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Workforce development: investing in intellectual capital.

As construction on the new USF Sarasota-Manatee campus takes shape, programs and faculty are increasing to fulfill community workforce needs.

"Our most important mission is to feed this community with the workforce it needs," said Dr. Laurey Stryker, campus CEO. "We listen to the business community before we add programs."

In the fall of 2000, the regional campus had only 16 faculty members and relied heavily on adjunct faculty. Now there are more than 52 resident faculty and 39 full degree programs serving about 3,400 students annually.

Dr. Peter French, associate vice president and dean of academic affairs, argues that investment in intellectual capital is the real story behind a successful university.

"We're the premier local university for traditional programs. But few understand the financial commitment we make to supporting our goals for the community," he says.

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According to French, when you calculate the long-term costs of adding a permanent faculty position as an investment in intellectual capital, USF Sarasota-Manatee has now invested well over $100 million in intellectual capital in the past five years.

When it comes to faculty, USF is selective. "These are doctoral or terminal-degree graduates from some of the finest universities around the country, such as Harvard, Yale, Rutgers, Brandeis, New York University, Bard, and the University of Pennsylvania, to name a few," says French. "Bringing in quality faculty is an important part of our strategic plan, in addition to innovative academic programs that support the local economic environment. We want the best faculty available, committed to the community and our students."

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One such community partner is Manatee Community College. The 2+2 program combines the convenience of the community college with the resources of a nationally ranked university. Advisors assigned to MCC freshman guide them from day one. Students receive special assistance in the transfer process, including workshops, and get help with USF orientation, financial aid, and scholarships, making it easier to complete a bachelor's degree locally.

"We know that 73% of MCC graduates come to USF," said Stryker, "so the 2+2 program is vital. We have a daily presence on the MCC campus and enjoy the strong partnership through our joint admissions program."
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Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Mar 1, 2006
Words:365
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