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Archive for September 2010

Statistics Show Rapid Growth in FL Community Colleges

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With Valencia Community College awaiting approval to begin its first bachelor’s degree program, the trend of community colleges expanding their curriculum has been growing. In Florida, community colleges now offer more than 100 four year degrees. This pattern has developed quickly and has made national news. In 2008, independent Florida Governor Charlie Crist enacted legislation that allowed community institutions to offer more four year degree programs.

The result has been an explosion in the number and types of degrees offered at community colleges. Ten of Florida’s 28 community colleges offered 70 bachelor’s degrees in 2008. Today 18 out of 28 Florida community colleges offer 111 baccalaureate degrees.  There is high demand for degrees in computer engineering as well as nursing and education in the Central Florida area. Hundreds of jobs in radiology, electrical and computer engineering are expected in Central Florida by 2014. Community colleges undoubtedly are trying to meet this high demand. There are state regulations designed to check growth of Florida community colleges. However, some remain concerned that these new four year programs will affect existing associate degrees or compete with four year universities in a negative way.

Written by ArthurVolpe

September 30, 2010 at 12:36 am

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Valencia College to Offer New Programs

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This past week, Valencia College received approval from the Florida State Board of Education to offer its first bachelor’s degree program. The new programs will be the first bachelor’s degrees offered at the school in its 43 year history. Valencia College is just one of many community colleges in Florida to offer four year degrees as a statewide trend continues to grow. Florida community colleges now offer more than 100 four year degrees. Sanford based Seminole State College will also be adding four more bachelor’s degree programs to its catelog.

Valencia Community College

Valencia plans to accomodate students in fields such as electrical and computer engineering technology and radiologic imaging services. These programs were originally offered at the University of Central Florida but were cut in July of 2009 due to budgetary issues. Valencia College offers students the benefit of working towards these degrees directly from the university at a lower cost than they would have paid at UCF. The critics have their concerns about the move stating community colleges are competing with four year institutions in an unhealthy way. However, UCF has voiced its support in Valencia’s bid to reestablish the cut programs.

It remains to be seen what effect community colleges are having on four year institutions. Valencia still needs approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools before beginning their new programs next year. There will be more to come on this story including if UCF will continue to allow Valencia to add more programs and what this means for UCF and Valencia College students.

Written by ArthurVolpe

September 29, 2010 at 4:03 pm

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UCF Zimride Remains a Work in Progress

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The arrival of fall semester at the University of Central Florida is an exciting time for students. A new semester brings new classes and challenges. One of the biggest challenges for UCF students is finding a way to get to those classes on time. UCF’s student body of more than 53,000 is the third largest in the nation and continues to grow. Undoubtedly, traffic congestion is a major issue. The Zimride program was introduced by university officials to reduce student frustration and greenhouse gas emissions when driving to campus. While the program started in June, school officials have gone on record saying the fall semester will be Zimride’s first real test

Zimride is a new online program advertised as a simple way to find friends, classmates, and co-workers going the same way you are. Creators Logan Green and John Zimmer started the program at UC Santa Barbara in California which now hosts more than 350,000 users across the country. School and work networks are used on Facebook to help people coordinate their schedules and share rides. On June 29th UCF became the first school in Florida to offer the service to its faculty and students. UCF Student Government and Parking Services have split the cost of service, which comes out to just over $10,000 per year.

The UCF shuttle system gets students to campus daily.

With fall semester in session, is Zimride meeting expectations and alleviating traffic concerns on Central Florida’s campus?

Joseph DeFrancisco, a Campus Safety and Transportation Specialist doesn’t believe so. According to DeFrancisco the university was initially anticipating larger numbers to join up over the summer. A recent check of Student Government records revealed that as of today UCF Zimride has about 1,058 users. This includes 923 new users over the past 90 days. The UCF Zimride network carries about 421 rides in total. Student government says the growth is good but the program remains in an experimental stage.

