BREVARD COUNTY, Florida — Brevard Community College has a new name to reflect its expanding mission: Eastern Florida State College.
The name was approved Monday by the Board of Trustees in a move that was required because BCC will start offering four-year degrees and become a state college next year.
Initially, the college will offer a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Organizational Management with two concentrations — general management and health care management — in August 2013.
The College will also remain firmly committed to its community college roots, continuing to offer more than 100 two-year associate degrees and certificate programs as its primary mission.
The name now goes to the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott for final approval during the spring 2013 legislative session. It is expected to become official July 1, 2013.
“This is a historic day for the College and our community,” said Alan Landman, chair of the Board of Trustees. “It opens a new era for the College that will broaden its reach, provide more opportunities for students and strengthen its role as a driver of economic development and job-growth locally and in the region.”
BCC President, Dr. Jim Richey, called the decision a milestone that best serves the long-term interests of the College and Space Coast.
“I’m excited about our future because Eastern Florida State College is more than a new name,” he said. “It represents the new opportunities we can offer our students and our community. We’re now exceptionally well positioned to do that through the addition of four-year degrees.”
The renaming process began in August when College officials began reaching into the community for ideas and to gather perceptions about the college that could be used to help attract students, build business partnerships and enhance academic programs.
About 200 people participated through written surveys, focus groups and the College’s Facebook page. They represented key stakeholders including Brevard business and community leaders, elected officials, and BCC faculty, staff, students, prospective students and alumni.
The people surveyed were asked to serve as representatives of their group, organization or constituency to broaden the outreach.
More than 70 names were suggested and fewer than 10 recommendations based on the research were given to Richey for final consideration.
The research revealed several key factors that led to choosing Eastern Florida State College, Richey told trustees.
Focus groups showed prospective students wanted a name that went beyond Brevard’s borders, and spoke to the larger world in which they live and the global economy that awaits them.
Furthermore, many business and civic leaders wanted a name that elevated the College on a regional level, and could help the College advance its role in creating jobs and spurring economic development and growth.
“Those two factors stood out strongly,” said Richey. “Both groups were looking at new horizons for the College and wanted us to do the same. They were enthusiastic about our future.”
In another area, Richey said the College’s new positioning statement — “Explore. Achieve. Succeed.” — honors the community’s space heritage and also provides an aspirational message to students.
The College will use the slogan in its marketing and advertising efforts to attract students and build business partnerships.
“The statement is the promise we make that enrolling at Eastern Florida State College includes the opportunity to learn about yourself, reach your goals and have a successful life,” said Richey. “It’s a great balance of our proud tradition and the unlimited possibilities of the future.”
The College’s new four-year degrees will be highly attractive to Brevard students for reasons that include cost, with tuition at Eastern Florida State College lower than at four-year state and private universities.
For instance, the total cost of a four-year Bachelor of Applied Science degree at Eastern Florida State College is expected to be substantially less than at the University of Central Florida and Florida Tech.
Furthermore, the four-year degrees will:
- Allow Brevard students to stay close to their homes and families, making it easier for those who are working their way through college to continue their education.
- Provide people already in the workforce with the chance to learn new skills without leaving the region.
- Allow students to benefit from the small classroom size and personalized instruction that have long been hallmarks at the College.
Under the new name, tuition for two-year associate degree courses will continue to be set by the state at the community college level. Tuition for four-year baccalaureate degree courses will be set at the state college rate, not the state university rate.
Students who earn their two-year degrees at the College will continue to be automatically accepted into the University of Central Florida though the “DirectConnect” program. They also will be eligible for entry into Florida Tech and other four-year universities.
BCC is the latest community college in Florida to change its name.
Some 22 other institutions in the 28-member Florida College System have also taken the step in recent years when they started offering four-year degrees.
The name changes are fueled by a 2008 law passed by the Florida Legislature that allowed community colleges to start offering four-year degrees after studies showed Florida needing more workers with at least a bachelor’s degree to meet the future demands of employers.
Monday marked the second time the College has changed its name since it opened in 1960 as Brevard Junior College. It was renamed Brevard Community College in 1970 when the state created the community college system.