Dr. Edward Meadows proud of college’s student successes
By Becca Carlson
Pensacola State College is ranked number 3 in affordability, student-faculty ratio, graduation rates, and university transfers out of 28 Florida state colleges according to a recent Schools.com survey.
The survey confirms what many students and faculty already know about PSC, that the school goes to great lengths to provide services that promote student success. Going forward, PSC President Dr. Edward Meadows confirms that the school is always looking for ways to improve.
“We need to continue what we’re doing and of course continuous improvement. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you can always be better. That means, find better ways to serve more students,” Meadows said.
For the past 3 years, PSC has been ranked by the U.S. Department of Education in the top 1% of colleges for affordability.
Dr. Meadows believes receiving the Bellwether Award and national recognition for innovation in instruction helped solidify PSC’s high ranking. The Virtual Tutoring program is now expanding from STEM classes to other general education courses.
Public institutions like PSC are non-profit organizations–not in the business of making money, yet, need to be able to provide services and help students financially through the Pensacola State College Foundation.
Dr. Meadows said students haven’t seen a raise in tuition in about five years. The National Center for Education Statistics shows that PSC has actually decreased its reported cost in books and supplies since 2014-2015.
“What we try to do is balance the budget each year so that we offer the best services that we can offer without charging the students more than it takes to pay for those services,” said Dr. Meadows.
With graduation rates at 10-15% above the national average, PSC seems to have found a formula for success.
One way to increase graduation rates is to increase retention rates, an aspect covered in the schools Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) released as part of a 10-year reaffirmation of regional accreditation.
“You’re going to being seeing a lot about the Pirate Path,” Dr. Meadows said. Pirate Path focuses on first-time college students and will require them to attend an orientation and take a career assessment test. It also provides an assigned academic advisor who will meet with the student for the first half of their course work.
PSC’s intentionally smaller class sizes help keep the student-faculty ratio at a reasonable level. “We have a better faculty-student ratio than 25 of our sister institutions in the system. It is a balancing act,” Dr. Meadows said. Couple that with minimized non-essential course work in PSC’s curriculum and students are better prepared for transferring to a university.
Dr. Meadows confirms that fall to fall retention rates are currently over 60%. PSC has actually increased enrollment in the spring, summer and the fall semesters of 2017.
“I think all of those things are coming together to help us be even better known for providing innovative types of academic service.”
PSC has some advantages for transfer students looking to stay close to Pensacola, like being surrounded by regional universities like Florida State University (FSU), the University of South Alabama (USA), and the University of West Florida (UWF).
“We’re always looking for opportunities to partner with UWF,” Dr. Meadows said. “President Martha Saunders, before she became president, has been instrumental in helping forge direct-admit programs and special articulation agreements. I think there will be even more opportunities to partner in the future.”
The volunteerism of PSC students maintains a strong relationship with the community. “There are a tremendous number of volunteers from student organizations and faculty and staff that go out into the community to do good things. When you do good things in the community they can’t help but want to support Pensacola State College.”
Many PSC’s graduates continue to live and work in the community. “Pensacola State is a beloved institution in our community,” Dr. Meadows said. “The vast majority of our students have had a great experience here.”