Hello again! I am late posting my second college on the Aspen Top Ten Finalists, but better late than never. I am learning a lot in the short bits and pieces of time I am carving out to finish my posts.
This post is about Broward College (BC) in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Part of the Florida College System, it was established in 1959 and is now a state college offering selected four-year bachelor’s degree programs as well as numerous certificates and associate’s degrees.
- 52% PT/48% FT
- 34% Hispanic/33% African American
- Median age 21
- 47% First Generation
- 63,000 student in the District – 13 locations colleges/centers
- $82 In State Tuition per Credit Hour with fees $118 (online $123)
- Little to no textbook costs
This year Broward College was named as a top ten Aspen Finalist for the third time. That’s epic.
Broward College serves 63,000 students from more than 184 countries with a strong culture of collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement. The College ensures that students are on the right track to graduation and have what’s needed to transfer to a four-year university by creating clear, career-oriented pathways and mandatory academic advising when students reach certain credit-accumulation milestones.
Joshua Wyner, who is also the author of “What Excellent Community Colleges Do,” commented on the College’s clear, career-oriented pathways and excellent student transfer success as well. “Broward College excels at creating clear pathways for students to complete their associate’s degrees and then transfer to a four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree. Transfer students at Broward are about 50 percent more successful than at the average community college. This success is even more amazing given its diverse student population. Broward College is busting a myth by proving that all students can succeed at high levels.”
You may imagine my surprise when at first look, I wasn’t impressed with what I was finding online, especially the lack of information about Advising. Thanks to spring break and the extra week, I’ve been able to dig deeper and found some wonderful things to share with you.
I wish I had time to write more, but I don’t so I’ll keep it simple. The top three good things about Broward College I learned and believe are what contribute to their success are leadership, culture, and customer service.
A History of Experienced Leadership
Seriously, who gets these kind of experienced, super-qualified college presidents?
• From 1987 – 2004, College President, Dr. Will Holcombe, set a vision and worked to connect with the local community and workforce by developing community partnerships. Holcombe was a protégée of Dr. James L. Wattenbarger, the architect of Florida’s community college system. He left Broward to become Chancellor of the Florida College System.
• An expert in strategic planning and former President of Ventura College, Dr. Larry Calderon was appointed President in 2004.
• In July 2007, the Chancellor of the Florida College System, J. David Armstrong, Jr., somehow left his position and stepped down to take the reins at Broward College until December 2017. I think Armstrong is the key leader who shaped Broward’s success.
With a strong commitment to the community, a business owner’s understanding of the evolving workforce landscape and the changing role of higher education, President Armstrong has led a redesign of the College to focus on new programs that better address skills gaps for students and employers. Several workforce bachelor’s degrees, for example, have been added in the fields of information technology, nursing, supply chain management, education, and aerospace science.
In a challenging financial environment where colleges face state budget reductions, President Armstrong managed to balance the budget while prioritizing initiatives for student success. This includes spearheading programs that focus on the entire student experience from prospects to post-graduation. While most colleges and universities implemented significant cost increases to students, Broward College under his leadership increased tuition only once in the last five years, maintaining an affordable value and increasing number of programs with no textbook costs.
A Powerful Culture
Broward celebrates students and beyond. Faculty play an important role and the institution is committed to small classes to give each student more individual attention. The student-faculty ratio at Broward College is 25:1, and the school has 35.3 percent of its classes with fewer than 20 students. 100% of students were identified with a Pathway and assigned to an academic advisor.
A Place for Everyone
Broward College is committed to fostering a learning-centered community that celebrates diversity and inclusion by empowering and engaging students, faculty and staff.
Student Success is Our Passion
Our mission at Broward College is Transforming students’ lives and enriching our diverse community through academic excellence, innovation, and meaningful career opportunities.
We approach every day and every student with this in mind. Whether you’re new to college, a lifelong learner or somewhere in between, we are committed to providing the highest quality education that’s affordable and accessible coupled with the support you need to succeed.
One of the pieces of the Guided Pathways model they have down is the link to careers. Check this out!
Broward College Graduates Highest Earners in the State
According to the Florida Department of Education’s recent economic study, Broward College graduates not only meet the demands of the job market, but also make more money their first year of employment, than those completing the same degrees at other schools. The report, which is a result of the partnership between the State of Florida and College Measures, documents the variations in median first-year wages of graduates from two-year and four-year higher education institutions.
The report, which is broken down by specific degree program, documents Broward College associate degree holders as making more money than the statewide averages. The median first-year earnings of associate in arts (A.A.) graduates is $27,712, which is higher than the statewide average of $26,504. For associate in science degrees (A.S.), 84 percent of Broward College graduates are employed and rank number one in income, making $49,970, which is considerably more than the statewide average of $45,060. Associate in applied science (AAS) degree holders, especially those with an A.A.S. in Business Administration, earned approximately $10,000 more than graduates of other colleges.
Old-fashioned Customer Service
As it turns out, I am referring a student to Broward College after learning about their online degrees. I’ve called several times in the past week. The service is genuine and has exceeded anything I’ve ever experienced at any institution of higher education! No kidding! It’s great.
At Broward College, each employee is primarily focused on students’ success and committed to the college’s strategic imperative of Transforming Students’ Lives by Connecting, Challenging, Completing.
Broward College has in place a strategic plan that guides every action of the institution, allowing us all to connect with students, challenge them to succeed and help students complete their academic goals.
All of these elements tie into a motto that has been used at the
college for many years — Finish What You Start.
In case you want to know more, here are some videos and links to keep learning!