Each week on “On a Mission” we talk to community leaders who are out to make a positive impact in the area. Today, our host Wendy Norfleet talks to Dr. John Avendano from FSCJ.
Dr. John Avendano is the sixth president and CEO of Florida State College of Jacksonville. FSCJ is one of Florida’s largest institutions of higher education.
To learn more, visit https://www.fscj.edu.
What drew you to FSCJ? In short, I was looking for the right presidential opportunity … My daughter had lived in Jacksonville the year before, and I remember seeing FSCJ on the TV for the Dental Hygiene program…. The timing was perfect, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity.
What role does FSCJ play in the community? FSCJ plays such a critical role on many fronts. As this community’s college, I feel we have an responsibility to help provide the workforce. FSCJ provides opportunities for others to upskill themselves along with elevating the educational attainment of most everyone in the community. FSCJ plays a role in the cultural fabric of the community through the Artist Series, but we also have programs for youth, high school students, returning adults and again most everyone…. We play a vital role in helping business and industry achieve the workforce needs. So I think we play a critical role for our community.
Does FSCJ look the same now as it did before the pandemic? If not, what has changed? Not completely… We have made some significant changes and some subtle changes. Live Online is one of our most significant changes because of what it does for students in terms of flexibility and access. We have virtual tours and virtual orientation programs for students. I think the biggest change has been the ability of the College to re-think how we deliver education and our services. That will be true for employees as well.
Many classes were moved online as a result of the pandemic. Will any of the current programs be moved completely online? We have always had a strong presence online…. The pandemic brought some others along for the ride who may have not had the comfort level before. I think our next step is to assess our overall programs for the greatest flexibility, but also to make sure we have the structure students need.
Many higher institutions and community programs are really focused on helping our community become entrepreneurs. How can FSCJ help with this movement? Since the pandemic hit, this has been one of the areas I have heard the most about, entrepreneurialism… Which I find interesting given what the pandemic has done to small business… I guess individuals want to control their own fate as oppose to the economy impacting them. Anyway, From our traditional degree programs in business to our certificate programs and continuing education, FSCJ is poised to help those that want to branch out on their own can find the right opportunity to do so.
What can we look forward to from FSCJ as we move forward? For our community, I would say they can count on FSCJ to be better listeners to business and industry to focus on their immediate needs, but also to be proactive for their workforce needs for the future. I would also say our community can expect to see continuous quality improvement efforts in our processes and programs… I want our community to know we are not only focused on access and affordability (which we are the most affordable options anywhere), but we are focused on student success which means completion and economic mobility. When our community hears FSCJ… I want them to think quality instruction, programming and care for their success.