FKCC to offer bachelor’s in nursing starting next year

FKCC nursing faculty Julie Sagan instructs students in the FKCC nursing lab on the Key West Campus.
FKCC nursing faculty Julie Sagan instructs students in the FKCC nursing lab on the Key West Campus.

Florida Keys Community College President Jonathan Gueverra spent Tuesday awaiting word on whether the school could add a bachelor’s degree of science in nursing to its list of programs.

Unanimously, the state Board of Education said yes to the program in the Keys, which will start sometime next year on the Key West campus. The approval is pending an OK from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

It’s programs like this that prompt the college to want to change its name to the College of the Florida Keys, since it is offering four-year degrees in supervision in management in addition to associate degrees.

“We’re just hurting ourselves from a marketing perspective,” Gueverra said Tuesday. “You don’t drive a Ford and put a Chrysler tag on it. It is what it is. We need to let our prospective students and their families know that we’re more than just a college offering programs of the associate degree or less.”

So next Legislative session, FKCC will once again ask lawmakers to approve the name change.

The effort this year, led by State Rep. Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) failed. Though the House bill was easily approved, no companion bill in the Senate appeared. The bill died in the education committee, like many do during the session.

Gueverra said the college will persist in the rebranding.

“Without a doubt, that’s definitely on the horizon,” he said. “The administrative code outlines the process and we followed the process.”

Losing the “community” part of the name is only about proper branding, Gueverra added.

“We will still be serving our community,” he said. “From where I sit that will always be our primary focus.”

Based in Key West, FKCC counts 1,264 students Keyswide. Over the past 50 years, the college has been transformed from working out of borrowed classrooms into a $40 million Stock Island campus unveiled in 1997.

In 1963, the Florida Legislature approved the creation of the Junior College District of Monroe County to be supported primarily by state funds. The first classes were held at the former Frederick Douglass High School in Key West in 1965.

In 1968, the college name was changed to Florida Keys Junior College.

Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen