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November 29, 2004

MacKay Jimeson
(850) 245-0413

Education Commissioner Winn and Chancellor Armstrong Praise Florida Community Colleges for Boosting Student Engagement

TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner John Winn and Community Colleges Chancellor David Armstrong today congratulated eight Florida community colleges for their ability to involve students in instruction, services and activities, according to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). Research has shown learning, retention in college and graduation increase among more actively engaged students.

"Once again, Florida's Community College System is leading the nation and is focused on providing students with a well rounded academic experience," Commissioner Winn said. "Our colleges are engaging students and creating programs to meet their needs."

The CCSSE study measures institutions based on five research-based benchmarks important to quality education practice. Florida's top performers met three or more of these benchmarks that include: active and collaborative learning, student effort, academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, and support for learners.

Florida's top performers include:

Extra-Large Colleges (More than 15,000 students)

  • Miami-Dade College
  • St. Petersburg College
  • Valencia Community College

Large Colleges (8,000-14,999)

  • Daytona Beach Community College
  • Manatee Community College
  • Santa Fe Community College
  • Tallahassee Community College

Small Colleges (Fewer than 4,499)

  • North Florida Community College

Chancellor Armstrong added, "College administrators are using the CCSSE survey to initiate on-campus discussions focused on boosting student engagement. Our faculty and staff are dedicated to working with students and their hard work has elevated Florida to the top national rating of student retention."

Florida is one of 3 states having a statewide consortium and 100 percent participation from its colleges in the CCSSE study. In 2004, Florida's Community College System was the nation's leading associate degree producer, with four of Florida's community colleges ranking among the top five. Florida produced more associate degrees and certificates than any other state in the nation and accomplished this while maintaining low tuition rates and high faculty salaries. Florida also led the way in providing opportunities for minority students. Three Florida colleges are in the top ten associate degree producers for minorities, including two in the top five for African American students and two in the top ten for Hispanic students.

"The Florida Community Colleges have really stepped up to the plate, by committing to statewide administration of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, and by showing that they're serious about using data to guide improvements in educational practice. Furthermore, eight of the Florida colleges are among a national group identified as top performers, according to their survey results. Kudos are due to these institutions for their emphasis on ensuring quality in their work with students," said Kay McClenney, Director of Community College Survey of Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin.

For more information on Florida's community college system please visit or to view the complete CCSSE report visit