A recent interview with Student Government Vice President Taylor Lochrane shed some light on the direction of Zimride. “The goal is improving perception which takes time.” Lochrane noted the key to building a reputation is the spread of information. The general feeling is that Zimride is moving in the right direction but slowly. He also mentioned apprehension on the part of students as a reason Zimride hasn’t taken off yet. “Students who don’t feel comfortable riding with new people need to take advantage of the opportunity of meeting before riding.” Zimride states its service is proven to engage ten to twenty percent of university populations. In Lochrane’s opinion a more realistic goal at UCF would be 2,000 users by the end of year one.

Marketing and promotions are expected to increase in the coming months as UCF plans to pull out all the stops. “We want to create a social party atmosphere” says Joseph DeFrancisco. There will be promotional events at the start of each semester. A spring semester launch party is in the early stages of planning and large volumes of e-mails will continually be sent to UCF students. The university wants to create more situational advertising. Zimride was mentioned as a great way to get to UCF football games and other sporting events. Vice President Lochrane went on to say that student government wishes to get involved with green organizations on campus to promote Zimride as an alternative to driving solo.

Construction at UCF creates more traffic problems.

While it appears Zimride is still far from being students first choice in transportation, there is no doubt the University of Central Florida wants it to succeed. The fall semester is here and on-campus traffic remains a problem. Construction on a new parking garage J has been slow. Students rely on the UCF shuttle service as a reliable way to get to campus. Zimride remains small for now but the future may be bright for UCF’s newest transportation option.

Written by ArthurVolpe

September 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm

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UCF Zimride Shows Growth Amid Traffic Woes

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Recent interviews with UCF Student Government officials have revealed new statistics on the Zimride system at UCF. The online carpooling service which connects users on the UCF network through Facebook began on Central Florida’s campus  June 29th with several hundred members. Views of the UCF Zimride system database show a recent trend of growth on campus. 

As of today, over 400 rides are registered on Zimride through the UCF network. Over the past 90 days close to 1,000 UCF students have registered on Central Florida’s Zimride site. Krishna Singh, Director of Parking & Transportation Services at UCF was quoted over the summer as saying the fall semester would be Zimride’s first real test. Parking troubles remain a pressing issue at the third largest university in the nation. UCF officials have been under pressure for real solutions. Recent construction of a new Parking Garage J between the Fairwinds Alumni Center and Psychology Building should add roughly 1,400 parking spaces. However as of today UCF’s student body of over 53,000 students will still be battling each other for roughly 17,000 on campus parking spaces. 

The Zimride System hopes to alleviate traffic issues found in most UCF parking garages.

The question remains is Zimride going to become an effective alternative to driving to school everyday? UCF Student Government certainly hopes so. More on this story will follow in the next several days. This includes UCF’s plans on the future of Zimride, and if the program is growing fast enough to meet expectations this fall.

Written by ArthurVolpe

September 20, 2010 at 9:56 pm

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Zimride Comes to UCF

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The University of Central Florida is currently the third largest university in the nation with over 53,000 students. With this distinction comes the issue of accommodating large volumes of students and faculty on campus everyday.  The university has done much to alleviate traffic issues at UCF. This includes the construction of multiple parking garages, remote lots, and free shuttle service to and from campus. Over the past summer UCF became the first university in the state of Florida to offer a new transportation service to its students called the Zimride system.

Zimride co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer

Using the power of the social media networking site facebook.com, Zimride provides a simple online service that connects UCF students with each other to share rides to campus. Launched at UCF on June 29, Zimride uses the UCF network on Facebook to sync up student’s schedules and common interests in hopes of reducing traffic and emissions on campus through carpooling. It has yet to be determined what impact this program will have, but the fall semester will be its first with a full campus.  For more information on Zimride at UCF log onto http://zimride.ucf.edu/

Written by ArthurVolpe

September 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm

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Written by ArthurVolpe

September 1, 2010 at 2:24 am

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