By: Samantha Redditt
“Some advisors don’t give you exactly what you need when you’re planning for classes and the future”, said second year LSSC student Cristian Crawford, sharing his opinion based on his experience with Lake Sumter staff. “It’s ok to make mistakes sometimes but, when it comes to a student’s future, there’s no room for error!”, he continued. Another second year student, Stephanie Conti, stated that she’d like to see a greater social media output from the school. An anonymous participant wished there was more of a presence on campus for the arts, such as music or theatre. With a student population that is growing more each year, a school such as Lake Sumter needs to be in tune with and adaptive to the needs of its students. On the LSSC website, the school claims to abide by five values that should be covering these needs: “Be Affordable, Be the Best, Be Supportive, Be Challenging, and Be Student-Centered”. However, let’s see how LSSC students feel about the institution’s representation of its standards.
After surveying Lake Sumter students on the South Lake campus, many seem to be satisfied with the school as far as it’s values go. The biggest issues students are having involve the quality of education and the student-centeredness of the school. Some other changes they’d wish to see are included in the accompanying pie chart. Kaitlin Canterbury, LSSC South Lake’s SGA President had a lot to say on this subject, both on changes she would like to see and projects that Student Government is currently working on. “It’d be nice to see more of a partnership with LSSC and Lake Tech, to offer career certificates”, she said while adding that there should be more health-centric events, better-priced vending machines, more options for non-STEM majors, and better grass on campus. Kaitlin also revealed some developments that the SGA is currently working on, such as advocating for a gym on the South Lake campus, trying to convert Building 1 into a student-life area with the addition of the new science building this Fall, and getting more ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate) training implemented to keep students safe and informed in dangerous situations.
A survey by U.S. News tells us the most common complaints from college students often include tuition cost, class scheduling, transferring credits, and the quality of professors. However, each college varies in its strengths and weaknesses, and Lake Sumter is no exception. David Weber, Executive Director of Planning and Effectiveness, implements hundreds of bi-annual surveys to Lake Sumter State College students. “The results of the survey data get built into college planning process”, Weber stated in an interview. “Our main areas to improve according to the 2015 surveys included parking, advising, financial aid and scholarships, and student growth”. Although this survey is helpful in some areas, the survey is redundant _ bubble-in questions are also restrictive when it comes to actual input of individual students’ thoughts.
Mr. Weber responded to the concerns over the quality and diversity of classes by saying the school wants to put more focus on general education courses and add more online classes. Implementing technological resources, such as Starfish featured on Blackboard, proactively engage the student and improves student retention. However, many anonymous survey participants admitted that the online classes are taking away quality from the education they’re currently receiving.
When asked about improvements in career opportunity he said, “We have been researching a handful of new program opportunities, some are looked at as being implemented this fall or next spring”. Weber also confirmed the previously mentioned collaboration with Lake Tech in the future, so students can easily move from both institutions. Other plans include replacing Blackboard with a program called Canvas learning management system instead of Blackboard and the beginning of the Health Science Collegiate Academy, a program this coming Fall where a partnership between Lake Sumter State College and Lake County public schools will bring more people into higher education earlier, to earn an associates or college credits during high school.
Will this year’s anonymous surveys reflect the desires of current and incoming students? Will SGA be able to follow through with the changes they’ve mentioned? Finally, will you make your voice heard? If you are dissatisfied with some aspects of Lake Sumter State College, now’s the time to make it clear as our school continues to make changes and grow. Utilize the school’s suggestion box, attend an SGA meeting, or start a petition. Together we can make Lake Sumter State College a better place for everyone.