 benchmark of 71% Congratulations!

On a final note, thanks to all who contributed to the CF Foundation’s Reaching Higher family campaign. We had a campaign celebration yesterday and announced that 92% of faculty and staff participated in the campaign and raised over $28,000 for student scholarships!  Special thanks to our campaign committee and co-chairs, Jennifer Mazur and Debbie Bowe.  Your donations make a difference for our students and community. Thanks for all you do to support our students and community!