Prior to 3/5/2008 the newsclips are available in a PDF archive.
News Clips 01/04/2013
Editorial: The very best
Source: Ocala StarBanner, 1/3/13
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There was a time when most Floridians thought of going to a community college as 13th grade, a step beyond high school but not real college.
No more. Florida's community college system today is regarded as the very best in the land. Its reputation has been especially enhanced in recent years by the Apsen Institute, a respected educational and policy studies organization, which has undertaken the annual job of measuring and ranking the nation's top community colleges. Aspen recognizes the top 10 percent among America's 1,200 or so community colleges.
Florida has not only fared well in the Aspen rankings, it has blown away the competition, placing far and away more schools in the top 10 percent than any other state. This year, for example, 15 of its 28 community colleges made the list. Among them — for each of the past two years — were the College of Central Florida in Ocala and Santa Fe College in Gainesville. Santa Fe received special recognition this year as one of the top 10 community colleges in the U.S., as did Broward College in Fort Lauderdale.
Of course, great success usually comes at the hand of great leadership, and this week Florida Trend magazine named as one of its Newsmakers of the Year those who lead our community colleges, the state college presidents.
The acknowledgement by the respected business magazine is deserved, and we particularly applaud CF President Jim Henningsen and Santa Fe President Jackson Sasser for leading the two community colleges in our region to national acclaim. As anyone in business knows, an organization typically reflects its leadership, and the successes of the two schools speak volumes. Former CF President Charles Dassance, who retired last year, also played a pivotal role in elevating CF to this point.
Henningsen told us the Aspen recognition has been illuminating for a public that traditionally took community colleges for granted.
"For us, what's great is it's third-party validation of the great work we do for students and our communities around the state," he said. "... We're the best investment for the dollar that the state's got, and the state knows that."
Now, however, Henningsen said the Aspen honors have given community colleges greater credibility at a time when the economy is forcing more students and families to look at alternatives to a university. And, he added, because of the Aspen recognition "higher caliber students are picking community colleges."
Affordability, access and the increasing availability of a variety of four-year baccalaureate degrees is making Florida's community colleges "a value proposition no one can beat."
We appreciate the efforts and leadership of Henningsen and Sasser — and their counterparts across Florida — in helping make our community college system outstanding by responding nimbly and effectively to meet changing local workforce and higher educational needs, especially during challenging economic times.
In the end, the mission of community colleges is to help train and educate local people so they can raise their standard of living. And Florida's community colleges, including our own, are doing that in a way that has captured the nation's eye.
Having two great community colleges led by impressive educators like Henningsen and Sasser is an asset of incalculable value to North Central Florida, both today and tomorrow.