Florida Keys Community College will once again seek to have state lawmakers approve a name change so it can drop “community” from its official title.
FKCC wants to rebrand itself The College of the Florida Keys since it now offers a bachelor’s degree in supervision and management.
“We’re pursuing a name change that reflects on our growth and our expansion,” said Amber Ernst-Leonard, spokeswoman for FKCC. “We’re working on more bachelor degrees, one in the science of nursing, one in hospitality and one in marine resources.”
FKCC, which started its first bachelor’s program this year, plans to start offering a bachelor’s in nursing next year and the other two degrees, bachelor’s in marine resources management and bachelor’s in hospitality and ecotourism, are in the development stages, she said.
“We will always be serving the community,” Ernst-Leonard said when asked if the word “community” has negative connotations from which the college wants to distance itself. “That will always remain our primary mission.”
A bill awaiting a hearing in the House Education Committee would drop the “community” label from both Florida Keys Community College and North Florida Community College in Madison, leaving only two institutions, Tallahassee Community College and Hillsborough Community College, with the label in the 28-school system, according to the News Service of Florida.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) and Rep. Jeanette Nunez (R-Miami), would rename FKCC and rechristen the other as North Florida College.
FKCC tried this last year, with a Raschein-sponsored bill winning unanimous approval from the House, but the effort in the Senate died in committee.
State law allows the institutions, with approval from local boards of trustees, to seek designation as a “college” or “state college” if they have been authorized by the state Board of Education to grant baccalaureate degrees and the schools have earned proper accreditation.
The North Florida school will offer its first four-year degree, a bachelor’s in nursing.
Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican who also represents the Keys, is sponsoring a name-changing bill (SB 946) for FKCC.
If approved by both the House and Senate, the name changes would take effect July 1.
Based in Key West, FKCC counts more than 1,200 students in Monroe County.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen